Dr Sara Schumacher is Academic Dean and Tutor and Senior Lecturer in Theology & the Arts. Sara studied at the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts (University of St Andrews) and completed a doctorate on contemporary church patronage of the visual arts. While at St Andrews, Sara co-founded and served as editor-in-chief of Transpositions. Sara lectures widely on a range of subjects and recently published a Grove booklet titled Reimagining the Spiritual Disciplines for a Digital Age. In July 2020, Sara began a three-year Pedagogy Fellowship through the Yale Centre for Faith and Culture’s Christ and Being Human project. Prior to her academic life, Sara trained and worked as a graphic designer in a variety of professional settings and continues to enjoy all things art-related.
RE-IMAGINING THE CHURCH AS PATRON: TOWARDS A THEOLOGICAL MODEL FOR FAITHFUL CHURCH ARTS PATRONAGE This research project explores the theological influences undergirding the contemporary resurgence of church visual arts patronage. Starting with an exploration of approaches to patronage present within theological rationales for the arts, the research takes a practical turn and employs qualitative research methods to consider the extent to which these theological rationales are present in church action, concluding with a proposed theological model for practice.
Schumacher, Sara. Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception, s.v. “Lord’s Prayer.” Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2017.
Schumacher, Sara. Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception, s.v. “Leader, Leadership Visual Arts.” Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2017.
Schumacher, Sara. ‘Making Good: Creation, Creativity, and Artistry – A Review.’ SEEN XV:2 (2015): 35.
Schumacher, Sara. ‘A Modern-Day Renaissance: The Christian Church as an Unconventional Locus for Creative Arts Research.’ In ESRC Research Capacity Building Clusters: Summit Conference 2013, edited by Judy Scully, Ben Clegg, John Bryson, 16-24. Aston University: Aston Business School, 2013.
‘Fault Lines: The Relationship between the Artist and the Church,’ 23 October 2013
‘Mediocrity & Excellence: An Issue for Art in the Church,’ 10 July 2013
“‘Click to Insert Image”: PowerPoint & ‘Art’ in the Church,’ 1 May 2013
‘Creativity as a Battle: Artists and Academics,’ 20 February 2013
‘Artists and Academics: What They Might Have in Common,’ 16 January 2013
‘Someone Like You: Music, Pain and Sentimentality,’ 12 September 2012
‘To sit in its shadow: Church, Art, and Layers of Meaning,’ 19 March 2012
‘Art Appreciation in the Church: Two Approaches,’ 7 October 2011
‘The Digital Age and Arts Patronage,’ 22 July 2011
‘Does anonymity have a role in church art?,’ 7 February 2011
Book Review – Inclusive Yet Discerning: Navigating Worship Artfully, 26 January 2011
‘Is Church Life Stifling Your Creativity? A Response,’ 10 January 2011
PhD, Divinity, University of St Andrews, Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts, 2014
MLitt, Theology, Imagination, and the Arts, University of St Andrews, 2010
BS, Graphic Design, John Brown University, 2001
AA, Cross-Cultural Services, John Brown University, 2001
The Arts, Culture and Christian Ministry and Mission
Christian Leadership in Arts and Culture
Reflective Practice in an Ecumenical Context
Research and Reflection: Resources and Methods
Foundations for Theology and Reflective Practice
Methods in Modern Theology
Spirituality and Discipleship
Christine Doctrine in Context
Areas of Interest
Church arts patronage, including: historical and contemporary activity; how theological rationales form the practical relationship between the church and the visual arts/artist
Theologies of the arts, particularly in relation to church tradition
Reception of visual art in a sacred space
Digital technology and human flourishing, including: the anthropological impact of social media, the intrinsic value of embodiment, the spiritual disciplines in a digital age
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