Events

Blog Archives

Transformation in Faith: Exploring Hopes and Fears

Explore the hopes and fears caused by experiences of religious conversion. Participate in our innovative theatre workshops to explore how families and communities can respond to conversion sensitively. The World Kitchen Team will provide a themed meal following the workshops, where we can discuss food choice, religious identity and conversion.

In order create a rich and meaningful event, there will be a mix of people from all faiths and none. Everyone will have experienced, or have an interest in, religious conversion.

In order to help us, please register your interest for this event.

Once you have registered you will be sent two short questions to answer to determine your eligibility for attendance and for us to design a workshop that is most suited to all attending.

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Self-Transformations: Writing Faith Journeys in Verse – Alan Spence

Alan Spence

I recently took part in a conference (organised by the Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace) on the great Scottish novelist Neil Gunn.

Late in his life Gunn developed an interest in Eastern spirituality, in particular Zen Buddhism. Some of his mature writings, reflecting this, were greeted with a kind of bewilderment and bemusement. However, for Gunn this Eastern culture was not something alien or esoteric. On the contrary, he felt very much at home with it, found it somehow familiar. In his own words, he found it ‘very like the thing!’  He recognised also that there were elements of this culture that echoed aspects of his own Celtic heritage –

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Self-Transformations: Writing Faith Journeys in Verse – Georgi Gill

Georgi Gill - Learning Manager at Scottish Poetry Library

When Hephzibah contacted the Scottish Poetry Library to discuss her ideas for a series of poetry workshops exploring faith, conversion and spiritual awakenings, I was fascinated from the outset.

To lay my cards on the table, I don’t approach the subject of faith from a conventional or easily defined position. As the daughter of a lapsed Methodist mother and a sometime Buddhist father, my spiritual cultural inheritance is something of a hotchpotch. I practise meditation fairly regularly and, like most British people who wouldn’t describe themselves as Christian, each year I relish wrapping presents and scoffing mince pies while a choir sings Christmas carols on the radio.

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Annie’s thoughts…

The remit I had for this reading differed from my usual writing/dramaturgy process, in that I usually work from original writing, in consultation with the author, and with the ability to re-write material. This time I was working with text that had existed for decades and with no authors to consult with. The brief was to stick to the original text, adapting, but not re-writing, so that the words came directly from the accounts of the authors, in their time.

In order to make the reading live for an audience I had to find the drama in the accounts,

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A Battle for the Soul: The Evening

Battle for the Soul event at the Edinburgh Storytelling Centre

Doors to the Storytelling Court open at 8pm and people start walking in. A live, human audience—not just the figments of my imagination I’ve addressed during our practice runs! This is exciting.

John gives a brief introduction, the lights dim, the projections and the music come on. Annie and I walk to the front and wait for the images and music to fade. We each speak our part. I introduce each narrative section, making the link to the longer accounts from which these have been extracted as well as the fabric of history and culture within which these conversion stories are embedded.

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A Battle for the Soul: Preparations

I first came across Annie George and her work in theatre and film when she got in touch with me while researching the history of Christian communities of the South-west Indian state Kerala for a play she was writing. When The Bridge was advertised (www.anniegeorge.wordpress.com) I could see some historical and thematic resonances with our project topic and got in touch with her. Would she be interested in developing a play based on the many first-hand accounts of conversion we’d unearthed as a project team?

Annie was indeed interested and so began our several long conversations on autobiographical narratives left by converts to Christianity in colonial India,

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‘A Battle for the Soul’ : Hidden Voices from India’s Past

The first in a series of events that the CTLA project are involved in this year, A Battle for the Soul – Hidden Voices from India’s Past presents narrative snapshots of the lives of young Indian men and women, drawn from recently uncovered autobiography and written testimony.

Theatre artist Annie George presents this rehearsed reading with projections, drawing on recent research at the University of Edinburgh by the CTLA project, documenting stories of personal dilemmas, faith and family conflict at the time of colonial rule in India. The reading will be followed by a discussion exploring some of the issues raised along with refreshments.

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