New arts festival in memory of Jesus’s Dean

Emma Kavanagh 15 January 2015

In June 2014, Jesus College was struck by the devastating news that Dean of Chapel, the Revd. Dr. John Hughes, had lost his life in a car accident returning from an ordination ceremony. The loss of his presence was acutely felt; as well as a truly outstanding academic theologian, Hughes was a central part of not only Chapel life with his quirky Doctor Who-themed sermons, but also of the College community. In the weeks that followed, hundreds of tributes poured in for the late Dean, and his beautifully poignant funeral in Ely Cathedral was attended by over a thousand mourners, many of whom were current students of Jesus College.

Hughes was always keen to encourage events in the college’s ancient and beautiful chapel outside of the usual services of choral evensong. In honour of this, from 23-25 January, Jesus College will host the inaugural John Hughes Arts Festival. Headed by Jesuans Liam Livesley, Sam Fairbrother and Ed Eustace, the Festival will feature a wide range of student-run events over the course of the weekend. From dance performances to film screenings, poetry readings to comedy smokers; there will be something to suit all tastes in what is to be a memorable celebration of the life of John Hughes.

"I think the Arts Festival is a great way to showcase the creative side of Jesus College,” commented second-year Engineering student, Aiden Chan; “there is something for everyone”. Chan’s sculpture of the iconic rooster of the College’s crest, nicknamed ‘Johannes’ and constructed entirely from Lego Bionicle, has become the mascot for the Festival and will be a centrepiece of the art exhibition which will open on the weekend.

Collections will be made for John’s favourite charities throughout the weekend.

More information about the John Hughes Arts Festival can be found at