House of Questions: Arts and Theology Bursary

Artist and theologian appointed for twin bursaries.

Leeds Church Institute (LCI) appointed visual artist Phill Hopkins and community theologian Dr Charlotte Naylor Davis early in 2020 to create visual art and theology resources for the city of Leeds.

House of Questions

Charlotte and Phill have been working in partnership since February 2020.  The culmination of this project is the ‘House of Questions’ exhibition which we planned to launch in November at the Church of the Epiphany, Leeds.  With the announcement of the national lockdown, we have had to postpone the ‘House of Questions’ exhibition until 2021.  It is disappointing to have got so close to the culmination of the bursary for everyone involved, but we anticipate we can plan the launch in the New Year.

At the heart of the installation is the question, “If you could ask one question of God or about religion, what would it be?”  It is an immersive and engaging experience which encourages you to find your way to respond to the question.  To find out more, view Phill’s Instagram and Phill’s short film telling the story of the development of House of Questions .  

In a special edition Winter CITYtheology, Charlotte reflects in some depth on the role of questions and questioning, inviting us to encounter the tension between what we believe and what we are experiencing. It draws on questions asked by Leeds people, and includes church responses to Black Lives Matter, as well as illness and suffering during the pandemic. 

About the Bursary

Through this bursary scheme, LCI is seeking to support excellence and experimentation in the fields of theology and visual arts as part of our wider work and mission.

The Centre for Religion and Public Life at the University of Leeds will offer the pairing an opportunity to engage in critical conversations about theology and art in the city.

Dr Helen Reid, LCI Director
The vision for this bursary is a shared artistic and reflective engagement with faith, spirituality and city life in Leeds. I am really excited about this collaboration which I am confident will support people of Leeds in delighting in the art as well as thinking about justice and spirituality.”

Phill and Charlotte have each been awarded a bursary to fund a six month collaborative pairing. The period of the bursary will enable a time for dialogue, creation and reflection leading to a presentation of visual arts and written theology that can be shared widely.

Dr Charlotte Naylor Davis Leeds has become my home and I am delighted to have the opportunity to explore its culture theologically. I have an interest in the ability of art to tell hidden stories, to pluck sacred moments out of chaos or violence, to focus us in our experience. These are the things I would like to explore in artistic collaboration.”

Phill Hopkins  “I am personally committed to enriching the life of the city of Leeds. My art practice promotes reflection around issues such as truth, identity and belonging and is rooted in playful risk taking and exploration.”

 The image at the top of the page is The Leeds Triptych by Si Smith and Rob Fry.

Bursary sponsored and supported by Leeds Church Institute