Imagination, Storytelling,
and Film

G.K. Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture

Summer Conference




Secret Fire

2006 Tolkien Conference

2004 Summer Conference



Second Spring


Landscapes with Angels

Fantasy, Children's Literature
and the Spiritual Role of the Imagination

Oxford, 12 to 15 August 2004

Proceedings of Conference now available

At the beginning of the new millennium, the future of Christian culture passes by way of the imagination. Fantasy literature (and by extension film) has become a vital cultural force shaping an uncertain future. The immense popularity of The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and His Dark Materials speaks for itself. For better or worse, without their being aware of it, the rising generation is receiving its metaphysical and moral formation through the imaginative exploration of 'other worlds'. This international conference, held in the beautiful surroundings of Oxford’s largest college, will analyse and discuss the various trends in fantasy and children’s literature, which increasingly attracts an adult audience as well, hungry for the type of questions that most modern literary forms have ceased to address. We set our discussion against the history of the genre, which is so deeply rooted in British culture, and so entwined with the history of Oxford.


Thursday 12th August: Innocence and Experience

On arrival, will residents please first go to the Lodge at Christ Church to check into their rooms. Conference Registration from 11 am at the Chaplaincy.

Lunches can be purchased in the vicinity.

2.15 pm – Introduction to Conference by Stratford Caldecott

2.45 – The Moral Imagination at Bay by Dr Vigen Guroian, author of Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child's Moral Imagination

3.45 – Tea

4.30 – After the Inklings: Contemporary Children’s Writers by Sarah Johnson, Childrens' Book Critic for The Times

6.45 – Dinner served (Bar open from 6.00)

8.15 – Nurturing the Moral Imagination: Challenges for Children's Literature in the Modern World – A Panel Discussion


Friday 13th August: Do You Believe in Faërie?

8.00-8.45 am – Breakfast

9.00 – The Celtic Fairy World by Owen Dudley Edwards, University of Edinburgh

10.30 – Coffee

11.00 – Tolkien's Elvish England by Stratford Caldecott, Director of the Chesterton Institute and author of Secret Fire: The Spiritual Vision of J.R.R. Tolkien

1.00 pm – Buffet lunch

2.30 – Of Towers and Wardrobes by Dr Thomas Howard, author of The Novels of Charles Williams

3.45 – Tea

4.30 pm – Harry Potter and Mythopoeia by Dr Theodore J. Sherman, editor of Mythlore: A Journal of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Mythopoeic Literature

6.45 – Dinner served (Bar open from 6.00)

8.15 – Christian Storytelling: A Teaching Workshop with Dr Francesca Aran Murphy, University of Aberdeen, author of The Comedy of Revelation (this session will be particularly interesting for young people and students)


Saturday 14th August: The Quest Reloaded

8.00-8.45 am – Breakfast

9.00 – The Hero's Journey: An Audio-Visual Presentation with Dwight Longenecker

10.30 – Coffee

11.00 – Landscapes with Angels: Spiritual Combat and the Modern Imagination by Léonie Caldecott, Associate Director of the Chesterton Institute (UK) and co-editor of Second Spring (with film clips and readings)

12.30 pm – Mass available

1.00 pm – Buffet lunch

2.30 – Faith Seeking Understanding Through Fantasy: A Plenary Discussion [NB. Philip and Carol Zaleski are unfortunately unable to attend]

3.45 – Tea

4.30 – Tour of Christ Church from Tom Gate (optional) £7 per person

6.00 – Evensong in Christ Church Cathedral

7.15 – Bar open 8.00 – Banquet in the Great Hall of Christ Church with special guest Dr Barbara Reynolds, Editor of Seven

The Bar will be open after the Banquet until approx. 11.00 pm.


Sunday 15th August: Departures

9.00-9.45am – Breakfast

Afternoon: Inklings Tour of Oxford with Walter Hooper, departing from the Eagle and Child at 2pm, aiming to return to St Giles by 5pm


Liturgical Calendar

There will be a Roman Catholic Mass at 6.00 pmon Thursday and Friday, and at 12.30pm (just before lunch) on Saturday.

Anglican Holy Communion after 7.15am Matins on weekdays in Christ Church Cathedral.

Sunday services in Oxford are listed on the following web sites, and information is also available from the organizers. High Mass (RC) for the Feast of the Assumption at 11.00am at the Oxford Oratory and 6.15pm at Blackfriars.

Catholic   Anglican and Anglican   Orthodox


Stratford Caldecott, G.K. Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture,
6a King Street, Oxford OX2 6DF (01865-55 21 54) [email protected]

Transport options


Page design by Mark Armitage
for the G.K. Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture, December, 2003