Contemporary Visual Art and Christian Worship

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

Course Description

This course is for those who wish to explore and develop the role of contemporary visual art in Christian worship. Participants will engage practically, theologically and creatively through looking, listening, group discussions, practical tasks and reflective work. This course is for all, both laity and clergy, artists and non-artists, individuals or groups who are open to expanding and cultivating their imaginations, their churches and worship in new ways, especially in these current and changing times.

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.



(Further instructions at the bottom of this page)

Note: This course is limited to 20 participants. You will be contacted after applications close on January 15th 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.

Further Information

Timetable & Duration

February 4 - March 25, 2021

This course will take place online on Thursday evenings, 6.45-8.45pm GMT


This course will be taught over 8 weeks 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. For technology you will need to have access to:

  • broadband/ wireless (at least 1.5 megabites per second up and download)

  • a computer with Dual core 2Ghz or higher and 4GB of RAM or Ipad with OS 13 or later,

  • minimum of Windows 7 or Mac 10.7.

  • a speaker and microphone, built in, USB or wireless Bluetooth

  • Webcam, built in or USB

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.


Credit Award


Completion of the course carries with it 10 Undergraduate credit points for those who wish to undertake the formal assessments. There is also the option to undertake the course for audit without certification.


£207.50 (this covers access to all resources and administrative costs).

Funds & Subsidies

Part-funding subsidies from Trinity College are available to leaders from Church of Scotland Priority Area (PA) parishes via separate application directly to us. To be considered for a subsidy email your interest to Principal of trinity College,, by 31 January 2021.


Applicants should still register for the course by following the instructions under ‘How to Apply’ below. We are unable to provide the subsidy upfront so we ask you to pay the full fee initially and arrangements will be made for the subsidy as a direct grant subsequently. 

Funds or subsidies may also be available through your own church for training or study purposes and we encourage you to approach them with the details of the course.

How to Apply



These courses are provided by the University of Glasgow.  If this is your first time accessing a course/programme with University of Glasgow this application activates a process where you sign up to a student account and then from the 15th January when applications close for these courses you will receive instructions to complete registering for the course. There are two steps involved:


  1. Before January 15th, apply and create a student entry account with the university by clicking "CLICK HERE TO APPLY" above. You will receive notification that your application is active. 

  2. After January 15th, complete registration and pay the required course fee. In the week of January 18th, you will receive an account access activation email that contains a student number, a temporary password and instructions for registering including payment of the particular course fee (£207.50) This puts you onto MyCampus – your own student portal. We will email you once you have completed these steps about access to the course material and online details for the first course.

For help and guidance, CLICK HERE.


Applications close on the 15th January.


If you have any difficulties with this process – please contact or