CSVPA at Cambridge Festival 2024: Showcasing Student, Alumni and Staff Talent

CSVPA at Cambridge Festival 2024: Showcasing Student, Alumni and Staff Talent

This March, CSVPA is thrilled to be showcasing the talent and creativity of its students, alumni and staff at the annual Cambridge Festival.

Opening on March 13th and running until March 28th, Cambridge Festival 2024 will host a uniquely eclectic mixture of over 350 events and activities that are open and free to the public. From panel discussions, film premieres, and self-guided walking tours to ‘try this at home’ activities, there are events accessible to everyone. Topics cover the breadth of researching taking place at The University of Cambridge and will be presented across the Festival’s four themes: Society, Health, Environment and Discovery.

The Cambridge Festival is always sure to inspire, educate and open discussions on modern society’s most pressing issues.

Below is a list of the exciting CSVPA events to expect this month:

Cambridge Creative Encounters 2024

Exhibition at West Hub on 14th – 28th March, 10am – 5pm

Cambridge Creative Encounters 2024 will feature eight research/creative collaborations between CSVPA students and University of Cambridge researchers (including PhDs, post-doctoral researchers, research fellows and professors). One of the projects also involves Rowan, a local charity for adults with learning difficulties.

Through artistic translation, CSVPA students will be able to present these research projects to a wider audience, while creating greater public impact. The use of creative disciplines, such as sculpture, film, animation and performance, lends itself to making complex research topics more accessible than academic outputs alone, and encourages discussion through a new lense.

Research projects will include diverse themes including: exploring why our legal systems reinforce power gaps and deepen inequalities that exist in society, the portrayals of Richard III in the 17th century and the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in research processes that are about them.

Alumna Giulia Buccolini, is designing the visual identity of this year’s Cambridge Creative Encounters.
CSVPA alumna Giulia Buccolini is designing the visual identity of this year’s Cambridge Creative Encounters

‘Uncomfortable Science’ with Uncomfortable Cambridge and the Whipple Museum of the History of Science Exhibition

Exhibition at the Whipple Museum of the History of Science on 20th – 27th March, 12.30pm – 4.30pm

Experience a captivating fusion of art, history, and science as Extended Diploma and Foundation students from CSVPA come together in mixed-specialism groups in response to key exhibits from Uncomfortable Cambridge’s ‘Uncomfortable Science’ Museum Tour (link Each group has created a mixed-media outcome to share the hidden stories behind some of the objects in the Whipple Museum’s vast collection. Incorporating drawing, dance, theatre, animation, and music, students bring to life the narrative of their chosen exhibit through a unique approach to storytelling. Each outcome presents profound questions that emerge from alternative historical perspectives and invites you to engage in these vital yet underexplored aspects of scientific history.

Exhibited alongside the students’ work will also be responses and interpretations from a number of our tutors, all of whom are practicing creatives.

‘Uncomfortable Science’ Live

Live Performance at the Whipple Museum of the History of Science on Tuesday 26th March, 5.30-7.30pm

Experience a live performance incorporating visual art, music, theatre and dance as Extended Diploma and Foundation students from CSVPA present a live interpretation of one of their mixed-media outcomes created for the ‘Uncomfortable Science’ exhibition. Working in mixed-specialism groups, students produced collaborative outcomes that revealed the hidden histories associated with key objects in the Whipple Museum’s collection. This event brings one of those stories to the fore, in the company of the object that inspired it. The live event also features a talk on the historical relationship between medieval science and faith by Dr Simone Kügeler-Race (Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics) and an opportunity to talk with the artists about their creations. 

Reacting to women in science not getting the recognition they deserve, one student prints images of female scientists on a white lab coat, which will be displayed at the Whipple Museum
CSVPA students have been busy preparing their artwork. Reacting to women in science not getting the recognition they deserve, images of female scientists can be seen on a white lab coat. This piece will be on display at the Whipple Museum

“People of Science in 2024″

Exhibition at the Whipple Museum of the History of Science on 20th – 27th March, 12.30pm – 4.30pm

CSVPA students have created responses to the engraving “Men of Science Living in 1807-8” under the title “People of Science in 2024″.

The engraving was not made at the beginning of the 19th century, as the title suggests, but is in fact a Victorian invention from 1862. The scene depicting the meeting between all these learned men never happened. The image was created by the engravers, who copied each portrait from different paintings and drawings and brought them together as one fictional moment in time. 

The absence of women and people of a non-white European ethnicity is striking. The scientific establishment and society at the time actively hid and ignored the achievements of those who did not fit with their narrow views of gender and ethnicity. When the engraving was made, women battled for recognition in scientific institutions, access to resources, and the right to education. 

CSVPA students are responding to the depiction of those working in science from a 21st Century perspective. They have asked themselves, “has the way scientists are viewed changed since 1862?” and “what does contemporary science mean to them?”. Exhibiting their 2D and 3D responses, students are using a myriad of mediums (drawing, painting, mixed media, digital, video, audio, or sculpture) to convey their creative commentary on the engraving. Through their artistic perspective, our students have explored the people from the past who should be more widely recognised and allowed them to celebrate the achievements made by a wide and diverse range of people.

‘on common ground | breathing’

Installation at the West Road Concert Hall on 14th March, from 12.30pm

on common ground / breathing is an immersive installation developed through a unique collaboration between visual and performance artists from CSVPA and composition students from the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge. Staged in the foyer of West Road Concert Hall, the installation invites you to experience and explore intricate intersections emerging between the auditory and visual elements.

Drawing inspiration from the writings of Italian philosopher, theorist and activist, Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, the project focuses on the symbolic significance of breath/breathing in our contemporary age. The title is suggestive of a shared space, within which expressions converge, emphasizing the unity of creative forces in addressing challenges faced by society and culture today. Our visual artists initially created silent moving image works, in response to a brief. Subsequently, the musicians devised the soundtracks in response to the visual provocations; the resulting collaborations were then brought together into a shared space and time. Through the dynamic interplay of sound and image, the installation invites you to contemplate the fragility of breath while celebrating the human capacity for adaptation.

With thanks to Dr Marta Gentilucci for sharing her original vision for this project, and for extending the invitation to participate in Electro//Acoustic Day 2024.

‘Artists at Large’

Exhibition in Friar House, Free School Lane (black door leading to first floor).

Saturday 23rd March, 10am – 4pm

Sunday 24th March, 11am – 4pm

25th – 27th March, 12pm – 4pm

‘Artists at Large’ will showcase CSVPA students’ creative responses to capture the curiosity, ideas, experiences and emotions of events at the Festival.. The students’ works will be a creative contribution to the University of Cambridge’s Public Engagement initiative, producing creative documentation via any artistic medium.

Experimentation and collaboration have been encouraged as CSVPA values cutting-edge artistic expression. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to view responses to talks such as ‘Can a Saint wear make–up?’, ‘Last call: how different cultures deal with death’ and ‘Longevity and nutrition: can we all really live to 100 and beyond?’

Some events require pre-booked tickets; the programme of events and booking information is available here: Cambridge Festival – from the University of Cambridge