Using cultural and disciplinary difference as a driver

IFICAN Debate: Beyond the Eye of Reason


St.Georges House, Windsor Castle 8th June 2011


"The way to see faith is to shut the eye of reason" Benjamin Franklin

The Letter 'Kaf' - the Power of Expression, 1992, Ali Omar Ermes

An evening debate with provocations from Professor Maleiha Malik, Ansuman Biswas, Dr Tiffany Jenkins and reflection by Professor Ben Quash.

To say that we live in a time of flux is perhaps to understate the nature of contemporary life. The pace of political and social change during the first decade of this 21st century has been breathtaking. Greatly increased mobility and high-speed information exchange have brought an unprecedented variety of beliefs and cultures into proximity and often into conflict. Add to this mix global economic uncertainty, revolutions in the Middle East and social unrest elsewhere, and it is apparent that people, organisations, faiths and nations are compelled to rethink their place in the world. Across the globe individuals are questioning their relationship with the state while states renegotiate their relationships with each other. These are increasingly complicated negotiations at both individual and collective level. What role can art play in this constantly shifting landscape? How can we best define the meaning and influence of art in our daily lives? How might the parallels between art and religion be reassessed? Can artistic creativity help us respond more thoughtfully to the tensions which permeate our world? Or is this a much too utilitarian approach to artistic practice? How can we reconcile the fact that creative reflection is a fundamental practice in many religious and cultural expressions yet artistic creativity can often be regarded by others as heretical, revolutionary, and even dangerous? When books are burned, art works defaced and artists silenced, often in the name of religion, it is apparent that the fault lines between art and faith cannot be ignored.

Supported by Arts Council England, London Centre for Arts and Creative Exchange and St.Georges House