Education and Arts

Grounding the Sacred through Literature and the Arts 2015

Grounding the Sacred through Literature and the Arts Conference 

Thursday 23 July to Sunday 26 July 2015 inclusive

Australian Catholic University

25A Barker Road, Strathfield NSW 2135

Grounding the Sacred is the third in a series of conferences presented by The Sacred in Literature and the Arts (SLA), a community of interest that brings Australian and international writers, artists, musicians, academics, religious and members of the general public together to explore the interplay between the arts and the sacred.

Grounding the Sacred will feature a mix of keynote addresses, conference papers, performances, readings and exhibitions revolving around the question: how can literature and the arts make the sacred tangible? The theme is expounded in more detail in the Call for papers and presentations.

The 2015 conference is organised in conjunction with members of the Religion and Creativity project in the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry at ACU. Guest speakers include David Jasper (Glasgow University), Thaddeus Metz (University of Johannesburg), researcher on Aboriginal art Vivien Johnson, poet and philosopher Kevin Hart, Imam Afroz Ali (Founder and President of the Al-Ghazzali Centre for Islamic Sciences & Human Development), Australian writers Carmel BirdMichael McGirr and David Malouf, recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacey and religious broadcaster Rachael KohnKathleen Deignan (Director of the Iona Spirituality Institute and the Thomas Merton Contemplative Initiative) will present a keynote address from New York via Skype. 

There will also be a pre-conference meeting for postgraduates on Thursday afternoon, 23 July, in the Multifunction Room, Block E on the Strathfield campus, with invited guests Professors Hart, Jasper and Metz and Dr Alison Jasper (University of Stirling), chaired by Dr Dermot Nestor. Attendance is free but HDRs should have indicated their intention of attending by 17 July 2015..

The McGlade Gallery is hosting an exhibition of paintings by Papunya Tula Artists and the Warlayirti Artists of Balgo, provided by Lloyd Graham. Dr Graham and Professor Johnson will speak at the exhibition opening, 3;15 for 3:30 on Thursday 23 July.

There is  an opportunity for non-registrants to hear David Jasper and David Malouf on Friday 24 July, 6:00 - 7:30 pm.  Admission for this event only is $20 at the door, Gleeson Auditorium. Admission is free for conference members. Inquiries to  

Registration for the conference is open: a link to the registration form is on the left-hand sidebar on this page. Single day registrations are $65 (unwaged, including students) and $95 (waged). A four-day package is available for $190 (unwaged, including students) and $340 (waged). Registration includes refreshments. If you are unable to register on-line, please contact Elaine Lindsay, phone 02-9739 2898, for other options. Please register by 22 July 2015. Registrations after that date can be made at the conference registration desk in the Atrium. Cheques or correct money are preferred.  There is an ATM on campus.

Information on travel to the Strathfield campus and parking opportunities is available here.  The ACU shuttle bus will be operating on Thursday and Friday every 20 -30 minutes from Strathfield train station, starting around 7am and finishing around 9pm. If you are coming by train on the weekend, you would need to get a cab or RTA bus or walk from the station to the campus (around 20 minutes walk). You can see or print off a map of the campus here.

The conference is part of the ACU's 25th anniversary celebrations and is supported by a generous grant from the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.

Conference details are updated regularly on this site. Otherwise, inquiries can be directed to the conference convenors, Associate Professor Michael Griffith ( and Dr Elaine Lindsay (, Faculty of Education and Arts, Australian Catholic University.