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International Network for the Study of Spirituality

Spirituality and the Arts Special Interest Group (SASIG)

Chairs: Rev. Prof. June Boyce-Tillman MBE, Dr Lila Moore PhD, Annalisa Burello MSc  (bios below)

In recent years there has been a growing interest in the intersection of the arts and spirituality.

This special interest group will meet to discuss this intersection in a variety of forms and mediums such as visual art, music, film, dance, digital, interactive, poetry, time-based and performative art forms.

This will include the personal, social and cultural, encompassing both the religious and the spiritual-but-not-religious context.

Upcoming events

    • 20/09/2024
    • 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
    • Zoom
    • 84


    The concepts of chromaticism in music and musicality in colour were vital for achieving what František Kupka called “compenetration” in his composition of “symmorphies” – symphonies of colour and sound in painting that seemed able to vibrate with major and minor chromatic modalities and to sing in major and minor keys. As this paper shall reveal, these concepts emerged from the fin-de-siècle in Paris where Kupka began to explore how his magnetic and mediumistic experiences resonated with Annie Besant’s Man and his Bodies, C. W. Leadbeater’s The Astral Plane and their jointly authored Thought-Forms, as illustrated by his double self-portraits, La Gamme jaune I and La Gamme jaune II. Conceiving the artist as an Astral and telepathic visionary able to penetrate and capture invisible realities, Kupka began to explore how their Astral Body could function as a musical instrument tuned to the harmonies of the universe while their Astral Vision could enable them to transcend the earth and survey the cosmos. Conceiving the artwork in terms of “concepts, syntheses, chords”, simultaneously Kupka aspired to fuse his painting with music in what he called “symmorphies”. “I am still groping in the dark”, he confessed in 1909, “but I believe I can find something between sight and hearing and I can produce a fugue in colours as Bach has done in music.” That this became fused with his astral visions of planetary rotations shall be illuminated by focusing upon Kupka’s series of symmorphies. 

    About the speaker

    FAE (FAY) BRAUER is Professor Emeritus of Art and Visual Culture at the University of East London Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Engineering (ACE); a member of its Centre for Cultural Studies Research and Centre for Creative and Cultural Practice, and until 2021, Director of Research, Impact and Innovation.  She is Honorary Professor of Art Theory at The University of New South Wales Art and Design, and Commissioning Editor for the Radical Cultural Studies Series with Rowman & Littlefield International. She is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), and holds Honours Degrees from the University of London, with MA and PhD from The Courtauld Institute of Art.  

    Her interdisciplinary scholarship encompasses the Anthropocene and Ecoaesthetics; Darwinian and Neo-Lamarckian evolution and eugenics, particularly their visual cultures; the body, sexualities and the fitness imperative; neurology, hysteria and trauma; magnetism, mesmerism, occultist sciences, Annie Besant, and vitalism, as well as the cultural politics of art institutions.

    Her books include Vitalist Modernism: Art, Science, Energy and Creative Evolution; Picturing Evolution and Extinction: Regeneration and Degeneration in Modern Visual Culture;  Rivals and Conspirators: The Paris Salons and the Modern Art Centre, The Art of Evolution: Darwin, Darwinisms and Visual Culture, the first-prize-winning Art, Sex and Eugenics: Corpus Delecti and The Body in British Art, Science and Medicine during the Long Nineteenth-Century (forthcoming). Following some 40 book chapters, her latest is entitled “Composing Symmorphies: Chromatism, Astral Vision and the Music of the Spheres in František Kupka’s Cosmological Modernism”, Art, Music, and Mysticism at the Fin-de-Siècle: Seeing and Hearing the Beyond, eds. Corrinne Chong and Michelle Foot (New York and Oxford: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2024). Her most recent conference to be co-convened with Professor Emeritus, Linda Dalrymple Henderson, is Art, Occultism, and Science in the Time of Hilma af Klint.

    The video recording of the event will be available on our YouTube channel Spirituality and the Arts Special Interest Group 

    Join our  Facebook Group called Spirituality and the Arts using this link. 

    For more details, see https://spiritualitystudiesnetwork.org/Spirituality-and-the-Arts-SIG

    The SIG Chairs: the Rev. Prof. June Boyce-Tillman, Dr Lila Moore, Annalisa Burello. 

Past events

20/06/2024 SASIG: Prof. June Boyce-Tillman presents Hildegard of Bingen
20/05/2024 SASIG: Can therapeutic songwriting be a form of subtle activism? Singer-song writer Siân Brown
16/04/2024 SASIG: Dr Lila Moore presents Gaia Mysterious Rhythms, Screen-Dance as a Novel Art Form and Rite of Passage
20/03/2024 SASIG: Open discussion
01/03/2024 SASIG: A special talk with Prof. Rina Arya - Locating Religion in Contemporary Art
22/11/2023 SASIG: Provocation 7 - Reconciling Humanistic vs Pan-psychic Spirituality, a conversation between Annalisa Burello and Degard
25/10/2023 SASIG: Provocation 6 - The Arts as Spirituality
12/09/2023 SASIG: Annalisa Burello MSc presents Marina Abramović, the Artist-Shaman
11/07/2023 SASIG: Dr Karel James Bouse presents Expressive Arts as Therapy
13/06/2023 SASIG: Provocation 5 - The Arts as Spirituality
23/05/2023 SASIG: Provocation 4 - The Arts as Spirituality
14/03/2023 SASIG: Water as a Spiritual Signifier - Water Artist Alison Churchill
20/02/2023 SASIG: A special talk with Prof. Louis Lagana' - Was Malta a Place for the Veneration of a Mother Goddess?
17/01/2023 SASIG: Provocation 3 - Open discussion
01/12/2022 SASIG: Sound as a Spiritual Signifier - Contemplative Listening
14/09/2022 SASIG: Light as a Spiritual Signifier - Light Painting Photography
13/07/2022 SASIG: A Special Talk with Dr Thomas Daffern
11/05/2022 SASIG: Provocations 2 - Artist DeGard, Dr Paul Dieppe, Nick Shore and Maya Apolonia Rodé
16/03/2022 SASIG: Provocation 1 - Inaugural meeting


