DITA promotes a dynamic interplay between Christian theology and the arts within the Divinity School and beyond by exploring the contours of creative theological expression, and enriching theological education within the church, academy, and society. Through events, teaching, and research, DITA is dedicated to showing how the arts can be enriched by theology, and theology in turn renewed through the arts.

At the heart of DITA’s vision is this key insight: the arts (including music, visual arts, and literature) do not just illustrate theology but are themselves modes of theological expression. The arts shape the imagination of the community and provide the forms through which many people most directly and compellingly encounter the message of the gospel.

Theology, Modernity, and the Arts Research Project

In 2009, DITA began a partnership with Cambridge University, and out of that collaboration came the Theology, Modernity, and the Arts (TMA) project. Launched in 2015, TMA asks how the arts can contribute to the theological narration of modernity, particularly a narration that employs New Creation in Christ as a guiding integrative vision.

TMA undertakes research in three main areas: music, visual arts, and literature. For each area of research, a steering group of scholars and artists are brought together for an ongoing series of conversations around their research and work within the context of music, visual arts, and literature respectively. The goal is that each steering committee produces a series of publications, commissioned art works, and online resources over a four year period.
TMA aims to demonstrate:
  • Art bears witness to previously overlooked theological dynamics that have shaped modernity.
  • Art gives voice to questions and cultural quandaries that call for response rooted in a theology of New Creation.
  • Art addresses and moves beyond intractable dilemmas that have hampered modern theology.
  • The theme of New Creation — as realized in Jesus Christ — has the potential to interrogate theologically trajectories of modernity that have been previously underdeveloped in existing accounts.

This kind of interdisciplinary and collaborative scholarship linking Church, academy, and major art institutions represents another major step forward in DITA’s mission to ignite a vibrant dialogue between theology and the arts. The music and visual arts areas have received full-funding from the McDonald Agape Foundation.

Theology, Modernity, and Music

How can the study of music contribute to a theological reading of modernity? This project has grown of the conviction that music has often been ignored in narrations of modernity’s theological struggles and features an international project team of distinguished theologians, musicologists, and music theorists who aim to demonstrate how music–and discourse about music—has remarkable powers to bring to light the theological currents that have shaped modern culture.

Theology, Modernity, and the Visual Arts

What questions about Christ and modernity do the visual arts pose? And what truths about Christ and modernity do they ask us to face? The dialogue of theology with the visual arts can illuminate and confront the challenges of the modern experience and offer honest and faithful responses to them. Working in partnership with DITA, and under the umbrella of Professor Jeremy Begbie and the TMA project as a whole, this project will be directed by Professor Ben Quash at the Centre for Arts and the Sacred at King’s College London.

Theology, Modernity, and Literature

What are the forces, the movements, and the ideas that have made us what we are? And how can we understand those forces from a Christian perspective? Theology, Modernity, and Literature is a forthcoming initiative from the TMA project.


Faculty Research