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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 the worship environment. The course is open to learners of any background, with no prerequisite knowledge of art or 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 equipped with 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.


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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

3rd October to 28th November, 2024

This course will take place online on Thursday evenings, 7-9pm. This course will be taught over 9 weeks (including a one-week break) 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

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 analyse 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.

Course information


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

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. Learning materials and interaction will be accessible using the learning platform, Moodle. Zoom will be used as a meeting tool.


Access to these tools will be supported by the University course administration. More information about the use of these will be provided once enrolled. In addition, learners who enrol for credit will be able to access digitised materials, articles, and books via the University of Glasgow's library.

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.

If you take the course for credit, the formal assessment for this course 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.



*Priority Area subsidy available for this course. Email for more information.

Sponsorship or subsidies may be available through your own church or denomination and we encourage you to approach them with the details of the course.

How to Apply


Notify your interest now via email:

Applications closing Friday the 30th of August 2024. 


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 Heather (office administrator) at:

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