Over many years the Art and Spirituality Network has provided unique opportunities for people of different faiths and none to come together to create ‘from the spirit’, and to share something of our spiritual and creative experiences. This has been deeply nurturing for many people and given us much to ponder. However, as a number of the current ASN planning group members are unable to continue and we have not been able attract new members to our planning meetings, and as there are no new ASN workshops currently being planned, we are considering whether the time has come to lay ASN down.
We are aware that more people are doing similar work nowadays, within different spiritual, religious and healing traditions. We have been told of Living Spirituality Connections, a relatively new organisation aiming to connect these and we are exploring the possibility of some kind of merger with them in future. We would hope that existing ASN facilitators might continue to offer workshops, publicising them through LSC, for example.
The Art and Spirituality Network aims to provide a supportive and challenging space for people to find spiritual fellowship and nourishment through making art.
Our workshops aim to bring spiritual refreshment as well as fostering inspiration and creativity. They are open to active artists and those of no artistic experience. We welcome people of all faiths and none, and draw on a variety of wisdom and faith traditions and on the world around us. Workshops take different forms depending on the topic and who is running it. They include opportunities for quiet reflection and (optional) sharing of experience and discussion. A wide range of media may be used, including ink, pencil, charcoal, paint, collage, clay, puppetry and other materials. The network has been running one-day workshops and occasional weekend retreats for over ten years, in a range of locations around Britain .
The Art and Spirituality Network first established its roots in the North West in 1993 when a group of artists and activists wished for a space to create and reflect together. Our first retreat took place in an old warehouse in Salford — imagine a huge wooden floor with a pile of art materials in the centre and hours of time. Since then we have been organising workshops and retreats across the British Isles designed to help us explore our faith and search for meaning through creativity.
Our venues and locations have included Bradford Interfaith Centre, Inis Mor (one of the Aran Islands off the coast of Galway), Snowdonia, Derbyshire and Sussex . We have tried to choose themes that spark inspiration and curiosity: ‘Burning Skies, Rushing Word, Touching Wind’, ‘The Art of Prayer’ and ‘Wisdom from the Wilderness’. Our workshops have brought a myriad of different forms of expression together – processes as diverse as puppet making, printmaking, beach sculpture, biodanza, t’ai chi and storytelling. Ranging from day events to ten day residentials we have led sessions for a wide spectrum of groups including Glasgow’s St Mungo’s Museum, Church Action on Poverty, United Religions Initiative, colleges and schools.
Our workshops are open to people of all faiths or none and we welcome those of no artistic experience and active artists. Since we are a network we actively encourage and offer advice to those who want to lead retreats in their locality. Since the Nineties our events have tended to be based in the South of England although we wish to promote workshops in every corner of the country and encourage folk to suggest new locations and host communities.
In a nutshell we aim to create a supportive and challenging space for people to find meaning, comradeship and enjoyment through art. If you would like to find out more please do get in contact: email us here
John Harley October 2007