We thank our contributors from many areas of the world:
This website began as a collaborative venture by colleagues around the University of Divinity, Australia. Contributors now come from many faiths, paths and occupations. We also thank the diverse communities, traditions and events that we explore. If you are interested in contributing writings, photos, audio or video to Exploring Ritual, please CONTACT US. The list below is organised with the most recent contributors at the top. Editors are listed at the bottom of this page. We also maintain an ongoing conversation on our Facebook page.
Laura E. Goodin is a writer and academic living in Melbourne. Her books are traditionally published by Odyssey Books, her short stories have appeared in numerous print and online publications, and her scripts, poetry, and libretti have been performed internationally. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Western Australia; her research interests include genre studies, science fiction and fantasy, speculative performance writing, and the pedagogy of creative writing.
Simon Edwards is a Melbourne-based musician and practicing Buddhist. He keenly explores transcendent experience and meaning in the liminal space between the two disciplines. He plays guitar in multiple Afrobeat ensembles, and thrives in a collaborative cross-cultural environment. He is a music educator, and is the head of music performance at Box Hill Institute.
Fr Mathew Crane is an Anglican priest in the Western District of Victoria and holds qualifications in literature and theology. He is currently engaged in post-graduate theological studies at Pilgrim College, the University of Divinity. As a country priest, Mathew is keen to find simple, approachable language to help people to find God in the ordinary aspects of everyday life. Mathew is interested in liturgy that helps people to mark significant moments in their lives, especially death and grief; poetry, literature, and the arts. He welcomes invitations to enjoy coffee and conversation! Mathew hopes to write a thesis on holiness in the life of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement.
The Revd Lima Tura is Minister of the Word at the United Church of the Solomon Islands (UCSI), and her ministry is based on Kolombangara Island. Her current posting is Lecturer at Seghe Theological Seminary, where she teaches students who are undertaking the Certificate of Theology. She completed the Bachelor of Theology at Pilgrim Theological College, University of Divinity, Melbourne Australia.
Tegan Northwood is a composer/songwriter, singer, vocal teacher, and sound design/soundscape artist from NSW, Australia, currently travelling in Europe and the U.K. She creates songs and sound pieces that span several genres, from alternative pop to ambient electronica to experimental. She leads vocal harmonics and sound healing groups. She records on the Endgame Records label— her albums include Self-Raising Flower, and Last Days of Home.
Karl F. Volkmar is an Art Historian, dancer, writer, mathematician, teacher, researcher, and photographer. His varied career has included teaching Art History in the Department of Visual Arts, University of Louisiana, Lafayette USA, and writing reviews of artists and exhibits in New Orleans. He participates in folk-dance communities around the world— writes, explores, and travels. In addition to extensive travels in the Americas, he has also traversed many parts of Southeast Asia. When he is not travelling, he is based in Louisiana.
Vincent Plush has just completed his PhD at the University of Adelaide and is moving to Melbourne where he will be a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne. He is well known as a composer, writer, broadcaster and commentator on cultural events, both in Australia and in North America where he lived and worked for almost 20 years.
Rev Dr Rod Pattenden is an artist, art historian and theologian interested in the intersections of religion and the arts. He is minister of Adamstown Uniting Church in Newcastle, Australia. He has written widely contributing to key publications on the work of a number of leading Australian artists as well as developing a number of innovative exhibitions and installation projects. Rod is actively involved in developing Adamstown Arts, an umbrella for creativity and self expression in Newcastle.
Max Posthoorn (Melbourne, Australia) is an artist who works in a variety of media. By referencing liminality, romanticism, and a grand-guignolesque atmosphere, Posthoorn creates multimedia and performative works through labour-intensive processes and elements of ritual. His works directly respond to the surrounding environment and use everyday experiences from the artist as a starting point. He tries to approach a wide scale of subjects in a multi-layered way, and likes to involve the viewer in a way that is sometimes physical. His works are on the one hand accidentally beautiful, on the other hand strikingly confounding.
Fay Magee is a musician, music educator, community music facilitator, ongoing student of liturgical theology and lives in the Wombat Forest, Victoria (in the highlands near Melbourne).
Michael N. Jagessar works for the United Reformed Church as director of Racial Justice and Intercultural Ministry. His publications include Black Theology in Britain (ed. with Anthony G. Reddie, Equinox 2007), Postcolonial Black British Theology (ed. with Anthony G. Reddie, Epworth, 2007), Christian Worship: Postcolonial Perspectives (co-author with Stephen Burns, Equinox, 2011) and Ethnicity: The Inclusive Church Resource (DLT, 2015), as well as many writings concerned with Philip Potter, the World Council of Churches' first Black president.
