Have you ever had a spiritual experience with a work of art?
It is common knowledge that artworks can be sources of pleasure, expression, and beauty, but we think that artworks can also be valuable sources of spiritual knowledge and understanding, especially if the works of art are part of a sacred arts festival. We are putting this theory to the test.
Our project is empirically testing whether the experiences of artists, performers, participants, audiences in the context of a sacred arts festival extend their knowledge and understanding of spiritual reality.
We will do this in three primary ways:
- In-depth interviews with festival practitioners and audience members
- Surveys of audience experiences at the festival
- Academics and practitioners from a range of disciplines and artistic media meeting in a monthly symposium to explore the relationship between art and spiritual reality by engaging in theological and philosophical reflection
All three approaches inform one another so that insights we gain from one approach will inform the methods of another, and vice versa. This allows for a more integrated and holistic kind of understanding to emerge from our investigation.
Research will take place within the University of Edinburgh and at the Festival of the Sacred Arts (FSA) in 2021 and 2022. The FSA is held each August during the International Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe, now well established as the premier arts festival in Europe. The 2021 FSA took place at St Vincent’s Chapel, Stockbridge.
You can find out more about the Festival of Sacred Arts at their website, www.edinburghsacredartsfestival.org
Podcast now available
You can now listen to our podcast! It explores the relationship between the arts and spiritual realities. We have a range of guests from academics to artistic practitioners, we hope you enjoy the discussions.
Senior Lecturer in Religion and Literature
Director of the Edinburgh Sacred Arts Foundation
Postdoctoral Research Associate