Somerville Arts Festival is an annual week of artistic activities designed to engage with the population of the College, both staff and student alike. With events such as Open Mic Nights and Welfare Arts & Crafts, it’s a fantastic way to bring people together through shared interests and give them the opportunity to get in touch with their creative side.
The JCR Arts Committee are now crowdfunding to make this exciting Week a reality. The JCR have kindly matched the project £500 so every pound really does count. If you would like to take a look at our project please visit the Somerville Crowdfunding platform for more information.
Channelling this year’s theme of ‘Perspective’, the committee aims to challenge perceptions of art and what it means to be an artist. We intend to be open to everyone, not just Somervillians, by hopefully strengthening the JCR’s burgeoning relationship with homeless artists in the local community. We also plan to keep attendance free for as many events as possible in order to not exclude anyone. We want Arts Festival to be as accessible and inclusive.
Last year’s success has set the bar high for the new committee. Highlights included Professor Eric Clarke’s discussion of ‘Music as a Technology of the Self’, and a panel entitled ‘Astronauts of Inner Space’, which tackled topics such as psychedelic perception, neuromorphic computing, and Dreamachines. Some key attractions will be revived for the upcoming festival; such as bunting on the quad, which allowed Somervillian’s to doodle on and decorate the flags throughout the week, as well as the nightly Bedtime Stories submitted by students and circulated around College. These non-events are especially tailored to ensure that even the busiest finalists can enjoy Arts Festival without having to sacrifice a great amount of time.
The current committee plans to build upon these initiatives with new, exciting events. Consisting of eleven team members, this is the largest Arts Festival committee the College has ever seen, with everyone from first years to finalists getting involved. JCR Arts Officer Catrin Haberfield is responsible for heading the committee, and her plans for this year are big: “I want people to be engaged and excited, and I want to put Somerville on the map for art in Oxford”. She says that without the support of the other team members, Arts Festival wouldn’t be possible. Kiki Hausdorff says she volunteered to be Drama Officer because, “the arts are really important to me just as something outside of Oxford academia, something you can escape to”. A strong passion for art – whether that’s literature, media or music – is what drives the committee this year.
With the Arts Festival’s official Facebook page already reaching almost three hundred likes, there is a strong body of support within the College, reflected in all our social media outlets. The production of a behind-the-scenes documentary will allow people to gain an insight into all the hard work and dedication that goes into co-ordinating the festival. Fred, a student at Somerville, affirms how beneficial the week can be: “It’s really exciting to see how talented and creative the people around you are, especially when you aren’t always aware of that on a day-to-day basis. Arts Festival is a really interesting and positive thing for the college”.