Institute for Theological Partnerships
Promoting theological debate about such aspects as ethics, human understanding, mind and body, the cosmos and the environment.View content
The University's Institute for Theological Partnerships promotes and facilitates debate about theological aspects of art, ethics, human understanding, mind and body, the cosmos and the environment.
ITP has a strong research and public engagement profile and hosts conferences and lectures throughout the year on a wide range of topics and issues, as well as exhibitions. We also have an innovative Cosmic Garden.
To find out more about the ITP and how you can get involved, explore the links below. Follow us on Twitter @ITP_UoW or contact ITP.
ITP Theology Discussion Group
ITP hosts a monthly discussion group at the University which is open to all and looks at a range of issues from a theological perspective as well as welcoming guest speakers to inspire and engage discussion. Previous topics have included the cultural invention of witchcraft/persecution of witches; the case for animal theology and a consideration of animal spirituality/inner life; Asian feminist theology; Near Death Experiences and their implications for theology. If you would like to come to one of our meetings and join in with the discussion, please email us.
A project that brings together all that ITP stands for is the Cosmic Walk. Designed by Professor Isherwood, this garden space aims to physically situate Christian Theology within the new Cosmology. It a theological attempt to place our feet in the unfolding story of the cosmos and from there to reflect upon that which we call the Divine. As we walk through the garden we hope that we begin to understand more deeply our participation in the birth and unfolding of the universe. This walk will be accompanied not just by the mind maps and tools of theology but also with quantum physics, cosmology, mythology and each breath we take. The theology that we are asked to engage with is in each cell of our body and all around us, it is incarnational theology.
The Labyrinth is an important part of the walk and we would recommend that you spend some time in considering its symbolic importance and essential truth. The Entanglement Installation represents the layered dimensions of modern society, the entanglement of dominating thoughts and ideas both through the media and language. Nature is buried beneath these heavy layers of human ideas of morality and justice both within religion and the secular world. This piece of art is placed here at this point in the cosmic walk to encourage us to reflect on what our true origins are if we are able to see beneath the cloak of dualistic thinking of hetero-normativity that religion, global capitalism and the consumerist market place encourage and nurture in us.
New sculptures have been added to the garden a spider's web and meteorite sculpture by Daren Greenhow. In August 2014, artist Dr Megan Clay completed work on the Entanglement panel in the modern section of the garden, and she has also done some preparatory work on the meteor crater. We would also like to thank Megan Clay who has recently been creating a sandbag turret to give more shape to the cannon installation and then creating a small pond at the base of the bank. The intention is for the pond to settle in as naturally as possible and for propagation of plants to gradually take place. Newts are already in residence in the area, so it is hoped that the pond will enhance their habitat.
In May 2018, the Cosmic Walk was prepared to become the centrepiece of the event The Universe Story (Friday 29 June - Sunday 1 July 2018). A new Cosmic Walk website is also being developed.
The current issue of Feminist Theology sees the publication of papers from participants in the 2016 Symposium ‘Fetish Boots and Running Shoes: Indecent Theology Today into Tomorrow’, which considered the legacy of Marcella Althaus Reid. The main focus in this issue is on the USA and Eurtope; a follow-up event aimed to give voice to Asian and Latin American scholars is planned for 2019, to be held in Winchester.
Feminist Theology and Art Forum
The Feminist Theology and Art Forum was set up in 2015 to give women a platform in which to speak theologically through visual art and in so doing help change the face of traditional theology. The women are given theological readings to reflect on and to bring their own experiences into the theological world. Although feminist art has been around for years, this is the first time that it has been produced by feminist theologians. The artists in the exhibitions begin their journey by reading feminist work and produce their art from there. This is unusual as even those attempting to create something new tend to start from traditional images and literature, therefore their work carries often male theology within it. The artists in the Forum start from a different place; they understand their remit as producing visual expressions of new ways of being, from which new words may emerge. Their intention is to create a new body of artwork that pushes the boundaries and lets the spirit flow in new and exciting ways.
The inaugural exhibition in 2015 was Female Images of Christ/a, celebrating the ongoing heritage of Christa images. In 2016, the ITP organised Feminist Images of Mary/Miriam, which focussed on the history of Mary and artists' reflections on what Mary might mean for us today.
The 2017 exhibition was Women Dancing with Gaia: Feminist Theological Visions. Emerging scholarship is showing how women have throughout our evolution danced with the energies of life rather than attempting to contain and master them. The cultures of Old Europe demonstrate a peaceful coexistence between people and nature, based in matriarchal societies – despite their orientation to the female there is no evidence for the subjugation of men.
Meet the team
- Professor Lisa Isherwood, ITP Director
- Brenda Sharp, ITP Leader and Coordinator
- Joanna Wilson, ITP Administrator (email Joanna or phone +44 (0)1962 826421)
- Professor Catherine Keller, Professor of Constructive Theology, Theological School of Drew University
- Professor Rosemary Radford Ruether, Visiting Professor of Religion and Feminist Theology, Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University
Visiting Research Fellows
29 June – 1 July 2018: The Universe Story: Understanding and Experiencing the Unfolding Story
The conference offers an opportunity to explore different aspects of the Universe Story and its relevance to 21st-century Britain. A GreenSpirit Conference in association with ITP. Find out more and how to book.
ITP 2018 Winchester Heritage Open Days events
Cosmic Walk guided walks, led by Prof. Lisa Isherwood
Thursday 13 September 10.30, 12.00 and 14.30; Friday 14 September 10.30, 12.00 and 14.30. Max 12 people per tour.
Female Theologians exhibition
Thursday 13 and Friday 14 September 10.00 to 16.00, Room 7, Winchester Business School, West Downs Campus, Romsey Road, Winchester SO22 5HT
For further information, visit the Winchester Heritage Open Days website
Current research projects
A collaborative research project uncovering the experiences of women religious orders during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.