Conference | Addressing the Sacred through Literature and the Arts 2013

Addressing the Sacred through Literature and the Arts 2013

Friday 2 August – Saturday 3 August 2013, Australian Catholic University

‘Addressing the Sacred through Literature and the Arts’ is the second conference presented by The Sacred in Literature and the Arts (SLA), a community of interest that aims to bring Australian and international writers, artists, musicians, academics, religious and members of the public together for a fruitful dialogue about the interplay between the arts and the sacred.

Definitions of the sacred extend from the narrow to the broad, from referring exclusively to a deity or religious ceremony to describing that mystery which is at the core of existence and has the power to transform our understanding of life. It is both a technical term used in the scholarly study of religion and a popular term used to describe something that is worthy of respect.

As artists we can explore our own sense of the sacred through our artwork. As audiences we can seek traces of the sacred in works of art. Through the act of interpretation we become co-creators, though what we perceive as the sacred may be far from that which inspired the original artist.

The conference will address acts of creation and co-creation and encourage a dialogue between artists, scholars and audiences in a mutual exploration of the sacred. At its heart is the idea that the sacred enables us to move beyond a utilitarian understanding of the world and infuses our everyday life with mystery.

Keynote Speakers and Program 

Our keynote speakers are novelist, essayist and winner of the 2012 Patrick White Literary Award, Amanda Lohrey; poet, literary critic and philosopher of religion, Kevin Hart; and artist, curator and art historian, Rosemary Crumlin RSM. Papers will be given on the sacred in architecture, film, literature, music, theology, and the visual arts. A list of speakers and paper-givers can be seen by clicking on ‘Speakers’ in the left-hand column of this page. The conference program will be posted on this site in due course and will include details of presentations, readings and poetry and drama workshops, and notice of Falaka Yimer’s exhibition of woodblock prints at the McGlade Gallery.

Post-Graduate Seminar

An on-campus seminar for post-graduate students from ACU and other universities will be held on the afternoon of Friday 2 August, with input from Kevin Hart, Tony Kelly and Angela McCarthy. The seminar will encourage interdisciplinary discussion and networking for researchers in the arts, religion and spirituality. Post-graduate students can register for the seminar as a stand-alone event ($35) or as part of the Friday conference package ($40) or two-day package ($60). Please register by 17 July on the website.

For more information on the program and registration see the website

Conference Convenor Contacts:

Michael Griffith, School of Arts and Sciences (NSW/ACT),

Elaine Lindsay, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, ACU,

Sponsored by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Australian Catholic University. Financial support from the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund is gratefully acknowledged.