The group aims to explore a variety of relationships between the arts and spirituality. These are some possibilities:

  • The arts as a spiritual practice 
  • Spirituality as creative practice
  • Altered States of Consciousness (ASC) caused by an encounter with the arts
  • The arts and the transformation of consciousness
  • The arts, Spirituality and Social Change

Our approach aims to be interdisciplinary, so we will explore the juncture of the arts and spirituality through the lenses of consciousness studies, spirituality studies, religious studies, theology, psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, sociology, health/wellbeing, philosophy, art, aesthetics and literary theories, musicology; and through the lens of different agents: artists, curators, therapists, academics and independent scholars, general public, popular initiatives, etc.           

Aims of the SASIG:

  • Explore and encourage the development of conceptual criteria to detect and discuss the spiritual qualities in the arts
  • Encourage more scholarly research on the relationship between the arts and spirituality
  • Explore and encourage the discourse of the spiritual in both public and private spheres of the arts
  • Explore and encourage the establishment of conceptual means and language that would be useful to artists who are interested in incorporating aspects of spirituality in their artworks and their practices

To become involved in the SASIG, please register for our next event.

All SIG meetings will be free for INSS members. Non-members are welcome to attend the inaugural event for free and subsequent ones for a small fee. If you enjoy it, please consider joining INSS. Besides other benefits, this will allow you to view the INSS-members-only SASIG page containing profiles of other attendees (if shared), and give you free access to all INSS SIG events.

Our email address is mailto:sasig@spiritualitystudiesnetwork.org

We now have a Youtube channel where you can watch the recordings of our Zoom meetings.

We also created a Facebook group: please join it! 

SIG Chairs

Annalisa Burello completed a Master's Degree in Financial and Monetary Economics at Bocconi University in 1993 which led to a fifteen years career in finance and banking. After leaving banking in 2008, she resurrected her childhood passion for the arts and retrained as a visual artist, attaining a BA (Hon) Photography at the University of Westminster in 2019. Currently, she is completing a Master's degree in Anthropology - Religion in the Contemporary World at the London School of Economics.

Annalisa is researching the intersection between art, creativity and spirituality and, following her introduction to McGilchrist's Hemispheric Hypothesis, in empirically exploring how spiritual and creative practices affect the Right Hemisphere and mental health in general. These investigations have brought her to inquire and later adopt meditation and yoga as a body-mind practice to access, release and sustain creative energies via supporting a greater integration of the right and left hemispheric modes of functioning. Her goal is to articulate a framework of spirituality to include artistic practices.

Annalisa lives in London and has two children.

The Rev Professor June Boyce-Tillman MBE FRSA FHEA is an international performer, composer, workshop leader and keynote speaker.  She is an Emerita Professor of Applied Music at Winchester University and an Extra-ordinary Professor at North West University, South Africa.  She lectures internationally and is concerned with wellbeing, spirituality and radical musical inclusion culturally and personally. She is editing the series on Music and Spirituality for the publisher Peter Lang which includes her book, Experiencing Music-Restoring the Spiritual; Music as Wellbeing, the edited collection Queering Freedom: Music, Identity and Spirituality: Perspectives from Ten Countries and her autobiography Freedom Song: Faith, Abuse, Music and Spirituality: A Lived Experience.. She founded MSW – Music, Spirituality and Wellbeing – an international network sharing expertise and experience in this area. www.mswinternational.org

She is a hymn writer with a collection published by Stainer and Bell of inclusive language and ecological hymns – A Rainbow to Heaven.   These are used internationally. She is an Anglican priest serving All Saints Church, Tooting.


Dr Lila Moore, PhD is a lecturer, theorist, film-maker and mixed reality artist with expertise in the fields of screen-dance and Technoetic Arts. She holds a practice-based PhD from Middlesex University (2001) in the interdisciplinary context of Screen Dance, experimental film, modern art, performance, myth, ritual and expressive therapies. She also holds an MA in Independent Film and Video and MPhil on the evolution of performative and screen-based art forms from Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, London, and a B.Ed. degree in Fine Art & Art History.

Lila lectures and writes on the arts, film, and new media in the context of modern and contemporary spirituality, mysticism, gender, cultural theories, and technoetics. She is a lecturer and thesis supervisor for the Alef Trust MSc Programme in Consciousness, Spirituality and Transpersonal Psychology, and leading the course: Psyche, Cosmos and the Imaginal. Additionally, she has been a lecturer at the Department for the Study of Mysticism and Spirituality at Zefat Academic College in the ancient Kabbalistic town of Safed (2013-2022), teaching BA courses on spiritual cinema and the intersection of spirituality, mysticism and the arts. Her postdoc at the Planetary Collegium of Plymouth University (2015) entitled The Cybernetic Futures Institute is a networked platform, exploring technoetic arts with an emphasis on the spiritual-mystical and occult in art, film, screen-dance, and networked-digital-interactive forms of performance and narrative.

Lila regularly presents research papers in academic conferences, and her articles were published in academic journals. She is a member of the editorial board of Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal Psychology journal and the S/He International Journal of Goddess Studies. Lila participates in juried exhibitions and festivals and her digital artworks, films and theoretical writings are archived by Bloomsbury Digital, ACM SIGGRAPH and ADA - Archive of Digital Art.


   About the network

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