We have collected some of the art, poetry and photography produced by St John’s LGBTQ+ community.

Some of this work has been featured in 1555, St John’s undergraduate arts zine. Members of College can pick new issues up in the pidge room or you can visit the 1555 website. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this showcase.

Allanah Booth

Allanah Booth.pngRoll for Internet Connection

Since the start of lockdown, my friends and I started a weekly Dungeons and Dragons campaign so we could still see each other despite being locked up in the quarantine dungeon of our own. It's so much fun to have an outlet to just express yourself however you want (and live out our dreams of queer, fantasy pirates). These weekly 'gatherings' were a key part of keeping us happy and sane throughout this crazy time and I am so grateful for them.

I drew the first picture for my friend, the dungeon master of our group, showing them in the centre surrounded by some of the many much-loved NPCs they have created and voiced throughout the campaign. I liked to imagine them sitting on a Zoom call with all their characters, plotting about how to mess with our party. 

Alice Hackney

Alice Hackney is a finalist Fine Art student at St John’s and the Ruskin School of Art. ‘My Family’s Farm’ was an exhibition held in the College's Dolphin Quad Gallery on 11 February. As well as the work shown here, the exhibition featured an audio piece where the audience was invited to listen to a countryside walk narrated simultaneously in the countryside itself and retold from memory from the city.


Alice Hackney: My Family's Farm

Niamh McBratney: Photos

Lily 1.jpgLily Middleton-Mansell and Alfie Dry

Lily is a second year English student at John’s who also paints and sketches in her spare time. The muse and collaborator of the below painting is Alfie Dry who is also a second year at John’s, studying Human Sciences. Alfie is depicted in the painting, and  appears behind the canvas in stunning drag as Miss Take.

About the artwork, Lily says:

‘It's interested in parallels between traditional art and more modern manifestations of (particularly queer) self expression such as drag. I painted the oil portrait of Alfie, then photographed him in drag posing with it. I consider it a collaborative piece not only because, as a model, he actively plays a key (and often unacknowledged) role in the artwork, but also because I want to highlight that his drag is an important art form in itself, both in terms of make up / costume and performance (which he demonstrates with his pose). So essentially: queer art by queer artists in communication with each other.'


Rachel Prince

Rachel Prince is an artist studying at the Ruskin School of Art. Their artwork tends to explore themes of gender and queerness, aiming to represent complex sexual identities and relationships to gender, especially those that refuse to exist within a single category. They are interested in the power that their work has through representing queer voices and expressing a need to change social conventions around gender and sexuality. Their work takes many different forms, including installation, text, video, painting, sculpture and performance, their practice encompassing a fluidity and a resistance to categorisation. 

They are also interested in making works which directly confront institutions, especially those in Oxford. They have recently had site-specific sculptural works installed in the Dolphin Quad of St John’s College. They have had other work published in Asterisk* Journal, Refresh Magazine, and the Jericho Arts Review, amongst other publications.

Rachel Prince

Nat Holton

Downpour by the Reichstag

Sight seeing a city in solitude

I am one in a mass of twos and threes

And fours and fives and toddlers

Still learning to count.

When the sky starts to split and spit

They cry from all directions.


The rain drops fall from one to two

To three to four and five

Each drop alone until they mix

In puddles and streams,

And on the faces of toddlers who scream

In the arms of those

Who cannot stop the rain.

Ten ponchos are unfurled to form

A plastic clump under the storm.


I am uncovered.

I do not fit in.


I find the shelter of a tree.

There we stand:

One three,

Two twos

And me.


I am one of eight until

They’re gone.

And then I watch the drops alone.

Anisha Kaur Jagdev-Harris

Next Stop


When you made your debut

joy soared over my heart

I’ve found my soul in you

and rush to our depart.


You’re my type


Dark hair, salopettes

My heels help eyes level

The first time we met

Drunker than the devil


Fallen Angel

Fallen a girl

Fake abhorrence

Ankles whirl


Calcified, I tense, too wary to move

Fluidly unspent, she re-laces my shoes.


Spell to the Moon


Oh, gather, gather, the sweat of my brow

Knit it three times into poison

Oh, gather around, the kin of my crowd

Three times the bell chimes a caution


I wish to charm a snake

Whose scales warmly gleam

A bond I could not make

Mocks my waking dreams


Oh, gather, gather, five eyelashes plucked

Plait them three times into poison

Oh, gather around, sisters sick of luck

Three times the bell chimes a caution


In haste, a finger curled

Lies on hip unchecked

I stepped close to the girl

Whose sigh brushed my neck


Oh, gather, gather, a lioness tamed

Add her clawed nails to the poison

Oh gather around, you stars rightly blamed

Three times the bell chimes a caution


I took a risk, I danced

The moonbeams swayed

Violence on me chanced

My fearful heart prayed


Oh, gather, gather, a bay-leaf or two

Stir some fresh spice into poison

Oh gather around, dry cardamon cools

Three times a flute blows the caution


One time, my spirit broke

When the truth unveiled

An unloved hero choked

Chasing swordhand’s trail


Oh gather, gather, queen of the dead!

She arrives, blessing our poison

Oh gather around, dip your wet head

Three times a flute blows the caution


I traded mother’s life

For my selfish gain

A finely sharpened knife

Spared her any pain


Oh gather, gather, the beast arises

Coat his raw throat with sweet poison

Oh gather around, gold has its prices

Three times a flute blows the caution


Could I wield such power?

Can my longing howl?

Will the warlords cower?

Is my birthright fouled?


Oh away, away, the rites are over

No drop remains of the poison

Oh run far away, seek tender clover

No more, no more sounds a caution


Anisha Jagdev-Harris is a St John's undergraduate. She likes writing poems about longing and desire. Her all-time favourite poets are Ovid and Rumi.