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ADM Fellows

       Half-yearly update: ADM Fellows share their progress    Four of ADM’s 2018 Fellows reflect on their progress over the past six months. Read what they’ve been doing, how ADM has supported them, and their plans for the next steps in their projects:         MONICA COOK       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              2018 ADM Senior Research Fellow, Monica Cook  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     When in life do you get to focus solely on a project of your dreams, receive regular mentoring and opportunities for Christian growth, have sharp minds to bounce ideas off and a dedicated space and resources to make it happen? The last six months have been a unique opportunity for all of this and much more for me as an ADM fellow putting together a unique course for couples in the area of sex and fertility called ‘What to Expect when you’re Expecting’.  Amidst speaking to professionals, reading books and articles, attending relevant conferences, and listening to podcasts, I’ve had the opportunity to do some of my own formative thinking on how to bring academic research and information related to sex and fertility into a theological framework. It's also helped me recognize the need to break a rather large topic down into four distinct sections aimed at slightly different audiences: (1) Natural Fertility; (2) Facing subfertility; (3) Preparing for the unexpected; (4) Back in the SAK – Sex After Kids.        
   
     “ Seeing the way ADM is a ‘garden in the city’ inspired me to start thinking about the way sexuality could also be viewed as a garden. In light of this, part of my project is now a practical exploration of our ‘gardens’ – its layout, its soil, its weeds and looking at the impact of weather and seasons.  The best thing about a garden is it is dynamic – always open to new growth and change and therefore a beautiful metaphor to use in exploring sexuality.   ” 
   
  
 
     In thinking through some key topical issues I’ve had the opportunity to draft a number of articles that I hope to publish in the near future on topics such as ‘desire discrepancy’ which I hope will help others in understanding how science, psychology and theology intersect on these matters. I’ve also had the chance to present part of my presentation on natural fertility to general practitioners at a conference, which was an exciting opportunity to test out some of my material with a key audience. As my courses get closer to completion I’m looking forward to interacting with churches and other local organisations, many of whom have already shown great interest in the topics.  In meeting with other Christians working in fields related to sexuality, I’ve also realised there would be great benefit in bringing everyone together so as to support one another prayerfully and practically, as well as to learn from one another’s different areas of expertise. To this end, I will be hosting the first of these gatherings next month and am very excited to see how they might serve to support Christians working in the area of sex and relationships.        KATE BRADFORD      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              2018 ADM Senior Research Fellow, Kate Bradford  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     The opportunities afforded by my ADM Fellowship so far have been invaluable in assisting me to extend the pastoral theology I am working on and engage with ‘my public’ – people who are working and ministering in areas of pastoral care.  As a researcher in pastoral theology, I have had many fruitful conversations with people in chaplaincy, churched based pastoral ministry, pastoral care and spiritual care working with churches, in the Defense Forces, aged care and hospital and prison settings concerning the nature of their Christian ministry. A reoccurring theme through these conversations is a limited understanding of holistic pastoral theology, particularly the inter-disciplinary boundary between theology and anthropology and over-dependence on  only  one school of thought – biblical studies, integration psychology, chaplaincy methods, spirituality or clinical pastoral training.     Through my Fellowship project, I am excited about developing a holistic pastoral theology. The opportunity to work in a full-time capacity on my research has deepened my appreciation of theological concerns, as I attempt to cohesively stitch together disparate disciplines to better equip the people of God in soul care ministries. Through this concentrated research and writing process, I have been able to focus my area of inquiry on the early to Mid-C20th, looking at four European and British Pastoral practitioners.  I have had the opportunity to be exposed to ‘world’s best practice’, attending five conferences in the US and Australia covering Christian psychology, secular spirituality, ministry and theology. These include: Christian Association of Psychological Research, both international and Australian Spiritual Care Conferences, Oxygen Ministry Conference and Theology Connect conference.      
   
