The John Hughes Arts festival (JHAF) sprang from an email inviting undergraduate members of Jesus College to suggest ways to remember a beloved friend, teacher, priest, and son. It has since evolved to an inter-disciplinary annual festival celebrating the spirit of openness, spectacle, and collaboration many associate with John, and making art with it.
This year the festival returns for a fourth year, launching with an Open Hang Gallery featuring a great range of art work submitted by students, artists, and friends of the College. Other events include a comedy smoker, a life drawing session and a tour of the College's expansive art and sculpture collection, as well as talks from special guests.
“The initial proposal for a small-scale student led art festival to commemorate the passing of the Revd Dr John Hughes only went to the College Council three months before the dates for which it was planned. As months passed from his memorial at Great St Mary's at the beginning of the Michaelmas term, thoughts arose as to how students could offer something towards the commemorations. I had been to see John about staging a play in the chapel some months beforehand, and he had bemoaned the then current lack of college theatre, before charting a small history of student plays in the chapel from a few years previously. A weekend of performances as such seemed a fitting tribute. Then visual art appeared. And life drawing. And music. It got quite big.
“The festival, here's hoping, keeps its communal and at times rather motley atmosphere as a testament to John's understanding of a chapel's mission. Just over there, quietly labouring away, keeping and measuring time, for those who want it, whenever they need, and for whatever need that might be. Unassuming but bustling around with little tasks for everyone, in ways that don't seem to have any obvious outcome. In the moment.”
- Sam Fairbrother, JHAF Co-founder
The John Hughes Arts Festival will take place from the 2nd-4th February 2018 at Jesus College, Cambridge.