Theology and the Visual Arts
Theology and the Visual Arts: Firming Foundations; Firing Imaginations is a five-year project, led by Professor Ben Quash, Chair of Christianity and the Arts, working with Dr Chloë Reddaway, and generously sponsored by the McDonald Agape Foundation. Based in the Centre for Arts and the Sacred at King’s and building on the success of a previous project – Theology, Modernity, and the Visual Arts (TMVA) – its purpose is to strengthen the foundations of Theology and the Visual Arts as a discipline within academic Theology, and help to shape its future.
There have been significant advances in this field in recent years, making this an ideal time to consolidate the discipline’s emerging achievements, map its horizons, and propel it forward. We will offer a sustained exemplification of how the task of Christian theology can be pursued comprehensively, systematically, and fruitfully through engagement with visual art, creating a confident and established presence in the academy, and securing an influential role for such theological work in the best universities.
At the heart of the project will be the building of a worldwide scholarly community in a subject area whose specialists frequently work in isolation, and the preparation of a set of ground-breaking publications, thereby expanding the subject area’s canon of core texts. These will include the first sustained discussion of the sources, norms, and methods underpinning the discipline, which have never been thoroughly considered, and a pioneering study of Christian Systematic Theology in dialogue with the resources of visual art. These will be accompanied by an accessible introductory handbook to the discipline, and a monograph on contemporary art and theology. Throughout the project, we will seek to form, develop, and inspire scholars who are bilingual in Theology and the Visual Arts, whose imaginations draw on both disciplines, and whose scholarship transforms the traditional parameters of both. We will also showcase our work to a public audience through a series of major public lectures in an internationally renowned arts venue.
Image: Thomas Denny, The Gerald Finzi Windows, Gloucester Cathedral.
Photographs © James O. Davies and Rebecca Lane 2015-16.
Funding Body: McDonald Agape Foundation
Period: September 2023 - August 2028