Sunday 13 December 2009

New educational initiatives

I thought it would be worth drawing attention to some notable new initiatives in education. First, the Living Water College of the Arts in Alberta, Canada. This is committed to the training and development of Christian artists across a wide range of genres including theatre and film. Second, the C.S. Lewis Foundation in California has announced the creation of C.S. Lewis College in Northfield, Massachusetts dedicated to "mere Christianity". Third, there is the Theotokos Institute for Catholic Studies at St David's Catholic sixth-form College in Wales, dedicated to "theology before division" (of the Christian east and West, that is). Fourth, from within the Orthodox tradition, the Cappadocian House of Studies in Art and Nature (at the moment more of an aspiration than an actual House). Fifth, here in Oxford the demise of the Franciscan Hall of the university last year, Greyfriars, has led to two new initiatives - St Bede's Hall and the Centre for Franciscan Studies, which is currently sponsoring a series of lectures in the Taylorian (mine is on 24 May).

And, of course, I have already mentioned what is going on at Thomas More College with David Clayton's "Way of Beauty", and the work of pioneer educationalist Michael Schneider. When I hear of other relevant projects I will mention them in future postings. [Here is one added later: the Ignatius-Angelicum Liberal Studies Program started by Fr Joseph Fessio SJ. The announcement in May 2010 reads "Ignatius Press and Angelicum Great Books Program have joined with cooperating colleges in the US, Australia, and Europe, to launch the Ignatius-Angelicum Liberal Studies Program (LSP), an online course of studies combining the best of home and distance learning with live, online classes."]

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much for this post. As one of the current Scholars-in-Residence at the Kilns, I had heard about C.S. Lewis College, and wrote about it on my blog ("C.S. Lewis College & the Arts,", where I also gave Thomas More College's "Way of Beauty" program a plug). But I hadn't heard of several of the other programs. I'm most excited for the potential of Living Water College, since, as a high school senior, I had searched for a professional training program in theatre within a Christian environment, and hadn't found one, much less one that also included a traditional liberal arts component. (I ended up going to NYU, which had great training but a morally bankrupt artistic culture.)

    I also didn't know about St Bede's Hall. Turns out one of my friends at my College (Harris Manchester) is one of the philosophy instructors there. I'll have to ask him more about it. I'm glad to see that the Franciscans have been able to continue an educational ministry through St Bede's and the Centre.

    By the way, I'm an Oxford University student doing a second BA in Theology (first was a BFA in Theatre/Psychology) in preparation for graduate work in Theology and the Arts. My eventual goal is to teach at a college like Thomas More, Living Water, or C.S. Lewis College - a small Catholic (or non-denomination Catholic-friendly Christian) college that has a place for both the liberal arts and the fine arts. If you're willing, could I buy you a drink or meal and pick your brain about that goal?

    Thanks again for the information.

    Cole Matson
    cole.matson AT
    (sorry for the broken-up e-mail address - spam prevention)