The Turl Street Arts Festival was set up in 1997 by students from the Turl Street Colleges of Oxford University – Exeter, Jesus and Lincoln – and is the largest festival of its kind at the university. Entirely student-run and funded, the mission of the festival is to provide a platform for student creatives and to foster an inter-collegiate spirit through the arts.
This year’s conception, the ‘Zodiac’, is fittingly cryptic. However, whilst modernisation is undoubtedly on the cards, core traditions have been maintained; as ever, one college will lead the event and the curation of its poetry, fiction, art and spoken word. For 2017, the baton falls to Exeter, the street’s oldest college, and this year’s co-presidents Ed Wignall and Eleanor Begley. For the festival’s anniversary offering, the committee have promised “concerts, workshops, exhibitions, plays, rehearsed readings, poetry”. Wignall, a fourth-year classicist, encourages potential festival-goers to “witness for yourselves what’s possible when students stop grinding axes and start speaking the language of the arts”. The festival will run on 5th week Hilary, from 13th – 19th February – see below for our picks of the most promising events planned for the week:
Creative Writing Talk and Workshop, Monday 13th 16:00-18:00
The title of this talk, From Idea to Publication, suggests an ambitious and comprehensive approach to the topic of writing, and who better to deliver such advice than Amanda Smyth, award-winning author of Black Rock and creative writing teacher. This event promises to be perfect for aspiring authors, and the hands-on approach of the workshop looks especially exciting. Entrance is free, and the event will be held in the Saskatchewan Room in Exeter College.
Arts and Crafts Welfare Tea, Tuesday 14th 14:30-18:00
Wholesome, and with the always-exciting promise of cake, this event in Lincoln College JCR offers a welcome break from the frantic essay crises of Oxford life. Chinese lanterns and bracelets are both on the craft agenda, perfect for some therapeutic creativity to relieve the fifth week blues. The event is running on a drop-in basis, so is ideal for fitting into busy schedules and library breaks.
Exhibition Opening, Friday 17th 16:00-18:00
Drinks and live art mark the opening of a selection of works from the Turl Street community and Ruskin, in this exhibition opening at the Garden Building, Lincoln College. The exhibition is running all weekend too, so no need to panic if you can’t make the opening evening.
Street Fair, Saturday 18th 10:00-16:00
The big innovation for this year is this ambitious outdoor street fair, in which Turl Street will be lit up as the creativity moves out from behind college doors, and into the open air. Events planned include live music and poetry, calligraphy, personalized t-shirt printing, the Ruskin Art Sale, and, perhaps most excitingly, Crepes O’ Mania… The event is taking place in association with Exvac, Vacproj and Oxford City Council.