Awakening the Sacred

Don’t miss out on this amazing conference coming to Sydney on July 7/ 8. This is the fifth in the series of conferences that bring Literature and the Arts together with a focus on the Sacred. This particular conference is VERY SPECIAL because it includes a 3 hour conversation between indigenous elder Miriam-Rose Ungenmerr from the Daily River in the NT with Laurence Freeman OSB, World leader of the Christian Meditation Movement. Laurence is also a scholar of English Literature from Oxford and will be talking about the awakening power of literature.

Here is the conference flier and below that a blurb for the conference as a whole (which will be published in EREMOS next week. Click on these images to enlarge.



The conference “Awakening the Sacred” is the last in a series of 5 conferences at Australian Catholic University’s Strathfield Campus (25A Barker Road) that have explored the links between Literature, the Arts and the Sacred dimensions of human experience. The acronym SLA refers to these conferences. These were “Writing the Sacred” 2012, “Addressing the Sacred” 2013, “Sounding the Sacred” 2014 and “Grounding the Sacred” 2015. These conferences built on a decade of conferences at ACU under the banner RLA: Religion, Literature and the Arts. All this work will be summarised in the next special Australian issue of Literature and Theology which is due for publication in July of this year.

Our latest offering “Awakening the Sacred” through Literature and the Arts takes this impetus in a new direction. This direction is praxis, or the links between academic and artistic reflections and the embodiment of these in sacred practice. For this event we have the profound good fortune of having been able to bring Laurence Freeman OSB to our conference as both speaker and facilitator. Father Laurence is the head of the World Christian Meditation Community, but he is also a literature scholar from Oxford University. He has been asked to both reflect on the art of meditation and bring its practical fruits to the attention of the conference audience. He has also been asked to speak on the impact of literature on his own spiritual awakening. Other key speakers at this conference have also been selected for their focus on praxis and experience. Professor Sasha Grishin, Art Historian from the ANU will address the conference on the ways in which Russian and Byzantine icons do provide a gateway into practice. His talk will be accompanied by an art exhibition at the McGlade Gallery at ACU’s Strathfield Campus focusing on icons an other sacred art. Professor David Tacey, will speak on the ways in which James Turrell’s art has the power to awaken the sacred in participants. Turrell’s art is on permanent display outside the National Gallery in Canberra. ABC’s Rachael Kohn will speak of her years of evoking and awakening the sacred through her radio program “The Spirit of Things”. Dr Maeve Heaney and the ACU Choir will create and reflect on the power of music in awakening the sacred. Imam Afroz Ali will reflect on the Art of Islamic prayer and A. Prof Michael Griffith will draw the conference to a close with reflections on how Australian poetry and art can be agents in awakening the sacred. But the most important component of this wonderful event will be the presence of Dr Miriam-Rose Ungenmerr, celebrated indigenous elder who will engage with Father Laurence Freeman OSB in a 3 hour exchange on the relationship between Christian Meditation and Dadirri (Inner Deep Listening and Quiet Still Awareness). This exchange has been made possible through ACU’s linkage with the Australian Christian Meditation Community who will be holding this MEDITATIO event within the framework of the Awakening the Sacred conference. Dr Miriam-Rose Ungenmerr, whose paintings will also be on show at the McGlade gallery will also be speaking about her work as a visual artist.
Further information about this event this coming July 7/8 – and registration facilities- can be found at this address:,_institutes_and_centres/education_and_arts/scholarly_communities/sla/awakening_the_sacred_2017
Shortened version also at:

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