The role of images in contemporary society is set to be explored during the University of Birmingham’s annual Cadbury Lecture series, ‘Seeing and believing in modern Christianity’, from 6-16 March, which will begin with an art installation on one of the University’s buildings and will conclude with a final lecture delivered by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.

Originating from an endowment by the Cadbury family to the University of Birmingham for an annual series of lectures open to the public on the history, theology and culture of Christianity, the Edward Cadbury lectures began in 1946 with the historian Arnold Toynbee and a succession of eminent scholars from around the world have contributed annually ever since.

The University’s European Research Institute (ERI) building, home to the Department of Theology and Religion, will be getting a makeover to launch the lecture series with a large art installation heat-gunned onto the front of the building today (Tuesday 6 March) by British artist Liz Hingley who will also be hosting a workshop during the lecture series which will close with Dr Rowan Williams’s talk, ‘Idols, Images and Icons’ on Friday 16 March.

Event organiser Edmond Tang, Director of Research Unit in Asian Christianity at the University of Birmingham’s Department of Theology and Religion comments:

“An instillation of religious images is taking place today where UK artist Liz Hingley will be heating two images from ‘Under Gods’, a photo exhibition of religious life in Birmingham onto the entrance of the University’s Department of Theology and Religion which will be on display for the whole of March.

“In addition, I am delighted that the final Edward Cadbury Lecture this year will be delivered by the Archbishop of Canterbury. ‘Idols, Images and Icons’ will offer a particularly interesting view of the celebrity culture that has engulfed British society and the retreat of the scared from the ‘public square’.”

Dr Rowan Williams will also be hosting an international study day on ‘The Sense of the Sacred in Contemporary Society’ with academics and artists from China and his talk will be the culmination of the 2012 series which also includes:

• A series of six lectures to be delivered by Professor David Morgan of Duke University, USA  ‘Seeing and Believing in Modern Christianity’ on 6, 7, 8, 13, 14 and 15 March

• Four workshops by international artists Ding Fang, Chan Yuenping, Benoit Vermander, Caroline MacKenzie and Liz Hingley on ‘The cross-cultural in religious art’

Dr Rowan Williams’s lecture ‘Idols, Images and Icons‘ will take place on Friday 16 March at the Barber Institute of Fine Art, University of Birmingham  from 5.30-6.30pm and Liz Hingley’s art instillation will be externally visible on the University’s ERI building all month.

All events in the University of Birmingham’s Cadbury Lecture series are free and open to the public but tickets are necessary for the Williams lecture and registration is desired for the workshops. For tickets, registration and more information, please contact or visit the website.

Dr Rowan Williams
Besides his pastoral role as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Williams is a well-known scholar, especially in early and patristic Christianity. He has also written extensively across a wide range of subjects, including spirituality, religious aesthetics, and increasingly on contemporary moral, cultural and interfaith issues. A published poet himself, he has also written on Dostoevsky and contemporary poets.

Professor David Morgan
Professor of Religion in the Departments of Religion, Art, Art History, and Visual Studies at Duke University. He has published extensively on the history of religious visual culture, on art history and critical theory, and on religion and media. His most recent publications include The Embodied Eye: Religious Visual Culture and the Social Life of Feeling (California, 2012), The Lure of Images: A History of Religion and Visual Media in America (Routledge, 2007) and he was editor and contributor to Religion and Material Culture: The Matter of Belief (Routledge, 2010).

Liz Hingley
Liz Hingley is a young British photographer, whose exhibition 'Under Gods’, a series of photographs on life and religion on Soho Road, Birmingham was a hailed success and published as a book by Dewi Lewis in 2010. Liz graduated from Brighton University in Editorial Photography and continued her MSc study in Social Anthropology at University College, London, where she is now artist-in-residence. She comments: “My photography is about social engagement. I am constantly excited by how photographs can arouse curiosity, tell stories in different voices and help us see through different eyes.” 

For media information, please contact Amy Cory, University of Birmingham Press Office via 0121 414 6029 or