Romsey Art Festival / Cambridge Eastside Creates 2015

Romsey Art Festival, which first launched in 2013, has been back with an incredible program of exhibitions, activities and adventures for 2015. It is coming to a close this weekend after highly successful events such as the Baby Rave taking place at the Junction, Manuela Hübner’s exhibition at The Geldart, a Bespoke Poetry Sketch event at The Empress, Short Film Night at The Leper Chapel, and Rubbish Cooking at Barnwell Baptist Church.

The themes for the festival this year were colour and magic as well as exploring ideas of community. There has been an emphasis on encouraging public participation and engagement with the aim of inspiring new creative ideas and projects across East Cambridge. Romsey Art Festival and Cambridge Art Salon have also launched their new program Cambridge Eastside Creates alongside the festival. They have been fundraising to try and keep events running throughout the year in areas such as Romsey Town, Mill Road, Petersfield, Coleridge and Abbey.

At the beginning of August I attended a talk on community run by artist Daisy Zoll. It was an open discussion on the meanings of “community” and topics included: how to communicate with local people about events; the lack of facilities in some areas for groups to meet; homelessness and its affect on local people; arranging further meetings relating to keeping Mill Road vibrant; and what platforms events should be advertised on.

I have been wanting to get more involved in my community and so this year I volunteered to help at events throughout the festival. So far I have got creative at the Cavendish Street Party and helped fund raise at the Sofar Sounds music event. I will also be at the following events this weekend:

Friday 9th October 2015 – Masquerade Fundraiser, 6pm – 11pm @ Box Cafe

Saturday 10th October 2015 – Enchanted Tea Dance @ Ditchburn Place, Mill Road

Cavendish Street Party was a fantastic event run by and for the people who live in and around the street. It was a pleasure to be a part of it and it certainly inspired me to think about how this could be expanded upon across Cambridge. Activities included live music, a cake competition, arts and crafts, and an odds versus evens tug-of-war. It was a great chance for Romsey Art Festival to get the residents involved in the Pearls of Wisdom art project and the ‘Magical Butterfly’ colouring competition.

Pearls of Wisdom is a project that has been running throughout the entire festival – encouraging children (and adults) to create and decorate a pearl on which someone from an older generation in their family would note their words of wisdom. The photos below show some great examples of the work produced and these and many more will be exhibited at the Enchanted Tea Dance on Saturday!

At the street party we also encouraged people to take part in the ‘Magical Butterfly’ Colour Me In Competition. Sa’adiah Khan of Sadi_Soul Arts designed this beautiful patterned butterfly for people to colour and enter to win a prize. These will also be exhibited on Saturday.

I was delighted to be at the Sofar Sounds Cambridge event where we sold tea and cake to help fund raise for the festival. It was great to discover the music of Elliott Morris, Adam Baker and E. W. Harris. Sofar Sounds is a global community of musicians, guests and hosts who come together for unique and secret live shows. Happening in 182 cities across the world, you can apply for tickets and if successful you will be sent the details of the location just before the event. It is such a great concept and if you haven’t been before then you can apply for tickets for the events coming up on 11th and 18th October by clicking here. You can also read an interview with Adam Baker here.

I’d love to know if you have been to any of the events that took place throughout Romsey Art Festival 2015! Let me know what you enjoyed in the comments below and if you have any ideas for next year’s festival. Make sure you are following @RomseyArtFest @CambArtSalon and @SofarCambridge on Twitter for more information about upcoming events!

By Stephanie Freeman


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