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February 2017: A focus on visionary voices

Events in February 2017 delve into the visionary and mystical worlds presented in our major exhibition, Hearing Voices: suffering inspiration and the everyday. Immerse yourself in an experiential sound and light installation in the Chapel of the Holy Cross, cross centuries and cosmologies in a public symposium exploring 'voices, visions, and divine inspiration,' and engage with 'the voice of God' in a public lecture by Tanya Luhrmann (Stanford University). The events listed below are free and likely to book up fast, so make sure you reserve a place before the year is out. Follow the links below for further information on the individual events and bookings.

'Tuning into the Light'

Nina Garthwaite and Hearing the Voice

Chapel of the Holy Cross, Durham Cathedral
11 – 25 February 2017, from 10am  4pm


An experimental sound installation which engages with the experience of hearing spiritual voices by blending together in infinite uncontrived and unforeseen ways rich accounts of mystical experience with sound, music and silence. All are welcome to attend this installation free-of-charge, and no advance booking is required.

Professor Tanya Luhrmann on ‘The Voice of God’

Public Lecture
16 February 2017, from 5:30 – 7pm

Learning Centre, Palace Green Library, Durham DH1 3RN

God is in some ways the ultimate uncertainty, since God has no material trace which gives certain evidence of presence. The great achievement of the cognitive science of religion has been to demonstrate that evolved, “natural” qualities of our minds readily generate intuitions about supernatural agency. Yet it is also true that Christians also report that faith is hard: that it takes effort, and that this effort arises from the uncertainty of God’s presence. This talk makes the case that people find evidence of God’s presence in mental events; that different practices of attending to mental events shape mental experience; that different cultures and different theologies emphasize mind and mental process in distinctive ways, and that this has consequences for the way people experience God. I compare the experience of hearing God speak among charismatic Christians in Accra, Chennai and the Bay Area in the United States, and find that God’s voice is recognized differently and experienced differently in these theologically similar but culturally different settings.
Reserve your ticket!
‘Voices, Visions, and Divine Inspiration’

Public Symposium
18 February 2017, 1 – 6pm
St Chad's College Chapel, Durham, DH1 3RN

Join us to explore the spiritual aspects of hearing voices and the way in which these rich and enigmatic experiences have been represented and interpreted in different religious contexts from the medieval period to the present. Together we will investigate the spiritual voices and visions of medieval visionaries – including the French saint Joan of Arc, whose voices inspired her to lead an army; the English mystic Julian of Norwich, whose Revelations of Divine Love retain a powerful influence today; and Margery Kempe, author of the first autobiography in English – as well as the role and representation of voice-hearing in early Mormonism, Buddhism and ayahuasca rituals.

The event features a public lecture by Corinne Saunders and a panel discussion with Durham University’s Chris CookHilary PowellAdam PowellDavid DupuisIsabel Clarke (Clinical Psychologist, author of Psychosis and Spirituality) and Satyin Taylor (Department of Spiritual, Religious & Cultural Care East London NHS Foundation Trust).  A wine reception between 5pm and 6pm will feature readings of specially commissioned works by Sara Maitland and winner of the 2016 Queen’s medal for poetry, Gillian Allnutt.

Reserve your ticket here!
Final guided tour of the 'Hearing Voices: suffering, inspiration, and the everyday' exhibition
25 February 2017, 3:30 
Palace Green Library, Durham, DH1 3RN

Enjoy a guided tour of the Hearing Voices exhibition and learn about the research behind some of the highlights and the making of some of the displays. The guided tours are led by members of the Hearing the Voice research team and students at the ARCH Recovery College in Durham. 
Reserve your ticket!

Further information

This event is part of the linked programme of events around Hearing Voices: suffering, inspiration and the everyday, a major exhibition on voice-hearing produced by Hearing the Voice and Palace Green Library.

About Hearing Voices: suffering, inspiration and the everyday

Hearing a voice in the absence of any speaker is one of the most unusual, complex, and mysterious aspects of human experience. Typically regarded, as a symptom of severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia, voice-hearing is increasingly recognized as an important part of many people’s lives and experience, as well as a phenomenon that has had profound significance, not only for individuals, but across communities, cultures, and history.

From the revelatory and inspirational voices of medieval mystics to those of imaginary friends in childhood, and from the inner voices of writers as they craft their characters to the stories of people from the international Hearing Voices Movement, this exhibition will explore the complexity and diversity of the experience and interpretation of voice-hearing.

This exhibition draws on the work of Hearing the Voice, a large interdisciplinary study of voice-hearing based at Durham University and funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Hearing Voices: suffering, inspiration and the everday will be installed at Palace Green Library, Durham, UK from 5 November 2016 to 26 February 2017.

For more information please see the exhibition website:

If you need any further information regarding any of the above events then please do not hesitate to contact our Hearing the Voice Project Coordinators.
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Hearing the Voice · c/o School of Education, Durham University · Leazes Road · Durham, Northumberland DH1 1SZ · United Kingdom

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