     “ I have also taken up opportunities to present my research, which has lifted the quality of my output and engagement with various public audiences. Formally this has occurred through presentations at Moore Research Community, Engage Evening Sessions at ADM, and with papers to be delivered at the Evangelical History Society and the Australian Centre for Wesleyan Research Conference.  ” 
   
  
 
     I also plan to prepare one chapter of my thesis for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. In May I launched a website,  Pastoral Thinking   www.pastoralthinking.org  to engage with people ministering in various soul care roles. The website has blog posts, links frameworks, resource book lists, and a reading room, with links to interesting websites and articles.  Sharing the Fellow's room with other researchers has been an enriching and dynamic process with the added advantage that many of this year’s Fellows are working in integrative fields between theology and the humanities. I have benefitted in numerous ways from the skills and expertise of the other Fellows through conversations, sharing of articles, books and relevant conferences. It’s hard to believe that nearly half of the Fellowship has passed! It has been a time of immersion and engagement across a diverse range of experiences and development opportunities.        KIRSTY BEILHARZ      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              2018 ADM Senior Creative Fellow, Kirsty Beilharz  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     My creative Fellowship is to compose a folio of music that will serve as a vigil to support emotional and spiritual needs of a person at the end of life and their family and friends, to help them experience a serene, dignified death.  It may be surprising that there is almost no purpose-specific music of a reflective, calming, contemplative nature appropriate for living well until the very end and dying well – i.e. tranquilly, in a state of peace, reconciliation, and acceptance, quietly, without pain or regret, and with adequate spaciousness for spiritual preparation of one’s own – whether that be the prayers of a believer or spiritual growth and focus for any person. We are, after all, Spiritual Beings. When impending death strips bare all redundant material security and everyday distractions, what at the core helps us find meaning in life, in life already lived, purpose, and legacy for those who survive longer than us? Who are our family and community in this situation? What gives us a sense of value and worth as human beings?  We might be surprised how ill-prepared we are, that is until we realise that we live in a society largely in denial about the reality of death, the normalcy and indeed the spiritual right for final personal growth through that experience, because we don’t talk about what it means to have a good death, or about what we find genuinely and deeply comforting and important. Many people have not witnessed the bodily process of departure: its noises, changes, breathing, potential agitation and anxiety. The music will be there to underpin the simple presence of the friend or family member, patiently being, perhaps holding a hand, beyond words and superfluity, at this defining time that will also shape the memories for friends for the rest of their lives. I have noticed how difficult this stillness and waiting can be for families in my work in palliative care.  Music can reduce pain, agitation, anxiety, and provide an atmosphere for deep calm and emotional expression, especially if words have gone due to dementia, frailty, medication or disease progression – restorative and peaceful for the embodied soul.      
   
     “ Researching attitudes about meaningful and ‘good’ death in antiquity and in other cultures, I have discovered a wealth of art, wisdom literature, and ceremonies for appreciating and remembering a person that have been lost in ours. The Fellowship experience has provided a rare ‘oasis’ of time to seriously reflect, think, read, enter the creative ‘zone’, and deepen my own spiritual practice. ” 
   
  
 
     It is also impossible to think about humanity and frailty without also engaging fields of ageing, mental health, and general pastoral care. The Fellows collectively form a unique empathetic bond. We frequently engage in deep and theologically grounded conversations that traverse our pastoral interests, and in so doing, the experiences of others enrich our own and challenge assumptions in the healthiest way. The people at ADM are the jewel of the Fellowship, whom I couldn’t have anticipated beforehand: I feel certain that these people will be lifelong friends, connected spiritually and intellectually, and with whom networks are growing constantly. I’m deeply in awe of my fellow Fellows for the integrity and quality of their work, as well as encouragement and inspiration: it is a fantastic creative environment when traditionally composing is a hermetic, isolated activity.  The ADM Engage Evening Sessions are launch pads for hatching new ideas and building confidence to explore these hatchlings further afield. We have all submitted our work to conferences and publications. For me, the time at ADM has coincided with a keynote, several talks, working in dementia and palliative care community engagement intersecting with music and spirituality, and writing a few book chapters. The affirmation of interdisciplinary work as a vehicle for Kingdom expression has been tremendously encouraging for my theological studies, reinforcing the value of growing where you’re planted and harnessing the gifts you have, in the context of daily work, to further the Gospel and honour God no matter where that occurs.         YIXIN JIANG XU         I am writing this on the last day of my ADM Fellowship, with feelings of immense gratitude for my time here in the past five months. ADM has truly been a garden in providing me with the nourishment, inspiration, and encouragement for my project to grow.  In my first few months, I had the luxury of time to immerse myself in books about parenting, particularly from a Christian perspective. While I have engaged with psychology research on parenting and family relationships, this was a rare opportunity for me to pursue a deeper theological engagement with this topic area. I have read some fantastic books, including Harriet Connor’s  Big Picture Parenting , Tim Chester and Ed Moll’s  Gospel-Centered Families , and Ross Campell’s  How to Really Love your Child . These, and other books, have helped me start to form a good Biblical framework for parenting – which is important for my project and future work with Chinese Australian parents.       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              2018 ADM Senior Research Fellow, Yixin Jiang Xu  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


