Locked in: Art in progress

The vast number of St Andrews societies allows students to conjoin their various hobbies to further their creativity.  A prime example of this collaboration amongst the artists of St Andrews, is Art Soc’s biannual Creative Lock-In. This took place on the Friday of Freshers’ Week at the Barron theatre, from 11pm to 6am. An all night lock-in featuring music, life-drawing, blackout poetry and tea. What’s not to like?

At the start of every academic year, the lock-in attracts curious freshers and lock-in veterans alike. As a result of the lack of an arts module in the University curriculum, one might assume that St Andrews has a limited artistic community. However, for those tortured souls searching for a creative outlet there are numerous societies, such as ArtSoc (for painters, sketchers and sculptors), Inklight (for poets) and CraftSoc (for craftsmen), as well as others. They all come together at the lock-in, whose informal setting facilitates conversation between students of every year and creative orientation. It is advisable to arrive early to secure a spot for creative output, and to bring cushions and blankets for maximum cosiness. The Art Society provides an array of art supplies, as well as tea for those who need the extra caffeine boost.

Art Soc Lock-In
Photo: Courtesy of Melissa Leigh Church and Owl Eyes

This lock-in stood out for me in particular, as poetry, music and art came together in sweet harmony. In one corner, Inklight held their creative writing workshop, while a group of musicians (Andrew Cain, George Kakas, Alexi Farmakalides and James Montgomery) jammed improvised tunes on piano, guitar, drums and violin. In addition, at 1am ArtSoc lured all sketchers into the back room for an hour-long session of life drawing (with a nude model no less).

ArtSoc’s fairy godmother Kate Marriot says she was “endlessly impressed by the sheer scale of creativity in St Andrews in all its diverse forms! The lock-in was a successful night, both in itself and for all the collaborations, project planning and exhibition ideas that it germinated”.

We were essentially left to our own devices. Some wandered off to the snack bar, while others were drawn by the haunting sound of the violin to the back of the Barron near the poets. Some even plonked down on their cushions or just on the floor and painted the night away. We were free to go around chatting to friends, indulging in all the tea and baked goods we could get our hands on, or sit down and be artsy by the light of fairy-lights adorning the space.

One of the many lovely aspects of the lock-in is perhaps the fact that the Barron offers a space for students to meet each other in an alcohol-free zone, a rare occasion in the night life of St Andrews. The artsy folk created a lovely intimate and judgement-free atmosphere, making the lock-in undoubtedly one of the most popular events of Freshers week.

The lock-in was an idyllic setting for those who sought a creative atmosphere and despite being a fantastic space to channel creativity, there was no pressure to do so. Many came to meet like-minded people and have interesting late night chats, and it felt like everyone managed exactly what they came for, and more.

If your Freshers’ Week was so busy that you somehow (?!) missed the lock-in, fear not! The Art Society will organise another night of wild creativity next semester. In the meantime, to keep your artsy senses satisfied, ArtSoc hosts weekly life-drawing sessions and salons (essentially mini lock-ins). Be sure not to miss them!

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