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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Event Archive

Durham World Heritage Site Lecture: A sense of place? Pilgrimage and the senses, past, present - and future

2nd May 2018, 17:30, Palace Green Library Learning Centre, Dr Dee Dyas

This event has been re-arranged from Wednesday 28th February 2018 to Wednesday 2nd May 2018 at 5.30 pm

Not only are pilgrims increasingly visible on pilgrimage trails and at sacred sites around the world today, the activities of pilgrims past and present are also being extensively scrutinised by scholars from a wide range of disciplines. Routes are mapped, shrines described, saints and cults analysed, pilgrim communities compared, the rise and fall of sacred sites recorded. All this is of great value. Yet the core dynamics of pilgrimage, the factors which make engagement with sacred sites so powerful, remain curiously elusive. What it is that makes 'place' so alluring and why have human beings across otherwise diverse cultures and periods so often been inclined to identify places as special and map meaning on to them? How is sacredness identified and a sense of sacredness subsequently communicated to those who visit, so that they too may experience it? And what part do the senses play?

In this lecture, Dr Dyas will explore the experience of sacred place in the history of Christian pilgrimage – and ask what the future may hold in terms of helping diverse audiences engage with and enjoy sacred heritage sites.

Dr Dee Dyas is Reader in the History of Christianity and Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture and the Centre for Pilgrimage Studies at the University of York. She is currently leading a major AHRC-funded research project, ‘Pilgrimage and England’s Cathedrals, past and present’. Her research interests and publications have focused primarily on the history, experience and significance of pilgrimage from the earliest centuries to the present day and the interaction of Christian belief and practice with various aspects of western culture, especially literature and art.

The lecture ends at 6.30pm and is followed by a wine reception which will finish just before 8.00pm.

Entry is free, but please note that places for this event will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. To book your place click here.

This event has been re-arranged from Wednesday 28th February 2018 to Wednesday 2nd May 2018 at 5.30 pm

Contact for more information about this event.