The fight against creative atrophy: Trinity Arts Festival

TAF 2019 promises to provide a week of diversity, beauty, and art this February

The “art is dead” discussion has been ongoing for decades now. The lack of funding and fostering of young artists is a contested issue. In a world of fast-paced media forms and job insecurity, it has never been more important to provide opportunities for the expression of the creative youth. An artistic nature inherent in all children can be too easily quashed in the day-to-day pressures and responsibilities of adulthood. Student-run artistic endeavours are a vital component in the fight to resist and withstand the degradation of creativity, and the atrophy of individuality. It is for this reason that arts festivals experience such a high degree of success and popularity, and why they are essential in the fostering of a generation of young people on the verge of adulthood. For over a decade, Trinity Arts Festival (TAF) has been an annual celebration of creativity and artistic expression within the college. Can it surpass these imminent challenges?

Taking place in February each year, TAF has established itself as one of the most diverse and far-reaching events on the College calendar. The goal of the festival is to highlight and cultivate the creative dimension of the student community, drawing on the talent already existent in Trinity, especially in the College’s arts-based societies. Yet, with this year’s festival fast approaching, arguably the main obstacle faced by the committee will be to bring a unique and fresh take to such a long-running festival.

Trinity Arts Festival 2018 was a resounding success. This was in part, due to the emphasis on inclusivity of creative forms of expression not traditionally associated with mainstream art. Events such as, a talk by the Phil, surrounding women in DJing, and a makeup artist workshop entitled Perfecting the True Art of Make-Up cultivated support and interest for these creative outlets. With that being said, as we look forward to this year’s festival in February, there is a lot to be expected from TAF 2019.

“TAF has opened up submissions for events and installations this year.”

This year’s festival director, Iseult Deane, promises to continue along the vein of inclusivity in the arts, and aims for this year’s festival to reach even more people than previous years. Discussing the committee’s aims for this year’s festival, Deane said: “I think our committee this year are really trying to reach more students than ever before with TAF…We’re trying to diversify the venues we use and the societies we collaborate with to try and capture the interest and imagination of more people than may have been possible in previous years.”

TAF has opened up submissions for events and installations this year, giving students beyond those on the committee the opportunity to be an integral part of the event schedule for 2019. This year’s festival will incorporate an underlying current throughout its event schedule, namely the potential for art to be an inherently positive force, both on an individual level and in the world at large. Deane has promised that TAF 2019 will include a number of events surrounding the theme of sustainability, and the committee is currently organising talks with speakers who have infused their artistic work with a strong sense of social responsibility and reform.

“They will be running events which encourage self-love and self-confidence.”

This year’s festival coincides with Valentine’s Day, which TAF 2019 uses to incorporate positive events under this theme. They will be running events which encourage self-love and self-confidence, and as such will be inclusive to all students. With the long-standing trope of the tortured artist and the toxic assumption that all artists must consequently suffer in order for their art to flourish and gain meaning, this will be a welcome addition to the festival’s schedule.

Although TAF doesn’t take place until Hilary term each year, this hasn’t stopped the 2019 committee from already organising and taking part in several fantastic events in the Michaelmas term. This past September, TAF hit the ground running with an immersive murder mystery event, co-hosted with DU Players. In October, as part of Central Societies Committee’s Fourth Week, TAF also organised a takeover of the GMB for their The World Was Purple Shadow event. Inspired by Frances Hodgson Burnett’s mystical children’s book, The Secret Garden, the event included some impressive performances and interactive installations.

TAF 2019 is set to be a unique and fun experience, one which promises to provide students with a welcome break from the day-to-day stress and madness that has been provided by the academic year thus far. As such, the 2019 committee has vowed to make all of their events as meaningful as possible. Their schedule is currently undergoing its final touches but is expected to launch alongside a volunteer information evening around the end of Week Two of this term.

Trinity Arts Festival 2019 will take place from February 11 to 15, with events running morning, noon, and night. By all accounts, it’s definitely one to watch out for, whether you’re an artsy fiend, or simply someone on the lookout for something unique to drag a couple of friends to for a hard-earned session of procrastination in the run-up to midterm deadlines. If you’re a supporter of keeping the arts flourishing, then TAF will surely have something to offer.