Sandra Maa Heber-Percy is the author of "Awakening to Consciousness - a Journey from self to Self," and other devotional books in English and Italian including "Dialogues with the Infinite" arising from her experiences in India. Among the innumerable seekers born in Western countries who have looked to India as the symbol of ancient wisdom and higher consciousness, many have been spending long periods in close contact with great spiritual teachers and chosen to invest all their energies and time in the application of their teachings. Sandra Heber-Percy is one of these great souls. Born in Italy, in 1946, Sandra always had a very sensitive and artistic nature, finding expression in painting, writing and fashion design. In 1988 she visited India and immediately fell in love with its colourful culture and deep spirituality. After living for nine years in Puttaparthi, Sandra set off traveling around India to visit holy places and meet Saints, Sages, yogis and enlightened masters.
Christina Rowntree is the coordinator of Artfull Faith, an initiative of the Uniting Church in Australia. Artfull Faith is located at the Centre for Theology and Ministry, Parkville, VIC. This inspirational initiative allows artists and the Church to express faith through the arts. Activities include events, exhibitions, performances and programs such as Our Creative Church, which stimulates creativity in faith communities, and the VicTas Art and Spirituality Network, which enables visual artists to engage and collaborate. Through Artfull Faith, participants can join in regular conversations about topics such as how the arts lead in worship and build bridges to community development, healing and renewal.
Scott Roller (born in Amarillo Texas USA) – Musical education at Univ. of Texas (Austin), North Texas Univ., since 1983 German resident in Essen and Stuttgart. Composer & multi-instrumentalist (cello, mandocello, electric guitar, keyboards, voice, electronics), with a passion for many forms of improvisation. Ensemble work with well-known formations for “new music” and jazz: BL Lacerta, Wolpe Trio, Helios String Quartet, > Gelberklang<, Ensemble modern, Musikfabrik NRW, Abdullah Ibrahim, Mike Svoboda, Scott Fields, Michael Riessler. Collaborations with diverse composers and artists of many persuasions and traditions (dance, theater, spoken word, video/film) for almost four decades. He founded Open_Music (Stuttgart) in 2005, a successful non-profit platform for the practice of improvisation and its application in education. Courses and workshops for people of all ages and dispositions. Many awards from national, state, local and private agencies; since 2012 institutionally funded by the City of Stuttgart. Since 2010 he increased his focus on solo work in electroacoustic media, especially in combination with special events like exhibitions in museums, galleries, and festivals. Special interest in sacred architecture like houses of worship and meditation as a venue for innovative and meaningful artistic experience.
Kieran Crichton is an independent research scholar working in musicology and theology. He completed his doctoral studies at the University of Melbourne, where he had a participant-observer role as an historian of the Conservatorium during a period of substantial reform in the years 1901-1914. He also served on the Graduate Studies Committee as they implemented major curriculum reforms flowing from Growing Esteem (2007-2009). Kieran later went on to study at Trinity College Theological School; during his theological studies, he enjoyed learning how to read the Bible in Greek and exploring deep questions of faith and belonging. He is also an active freelance musician and teacher, with a strong profile as a community builder working with singing groups. Kieran is the Victoria chapter convenor for the Australian Academy of Liturgy.
The Revd Dr John Smith is a retired Uniting Church Minister. BA, MA, (UWA), PhD, (Edith Cowan), Diploma of Theology, (Melbourne College of Divinity), ThM, (Princeton Theological Seminary), Graduate Certificate in Monastic Studies (St John’s University, Minnesota). He is an Honorary Research Associate of the University of Divinity. Formerly from WA where he trained for the ministry, he was the Convenor of the WA Chapter of the Australian Academy of Liturgy 1991-93. He has had a long standing interest in Liturgy, Church History, Benedictine spirituality and history, and is an Oblate of the Benedictine Community, New Norcia, WA. From March 2000-13 He was minister of Mark the Evangelist Uniting Church, North Melbourne. In retirement he is pursuing his historical and theological interests through writing and some teaching. He was a guest editor of New Norcia Studies Number 12 (2004), and The Story of New Norcia (2008). He has co-published and co-taught Benedictine studies with Dr Katharine Massam, and is the author of The Rosendo Salvado Bicentenary Booklet (2014). He is a contributor to New Norcia Studies, and the journal of the Benedictine Union of Australia and NZ, Tjurunga.
David Hykes is a contemplative mentor, composer, singer, teacher of music and meditation, and visual artist. He founded the Harmonic Presence Foundation which since 1981 has explored resonant relationships between mind, music, and the medicine of healing harmonization. In 1975 he founded Harmonic Chant, an approach to a primordial "music of the spheres" based on the harmonic series, as found in all music, and throughout the universe. The Harmonic Presence work he has shared world-wide since 1980, through concerts, retreats, seminars, and conferences, explores resonant relationships between music, mind, meditation and the medicine of healing harmonization. He is also a noted “sacred cinema” film composer (Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s "Travellers and Magicians,” Ron Fricke’s ”Baraka,” Peter Brook’s "Meetings with Remarkable Men,” two films by Terrence Malick ...). For information, please visit www.harmonicpresence.org.
