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Contemporary Visual Art and Christian Worship

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Online Practical Theology Short Courses
Trinity College Glasgow & Theology & Religious Studies, University of Glasgow

Course Description

The course offers an exploration of the integration of contemporary visual arts in Christian liturgy and theworship environment. The course is open to learners of any background, with no prerequisite knowledge of artor liturgy, and is ideal for those who are seeking to develop the visual arts in their church or faith organisation.The course will engage theologically and artistically, and by the end of the course students will be equippedwith practical and theoretical skills for developing creative visual arts practice in their own area.

This is an open access course available as a 10-credit course (accredited by the University of Glasgow) or audit-only for those who just wish to engage with the learning programme for their own personal benefit.

Note: This course is limited to 20 participants. You will be contacted after applications close on January 11th and before course fees are invoiced to confirm participation. 


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Dr Carol Marples is an artist, teacher and creative liturgist for the Soul-Marks trust. This work has included creating large-scale artworks with local and international communities and leading a variety of workshops for all ages and abilities in textiles, drawing and painting in Scotland, Europe and North America. Alongside exhibiting her own work, she has led projects and worship in conference centres, church halls, barns, cathedrals and tents and in many other unexpected places. Carol graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 1988, completed an MLitt in Theology, Imagination and the Arts (2012) and a PhD (2019) from the Institute of Theology, Imagination and the Arts, St. Mary’s College, University of St. Andrews. Her PhD research topic explored Contrasting Examples of Liturgical Installation Art in Christian Worship in England and Scotland from the 1980s to Present Day.

Timetable & Duration

October 6th - December 1st, 2022

This course will take place online on Thursday evenings, 7.00-9.00pm. This course will be taught over 9 weeks (including a break on 3rd November) via online real-time meetings & instruction.

Introduction to the course


Contemporary art and church worship are not always associated with each other. Art can be confrontational, beautiful and breath-taking or all of these and more at once! This course will explore the integration of contemporary visuals arts in Christian worship. We will learn from each other, from considering a diverse range of examples, and contemporary artists engaging with Christian faith. Participants will be encouraged to develop their own creative ideas and nurture their imagination, along with ways of increasing creative participation and artistic inclusion in congregations.    

This course will cover the following topics:

  • What can contemporary art bring to our worship and how?

  • Danger art at work! Art and the church

  • What’s space got to do with it? Art, environment and context

  • How can we use text and image in worship?

  • Imagination: Lost in wonder, love and praise

  • Materials and materiality

  • Cultivating creative participation

Course Information


This course is suitable for learners from a wide variety of backgrounds.


Learners may either choose to undertake assessments, and thus qualify for 10 credit points towards a Higher Education certificate or other Glasgow University approved programmes, or who may just wish to engage with the learning programme for their own personal benefit. Graduates are equally welcome.


This course is conducted online. The directed online instruction will be explored in weekly real-time conversations along with materials and interaction using the learning platform, Moodle. Zoom as an online meeting tool will be used for the real-time conversations and online group times. Access to these tools will be supported by the course administration. More information about the use of these will be provided once enrolled.


This course aims to:

  • Introduce participants to the use of contemporary visual arts in theological and liturgical contexts;

  • Provide students with the skills to engage and analyze visual arts in a variety of worship settings.


By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Evaluate the relationship between contemporary visual arts and theology.

  • Explain how and why visual arts can be engaged in a variety of worship contexts and Church environments.

  • Apply practical skills and ideas for developing creative possibilities in liturgy and worship.

Delivery & Assessment

Each class will be taught through a range of online discussion, exercises, and activities, viewing and reading. Each week participants will be introduced to a range of online materials, including video, and articles. In addition, learners who enrol for credit will be able to access digitised materials, articles, and books via the University of Glasgow's library.

The formal assessment for this course is optional and consists of the following:

  • Reflective assignment 40% (800 words) Comparing and contrasting two artworks used in worship settings.

  • Portfolio assignment  60% (1200 words and images ) submitted at the end of the course, comprising submitting 4 journal entries. 

Support, guidance and feedback will be available for all assessment.



How to Apply


Formal Applications open Summer 2022. Notify your interest now via email: TrinityCollegeGlasgow@gmail.com.


These courses are delivered through the University of Glasgow. We will contact you with more information and guidance regarding applying, completing your details and payment in time for the course start date. If you have any questions regarding the process, you can contact us on the above email address. 

If you have any difficulties with this process – please contact Ellie Hayes (office administrator) at: