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Institute for Communication and Religion to Host The Living Word Project: Artistic Expressions of the Sacred  

Hands of different races joining togetherInspired by Vatican II's call for inter-faith collaboration, the Institute for Communication and Religion (ICR) within the College of Communication and the Arts is hosting The Living Word Project: Artistic Expressions of the Sacred from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 14, in the Theatre-in-the-Round located in the University Center.

The event is free and open to the University community. Light refreshments will be served. Kindly R.S.V.P. to Angela Kariotis Kotsonis, M.A.

The Living Word Project aims to cultivate expressions of personal, lived experience with the sacred from students of various religious denominations. Hosted by the Institute and led by performance artist and professor, Angela Kariotis-Kotsonis, M.A., the event will feature spoken-word performances by students and alumni sharing diverse perspectives on faith. Most of the project's participants will share their faith through poetry, and some of the night's contributors will be utilizing other artistic forms, telling their story through musical performances and even beatboxing.

Kariotis-Kotsonis, a professor who continually seeks ways art can be used to facilitate important conversations, noted that bringing poetic opportunities to people who don't necessarily identify as artists is one of the project's goals. Another central goal for the project is opening a platform for interreligious discussion, an end which isn't typically pursued through art.

"These works are poems, but they are also the performer's testimonials as poets and witnesses." Kariotis-Kotsonis added, "I think framing it in that way evokes a particular ethos for our campus that highlights inclusivity and freedom of spiritual expression."

The project's main goal to provide a space and platform for young people to share their stories of faith and religion, and it echoes the Institute's overall effort to facilitate an interreligious dialogue. An open call was distributed across the University community, prompting students from various colleges and majors to contribute their artistic pieces. To name only a few of the traditions and topics to be covered, the evening's poets provide insight into Catholic seminary life, religious conversion, military vocation and the Muslim experience and faith in contemporary society.

One student who previously shared her talents with the ICR is returning to perform a Hindu hymn. Ishani Sanyal sang "Krishna Bhajan" for the Institute's Spring 2019 "Religious Harmony: Community, Communication, Collaboration" event, and will be singing "Vaishnava Janato" on November 14. The song, written by Indian poet Narsinh Mehta, is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. Widely recognized as Mahatma Gandhi's favorite song, it conveys the ideals of Hindu spirituality and is commonly sung by freedom fighters in India. Sanyal enjoys sharing her Indian-Hindu culture with others through song and explained that she welcomes opportunities to communicate her faith experience artistically.

On what attendees will gain from the event, Kariotis-Kotsonis said, "I hope people walk away with the desire to hear more faith stories and also tell their own stories. I hope for people to value their personal spiritual narratives as knowledge."

The event is the Institute's latest initiative promoting interreligious dialogue. The ICR recently hosted Religious Harmony: Community, Communication, Collaboration, and invited renowned communication and religion scholar Heidi Campbell, Ph.D. for a podcast on internet memes and religion. Next semester will see the ICR's biggest event yet. A grant from the National Network Board of the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts will culminate in a regional conference on "Communication and Religion in the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election." On April 22, 2020, everyone is invited to Bethany Hall for a full day of expert political analysis and open discussion of how campaign ethics intersect with spiritual truths. Contact ICR Director Dr. Jon Radwan at to register for this groundbreaking conference.

About the Institute for Communication and Religion
Launched in Fall 2017, the Institute for Communication and Religion within the College of Communication and the Arts provides a nexus for ongoing scholarly exploration of communication topics critically important to religion and society. Guided by the spirit of ecumenical and interreligious cooperation, the Institute seeks to engage in public dialogue and debate, promote academic inquiry and support the religious dimension of creativity — all while upholding the values of servant leadership, curricular innovation and intellectual excellence. For more information, click here.

Categories: Faith and Service

For more information, please contact:

  • Jon Radwan
  • (973) 275-2170
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