       
   
     “ My Fellowship has also afforded me with opportunities to network with other people working in the area. This included corresponding with Harriet Connor, meeting Sarah and Keith Condie  (co-Directors of ADM’s Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute), and other parenting education experts, as well as talking to Chinese Australian parents about their personal experience. I have also had wonderful encouragement working alongside my peer Fellows, as well as benefitting from project planning and detailing in the mentoring workshops led by Kara Martin from Seed. ” 
   
  
 
     In May and June, I ran a six-week Circle of Security parenting course (an evidenced-based course focused on parent-child attachment) at West Sydney Chinese Christian Church. Alongside this, I also attended a parenting course for Mandarin-speaking parents to gain insight into a Chinese parenting course.  Over the past months of the Fellowship, I have been able to refine my vision and project – how I can serve Chinese Australian parents over the long term, and what resources are needed. Achieving this greater clarity has been perhaps the most helpful aspect of my Fellowship.  While my work is far from complete, I have been able to finish a detailed book outline and draft the first chapter of my book on Christian parenting for the parent with a Chinese background. The Fellowship has allowed me to do this foundational work, and I hope to continue to work on my book and other parenting resources in the future. For now, I look forward to starting my own parenting journey in the next months!                  Find out more about ADM Fellowships . Applications are open 1 July, 2018 – 20 August, 2018.

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Half-yearly update: ADM Fellows share their progress

Four of ADM’s 2018 Fellows reflect on their progress over the past six months. Read what they’ve been doing, how ADM has supported them, and their plans for the next steps in their projects…

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      William Cooper: a Yorta Yorta Christian and his Bible   (Edited extract from  The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History  by Meredith Lake – available at    www.newsouthbooks.com.au/books/bible-australia   )         

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     In the aftermath of World War One, Indigenous Christians offered an urgent critique of white Australia’s track record of living out its professed faith. In the north of the continent, massacres continued – most famously at Forrest River, Western Australia, in 1926, and Coniston Station, Northern Territory, in 1928. In the south-east, a ‘Naboth’s Vineyard’ scenario played out again and again, as Indigenous land reserves were turned over to white farmers.  Yorta Yorta man William Cooper grew up in a world shaped by these realities, and spent decades of his adult life challenging its injustice. Cooper had learned to read and write, and converted to Christianity, at Daniel and Janet Matthews’ Maloga mission on the Murray river. As early as 1887, he was appealing to his local member of parliament with biblical arguments for land tenure: ‘As there have been no grants of land made to our tribe … I do trust that you will be successful in securing this small portion of a vast territory which is ours by Divine Right’.    In 1893, Cooper married Agnes Hamilton, one of the exiles from Coranderrk station, and joined the campaign against closing the reserves. When war broke out in 1914 their son Daniel enlisted, only to be killed in Belgium on 20 September 1917. Private Cooper was buried in Perth cemetery, Ypres, under a cross inscribed ‘Father’s Son’.  The bereaved William came to think that Australia did not deserve the loyalty of its Indigenous people: 'the Aboriginal now has no status, no rights, no land … he has no country and nothing to fight for but the privilege of defending the land which was taken from him by the white race without compensation or even kindness'.  Cooper devoted his own life to what he called the ‘uplift’ of ‘the whole dark race’. Paying tribute to the ‘generally unselfish … work of all denominations among the Aboriginal population’, he looked for missionary co-operation. At the same time, he insisted that his own people held the potential to achieve transformation: ‘The Aboriginal must be a partner in his own uplift … he must “work out his own salvation”’ (Philippians 2:12).       
   
