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Creating Partnerships: Introducing our Student-Led Collaborations

The new TheoArtistry scheme has begun!

Hosted by the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts (ITIA), postgraduate researchers at the University of St Andrews have been invited to bring their expertise, creativity, and curiosity to the task of developing creative methodologies in theological research.

They will undertake unique and cutting-edge research projects through creative collaboration, using a purpose-built critical framework inspired by TheoArtistry’s previous projects.

The 2018/19 partnerships inherit much from the previous TheoArtistry schemes, but with one key difference: the themes, art forms, and outcomes of the collaborations will be entirely student-led. The collaborations will foster both the academic and artistic skills of our participating researchers.

The call for interest attracted a number of thoughtful (and genuinely fascinating) responses to the project brief — not only from divinitystudents, but from researchers in philosophy, classics, and history as well. Their proposals revealed some common interests in the body and the imagination as sources of discovery and understanding, including encounters with the divine across cultures and worldviews; the arts as a way to inhabit the tensions and realities of human life and death; and the process of art-making as revealing and communicating theological or religious experiences.

The participants met at the scheme’s first workshop on Saturday 2nd February, which marked the official commencement of the partnerships. They lost no time in getting started, with much of the workshop devoted to collaborative discussions designed to bring the researchers’ creative projects into being.

The workshop also addressed the challenges and opportunities that can emerge from collaborative projects. After presenting an introduction to the scheme, Dr Rebekah Dyer and Caleb Froehlich offered practical guidance for navigating creative partnerships, based on their research expertise in theology, imagination and the arts and their participation as ‘theologian-partners’ in previous TheoArtistry schemes.

The partnerships are now faced with the task of determining the shape and scope of their projects, which will begin in earnest during the coming weeks. This means narrowing down their research focus and selecting the art form(s) and theological approaches they will be using to explore their topic.

We look forward to updating you on these exciting projects as they progress!

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