Queens' Arts Festival is the largest annual College arts event in Cambridge. It is centred around an exhibition in Lent term of a diverse selection of student art work. A week of panels, workshops, performances and screenings accompany the exhibition.
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The theme for QAF 2021 is 'Community'. This year the Festival will be asking questions about what it means to be part of, and exist in, a community. How do communities form and engage with power structures, culture, collective and personal identity, the built environment and nature? Do co-operatives and communes provide principles that should guide the way we live, or do they foster flawed and even dangerous societies with cultish tendencies? On a more material level, we are also interested in collections, how does bringing different artefacts together affect the way we perceive them individually? To what extent does it create new meanings greater than the individual? We are interested in both personal responses and societal and historical ones.
This year we are hoping to expand the festival across the college’s outdoor spaces, as well as by hosting an art trail in cafes across Cambridge and an art night of performance, theatre, music and readings – all Covid permitting.
FESTIVAL 2020 // MORE FUTURE!
MORE FUTURE! explored the intersection of art and activism in Cambridge.
We acknowledged the role that art has played in activist history in Cambridge and used this as a springboard for thinking about what art can do for us now.
We live in a space where institutional turnover is high and institutional memory is short, but the conversations that were happening in the past are still relevant to us now. Art cannot happen in a vacuum, and legacies exist. To acknowledge this, MORE FUTURE! showcased archival material that references a hidden tapestry of conversations and direct action in Cambridge, from women’s marches and anti-Apartheid campaigning to calls for divestment from fossil fuels.
Submit your art with the knowledge that it matters. What we make and what we contribute to this conversation is crucial and is a collaboration between times and between people. We want to believe in art as an act of radical communal hope and as a tool that can make real change.
This conversation began on 22nd February 2020 and involved a week of panels, workshops, performances and screenings which explore and expand on some of the tensions in the exhibition.
The theme of the 2019 exhibition was ‘Intersect’. The idea behind the festival was to appose intersecting styles of art, artistic mediums, voices and approaches to create a unified and richly diverse experience. This diversity was reflected in our artists, and as such the gallery has been created to become a cross-cultural exchange of ideas, bringing together students from all backgrounds into an open space of discussion and multi-disciplinary art. We partnered with SolidariTee, a student-led charity which sells T-shirts to fund legal aid for refugees.
We organised a series of events to investigate these creative intersections, exploring ideas of identity, change and collaboration. The launch night, featuring live performances and the full gallery of art, with free entry and refreshments, was on March 2nd. The following day there was be a life drawing led by Our Naked Truths, a series redefining beauty in female and non-binary presentation. All materials will be provided, and, after the life-drawing, there was a discussion facilitated by Jocelyn Yeboah-Newton.
We had two very exciting groups of speakers who led interactive talks about their works. The first was LDN WMN, an incredible panel of women inspired by the unsung female heroes throughout London’s history. They work in conjunction the Mayor’s #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign, marking 100 years since the first women won the right to vote in the UK. The second were the Singh Twins, who talked about their latest series of artworks, titled ‘Slaves of Fashion’. The sisters discussed modern-day slavery, cross-cultural fashion, and the legacy of Empire and Colonialism. Finally, on top of all this, the CU Hip Hop Society ran a beginner’s workshop on how to write hip hop lyrics, and, on March 10th, the Queens’ Chapel Choir presented a special service featuring music by self-identifying women and BME people.
Taken from a TCS article by Lucas Marsden Smedley.