Call for Papers: Artistry and the Arc of the Atonement

UPDATE: Unfortunately, the upcoming symposium ‘Artistry and the Arc of the Atonement’, is postponed indefinitely. However, it will be rescheduled when it is possible to do so and the new date will be posted here. The original call for papers posted below will also then be renewed. Please also continue to check for the most recent news.

In both art and theology, engagements with the atonement of Christ tends to focus on a particular moment: the crucifixion and death of Christ. Theological theories and models of the atonement ask questions about what actually happened on the cross – how Christ’s death effected salvation and reconciliation with God the Father. Similarly, the Passion in art – and especially in traditional musical settings – is heavily weighted toward depicting and representing the crucified Christ.

This one-day symposium seeks to develop a new model that incorporates, for example, the incarnation, resurrection, and ascension of Christ alongside the crucifixion as an ‘arc’ of atonement, showing how the crucifixion cannot be understood irrelative to the rest. Concentrating on the Easter season specifically as a unifying theme, this event invites researchers, theologians, and artists to reflect on this model both theologically and artistically. Given that work in this area predominantly focuses on the visual arts, engagement with performing arts (e.g. music, theatre, poetry) will be favoured, especially working with themes within the ‘arc’ of the atonement, and specifically, with themes of resurrection, regeneration, and rebirth.

We are accepting proposals for:

  • 20 minute paper presentations
  • 1 hour panel sessions (3-4 contributors)
  • Creative contributions: short films, performance, poetry, artistic practice

Proposals are encouraged to move beyond a sort of ‘theological reading of particular artworks’ where art is limited to representing or depicting particular theologies. For example, possible topics could include:

  • Artistic engagement that ties in the crucifixion with (for example) the incarnation, resurrection, and/or ascension: historical or contemporary performing artists or poets engaging with these themes
  • Theologian- or philosopher-specific: engaging with perspectives of Richard Viladesau, David Brown, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Hans Rookmaaker
  • Eras or periods in theological aesthetics: arts and patristics, medieval perspectives, consequences of the Reformation
  • Aspects of the Passion narrative: theological implications of the incarnation, resurrection, or ascension on understanding of the atonement; extra-biblical liturgical traditions such as the Stations of the Cross or Seven Last Words
  • Possible areas of debate: sacred vs secular art, high vs low art, theological roles or implications of pop culture or popular music, how particular denominational emphases might have implications on artistic practice, the role of craftsmanship

Please submit proposals of no more than 500 words along with a brief biography and institutional affiliation to

Further information, including registration, can be found at

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