Goldsmiths, University of London
Supervised by Professor Adam Dinham, Professor of Faith & Public Policy and Head of Research, Goldsmiths University and Dr Achim Borchardt-Hume, Director of Exhibitions, Tate Modern
January 2020 –

Arthur Hacker, ‘The Annunciation’ 1892
Arthur Hacker
The Annunciation 1892

This AHRC funded doctorate, one of the first to consider contemporary faith and the way it is positioned by major public art and cultural institutions, aims to open the dialogue on the potential of ‘religious literacy’ in building new audiences and ways of programming in a major public cultural institution. It will question whether these institutions are consciously or unconsciously ‘secular spaces’ and who and what ideas and debates are excluded as a result. It will evaluate the role an institution, such as Tate, can play in considering dialogues on engaging with contemporary faith communities, and what new approaches to artistic risk can be found in this exchange.

This CDP will look at this through the perspective of British Muslim experience/s, by those engaging with Tate but also how Tate considers these experiences in its institutional framework of sculpting a public space that aims to lead on being ‘artistically adventurous and culturally inclusive’.

What are your hopes for the impact of this research?

Religion and faith, regardless of position, is undeniable in its importance in the concept of many individuals and communities sense of identity, so it is striking that the dialogue, particularly academic dialogue, within arts and culture has neglected conversations on how contemporary faith communities can be considered by our major public institutions. I hope this research continues to create foundational dialogues on how our public cultural institutions can consider and connect with religion and faith communities and bring new possibilities to programming and artistic risk and what it means to be a public space for all.

About Hassan Vawda

Hassan has worked within the intersection of communities, artistic risk and culture as practitioner both within local and grassroots organisations as well as with major public institutions. In 2017 Hassan was awarded an Aziz Foundation scholarship to develop ideas, trial projects and complete an MA in Anthropology and Community Development (Goldsmiths, University of London) around inclusion/exclusion within the cultural sector and ways of connecting with faith communities.

Twitter @HassanEVawda