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17th September, 2011

Beyond the Eye of Reason: A dinner debate on Arts relationship with Faith today

Event Details

17th September, 2011
St George's House: Windsor

Organised by St George’s House, LCACE and Difference Exchange and supported by Arts Council England.

“The way to see faith is to shut the eye of reason.” Benjamin Franklin

To say that we live in a time of flux is perhaps to understate the nature of contemporary life. The pace of political and social change during the first decade of this 21st century has been breathtaking. Greatly increased mobility and high-speed information exchange have brought an unprecedented variety of beliefs and cultures into proximity and often into conflict. Add to this mix global economic uncertainty, revolutions in the Middle East and social unrest elsewhere, and it is apparent that people, organisations, faiths and nations are compelled to rethink their place in the world. Across the globe individuals are questioning their relationship with the state while states renegotiate their relationships with each other. These are increasingly complicated negotiations at both individual and collective level. What role can art play in this constantly shifting landscape? How can we best define the meaning and influence of art in our daily lives? How might the parallels between art and religion be reassessed?

Can artistic creativity help us respond more thoughtfully to the tensions which permeate our world? Or is this a much too utilitarian approach to artistic practice? How can we reconcile the fact that creative reflection is a fundamental practice in many religious and cultural expressions yet artistic creativity can often be regarded by others as heretical, revolutionary, and even dangerous. When books are burned, art works defaced and artists silenced, often in the name of religion, it is apparent that the fault lines between art and faith cannot be ignored.

This dinner debate will explore the contemporary relationship between art and faith. What are the similarities and differences in practice? Are there shared methodologies? Is there a common language?

The evening will begin with three provocations by speakers drawn from the worlds of faith, the arts and academia.

Our aim is not consensus but high quality disagreement, a genuinely rigorous engagement with the issues to hand.

The invited audience will be defined by its eclecticism, bringing together artists, atheists, humanists, scientists, theologians, clergy and cultural theorists from a broad sweep of faith backgrounds.

Keynote speakers include: Professor Maleiha Malik (School of Law, King’s College London), Ansuman Biswas (Artist), Professor Ben Quash (Department of Theology & Religious Studies, King’s College London), Dr Tiffany Jenkins (sociologist and cultural commentator).

Attendance by invitation only, a recording of ‘Beyond the Eye of Reason’ will be available post-debate.


For this event, no registration is necessary.

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