CAll for papers


Deadline to submit Abstracts: Submission period is now closed

Notification of acceptance: March 1, 2019

Session Organizers: Cindi Beth Johnson, Jennifer Awes Freeman, Joe Cory

Christians in the Visual Arts invites your participation to submit papers for presentation at the upcoming biennial conference. Please address the conference theme, “Are We There Yet,” through scholarly and interdisciplinary papers that engage areas such as theology, philosophy, sociology, art history, art theory and practice, art education, and practical ministry. As we enter the third decade of the twenty-first century, the art world has never seen more diversity, wealth, interconnection, and popular appreciation. Yet, we live in an age of high anxiety, disruption, and divisiveness, and many voices continue to remain silenced. With this in mind, the conference theme is a call to consider the unfinished state of our creative work, to acknowledge the near constant state of flux in which art dwells and is interpreted, and to engage in a conversation about what our world ought to be. As an organization working at the intersection of art + faith, we seek papers that address the question “Are We There Yet” in situ, specifically as it relates to artists’ studio practices, to society as a whole, or to the sanctuary—or all of the above.

Preference will be given to papers that engage the following subtopics:

Studio: Are We There Yet as arts practitioners?

  • How are artists contextualizing the trajectory of where we are going and using their work to point us there?

  • How do artists define “we” and incorporate this concept into their practice?

  • How are artists negotiating the complexity of our current culture and finding ways to better our world?

  • How do artists make meaning in their creation of artifacts, and how does that help viewers understand “the already but not yet”?

  • How are artists to understand “there” in their studio practices, and where might “there” be?

Society: Are We There Yet as arts educators and administrators?

  • What trends in education and the not-for-profit sector are enhancing society’s ability to grapple with the question “Are We There Yet”?

  • How does organizational culture and utilization of resources disrupt a limited/fragmented understanding of “we”?

  • What role does the gallery and museum system play in translating an artist’s studio practice to questions of what “ought to be”?  

  • How can deliberate acts or artistic intervention promote reconciliation between those who are of the “we” and those who feel without?

  • What are educators and administrators seeing that supports that we are (or are not) there yet? (What does it look like to “be there” or not “be there”?)

  • How can security for the arts (financial, institutional, etc.) help us “get there?” And what role does patronage play? Case studies welcome.

  • What important work remains, what are successful examples of organizations, institutions, and museums doing this work well?

Sanctuary: Are We There Yet as churches and people of faith?

  • How can artists and churches work together to better understand the current state of the faith + art relationship? What are the stories of success in the relationship between art and the church?

  • What role can the arts play in helping the church understand its eschatology, the journey towards “there” in the “not yet”?

  • How does art change a congregation’s relationship with their physical “sanctuary”/building?

  • How can the arts instruct the church and vice versa?

  • Which artists are working to help the church understand its role in society and its service to artists?

  • Can the church play a catalytic role in contemporary discourse surrounding religion and art?

Accepted papers will be grouped by theme and content for moderated 20-minute presentations at the CIVA conference. There will be an “Open” Session for accepted papers who do not fit into these categories. Some papers may also be grouped as student panels or book panels. Successful abstracts will clearly articulate the primary thesis of the presentation and describe how it will integrate creative praxis and religion in meaningful ways.

  • Abstract, bio, and brief CV may be submitted via the link below.

  • Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words. Include category (Studio, Society, Sanctuary, or Open), presenter’s name, and paper title - exactly as you would like it published in the program.

  • Papers must be original for this conference (i.e., not previously presented at a CIVA conference or published elsewhere).

  • Accepted presenters will be notified by March 1, 2019, and will receive a coupon code for discounted conference registration.

  • Accepted presenters must be CIVA members (or join by March 15, 2019) and are required to register for the conference.


About the Session Organizers:

Cindi Beth Johnson, Ph.D., is the director of The Intersection: Wilson Yates Center for Theology & the Arts and Professor in the Practice of Theology and the Arts at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (MN). She is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She earned her M.Div. from Luther Northwestern Seminary and her D. Min. from Luther Seminary. She serves as the board chair of the Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies (SARTS). Most recently, she was a Creative Community Leadership Fellow with Intermedia Arts in 2014. She has written many articles for the SARTS journal, ARTS, as well as contributing to Visual Theology: Forming and Transforming the Community through the Arts (ed. Robin M. Jensen and Kimberly J. Vrudny); Arts, Theology and the Church: New Intersections (ed. Kimberly Vrudny and Wilson Yates); and Teaching for a Multifaith World (ed. Eleazar Fernandez). Cindi Beth believes that the arts are a vessel for imagination and the creative spirit.

Jennifer Awes Freeman, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of arts and theology at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. Prior to joining United, she was a visiting assistant professor at the University of St.Thomas as a postdoctoral fellow at the Louisville Institute. She recently completed her doctoral work at Vanderbilt University. Her dissertation, Erasing God: Carolingians, Controversy, and the Ashburnham Pentateuch, is a study of Trinitarian doctrine and images during the transition from Late Antiquity to the early Middle Ages. During the summer of 2016, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Medieval Institute at the University of Notre Dame, for which she began a translation of Hrabanus Maurus’ In honorem sanctae crucis. Her research interests include images of divinity, iconoclasm, material culture, gender studies, the mutual influence of art and theology, and book culture in the digital humanities. She is a graduate of Bethel University and holds a Master of Arts Religion (Visual Arts) from Yale Divinity School’s Institute of Sacred Music, and a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University.

Joe Cory, M.F.A., is an Associate Professor of Art at Samford University (AL) where he is also a Faculty Fellow in Samford’s Center for Worship and the Arts. He is a practicing studio artist who has exhibited his work across the country. He regularly presents on a number of issues related to the arts and higher education and is a past contributor to CIVA’s SEEN Journal. Cory also serves on CIVA’s Board of Directors. He is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (B.F.A) and holds an M.F.A. from The University of Chicago.