Scholar and musician, Valentin teaches and lectures for the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, the Temenos Academy, the Prince of Wales's School of Traditional Arts and many others. His interests include reception and mystical aspects of the Platonic Tradition, medieval literature and mystical theology, Shakespeare, William Blake and the Romantics. His doctoral work approached the intersection between theology and literature through a doxological reading, an understanding of language as grounded in affirmation and articulation of the Good through love of the Divine. His current project explores the pre-modern theophanic and linguistic vision of nature in medieval texts (Eriugena, Maximus, Hildegarde and Bernardus Sylvestris) in conversation with modern scientific paradigms and contemporary attitudes to the natural world.
After a fruitful lockdown, including our wonderful 'Friends of Sophia' day, I am back to piano teaching, and, thanks be to God, directing the (somewhat reduced) choir at Holy Redeemer, Chelsea.
My current projects include preparing and delivering four short lectures on Christian Spirituality for the Southern Dioceses’ diaconate formation programme. I have the great privilege of sharing the teaching of this module with Professor Peter Tyler, another ‘Sophian’.
I am also putting the finishing touches to an article on neglected liturgical elements in 1 Corinthians, and scratching my head as to who might want to take it on. There are a couple of other lines I would like to follow in a similar vein, touching perhaps on liturgical elements in the Epistle to the Hebrews.
[I was due to give the first performance of my organ piece 'The Boar Dances' during the lockdown. In the end I had to content myself with this homemade version on Holy Redeemer organ: soundcloud.com/iangcoleman/the-boar-dances]
Eliot Smith FRSA is a freelance Contemporary Dance choreographer and Founder and Artistic Director of Eliot Smith Dance, based in Newcastle upon Tyne and rehearses predominantly in Northumberland. Eliot graduated from London Contemporary Dance School and studied further at The Martha Graham School in New York. For Eliot, dance and Wisdom go together:
Wisdom for me in 'the dance' is the experience - of the dancer in the space, or of the audience.
I remember finishing a full day in the studio, and not wanting to move a muscle. The movements and actions I had made during the day seemed so real, pure and clear. They seemed to sculpt space and gather time precisely and reveal it in its fullness - its potential for joy or sorrow. My experience might best be described as an ongoing search for wisdom.
Eliot’s early works were especially inspired by his Catholic faith and practice. Developing this in conjunction with his cultural roots, collaborative exploration of identity, and the body as narrative art form, he’s bringing powerful, transformative contemporary dance within limited budgets, and supported by Arts Council England, to new audiences and unusual venues in rural North East England.
Dominic White is a composer, through which he seeks to express what he has heard in the heavens soundcloud.com/dominic-white-637066486 . His arts practice also as “raw material” for his work as a theologian, and in dialogue with it.