ABOUT Visual Theology

Exploring the spiritual imagination in visual culture

Visual Theology is a symposia for conferences, publications, events, and art commissions that explores the relationship between the spiritual imagination and visual culture. It is an independent organisation and is directed by Madeleine Emerald Thiele.

Through academic conferences and creative events, VT explores the rich tapestry of both historical and contemporary religious imagery and architecture in Europe and beyond. Embracing an interdisciplinary approach, VT encourages dynamic conversations between academic specialists, curators, theologians, professional artists, and church leaders.

Exploring the value of religious imagery, particularly its place and function in the twenty-first century, VT seeks to encourage new forms of critical dialogue with a compassionate and objective eye, rather than a doctrinaire approach. VT is of relevance to those of all faiths and none. Its central tenet is to ask how sacred art and ideas of the numinous can play a transformative role in public discourse, public spaces, and public architecture. Visual Theology was co-founded in 2018 by Madeleine and Dr. Sheona Beaumont.

Madeleine Emerald Thiele – Director and Founder

Madeleine is an art historian whose research examines Tractarian aesthetics, John Ruskin, Venice and the philosophy of beauty and decay, with a particular focus on British and Italian art, architecture, and culture between the 1840s–1900s. Madeleine has presented papers internationally, taught at the University of Bristol, and Marlborough College, and has written for the Victorian Web. She was also the Visual Arts Editor for the journal Harts & Minds throughout its lifespan and has over fifteen years of teaching, public speaking, gallery tours, and event organisation experience to her name.


Dr. Sheona Beaumont – Co-Founder (2018-2023)

Sheona was a co-founder of Visual Theology in 2018. She continues her work in the vein of VT, but working as an independent artist and writer. She remains a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London.

Banner image: Mark Dean, Station VI: The Veil of Veronica (offset Halo), 2012; video and sound projection on the Henry Moore altar, St. Stephen Walbrook, 15th April 2017. Featured in Chapter 10 of Transforming Christian Thought in the Visual Arts © Mark Dean