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Sacred Arts in a Pluralistic Society

An Inter-Religious Conference

May 21 – 23, 2024

Vancouver School of Theology

Attend in person or via Zoom
Access recordings through June 30

The creative visual, musical, literary, and performing arts help shape ideas and beliefs. Sometimes, art can communicate more quickly, powerfully, and universally than words can. Within spiritual traditions, arts express stories, attitudes, and emotions. Teachers use arts to introduce their traditions, express diversity, and create community. Politicians use the arts to communicate their relationship with religion. Religious critics and innovators use the arts to point traditions in new directions. At this conference, we will explore a broad understanding of religious and spiritual art.

Register by May 14 for in-person (includes lunch both days)
Register by May 20 for Zoom (session recordings available through June 30)

Register Now!

Register for the Keynote Lecture

Keynote Lecture
Events for participants
Featuring presentations by:

Keynote Lecture

This conference features two full days of presentations, performances, and inter-religious dialogue!


Draft schedule

Presenter bios & abstracts

Events for participants

Featuring presentations by:

  • Aguirre, Curtis – The Nightmare Before Christmas” as Spiritual Warning to Converts and True Believers
  • Black, Steve – God and the Grateful Dead: Theological Profiles
  • Choi, Young – Bridging Faith and Creativity: The Role of Arts Ministry in Empowering Creatives of Faith
  • Cleland, Jacqueline – The Cathartic and Tactile Presence of God: An Easter Art Reflection 
  • Duff, Heather – Poet(h)ic Inquiry and Dance as Metaphor
  • Duhan-Kaplan, Laura – Visions of Peace: Jewish and Quaker Paintings of Isaiah 11:6-9
  • Farhangpour, Parvaneh – Art as a spiritual manifestation of Religion
  • Fraser, Brian – Spirit, Space, and Synergy Reflections on Church and Jazz in Conversation
  • Harrison, DoraLi – Sorrow’s Canvas: Artistic Representations of Lament Across Faith Traditions
  • Hayward, Nicola E. – Female Religion and Practices in Late Antiquity and Early Medieval Christianity Women and Sacred Art: Rethinking Women’s Sacred Space in Light of the Sant’Apollinare Nuovo Mosaics
  • Hummel, Angela – Art Theology: Re-Imagining Theology through Making Art
  • Melvill Jones, Daniel – A Heresy Against Secularism:” Mark Wallinger Is Making Jesus Strange Again
  • Jorgenson, Allen G. – Poetry and the Healing of God
  • Lee, Vivien – A Whole New World: The Interplay Of Images and Text In Socio-Rhetorical
  • Longhurst, Christopher – Haka: An Outward Expression of the Rhythm of Mauri
  • Magee, James – The Old Gods and the New” – or, Better Yet, No Gods at All: Secular Art and the Demise of Religion(s) in Game of Thrones
  • Mansell, Yehuda – Midrash and My Little Pony: Or How Fan Fiction Can Help Us to Become Better Readers and Practitioners of Sacred Texts
  • Marchioni, Giulia – The Language of the Sacred in Christian Architecture: Forms, Purposes, and Meanings
  • Marie, Victoria – Reclaiming Ancestral Cosmologies Through Art: Decolonizing the Sacred
  • Miller, Kate – Maintenance Art for the Christian Imagination
  • Mordag, Tuveyc – Embodying Scripture in Art and Re-imagining Spiritualty in Art Through Photography: A Comparative Discussion Looking Art Through the Monastic Religions and Looking to Contemporary Reflections of Art in Pluralistic Cultures
  • Oberholzer, Ninnaku – The plurality of Christian Iconography and the female religious experience in South Africa
  • Ratcliffe, Holly – The Contemplative Ceramics of Julian Stair’s Quietus: The Vessel, Death and the Human Body
  • Snow, Tony – Wagichibi Înuthe: Creating space for Indigenous Sacred Dance in a Pluralist Society
  • Stein, Mark – Waiting For the Beat to Drop: Ascent and Descent in Praying the Psalms with the Rabbis of the Talmud
  • Ubi, Steven, B – Exploring Yoruba Conceptions of the Divine: Pre-Christian Perspectives on God in Africa
  • Wittig, Jes – Gollum Temporality: They Stoles It From Us
  • Yong, Aizaiah – Inside Out, Radical Curiosity and Humanist Visions of Healing
  • Zaidi, Nasir – Spiritual Significance of Sacred Art and Beauty in Islamic Philosophy and Mysticism
  • Ziakin-Cook, Jessica – Premodern Solutions to Postmodern Problems? The Sacred Arts in Cascadia: Preliminary Findings, Questions and Challenges


VST is a non-residential graduate school, meaning we do not have our own on-campus housing. However, there are a myriad of options available for conference-attendees looking for short-term accommodations either on or off campus. Here are just a few of the resources available:

Register Now!

  • Registration fee: $85/student, $185/non-student
  • Financial aid available, contact


Contact Conference Director Dr. Nicola Hayward,