Religion in Museums

When museums and religion collide

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Call to Review Cambridge Exhibition


Attr. Giovanni di Nicola di Manzoni dal Colle, Inkstand with The Nativity, c.1510 © The Fitzwilliam Museum

Have you visited the Madonnas & Miracles exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge?

The editors of Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief are looking to include a review of the exhibition in a forthcoming issue.

If you would like to submit, please visit the Journal’s website.

The exhibition is running until 4 June 2017 in the Adeane & Mellon galleries (free admission).


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Call for applications for ‘Talking Religion’

empires-of-faith-logoThe Empires of Faith project (University of Oxford/British Museum), in partnership with TORCH (the AHRC Graduate Fund), invites applications for Talking Religion.

Talking Religion is a new research group, running in Trinity and Michaelmas of 2017, that will look at the importance of material culture for the study of religion. It will combine a series of interdisciplinary workshops, hands-on experience at both the Ashmolean and the British Museum, and the opportunity to present findings in both academic and public contexts. The research group is organised to coincide with the forthcoming Empires of Faith exhibition on Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Hindu art of the first millennium AD in the Ashmolean running from October 2017 to February 2018.

The ten successful applicants will become associate members of the Empires of Faith research project.

  • Participants must be available for both a series of workshops in Trinity Term, and public engagement activities related to the forthcoming exhibition in the Ashmolean in Michaelmas and Hilary term.
  • Participants will develop presentations suitable for public audiences in the form of gallery talks to be given over the course of the exhibition, and a presentation for a graduate conference to be held in conjunction with the Empires of Faith project conference in January 2018.
  • As part of the Visual Conversation series (OUP), participants will be welcome to submit ideas for possible book collaborations in the future, the first of which, Images of Mithra, will be published in March 2017.

Applicants should be in the first or second years of the D.Phil., and be able to demonstrate a strong interest in aspects of religion and material culture (please note that it is not necessary for applicants to be specialists in this area). Applications are particularly welcome from the faculties and schools of Anthropology, Archaeology, Art History, Classics, History, Oriental Studies and Theology.

For further details please visit

The deadline for expressing interest is November 15th 2017.

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Calls closing soon

Here are a few calls for papers / applications closing this month.

Call for Papers for the Special Issue on Installing Islamic Art: Interior Space and Temporal Imagination (thematic volume planned for Summer 2018)
Proposal deadline: 31 January 2017

This special issue of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture invites papers that explore the history, culture and politics of the interior space in the field of Islamic art and architecture from the eighteenth century to the present, as well as to those that extend discussion into the future. Preference is given to topics dealing with global trends, covering a wide area of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, but new approaches to the installation of Islamic art in well-established Euro-American museums would be welcome as well. Read more about the call.

On a related note, in February Manchester University will hold a conference on exhibiting Islamic Art, entitled “From Malacca to Manchester: Curating Islamic Collections Worldwide” (Call now passed)

Call for Papers: Material and Sensory Cultures of Religion (conference),
March 3-4, 2017, Ball State University, Muncie, IN
 10 January 2017

The Midwest Region of the American Academy of Religion invites paper and panel proposals that engage material and sensory cultures of religion from any historical, geographical, or theoretical specialization. This section of the MAAR welcomes submissions that investigate religious art and iconography, embodiment, commonplace artifacts, music and aural cultures, sensoria, architecture, media and technology, food studies, and museums, among other relevant topics, as primary modes of inquiry and analysis from scholars in the Midwest and beyond who will contribute to this growing conversation. This year we are especially interested in proposals that engage the conference theme of “Religion in Higher Education” … Proposals may approach material, visual, and/or sensory cultures of religion from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including, but not limited to, religious studies, history, anthropology, fine art, theology, museum studies, and American Studies. Papers and panels organized around books, films, museum exhibits, archival collections, teaching projects, and digital humanities projects are also encouraged. Read more here

Call for Applications for Spring School, University of Helsinki: From the sanctuary to the museum: Displaying the sacred (20–24 March 2017)
Deadline:  15 January 2017.

This week-long course will explore the contexts in which sacred objects have been put on display—or not—from the Middle Ages to the present. Although the primary focus will be on the visual and material culture of the Latin Church, a wider frame of reference will be provided by applying perspectives taken from archaeological and ethnographic discourses on the transfer of ritual objects from their original cultural settings to become part of museum collections. The Spring School welcomes applicants from across the fields of art history, cultural history, ethnography, museology, anthropology, religious studies, and archaeology.  Read more at:


Call for Papers: Restorying Canada – Reconsidering Religion and Public Memory A Conference and Public Event (University of Ottawa, 18–20 May 2017)
Deadline: 1 February 2017

The Conference will bring together people from multiple fields of expertise who are working on projects broadly related to the theme of religion and public memory in Canada that consider the multiple nations that brought this country into being. We welcome proposals in areas such as the study of religion, history, anthropology, Indigenous studies, law, museum studies, political theory, literature, art, media studies, environmental studies, and archaeology. Since we consider Restorying Canada to include diverse modes of storytelling, we encourage proposals for both traditional and innovative forms of presentation. Read more. 

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HARTS & Minds: Bristol Journal of Humanities and Arts – Call for Papers

This call for papers invites submissions for the third edition of HARTS & Minds due to be published online in September 2013. The theme is Space and Place in the Humanities and Arts. Abstracts should be approximately 300 words in length and articles no longer than 6000 words. Your article may explore but is not limited to the following

  • Aesthetic responses to gallery and non-gallery spaces;
  • Significant aspects of space within visual representations;
  • Use of concert spaces, both historical and contemporary;
  • Topographies; -Solitude or crowds;
  • Performance venues and staging;
  • Psychological and figurative space;
  • Urban or rural;
  • Architecture and its role in other discourse;
  • Archaeological spaces;
  • Surveillance, panoptical structures;
  • Space and place as realms of becoming;
  • Queer places and spaces;
  • Gendered spaces;
  • In language and semiotics;
  • Geographies and archaeologies;
  • Ethnicity and space;
  • Disabled spaces and places;
  • Monstrous or haunted spaces;
  • War and space, battlefields or memorial gardens,
  • Set design, the construction of space and the representation of place in film, television;
  • Cyberspace, virtual realities;
  • Spaces and places of the future, utopian or dystopian.

Please submit your abstract and draft article along with an academic CV to by 17th May 2013. Please consider that HARTS & Minds is intended as a truly inter-disciplinary journal and therefore esoteric topics will need to be written about with a general academic readership in mind. Further information about submission guidelines is available at the journal website,