Shape-shifting: TheoArtistry poetry as Theological Action Research

Kimberley Jane Anderson, John Bolland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper describes a creative partnership between a theologian and a poet arranged by the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts at the University of St Andrews in 2018. The TheoArtistry project seeks to reintroduce artists to traditional religious culture and to foster collaborations between academics and art practitioners (Corbett). In this article we discuss and utilise Theological Action Research methodology (Cameron et al.), to explore the process and outcomes of one such collaboration tasked to produce a poem inspired by an Old Testament passage and the theme of “Annunciation.” The researchers in this collaboration drew on a diverse range of cultural forms and accommodated a position of scepticism towards Christian faith. An examination of the cycles of action and reflection in the production of the poem enables conclusions to be made concerning the impact of this interaction upon the collaborators’ theological thought and practice. This section closes with the final poem and a brief team commentary. The final section evaluates the partnership in terms of the TheoArtistry goals and shows how it both supported the project and set a challenging precedent for broadening the scope of theological openness and inclusivity in future collaborations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-61
Number of pages15
JournalOpen Cultural Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2019


  • Religion
  • Spirituality
  • Poetry
  • Interfaith
  • Re-enchantment


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