Conf/CfP - Art Approaching Science and Religion, 11-13 May 2016 at Åbo Akademi University, Finland

Publish Date: Sep 24, 2015

Deadline: Oct 15, 2015

Event Dates: from May 11, 2016 12:00 to May 13, 2016 12:00

The symposium aims at bringing together the fields of art, science and religion. How can science and religion be explored from the perspective of the arts? Themes to be discussed will unwind from and be elaborated on contemporary notions of beauty, ornament, and public art. The public and aesthetic space offer not only timeless objects of appreciation, aesthetic value and use, but also habits and rituals. The aim is to bring out different images of how aesthetics, as a historical and contemporary tradition, is formed together with strands of artist research, art criticism, art history as well as the humanities, philosophy, and religious studies.

Proposals are welcome on the interconnectedness of art, science and religion, including (but not restricted to) the following themes:

 * Truth claims in philosophy, art, science, and religion.
 * Art criticism, art history, and artist research.
 * Commerce and communication.
 * Technology and tradition.
 * Artefacts in science and religion.
 * Power and politics of beauty.

Keynote Speakers:

Kent C. Bloomer, Chief Designer, Professor, Yale School of Architecture, USA
Melissa Raphael, Professor of Jewish Theology, University of Gloucestershire, UK  
Serafim Seppälä, Professor of Systematic Theology and Patristics, University of Eastern Finland
Mark C. Taylor, Professor of Religion, Columbia University, USA

The symposium includes a series of open lectures by the keynote speakers: researchers and artists who work with the subject from different perspectives, as well as responses to these talks (on 12 May). The following day (13 May) will be dedicated to roundtable discussions for a selected group of participants: keynotes and respondents as well as doctoral students, researchers and artists selected on the basis of the call for papers. 

The Symposium project is joined by an art exhibition, commenting on the themes and research questions. The exhibition is curated by AmosLAB and will exhibit AmosLAB artists and invited, emerging and distinguished contemporary artists.


The call for papers for the Roundtable is now open. To apply, please send an abstract of approximately 200 words to the Donner Institute ( no later than November 15, 2015. Letters of acceptance will be posted no later than December 15, 2015. At the symposium, 15 minutes will be reserved for your presentation followed by 15 minutes for discussion. Keynote speakers and respondents will take part in the roundtable discussion.


After the symposium, articles based on the presentations can be submitted for review for a special issue of the e-journal Approaching Religion, published by the Donner Institute for Research in Religious and Cultural History. The deadline for submitting articles for review is June 15, 2016. Journal website:

Conference Venue:

Åbo Akademi University
Sibelius Museum, Biskopsgatan 17
Humanisticum, Biskopsgatan 13
Åbo/Turku, Finland

Preliminary Symposium Schedule:

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

15.00    Arrival in Turku
17.00    Re-opening Art Exhibition at Gallery Titanik, Östra strandgatan 8
18.30    Reception at Humanisticum, Biskopsgatan 13

Thursday, 12 May 2016
Sibelius Museum, Biskopsgatan 17

08.45    Opening of the Symposium
09.00    Kent Bloomer: “[The Greeks] called it KOSMOS which means ornament.”
             Response: Pauline von Bonsdorff
10.30    Coffee
11.00    Melissa Raphael: The Creation of Beauty by its Destruction:  
             Idoloclasm in Modern and Contemporary Jewish Art
             Response: Ruth Illman
12.30    Lunch
14.00    Serafim Seppälä: The Temple of Non-Being
             Response: Catharina Raudvere
15.30    Coffee
16.00-  Mark C. Taylor: The Aesthetic Turn
17.30    Response: Daniel Birnbaum
19.00    Dinner: Life on a Leaf – House (

Friday, 13 May 2016
Humanisticum, Biskopsgatan 13

10.00    Opening of the Roundtable, coffee
10.30    Panel 1: Art Approaches Science and/or Religion
12.00    Lunch
13.30    Panel 2: Science Approaches Art as Religion
15.00    Coffee
15.30    Panel 3: Religion Approaches the Art of Science
17.00    Conclusions


Jan-Erik Andersson, Bengt Kristensson Uggla & Jan Kenneth Weckman, AmosLAB
Ruth Illman & Malin Fredriksson, the Donner Institute

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