This year's theme is 'Enchant'Pulicity art by Isabella Palliotto

The John Hughes Arts Festival, Jesus College’s student-run annual arts festival, is back in person (touch wood) this year after a year online. The festival is now in its eighth year, having been set up in 2015 by students at the College. JHAF was founded to honour the legacy of the late Dean of Chapel, the Rev’d John Hughes, who died tragically in a car accident in 2014. The festival is founded on John’s commitment to openness and his appreciation for the arts in all their forms; in 2015 it was endorsed by Stephen Fry and opened by David Hare.

“Our themes never dictate what art can be submitted to the festival, but rather offer a springboard to inspire the submissions”

Rose Asquith and Sophie Beckingham, this year’s festival directors, are excited to carry on the legacy of previous committees while leaving their own unique stamp on it. “The John Hughes Arts Festival has run annually for the last 8 years in memory of Reverend John Hughes, a beloved member of the college community who sadly passed away in 2014. He was such a loved member of the college community and had such an enthusiasm for the arts so JHAF really aims to encapsulate this every year, striking the balance between memorial and celebration.”

Rose Asquith and Sophie BeckinghamPhoto by Astrid Godfrey

They also stress the importance of the festival providing escapism for Cambridge students: “we want to bring the college and wider Cambridge community together through a vibrant mix of events and beautiful art submitted from students, staff, and beyond! It is so easy to get stuck in the Cambridge bubble of work, and so we want this to be a cleansing break, a time for reconnection and trying something new.” They continue, “JHAF is a platform through which to show off all the wonderful creative minds that we have here in Jesus, as well as in the wider Cambridge community, be it painting, sculpture, dance, singing or spoken word!”

“The festival aims to strike the balance between memorial and celebration”

This year the committee has decided on the theme ‘Enchant’ for the festival. “Our themes never dictate what art can be submitted to the festival, but rather offer a springboard to inspire the submissions and atmosphere of the festival and to bring cohesion between our gallery and the events that we will be running across the weekend.” The team have been posting prompts on their social media channels in the hope of inspiring submissions. “For us,” Rose and Sophie comment, “‘Enchant’ encapsulates themes of magic, storytelling, mystery, wonder, fantasy or everyday things that we still find spellbinding. For a festival whose purpose sprung from the celebration of life, ‘Enchant’ was the perfect theme to inspire our JHAF community to pause, reflect, and let their imaginations run wild!”

The festival will take place 18th-20th of February Pulicity art by Isabella Palliotto

Sophie and Rose are excited by the significance of running an in-person festival after 2021’s festival had to be moved online due to covid. “Over the last two years, the importance of human interaction has come into such sharp focus; we’re aware that most of the student body were not even at Cambridge for the last in-person JHAF in 2020!” They hope that this year’s festival will ensure the legacy for JHAF and inspire the next generation of Jesus students to keep the festival running, continuing to bring people together in remembrance and celebration”.


Mountain View

Arts events calendar: Lent 2022

The John Hughes Arts Festival will run in Jesus College from the 18th - 20th February this year. The festival will start with a launch night of the gallery, showcasing artwork from staff and students in Cambridge, with events running for the duration of the festival. The full events card will be announced on Facebook and Instagram soon!