QAF LogoLauren Pencil

Isolation, confusion and a sense of rising panic may be the initial things we think of when we hear the words ‘lost at sea’. However, have you ever considered what it means to be lost, but not at sea? This year, the Queens' Arts Festival is questioning how normally negative emotions may be turned productively on their head. From the 6th-9th March, be ready to submerge yourself in a sea of film, painting, photography, sculpture, soundscape and installation, all exploring the nuances and complexities of being ‘Lost but not at Sea’. 

The launch event featured 'Just Me and the Geese'Isabella Taylor

After two years, we’re thrilled to be finally back in person. We’ve dusted the cobwebs off the Fitzpatrick gallery and are ready to welcome everyone back on Sunday night. Post-pandemic, the Queens’ Arts Festival remains a champion of experimental student art. We wanted to provide a space for unique perspectives that are challenging, critical and thoughtful, using a variety of media: painting, photography, montage, written words, textiles, sculpture, installation, video, sound and performance. Part of our aim for the festival this year was to re-introduce it to a generation of Queens’ and Cambridge students who have never experienced what it has to offer. With exhibitors spread across colleges, Anglia Ruskin and the local area, we hope to foster a great sense of community. After two years, the festival’s ability to forge meaningful connections across the city and open up new avenues of cultural communication is more important than ever. 

"Our exhibition, we hope, maps elements of journey, change and individualism expressively and dynamically"

If you haven’t already guessed, this year the festival examines what it means to be ‘Lost but Not at Sea’. Our exhibition explores the nuances of disorientation, alienation and disillusionment; ideas that strongly resonate with our post-pandemic world. Elements of loss and growth have characterised the last couple of years, and have catalysed some profoundly sincere artistic responses. To be ‘Lost but not at Sea’ not only seemed an appropriate title for this year, but in some ways a necessary mode of artistic catharsis. 

The event takes place 6th-9th of MarchLauren Pencil

Our exhibition, we hope, maps elements of journey, change and individualism expressively and dynamically. The curation team have worked hard to curate an exhibition which triggers new emotions and sensations within the viewer as they move from room to room, theme to theme. An important source for us, and for Head Curator Tara especially, was John Eng Kiet Bloomfield’s (Curator of the Wysing Arts Centre) focus on the importance of visitors’ own physical and emotional ‘journey’ through an exhibition. As you wander through the exhibition, perhaps pause to consider your own emotional relationship with the artwork. You might even want to consider whether you yourself feel lost, but not at sea.  

The launch event featured 'Taming of the Shrimp'Isabella Taylor

After the choppy seas of Week 5, we hope our Opening Night will usher in the calmer of Week 7. After throwing the anchor down on Sunday, we hope you’ll join us to celebrate the rest of the festival. On Monday 7th, we are hosting a collaboration with CU Blackbirds Poetry Society, for an exclusive reading and discussion of their latest zine, currently in production. And on Tuesday, be ready to take a deep dive into the future of artistic media with our panel: ‘Strategies of Content Creation’. Art historian Winnie Zhu will sit down with Izzy Kent, Mary McGillivray and Jo Reed to discuss navigating digital platforms and crucially, 'how not to drown in social media algorithms’. 

The Queens’ Arts Festival will finally set sail on Wednesday 9th March, with a night of performance art. Come along to Fitzpatrick Hall for an evening of dance, drama and spoken word celebrating all of us that are lost, but not at sea. 


Mountain View

John Hughes arts festival: preview

Still feeling adrift? Curious for more? Make sure to like and follow our Facebook and Instagram pages @queensartfest, where you can get more information about events, meet the committee and gain behind the scenes access into this year’s festival.  

We hope to see you on Sunday night!