Shape-shifting: TheoArtistry Poetry as Theological Action Research

Kimberley Jane Anderson 1  and John Bolland 2
  • 1 Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts, University of St Andrews,, St Andrews, U.K.
  • 2 Poet and Writer, North Balnoon Cottage, Huntly,, Aberdeenshire, UK

Abstract

This paper describes a creative partnership between a theologian and a poet arranged by the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts at the University of St Andrews in 2018. The TheoArtistry project seeks to reintroduce artists to traditional religious culture and to foster collaborations between academics and art practitioners (Corbett). In this article we discuss and utilise Theological Action Research methodology (Cameron et al.), to explore the process and outcomes of one such collaboration tasked to produce a poem inspired by an Old Testament passage and the theme of “Annunciation.” The researchers in this collaboration drew on a diverse range of cultural forms and accommodated a position of scepticism towards Christian faith. An examination of the cycles of action and reflection in the production of the poem enables conclusions to be made concerning the impact of this interaction upon the collaborators’ theological thought and practice. This section closes with the final poem and a brief team commentary. The final section evaluates the partnership in terms of the TheoArtistry goals and shows how it both supported the project and set a challenging precedent for broadening the scope of theological openness and inclusivity in future collaborations.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Bakhtin, M.M. In Rivkin, J; Ryan, M., editors. Literary Theory: An Anthology. Blackwell, 2004.

  • Beatch, Stuart. “The Annunciation of Solomon.” Annunciations: Sacred Music for the 21st Century. St. Salvator’s Choir, Tom Wilkinson, Sean Heath, performers. SanctiAndree, 2018.

  • Begbie, Jeremy, editor. Sounding the Depths: Theology through the Arts. SCM Press, 2002.

  • Beyoncé Knowles Carter. Lemonade (Album). Parkwood Entertainment, Columbia Records, 2016.

  • Bolland, John. “So Much for the Stag.” (Forthcoming) 2018.

  • Brown, David. God and Enchantment of Place: Reclaiming Human Experience. Oxford University Press, 2004.

  • Brown, David and Gavin Hopps. The Extravagance of Music. Palgrave, 2018 (Forthcoming).

  • Calling of St. Matthew. Caravaggio, Michelangelo Merisi. 1600. Artble.com, www.artble.com/artists/caravaggio/paintings/the_calling_of_saint_matthew

  • Cameron, Helen et al. Talking About God in Practice: Theological Action Research and Practical Theology. SCM Press, 2010.

  • Corbett, George. TheoArtistry, and a Contemporary Perspective on Composing Sacred Choral Music. Religions, 2018, vol. 9, no. 7.

  • Coscarelli, Joe. “The Man Behind the Music for Jay-Z’s Intimate ‘4.44’.” The New York Times, December 1, 2017. www.nytimes.com/2017/07/01/arts/music/jay-z-444-no-id-interview.html.

  • Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology. Translated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, John Hopkins University Press, 1997.

  • Graves, Robert and Hans Erni. The Song of Songs. Collins, 1973.

  • Frazer, James George. The Golden Bough. Macmillan, 1922.

  • Hahn, Thich Naht. The Heart of Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy and Liberation. Broadway Books, 1998.

  • Hart, Trevor. “Conversation after Pentecost? Theological Musings on the Hermenetic Motion.” Literature and Theology vol. 28, no. 2, 2014.

  • Heller, Robert. Peter Howson. Momentum, 2003.

  • Jacobson, Roman and Morris Halle. Fundamentals of Language. De Gruyter, 1956.

  • Jay Z. 4.44. Roc Nation (Album), 2017.

  • Kennedy, Victor. “Strange Brew”: Metaphors of Magic and Science in Rock Music. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.

  • Lehnhof, Kent R. “Performing Masculinity in Paradise Lost.” Milton Studies, vol. 50, Penn State University Press, pp. 64-77.

  • Madonna di Loretto. Caravaggio, Michelangelo Merisi. 1605. WebGallery of Art. www.wga.hu/html_m/c/caravagg/07/42loreto.html

  • MacMillan, James et al. Annunciations: Sacred Music for the 21st Century. St. Salvator’s Choir, Tom Wilkinson, Sean Heath, performers. SanctiAndree, 2018.

  • Milton, John. Paradise Lost. Penguin Books, 2003.

  • Noegel, Scott B., and Gary A. Rendsburg. Solomon’s Vineyard: Literary & Linguistic Studies in the Song of Songs. SBL Press, 2009,

  • Norris, David. “The Elusive Art of Conversation.” Ireland of the Welcomes, Sept-Oct 1985.

  • Poets’ Scheme-TheoArtistry. http://theoartistry.org/projects/poets-scheme/#close. Accessed 21 Sept. 2018.

  • Partridge, Christopher. The Re-Enchantment of the West: Alternative Spiritualities, Sacralization, Popular Culture, and Occulture. T & T Clark, 2006.

  • Sherry, Patrick. “Disenchantment, Re-Enchantment, and Enchantment.” Modern Theology vol. 25, no. 3, 2009, pp. 369-386.

  • Stormzy. Blinded By Your Grace (Pt 2). 2017. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReY4yVkoDc4

  • Symmons-Roberts, Michael. Corpus. Cape, 2004

  • ---. Drysalter. Cape, 2013.

  • Holy Bible. Darby, John Nelson, translator. Devoted Publishing, 2017.

  • The Holy Bible : ESV : English Standard Version Containing the Old and New Testaments. Crossway Bibles, 2008.

  • The Holy Bible - King James Version. 1611

  • The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text. The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1917.

OPEN ACCESS

Journal + Issues

Open Cultural Studies is a peer-reviewed journal exploring the fields of Humanities, Social Sciences and Arts. It interprets culture in an inclusive sense and promotes new research perspectives in cultural studies. The journal aims to enhance international collaboration among scholars from the Global North and the Global South and help early-career researchers. It is also committed to increasing public access to scholarship on cultural studies.

Search