Using cultural and disciplinary difference as a driver

IFICAN (inter-faith, inter-cultural, artists narratives)


image: Harminder Judge (detail)


We live in a time of flux. Artists are now forging their ideas and practice in societies which are driven by rapid globalisation, volatile socio-economic conditions and extreme points of view. Increased mobility for people and high-speed information exchange has brought an unprecedented variety of beliefs and cultures into proximity and often conflict. In such a world, complicated negotiations face individuals, organisations, faiths and nations in which the meaning and influence of art is consistently re-examined.

Creativity might offer us something of value amidst such tensions, and creative reflection is a fundamental practice in many religious and cultural expressions. However, an act of creativity could also be seen as heretical, revolutionary or dangerously insightful!

This Difference Exchange project involves five international research placements, completed in January 2011. The selected artists explored the relationship they have with their own religious background through the prism of their own practice in places of worship and communities which differed substantially from their own faith up-bringing. The resultant work was discussed in a recent seminar hosted by Arts Council England

Funded by Arts Council England.

IFICAN is now working on phase two in consultation with the artists, theologians and curators to hold a national debate and to present new work arising from the residencies.


“Everyday spirituality does not neatly fit under the rubric of "Hindu" or "Muslim" or "Buddhist", etc. In my work I found that the little (sometimes illegal) temples and shrines and the spiritual activities that went on in private spaces such as homes were actually where interfaith activities and heterodox practices would take place”

Richard Baxton, Anthropologist working in Malaysia