     “ On 26 January 1938, as white Australians celebrated their 150th anniversary, Cooper and his colleagues gathered in Sydney to observe a Day of Mourning. This powerful political gesture made headlines, and instigated a public critique of Australia Day that remains potent decades later. In the 1940s, Cooper’s associated efforts to establish the nearest Sunday as a ‘National Aborigines Day’ was taken up by several churches, and eventually led to the designation of NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) week. ” 
   
  
 
     Crucially, for Cooper, the Bible helped expose the failures of settler Australia. It was a text that crossed cultural boundaries, that in his hands undermined imperial and nationalist conceits. At the same time, he found in the Bible an affirmation of the inherent equality and dignity of Aboriginal people, of their right to fair treatment, and of their ownership of the land as a God-given heritage. In Cooper’s hands, the Bible sharpened his critique of colonialism and nourished his vision for a more truly Christian community. He called on white politicians as Christians, to live out the principles of their shared Scriptures.  In March 1938, Cooper wrote to Prime Minister Lyons ‘from the standpoint of an educated black who can read the Bible upon which British constitution and custom is founded’:  White men … claimed they had ‘found’ a ‘new’ country – Australia. This country was not new, it was already in possession of and inhabited by millions of blacks, who … owned the country as their God-given heritage.  I marvel at the fact that while the textbook of present civilisation, the Bible, states that God gave the earth to man, the ‘Christian’ interferes with God’s arrangement and stop not even at murder to take that which does not belong to them but belongs to others by right of prior possession and by right of gift from God.  Every shape and form of murder, yes, mass murder, was used against us and laws were passed and still exist, which no human creature can endure. Our food stuffs have been destroyed, poison and guns have done their work, and now white men’s homes have been built on our hunting and camping grounds. Our lives have been wrecked and our happiness ended. Oh! Ye whites!  How much compensation have we had? How much of our land has been paid for? Not one iota. Again we state that we are the original owners of the country. In spite of force, prestige, or anything else you like, morally the land is ours. We have been ejected and despoiled of our God-given right and our inheritance has been forcibly taken from us.  When we learn … the history of the manner in which we have been treated these last 150 years, our confidence in the professed Christian nation – standing for good government, justice and freedom – is sadly shaken.  Are you prepared to admit that, since the Creator said in his Word that all men are of ‘one blood’ we are humans with feelings like yourselves in the eyes of Almighty God, that we can have joys and our sorrows, our likes and our dislikes, that we can feel pain, degradation, and humiliation just as you do? Will you … do your bit to see a great injustice at least mollified by agitating for us to get a fair deal before it is too late?   Cooper’s questions – his challenge to white nationhood – remain significant today. They go to the heart of what it might mean for the Bible to continue to shape the Australian nation.                 Find out more about  ADM Fellowships   Find out more about  NAIDOC week

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William Cooper: a Yorta Yorta Christian and his Bible

“…Yorta Yorta man William Cooper grew up in a world shaped by these realities, and spent decades of his adult life challenging its injustice.” In this extract from 2017 ADM Senior Research Fellow, Meredith Lake’s book, ‘The Bible in Australia: A cultural history’, we hear about the life and work of William Cooper: a Yorta Yorta man, a Christian, and a man who fought injustice and was central to the founding of NAIDOC week…

