Upcoming courses, workshops, conferences

There are many people and organizations committed to integrating faith and the arts, and they often organize opportunities for public participation. Here are some such opportunities being offered this spring and summer, organized by date. The last one, a weeklong course taught by David Taylor, looks especially appealing to me and my context, and I’m considering registering.

A few early-bird registration/application deadlines are coming up very soon, on March 31, so give these a gander sooner than later. Click on the links for information on schedules/syllabi, speakers, accommodations, and fee breakdowns. Room and board are not included in the cost quotes I’ve listed unless specifically noted.

If you’re reading this post sometime after spring 2017, or the application deadlines are too tight for you, you’ll be pleased to know that some of these events occur yearly, and if not, you’re sure to find similar ones. Check out the websites of the organizing bodies to see what they have going on.

Title: “Art and Theology” (course)
Dates: March 26–29, 2017
Location: Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford, England
Organizer: Art and Christianity Enquiry (ACE)
Cost: £225 (~ $280 US) (includes room and board)
Instructors: Christopher Irvine; Alison Milbank; Sophie Hacker; Stephen Stavrou; Laura Moffatt
Description: “This short course is designed to give participants the opportunity to both engage with Christian art and to reflect through class presentations and discussion how art is perceived. Each day will balance theoretical input with visits to see art in churches, galleries, and chapels in Oxford. We will examine the contexts in which Christian art is viewed, suggest ways of how we may reflect theologically on contemporary art, and look at the place of art in churches within its architectural and liturgical context.” (I’m intrigued by the lecture title “Museums and Galleries as a Theological Resource”!)

Title: “Lux Ecclesiae: The Light of the Church” (lecture series)
Dates: April 25–29, 2017
Location: Paraclete Retreat House, Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts, USA
Organizer: Community of Jesus
Speakers: Msgr. Timothy Verdon; Filippo Rossi
Cost: $1,000 (includes room and board; single-lecture options available)
Description: “Practically from the beginning of its history, the Church has used architecture and the visual arts to express its life, investing thought, creative energies and resources. The reasons for this choice are theological and pastoral, but also anthropological: human beings want to ‘see’, are frustrated if they cannot see, define ‘seeing’ as understanding (as when, grasping a point, we say, ‘I see’), and desire above all things to see the God who, invisible in himself, became visible in Jesus Christ.” Monsignor Timothy Verdon, academic director of the Mount Tabor Ecumenical Centre for Art and Spirituality in Barga, Italy, will develop these themes in a series of seven lectures, and sacred artist Filippo Rossi will give a talk as well.

Title: Movies and Meaning Festival
Dates: April 27–30, 2017
Location: KiMo Theatre, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Organizer: The Porch
Cost: $189
Speakers: Alice Walker; Mona Haydar; Gareth Higgins; Brian McLaren; Malidoma Somé
Description: The third annual Movies and Meaning Festival, an interfaith initiative, is centered on the theme “Hope in the Dark.” Over one weekend, participants will be inspired and challenged on this theme by artists and activists who work at the intersection of creativity, peace, spirituality, and social change. Films will serve as touchstones throughout the event; screenings include Pete’s Dragon; The Red Balloon; Mary and Max; Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth; Embrace of the Serpent; Reds; I Am Belfast; The Color Purple; and more. Participants will walk away with a renewed spirit for social justice and tools for community healing.  

Title: “Making Now” (conference)
Dates: June 15–18, 2017
Location: Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, California, USA
Organizer: Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA)
Cost: $240 (member and student discount rates available; room and board add-on option available)
Speakers: Makoto Fujimura; Alyssa Cordova; Brent Everett Dickinson; Christina Valentine; Daniel Smith; Edward Cella; Erica Grimm; James Daichendt; Jill Brennan-Lincoln; Kent Anderson Butler; Jeff Rau; Jennifer Frias; Jillian Nakornthap; Jody Hassett Sanchez; Joshua Clayton; Lynn Aldrich; Michael Bruner; Morley; Fr. Richard Ganz, SJ; Shelby Moser
Description: CIVA’s 2017 biennial conference is built around two questions: Given the current economic, environmental, and social climate in our world, what are the cultural and theological implications of “making,” specifically with respect to art? How can Christians exhibit grace, peace, hospitality, love, and shalom to the world through the process of making? Paper proposals due April 1. Art submissions due May 1.

