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Religion, Literature and Culture

The connexions between the arts and religion are a major strength for the School, expressed most notably through our Literature, Theology and the Arts network.  The School regularly hosts international scholars and major conferences in this area; recent visitors, speakers and invitees include Marij Althorf (Amsterdam), Chris Hannan (playwright and novelist), Yang Huilin (Renmin, PRC), Sara Maitland (novelist and spiritual writer), Elena Volkova (Moscow), and Jean-Luc Marion (Chicago; Gifford Lecturer, May 2014).  Recent doctoral researchers include artist Jim Harrold, poet Sam Tongue and graphic artist Ben Morse; recent conferences include Re-writing the Bible (2010), Sacred Topographies: Pilgrimage and Place (2011), and a joint seminar with scholars from Gotenberg’s Swedish Network in Religion and Literature (2013).

Outreach is a key aspect of this cluster’s work.  The School hosted sculptor Sari Lievenon as an artist-in-residence, funded by the Leverhulme Trust (2010-11).  Sari’s work with the cluster culminated in a public exhibition in the University Chapel, and an AHRC-sponsored conference on Art, Religion, Identity (2008), featuring the work of artist Hannah Frank.  The cluster also works closely with the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, Glasgow, through the co-curation of exhibitions, most recently Liz Hingley’s Under Gods: Stories from the Soho Road (2013), which acted as a stimulus to postgraduate research on issues concerning interfaith relationships, and religion and material culture.

Associated staff