Campion Hall Co-hosts Christian Literary Imagination Symposium and Conference

On December 12 and 13, Campion Hall, in collaboration with Blackfriars and Georgetown University, hosted a symposium and academic conference on the Christian literary imagination. The event capped a series of webinars held in 2020-2021 on various topics in the field, which involved scholars from around the UK and US.

The 12-13 December event brought together scholars, students, and distinguished speakers, including former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, for two days of thoughtful papers and engaging conversations exploring the roots of the Christian literary imagination.

Is the Christian literary imagination expressed through writers who are deliberately writing Christian literature? Or is it expressed through writers who are writing fiction or drama or poetry and who happen to be Christian, and therefore their Christian ideology comes through in their writing?
Professor Michael Scott

The symposium day, hosted at Campion Hall, included presentations by Jane Stevenson on Catholic women’s subversive embroidery, and former visiting student Paolo Monzani’s presentation on God and Freud in Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt’s The Visitor.  Graham Ward spoke on spiritual and aesthetic formation in Hopkins.  After a day of thought-provoking talks, the Master Nick Austin offered a beautiful homily on quieting our eyes and tongues in Advent anticipation.  The symposium attendees then enjoyed a lively social and dinner with the hall afterwards. 

Jane Stevenson

Despite train disruptions, Tuesday’s conference filled up the Catholic Chaplaincy. The first talk came from Bonnie Lander Johnson on recovering Catholic women writers of the 20th century, after which the co-convenor, Michael Scott from Blackfriars, launched the book Christian Shakespeare, which was the title of the previous series of lectures.  The afternoon began with a very personal reflection on literature and imagination in religious life by Timothy Radcliffe, OP, followed by Julia Lamm from Georgetown, who spoke about Julian of Norwich. We were fortunate to be joined by Rowan Williams, who next spoke about Henry Vaughan. Following this, John O’Connor, OP (Regent of Blackfriars) and John DeGioia (President of Georgetown) both gave gracious reflections on the Society of Jesus’ contributions to the imagination. The conference ended with attendees and residents testing the dining room’s capacity with a celebratory dinner. 

With the symposium and conference successfully wrapped up, the next joint venture on arts, literature, and the environment, entitled “A Bent but Beautiful World” is already in motion, including a presentation by Tim Howles in November 2022. More information on this series can be found here.