Trinity Arts Festival: tapping Trinity’s talent

Kerrie O’Brien takes you on a tour of past and future events at the Trinity Arts Festival, stopping off everywhere from the BLU to the Provost’s house

Kerrie O’Brien takes you on a tour of past and future events at the Trinity Arts Festival, stopping off everywhere from the BLU to the Provost’s house

From 9th-13th February 2009 Trinity will hold its fourth arts festival. Created by History of Art student Pearl O’Sullivan in 2006, the Trinity Arts Festival (TAF) is a celebration of the creative arts within the student community. The goal of the festival is to highlight and cultivate the creative dimension of the student community, drawing on the talent already existent within the arts-based student societies. Held annually in February, the week-long event is Ireland’s first and only student-run arts festival.

TAF wishes to provide every student, regardless of academic background, the chance to participate in the weeks events and in doing so provide them with the opportunity to explore their inner creativity. The majority of activities, excluding the major night-time endeavours, are free of charge.

The past three festivals have included a diverse and impressive range of events. As student participation and creativity is one of the festival’s main objectives, it has featured interactive workshops in fashion customising, make-up for film and TV, life-drawing marathons, studio and pinhole photography, African drumming, mask-making, juggling, balloon sculpting, dance, drum and bass, and beat-boxing with the renowned artist White Noise.

In regard to talks, last year Curatorial Assistant Barry White discussed the role of the Douglas Hyde Gallery as a platform for contemporary art. Irish artist Doug Ross explored his use of digital technology in an artistic context. A Visual Arts panel discussion was held on “Institutional Contexts” which included prestigious speakers such as Brian Maguire (Head of Fine Art at NCAD), Karim Rehmani-White (The Hugh Lane Gallery) and William Gallagher (Education Officer, Royal Hibernian Academy).

Our Audio Detour provided students with a small headset whispering choreographic instructions for a 30 minute alternative tour of the college campus. The FutureFashion show in 2006 showcased a funky mix of organic, fair trade and vintage design and costumes made from recycled materials and provided a bright and broad introduction to the world of eco-fashion. Live outdoor performances from the Bulraga Choir, Boydell singers, the Orchestral Society’s string quartet and the Bluebricks performing arts workshop were featured; the last explored the nature of the Group Dynamic through sound and movement.

And then there were the night-time events which catered for a wide and eclectic range of tastes. The past three years saw international DJ Rory Philips from London’s T.R.A.S.H., the Filthy Dukes at Crawdaddy, a live set by famous Dublin ensemble the Jimmy Cake, the Amadeus Octet in the Chapel, evening architectural projections such as Stephen Mulhall’s Educating Rita installation at the GMB and live painting sessions at Rogue, to mention a few.

Without doubt I Want to Score (a night of student film screenings in collaboration with DU Filmmakers accompanied by live music scores and stand-up comedy in the Sugar Club) has been one of the best nights in the festival’s history.
Some events are permanent fixtures on the programme, such as the architectural tours of the College libraries and hidden gems around the campus along with tours of Trinity’s painting and sculpture collections. In 2008 the Architectural Association of Ireland generously permitted an exhibit of the submission pieces received for their annual competition for architectural excellence. The plans, elevations and sketches of the proposed buildings were mounted on boards and displayed all week in the BLU Trinity Library intersection (Iveagh Hall) providing students with an excellent viewing opportunity. Happily the AAI have agreed to do the same in 2009 and it is hoped that this will become a tradition for the festival.

However the most outstanding annual event is the tour of the Provost’s House. This presents a once-off opportunity for students and staff to view a large selection of the college’s prestigious art collection, located within the architectural surroundings of the Provost’s residence on campus. Highlights of the collection include a number of works by Jack B. Yeats, James Barry and Joshua Reynolds, and it’s absolutely free.

Each year the festival kicks off in style with an opening reception in the Atrium with a photography exhibit, the sketches from our life-drawing marathon workshop along with live jazz and scrumptious delights from the Food and Drink Society. All week long the campus canvas is run, a unique artistic venture giving anyone the chance to express themselves. The materials are provided, and you provide the art with two giant blank canvases in the Hamilton and the Arts block which beg to be filled with creative input from all. A variety of materials will be provided to decorate the canvas in the most imaginative way possible and the finished works are displayed on the final night of the festival.
The amalgamation of societies which TAF encourages provides a wider platform, resources and motivation to successfully undertake larger projects. It emphasises what these societies are all about – a medium for students to be involved and become active and participative figures in all elements of student life. With the majority of events free and held at accessible after-class or lunchtime hours, the festival is for everyone, not just people with previous artistic interest.
If you wish to get involved or volunteer in the festival simply e-mail [email protected] and see The theme this year is carnival, and with a dedicated and experienced committee TAF 2009 will be crafty and epic. Trinity will be set alight with creativity. Come along!