The National Christian Postgraduate Conference 2011

Transforming the Mind: Discovering the Imagination

Once again the conference took place in the amazing setting of Dovedale House in the Derbyshire Dales, over the weekend of 17-19th June.

The keynote speakers were Dr Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin, and Engineering lecturer of the year 2009, Dr Mike Clifford. Dr Maithrie White, the conference chair, also led one of the main conference sessions. The conference looked at the connection between faith and our various disciplines, and the importance and role of the imagination.

We also have a little more information on some of the sessions, and recordings of the main conference sessions are available for download.

The conference

The conference challenges us to ‘offer [our] bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God’ and ‘to be transformed by the renewing of [our] minds’ (Romans 12:1). As students, researchers and budding academics, we meet to encourage each other and explore what God is calling us to be and to do in the university and outside. As we ask questions about our faith, our work, our relationships and our world, we seek to share wisdom and learn from each other by God’s Spirit. This year we will particularly be thinking about such questions as:

  • What is ‘the imagination’ and where does it come from?
  • How important is imagination in a Christian life?
  • How does imagination contribute to the sciences, humanities, social sciences and other disciplines?
  • How could our relationships with other students and academics be transformed?

The weekend will featured talks, group discussion, creative sessions, outdoor leisure and worship time, all offering an opportunity to engage with fellow Christian university members and helping us to integrate our academic life with our faith in Jesus Christ.

The speakers

Adrienne Chaplin

Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin is a philosopher of art with a particular interest in materiality and meaning, and the relationship between faith and art. Born in the Netherlands, Adrienne gained her PhD in philosophy from the Free University of Amsterdam, in which city she also studied art history (with Hans Rookmaaker), musicology and violin. She studied aesthetics with Calvin Seerveld in Toronto, Canada, where she met her British husband Jonathan Chaplin, a political theorist. She was an Inter-Varsity staff worker for music students in London, where both of their children were born. From 1999 until 2007 Adrienne taught philosophical aesthetics at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto, during which time she also served as President of the Canadian Society for Aesthetics. She is co-author of Art and Soul: Signposts for Christians in the Arts (IVP) and currently works as a freelance writer and speaker, based in Cambridge, UK.

picture of Dr Clifford as a cowboyMike Clifford is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham and a volunteer with Tearfund, a Christian relief and development charity.  His research interests are in combustion, biomass briquetting, cook stove design and other appropriate technologies.  In 2009, he was voted "engineering lecturer of the year" by the Higher Education Academy's Engineering Subject Centre for his innovative teaching methods involving costume, drama, poetry and storytelling.

Dr Maithrie Whitepicture of Dr White imagining something enjoys dabbling with theology, theory, and the magic of words, mixing them all up one way or another. After completing her undergraduate degree in English Literature, she  lectured in the Department of Cultural Studies (Sri Lanka) prior to coming to the UK. She is a writer and was shortlisted twice for the Sri Lankan National English Literary Award. Her inter-disciplinary doctorate (Literature/ Critical Theory, with smatterings of Philosophy & Theology) at the University of Nottingham focused on Metaphysics, Fantasy and SciFi. She returned to Sri Lanka for a couple of years where she lectured and turned into a zombie when Head of the Department of English. She was involved with FOCUS (IFES - Fellowship of Christian University Students, Sri Lanka) and was Associate Staff worker & speaker at Student & Graduate Conferences. The passion and vision of FOCUS fired the vision of the Postgrad conference founded in 2003.
She relocated to UK after marriage. She is currently the editor of the International Journal of Ethnic and Social Studies and is pursuing theology. Fascinated by the mystery of the Universe, she reads incessantly, searches for four leafed clover and watches Monty Python, Black Adder, Dr Who and Top Gear.