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      2017 Fellows Finish at ADM       It’s been an incredible journey for our first cohort of    Fellows   , with their time at ADM coming to an end on 31 January. We caught up with them in the final month of their fellowship to ask about the experience and the inspiring projects they have created.         Meredith Lake, 2017 ADM Senior Research Fellow   It is hard to believe my time as an ADM Senior Research Fellow is ending! The program has been a wonderful provision for me, all year, bringing joy to my work and enabling me to complete some big projects.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     In the last few months, it’s been a privilege to co-edit a special issue of the   St Mark’s Review  on the Bible in Australia (no. 240, July 2017) . It includes new findings from the National Church Life Survey, perspectives on the Bible in youth work and in cross-cultural theological education – as well as the text of the Commencement Lecture I delivered at St Mark’s National Theological College earlier in the year, outlining three reasons why the Bible has mattered to Australia.   It was great to visit Ridley College, Melbourne, to give the biennial Evangelical History Association lecture in September. I spoke on the Bible in 20th century Australia – taking up the question of secularisation and exploring the place of the Bible in the Arts. The  audio is available here  (the lecture begins at 14.10).  I’ve also had the joy (and relief) of finishing my major fellowship project – a book-length history of the Bible in Australia. In the last four months, I completed the full manuscript, worked through revisions, collaborated with an editor to polish the text, consulted on a cover design and checked the final page proofs.  The book,   The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History ,  will be published by NewSouth Books (UNSW Press) in April 2018. I’m really excited to be offering Australian readers the first general interpretation of the Bible and its complex place in our social and cultural fabric. It’s a surprising story – with a great cast of characters from convicts to suffragists to Indigenous activists!        Jo Chew, 2017 ADM Creative Fellow      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     For the last part of my fellowship, I have been focusing on the second group of paintings following on from my June exhibition ‘Numbering Stars’.  Rudimentary, temporary and primitive shelters are central features of many of the new works. These refer to our mortal ‘dwelling’, our contingent connection to the earth and those around us and our desire for refuge and shelter – particularly in the knowledge of our vulnerability.   Elements from nature taken from photographs and paintings surround the shelters, representative of the larger and ongoing story that we exist within.  I have continued to compose my works through collage and with visual links to stage sets, arising from a knowledge that fiction can communicate truth, that we are players in a great play and that, although flimsy and frail, we are being built and brought together into something unified and complete.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Alongside working at the ADM office, I have used some of my fellowship funds to access a great studio space in Rozelle for the past few months. This has provided a wonderful space to work on the paintings and to see them evolve alongside each other. It’s also been beneficial to connect with other artists, providing valuable support, feedback and exchange of ideas.   I have continued to use the time made available to me through this fellowship to read books and essays relating to the creative arts from a Christian perspective. I have found it particularly helpful to discover thinkers, writers, artists and teachers who are championing the importance of art – both for Christians to be encouraged as contributors and makers, and for the church to understand the value of engaging with modern and contemporary art (even when it’s difficult or seems challenging to our beliefs).  From this research, I have been writing short articles, referring to personal stories and anecdotes. One of these articles will be published in  Eternity ’s February edition, with the potential for a follow-up article. Prior to this fellowship, I had never considered writing for publication – evidently the  Engage  workshops and the mentoring from ADM’s  Visiting Fellow  had a positive impact!      Louise Gosbell, 2017 ADM Senior Research Fellow   Being an ADM Fellow was not only incredibly rewarding for me, but also gave me the opportunity to meet many new people and bring them into contact with the work I am currently doing in relation to disability and faith.  While my original plan had been to use 2017 to complete a research project on people with disability in the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, getting ethics approval for this project proved to be a more difficult process than anticipated. This has led to some delay with regard to the research for this project. However, through building new contacts with the Centre for Disability Studies at Sydney University and Anglican Aid, I am still hoping to be able to complete this research in the near future.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     I used the greater part of my fellowship time to work on my other proposed output, which was a disability manual designed for distribution throughout churches. This manual is almost complete. I am currently circulating it among a range of reviewers to check the content and offer feedback.  In addition to this, I was also able to complete a number of other significant tasks during my fellowship. Firstly, I completed the work on the final form of my PhD thesis in order to make it ready for publication as a monograph. The book, titled   The Poor, the Crippled, the Blind and the Lame': Physical and Sensory Disability in the Gospels of the New Testament   ,  will be published with Mohr Siebeck and will be available in early 2018.  I have also almost completed a book proposal for a second book I am hoping to write on the role of the senses, and sensory disability, in the Johannine literature. I was able to spend the last few months of my fellowship beginning research on this new project.  I also had the opportunity in January 2018, in conjunction with winning a  DAAD  scholarship at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal, to present some of my initial findings at two separate academic seminars in Germany, and through this to continue building my international research links.  Lastly, the workshops and seminars we participated in as part of the ADM Fellowship also encouraged me to start writing some more ‘popular’ pieces of writing. This was one of the things I noted in my original application as an area that I was interested in developing. The most successful piece I wrote in 2017,  on disability and the body of Christ , was published in  Insight  magazine.      Alix Beeston, ADM Senior Research Fellow    Alix finished her ADM Fellowship a few months early in order to    take up an academic position at Cardiff University   . She reflects on the last couple of months:      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     My dream job is panning out to be as great as anticipated. The English faculty at Cardiff University have been very welcoming and kind, giving me the first few months off teaching so I could finish off the various research projects I’d started at ADM.  Most significantly, I’ve been finalising the last details on  my book , which was published at the start of January. It was fantastic to flip through the advance copy of the book for the first time – as well as to see the book on the Oxford University Press stall at a big literary studies conference in New York City!  My husband Dave and I are settling in to Cardiff well, though we are missing our friends and families in Australia quite a lot – not to mention the Sydney summer. But I'm very grateful for Dave’s support, and we both feel certain that this is where God wants us, at least for now.  At the time of writing, I’ve just finished writing my first lecture for my undergraduate course this semester, and I'm really looking forward to meeting the students later this week. I'm also looking forward to launching a new project on Instagram in late February, which I started writing in the lovely Fellows’ office at ADM last year;  you can follow along here  if you like.      We’ll be continuing to pray for all our 2017 ADM Fellows, as well as eagerly following their work. We can’t wait to see what they’ll do next!              Learn more about the ADM Fellowships Program