Title: “Art in Orvieto” (seminar + workshops)
Dates: June 18–July 15, 2017
Location: Monastery of the Servants of Mary, Orvieto, Italy
Organizer: Institute for Christian Studies in the Toronto School of Theology, Toronto, Ontario
Cost: Starting at $3,150 US (includes room and board)
Instructors: Rebekah Smick (seminar); David Holt (artists’ workshop); John Terpstra (writers’ workshop)
Description: The main component of this residency program is a seminar, for optional graduate credit, titled “Art, Religion, and Theology: Theologies of Art in the Christian Tradition”: “This course will examine the art traditions of the three main branches of Christianity in their historical contexts with a view to understanding the relationship of Christianity to art today. It will consider the art histories of Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christianity; the theology pertinent to their understandings of the religious image; and what contemporary Christian philosophers and theologians have to say about the possibilities for Christian art in modern society. Taking full advantage of our setting in Orvieto, we will explore the art of the area as well as in Rome, Assisi, and Florence.” Students will also participate in either an artists’ or writers’ workshop, where they will develop their own studio practice. The application deadline is March 31; applications must include a 250-word statement of how you hope to benefit from the program, as well as art or writing samples.

Title: “Trying to Say ‘God’: Re-enchanting Catholic Literature” (conference)
Dates: June 22–24, 2017
Location: University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, USA
Organizers: Ken Garcia, University of Notre Dame; Jessica Mesman Griffith and Jonathan Ryan, Sick Pilgrim; David Griffith, Interlochen Center for the Arts; Sam Rocha, Patheos Catholic Channel
Cost: $75
Speakers: Lisa Ampleman; Randy Boyagoda; Joseph A. Brown, SJ; Brother Guy Consolmagno, SJ; Natalie Diaz; Joseph Durepos; Most Reverend Daniel E. Flores; Kenneth Garcia; David Griffith; Jessica Mesman Griffith; Jerry Harp; Jason Harrod; Joshua Hren; Paula Huston; Mary Karr; Heather King; Joseph Malham; Kaya Oakes; Tim Powers; Jonathan Ryan; Jon M. Sweeney; Mary Szybist; Maria Tomasula; Gregory Wolfe; Suzanne Wolfe; Vinita Hampton Wright
Description: “We envisioned this conference as a celebration of the contemporary writers, artists, and musicians who have emerged in a literary, religious and cultural milieu vastly different from that of our lionized predecessors [Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, Thomas Merton, etc.]. We want the adjuncts, freelancers, bloggers, poets, painters, singer-songwriters and genre fiction writers to come together and share the ways they’re working within a tradition that may trouble them, challenge them, and inspire them all at the same time.”

Title: “Reformation of the Icon” (workshop)
Dates: July 23–August 4, 2017
Location: Evangelical Lutheran Monastery, Enonkoski, Finland
Organizer: Monastic Community of Enonkoski
Cost: €550 (~ $594 US) (includes room and board; scholarships available)
Guest artists: Anna Makać; Basia Mindewicz
Description: Ten applicants will be selected to participate in this workshop, whose aim is to experiment with new forms, techniques, and styles in the development of contemporary sacred art inspired by, though working outside, the icons tradition. The theme is the church year: participants will be encouraged to create art based on the major liturgical feasts of the Lutheran calendar. The hosts will facilitate discussion, but the workshop will be driven largely by the artists’ own interests and initiatives. Materials will be provided, but there will be no formal training sessions. Applicants must submit a CV, portfolio, and proposal for an icon on the given theme by April 30.

Title: “Worship and the Arts” (course)
Dates: July 31–August 4, 2017
Location: Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Cost: Starting at $340
Instructor: W. David O. Taylor
Description: “The arts have been central to Christian worship from the start of the church’s common life. Join us as we discover how different artistic media open up and close down possibilities for the formation of a given congregation in corporate worship. Through lectures, class discussions, and conversations with practicing artists, learn how you can bring theologically vibrant engagement with the arts to your worshipping community. At the successful completion of this course, students should be able to (1) articulate a greater understanding of the biblical, historical, theological and contextual perspectives of art in corporate worship; (2) appreciate the ‘singular’ and formative powers of the different media of art in corporate worship; and (3) discover ways to think more deeply about their respective practices of art in corporate worship.”

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