Arts Society

This year, as Covid has subsided, arts at Merton has seen a huge resurgence, with the scale of and attendance at events being much better than last year. In Michaelmas, for example, the mask-making event (a tie-in for the masquerade bop) had so many people that I ran out of masks for people to paint and had to turn people away, until Caroline had the brilliant idea to cut out masks from paper using the plastic masks I had as a silhouette.

In Hilary, the major event was the Ceilidh held at the Pav. For this, Bahar Ganvar (2020) and I led people through a few traditional Scottish dances. Although it was quite demanding (if nothing else because it requires levels of stamina and hand–eye coordination far beyond what I usually possess), it was well worth it to see people pull off the complicated sets of manoeuvres required so effortlessly at the end.

In Trinity, we managed to revive the Merton Floats after two years of Covid dormancy by staging a ‘60s French new wave/student protest/youth culture adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing in the Merton gardens throughout 6th Week. Co-directed by myself and Anna Stephen (2020), this production consisted of about 50% Merton students, and in addition to selling out on several nights (once even after adding 20 extra seats) also made some money for the Merton Floats, which they will be able to use to fund drama and film throughout Oxford.

Next year, in addition to continuing my favourite events from this year (the sword duel, a termly dance etc.), I hope to expand arts at Merton by collaborating with magazines such as the Isis and Industry for inter-college arts events. I also hope to establish more long-term projects (such as commissioning student-made art for the JCR redesign) that can carry on after I leave.

Aryaman Gupta (2020)
JCR Art Society Rep 2021-22