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2017 Fellows Finish at ADM

It’s been an incredible journey for our first cohort of Fellows, with their time at ADM coming to an end on 31 January. We caught up with them in the final month of their fellowship to ask about the experience and the inspiring projects they have created...

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      Does the Bible Have a Place in Australian Culture?  Does the Bible have a place in Australian culture? ADM Senior Research Fellow Dr Meredith Lake gives us a taste of this conversation before she speaks at a sold-out panel discussion at the Sydney Writer’s Festival later this month.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              ADM Senior Research Fellow, Dr Meredith Lake  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


      Can you tell us more about the session you are involved in at the Sydney Writer’s Festival?  Well, the session is called ‘The Good Book? The Bible and Australian culture today’. It brings together a poet, a political biographer and an historian to have a think out loud about the Bible and its relationship to contemporary life, society, arts and culture. The Bible is obviously subject to quite a bit of public interrogation at the moment, especially in relation to politics and ethics. What, if anything, does it still have to offer, as society debates everything from SRE to multiculturalism and climate change?    Why do you think it’s important that these conversations are carried out in the public sphere?  The novelist Patrick White once said, “I believe most people have a religious faith but are afraid that by admitting it, they will forfeit their right to be considered intellectuals.” I’m not sure if  most  Australians today still do have faith in a religious sense – the results of the recent census will be revealing. But, on a basic level, I hope our panel will demonstrate that there is something big to think about here. Being interested in the Bible, its interpretation and all its complex interactions with society, is not an intellectual cop-out or a hobby for the narrow-minded. It’s deep, engaging, challenging and important, whatever faith or non-faith a person might bring to it.   Beyond that, these kinds of conversations seem pretty urgent at the moment. Our society is facing a whole range of challenges, from issues of social inclusion, to economic justice, to the sustainability of our interaction with the environment. At the same time, it seems hopelessly divided. The public discussion of Christianity doesn’t always help, either. Too often it’s just another front in the contemporary culture wars: stale, predictable, and polarised. But if we can find ways to cut across all that, and to bring the richness and wisdom of the Christian tradition to a genuinely gracious and respectful conversation about the common good, I think that it will help Australians rise to the challenges of the times.     Your ADM fellowship project involves telling true stories about the impact of the Bible in Australia in the form of a full-length book, due to be published by UNSW Press next Easter. How is your work on the book going?  If I was a rock climber, you could say I’m 90 per cent up the cliff face now. The last 10 per cent is an overhang, jutting out over my head. I need to scramble along it quickly, upside down, then reach over the lip and haul myself to the finish line! I should have the full draft done by the end of June – all 100,000 words. I’m really looking forward to that moment, but I expect a bit of pain in the meantime!   Could you give a brief outline of the themes in your book?  In a sentence, my book is about the surprising story of the Bible in Australia, from convict days to Federation, to the Mabo land rights campaign. There are a lot of twists and turns. Because the Bible arrived with European colonists during the height of the Enlightenment, it has been contested from the outset. I would say that in itself, that contest has been a dynamic influence in shaping Australian society and culture. In researching the book, I’ve been especially interested in groups beyond the clergy, and even beyond regular churchgoers. I tell some of their stories too, of course – especially in areas where they’ve made a lasting imprint on wider society, such as charity and education. But there are also great stories about convicts who sported biblical tattoos, Indigenous Australians who read the Bible to challenge their dispossession, and creative types who’ve made use of the Bible in songs, paintings and novels. It’s a much bigger story than the story of the Australian churches. It makes a case for the extensive and intricate influence of the Bible in numerous parts of our culture and society. 

