Society Column: Art is Love

An Arts Festival in Trinity? Up until five years ago the idea was unheard of, but now it is one of the highlights of the academic year, a week to brighten up the dull February days. Why have I decided to write about it for this column? Is it because it will be all around us for the next week? No. Is it because it’s an opportunity to learn a new skill? Not necessarily. It’s because I’m somewhat annoyed that I never got fully involved.
When I was in first year I made a pathetic attempt to join in with the festival’s activities but was scared away by the fact that I didn’t know anyone. Being nineteen years old in a room full of confident, older students, I was daunted by the undertakings of TAF. Also, in the throes of first year enthusiasm and wanting to be involved with everything at the same time, I realised that time constraints and other commitments would not allow to me to take part.
But now, four years down the line, the time has come to sit up, take action and learn how to make origami and customise clothes. This time it isn’t about getting involved in the organisation but instead, simply enjoying the activities they offer. The reality is that, four years later, working in the arts is something that really interests me, and for that reason I am kicking myself for not having been more involved to date. But if you can’t join them, you can always write about them!
The sheer number of activities for this year’s festival seems challenging yet impressive. There’s something in it for everyone. Two days ago, when I logged into my Facebook account for my “brief” daily check-up, I was surprised to see that I had eleven event invitations. Now, as much as I would like to count myself as someone with a comfortably wide circle of friends, I had never been so popular as to receive eleven invitations in one afternoon.
By taking a quick glance at these events I was slightly disappointed to find out that they weren’t personalised requests for my presence but a wide spread of invitations to this weeks Trinity Arts Festival. This fleeting disappointment was quickly replaced by interest and excitement in the activities which were on offer. Being the young lady that I am, customising clothes jumped out at me instantly. Despite the fact that I refuse to recognise that I can barely thread a needle, I was immediately signing up for an afternoon of creating my own fashion masterpieces.
Next on the list was a photography workshop. Once again, this is not an area in which I am an expert, but my thinking was if that I can hold a camera, a more knowledgeable person in the area could explain the rest. The list continued: jewellery making, origami workshop, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” in the Samuel Beckett Theatre, film writing and something called “Circus Spectacle”. I realised that this week of activities could be the break from academic work I was searching for and I set about discovering more about this year’s Trinity Arts Festival.
Having been originally set up by Art History and Architecture students, it is understandable that the primary focus of the original festival was on art in its pure, visual form; art exhibitions, studies of architecture on campus, and drawing and painting workshops. For the events of this week to become a truly rounded festival, encompassing the full spectrum of the arts, the vision of its organisers needed to be somewhat broadened. In an attempt to get a better understanding of what was being done this year to reach a wider platform and audience, I spoke to the secretary of the festival, Katy Dobey.
Dobey informed me that the organisers of the festival were striving towards creating a more comprehensive week of events this year by featuring not only the visual arts but by bringing in aspects of theatre, music and comedy.
With the help of societies like Players, Singers, Comedy Soc and Orchestral Soc this week of festivities is shaping up to the be the most impressive and ambitious yet. In addition to this, Dobey explained to me that this year a full printed programme of the events would be provided to give the students of Trinity a greater understanding of the festival itself and its events. There was no doubt about it, this week of artistic enjoyment had been laid out to suit my needs.
The idea of a Trinity Arts Festival was revived in the mid-2000s, with the idea of making the arts in their widest sense accessible to all the students on the campus. It was created as an opportunity for the students of Trinity College to embrace arts and culture within the walls of this university. With the topic of the funding of the arts still very prominent in the news headlines, this year’s college arts festival is probably more important than ever.
We are living in a world where there is constant discussion of business, finance and the economic future of our country, a discussion so powerful that it has drowned out other aspects of life which are also important to the future of the state. Ireland is a country steeped in culture and we, the younger generation, need to recognise the importance of its survival. The Trinity Arts Festival celebrates the character and the beauty of the arts, whether it be through painting or song, dance or theatre.
This week is for us to enjoy our culture, so let’s make the most of it.