Katie Kasperson

The New Year promises an exciting array of creative-oriented and run events, incorporating everything from arts festivals to open mic nights. Here’s the top picks from your Lent art team – grab your calendars or diaries and save these dates to ensure that your term is filled with literary, artistic, and performance-based fun.


John Hughes Arts Festival: 18th to 20th February 2022

Jesus College’s annual arts festival, held in memory of the much loved and respected late Revd Dr John Hughes, returns this February as an open hang gallery and performance showcase curated under the theme ‘Enchant’. Featuring artwork, poetry, and performances from students, staff, and friends of Jesus College, the festival promises to present a wealth of exciting and creative pieces inspired by fairytales, dreams, and the mystique, as implied by its prompts under its call for submissions. There is still time to submit your own work to the gallery, with submissions closing on the 28th of January. 

Queens Arts Festival 2022: Opening 6th March

Featuring a collection of the best student work from the University of Cambridge, the Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts and Anglia Ruskin, this college-based festival is another exciting annual opportunity for creatives to submit their own art and appreciate each others’. This year's theme is 'Lost But Not At Sea', and past events have included open mic nights, drag shows, artist panels and craft evenings. Be sure to keep an eye on their social media pages to submit work and find out more about the events.

Decolonise Art History Events (various dates)

This term, Decolonise Art History – known as advocates for academic reform – aims to diversify the Cambridge arts-events scene. The group has a dynamic lineup of events aiming to elevate voices from underrepresented communities, for instance a collage night (3/02) in collaboration with FLY Girls of Cambridge, taking place in the Heong Gallery, Downing College. An exhibition on drawings by Afghan refugee children, in collaboration with Shahre Farang filmmakers (London), will open in King’s Art Room mid-February. ‘The Enigma of Arrival’, a performance art evening and workshop, will take place on 3rd to 4th March, featuring Wringing Metamorphosis (Cambridge) and Diasporas Now (London). 

Cambridge South Asian Arts Society Events

Cambridge South Asian Arts Society is a dynamic space for students to interact and engage with music, performance, and literature from South Asia. Performance showcases take place every week on 'Mehfil Mondays' and will continue into Lent term alongside planned poetry sessions exploring Indian epics.

Open Mics, Life Drawing, Society Club Nights

Speakeasy open mic nights: every other Sunday starting 30th January 

Taking place at the ADC Bar, this poetry slam-inspired, spoken-word night invites writers and performance to showcase their monologues, poetry, and other forms of vocal expression in a friendly and artsy atmosphere. 

Life drawing: every Friday at the architecture department, 7-9pm 

Taking place each Friday at Scroope Terrace, ARCSOC offers immersive life drawing sessions for all. Arrive early for guaranteed entry as while tickets are sold on the door, the event has proved very popular in the past! Keep an eye on their Instagram @arcsoc.lifedrawing for their term card which promises lots of special events.

ARCSOC Nights: MASH night 31st January; Cabaret 26th February 

After two successful, sold-out nights at MASH last term, ARCSOC is putting on a third event, with the theme to be announced very soon. With beautiful, hand-made decorations and their usual fantastic lineup of DJs, it looks to be a great opportunity for socialism within the arts community. 

Their big finale prior to Easter term is a Cabaret show in Junction; they’re expecting amazing costumes to be rewarded with fabulous prizes. Tickets sell out extremely fast, so save the date. Bear in mind also that all proceeds go to their end of year exhibition in London which showcases the subject cohort’s degree work, so it's for a great creative cause.

New zines on the horizon 

Further, there have been a few new zines cropping up over the Christmas vacation that are currently open for submissions (and worth checking out!):


Submissions have just opened for the newest zine in the Cambridge arts scene, ‘Dispatches’, which aims to showcase creative, long-form non-fiction as its primary focus. With prompts directly tied to Cambridge such as ‘town shufflings’ as well as appeals to feature pieces on current affairs and the arts scene, its first issue will be online, and feature content spanning from political pieces on climate change to long-form investigative journalism pieces. Submissions close on the 24th of Jan.

Blackbirds Zine


Mountain View

Reading list for a new year

The CU Blackbirds Poetry Society has announced its own zine, the first issue built around the notion of ‘congregation’. Looking for a variety of short stories, poetry, and art pieces, the society has offered several visual and thematic prompts unpacking the many different tones and implications of ‘congregation’. The society also has an exciting term card with events such as writing in the dark featured. Submissions close on the 20th of January. 

For more information on events happening in the Cambridge scene please join the ‘Cambridge Arts Group’ on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2825529207718116/