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Does the Bible Have a Place in Australian Culture?

Does the Bible have a place in Australian culture? ADM Senior Research Fellow Dr Meredith Lake gives us a taste of this conversation before she speaks at a sold-out panel discussion at the Sydney Writer’s Festival later this month.

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      Fellowships Program Update  It’s an action-packed month for our Fellows they look forward to making an appearance at the Sydney Writer’s Festival, books being published and the first art exhibition this year …     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              ADM Senior Research Fellow, Dr Meredith Lake  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     ADM Senior Research Fellow  Dr Meredith Lake  is looking forward to speaking on a panel at a sold-out session at the Sydney Writer’s Festival later this month, entitled  ‘The Good Book? The Bible in Australian Culture Today’ . Meredith will share insights from the new book she is working on about the Bible and its contested reception in Australia. Meredith also recently found out that her book has been accepted for publication with UNSW Press. Congratulations Meredith!     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              ADM Senior Research Fellow, Dr Alix Beeston  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


                             Another publishing success is coming to fruition for ADM Senior Research Fellow  Dr Alix Beeston . Based on work from her PhD thesis, Alix sent off the final revised manuscript for her first book, to be published with Oxford University Press in 2018. Alix was also invited to speak last Saturday on a history of women in photography at Paddington Anglican Church’s PEACEtalks, a monthly event promoting conversation about life and culture. You can view her talk  here on Facebook .                          

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              ADM Creative Fellow, Jo Chew  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     ADM Creative Fellow  Jo Chew  is preparing for her first solo art exhibition in Sydney, titled ‘Numbering Stars’. The exhibition runs from 1–21 June at Thienny Lee Gallery in Edgecliff, and expresses a contemporary interpretation of the biblical story of Abraham.   The works explore hope and optimism amid vulnerability and despair. Several of the works are influenced by stage design. Jo explains: “This method involves making small collages and dioramas out of paper and card, often containing art-historical references, from which to draft the bigger paintings. Throwing these disparate and awkward shapes and objects together signifies the messy and broken reality of life.”  The exhibition is the first of two in Jo’s fellowship. An opening reception for the exhibition is being held on 1 June from 6–8pm, and everyone is welcome.  Click here for more information.            In next month’s newsletter we look forward to sharing more details about events featuring our 2017 ADM Visiting Fellow, Alissa Wilkinson. Stay tuned!      

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Fellowships Program Update

It’s an action-packed month for our Fellows: appearances at the Sydney Writer’s Festival, books being published and the first art exhibition this year …

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      Announcing 2017 ADM Visiting Fellow: Alissa Wilkinson  Alissa Wilkinson ( below ) is a staff writer and critic at Vox.com, where she covers film, culture, and sometimes religion, and an associate professor of English and humanities at The King's College in New York City, where she teaches courses on criticism and cultural theory.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Until September 2016, she was the critic at large at  Christianity Today  and regularly contributed criticism and features for a number of publications, including  Rolling Stone ,  Vulture , RogerEbert.com,  Pacific Standard ,  The Washington Post ,  The Atlantic ,  The Los Angeles Review of Books ,  Books & Culture , and others.   Her book  How to Survive the Apocalypse: Zombies, Cylons, and Politics at the End of the World , co-written with Robert Joustra, was published by Eerdmans in May 2016.  Alissa regularly speaks at conferences and events across the U.S. and Europe about culture, criticism, religion, and film. This ADM Visiting Fellowship will be Alissa's first visit to Australia, and we can't wait to host her in early October!     What are ADM Visiting Fellowships?   They support short-term visits by Christian women of outstanding talent who are established leaders in their field of intellectual, creative, cultural or professional endeavour. Visiting Fellows typically undertake a number of public engagement activities, such as ADM Public Lectures and ADM Master Classes, as well as meeting with our current ADM Fellows. Our inaugural Visiting Fellow in 2016 was Elizabeth Oldfield.  Click here  to listen to the podcast of her ADM Public Lecture.  To explore Alissa’s work, you can visit her website:  alissawilkinson.co  m .

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Announcing 2017 ADM Visiting Fellow: Alissa Wilkinson

Alissa Wilkinson is a staff writer and critic at Vox.com, where she covers film, culture, and sometimes religion, and an associate professor of English and humanities at The King's College in New York City, where she teaches courses on criticism and cultural theory.

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