Dr Deborah Lewer is an art historian, Senior Lecturer in History of Art at the University of Glasgow, and a regular speaker in churches, theological colleges and at festivals and retreats on the rich relationship between art and faith. She is passionate about making art history accessible to all and has led a number of retreats for us on Iona, as well as being a regular speaker at ColumbaFest and in our Northern Lights venue at Greenbelt.  

Over the last few months Debbie has been making podcasts in partnership with St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral Glasgow and the Iona Community, in which she enters into conversation with a particular work of art as a way of reflecting on ideas and questions.  Although the podcasts are linked to festivals of the Church cycle, the themes they explore are ones we grapple with all the time – and perhaps in heightened ways in these current time of pandemic.  Hence we’re delighted to be able to locate them somewhere more permanent than the social media platforms where they were originally shared so that it’s easy for folk to find them and dip into them. 

Bodies in Transition series

1: The Visitation

Accompanying liturgy (with podcast embedded) available here

2: Corpus Christi 

Accompanying liturgy (with podcast embedded) available here

3: The Transfiguration

Accompanying liturgy (with podcast embedded) available here

A podcast for the Feast of the Ascension

Accompanying liturgy (with podcast embedded) available here


You can find out more about the thinking and process behind the podcasts here – along with further reflections from Debbie on the art of ‘slow looking’.

Further Art And Faith pieces from Debbie:

If you enjoy the podcasts you might also enjoy these two short essays by Debbie in which she reflects on two works of art – one a contemporary altarpiece by Rosemarie Trockel and the other a painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder:

Art, Faith and Fear’  written for the journal   Art + Christianity  looks at Trockel’s 1993 installation ‘Ich Habe Angst’ in St Peter’s Jesuit Church in Cologne and explores the place of fear in the church, particularly in this time of pandemic

‘On Not Seeing Bruegel (Epiphany)’  – written for the ‘The Other Journal’   she explores different kinds of light, seeing, and not seeing, through Peter Bruegel the Elder’s ‘The Adoration of the Kings in the Snow (Epiphany)’

‘A Longer Light’ – a series of 5 reflections for Ascension Week for St Paul’s Cathedral Resource Hub

Debbie is also a contributor to the Visual Commentary on Scripture Project  with a piece on Proverbs 11 using works by Hieronymous Bosch, Georg Scholz and Richard Long (further commentaries for VCS are forthcoming)

A talk at Greenbelt Festival 2019 on Wit as a Weapon: Artists Against Fascism   (free to download)

An interview for Gladstones Library – fwhere Debbie is also a regular speaker – on Art, Faith and Failure


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