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In this study day, we will look at several ways in which artists – from Picasso to Banksy – have responded to crises in recent history.

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Study Day: Art in Times of Crisis

In the early years of the Second World War T.S. Eliot wrote to a friend: “In the midst of what is going on now, it is hard, when you sit down at a desk, to feel confident that morning after morning spent fiddling with words and rhythms is a justified activity.” In a time of global crises – the pandemic, forced migration, climate emergency, racial injustice – some may ask themselves the same question as Eliot: What good are the arts when the world hurts in so many ways?

In this course we will look at how different artists - from Picasso to Banksy – have responded to crises in recent history. We will examine the murals of the Bogside Artists in Derry, Northern Ireland and that of the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, especially his installation Straight, made in response to the earthquake in Sichuan in 2008. We will reflect on the ways art can help process traumatic experiences and provide opportunities for reflection, conversation and orientation. And we will explore whether and, if so, how artists of faith might be able to respond to the world’s numerous crises with works of art that embody compassion and hope for healing, justice and peace.

Course leader: Dr Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin

Course date: Wednesday 5th January, 2022, 10.30am – 4.00pm (includes lunch and coffee breaks)

Cost: £50

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Organiser The Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology

Organiser of Art in a Time of Crisis

Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology is a Catholic institute in the heart of Cambridge and part of the Cambridge Theological Federation. We resource lay people theologically both within and outside of the Catholic tradition. We provide specialist theological education and open learning opportunities for both individuals and groups.

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