Jeremy Yeo graduated with a BA (Hons) in New Media Art (Video Art) in Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore. Jeremy is also a professional drummer in the music scene in Singapore and around Asia. Growing up as a drummer in RiverLife Church Singapore, Jeremy has also worked with the pentecostal Assemblies of God denomination in Singapore. Jeremy has also travelled to various parts of Asia doing Worship Band and Drum-set training. Jeremy is currently completing his Master's in Contemporary Music Practice at Box Hill Institute.
Ian Parsons is a PhD candidate in musicology at Monash University, where he is researching the symbolism of Karlheinz Stockhausen's opera cycle LICHT. He also presents a weekly radio show of contemporary avant-garde music, The Sound Barrier on PBS FM in Melbourne, Australia. His professional background is in social justice policy and law reform but has now retired from this work to focus full time on his musicological research. He travels regularly to Kürten, Germany, to further his study of Stockhausen's music.
Bryan Cones is a presbyter in the Episcopal Church's Diocese of Chicago, a former editor (at Liturgy Training Publications and U.S. Catholic), and adjunct lecturer in liturgy at Episcopal Divinity School. His recent publications include "Field Notes from a Pilgrimage: Lessons Under the Southern Cross for a Pilgrim from the Lands of the North Star" in the current edition of the Australian Journal of Liturgy.
Warren Burt is a composer, performer, writer, video artist, software designer, etc. who was born in the USA in 1949 and emigrated to Australia in 1975. His studies include BA State University of NY, Albany; MA University of California, San Diego; PhD University of Wollongong. He has taught in many institutions in Australia and the USA, and has performed his electronic and instrumental music in North America, Europe and Asia. He currently teaches and directs Post-Graduate studies in Music at Box Hill Institute, Melbourne. His website is warrenburt.com, and here is a link to his lecture slides, Music and Spirituality in the 20th Century
Stephen Burns [ former Editor ] is Coordinator of Ministry Studies at Pilgrim Theological College, where he accompanies the candidates for public ministries of the church, and teaches across worship and ministry units. He is Professor of Liturgical and Practical Theology in the University of Divinity. A British-Australian citizen, he studied theology at the universities of Durham (BA, hons; MA; PhD) and Cambridge (MLitt) and is a presbyter in the Church of England. He has taught in ecumenical seminaries in the UK (The Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, Birmingham, where he is International Research Consultant; Cranmer Hall and the Wesley Study Centre, Durham) as well as in the USA (Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge) and Australia (United Theological College, Sydney).
Maya Kriem [ Editor ] is an artist, scholar, and educator. She has always had a deep fascination with cultural encounters and intersections. Born and raised in Morocco, Maya has made Australia her home for the last 16 years. She holds a PhD in Cultural Studies from the University of Melbourne and currently finds her biggest joy and inspiration in being with her three home schooled children.
Carol O’Connor [ Editor ] is a writer, teacher and the Manager of St Peter’s Bookroom in Melbourne. She has a Masters in English Literature; a particular interest in poetry, meditation and Celtic spirituality; and follows her own mystical path.
Catherine Schieve [ Editor, Web Producer ] is a multimedia artist, researcher, composer, and writer originally from the US. Her academic specialisation is Performance Studies, a field combining anthropology and creative practice which she teaches in the Master of Contemporary Music program at Box Hill Institute. Among many university posts she was for 10 years an Associate of the Bard College (New York) Institute for Writing and Thinking, a transformative experience. Recent projects over the past few years include: Social Cohesion, Marginalisation and Violent Extremism in Regional and Rural Victoria: A Dual Case Study - an ethnographic study for the State of Victoria; Cage 101 Conference at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris in Tanjung Malim Malaysia - as visiting artist she created a suite of documentary photos, videos, and soundscapes and a keynote performance experiencing intercultural Malaysia through its sacred and ordinary spaces; as visiting artist at the University of Wisconsin, she exhibited a 40-foot long graphic score Shading and interacted with local musicians. She creates performance installations with the Astra Music Society in Melbourne, most recently new works Experience of Marfa, Earth and Lustre, and Voices and Serpents (2016). Her engagement with religion is lifelong and linked with her artistic practice - it may have all begun when as a child growing up in Belgium she stood just inches away from the Van Eyck brothers' Adoration of the Lamb in the Ghent Cathedral, peering into the mysterious painting. Her great-uncle, the artist Waldo Chase of the Pacific Northwest is always a strong aesthetic influence with his radical use of Japanese woodcutting to render the landscape anew. Over time her work has expanded to explore many environments, faiths and cultures, enhanced by travel. She is particularly immersed in divine chant and the creative power of sound, and is an avid arts technologist and video artist. Her academic training is at University of Texas (BM Hons / MM), University of Iowa (MFA), and University of California, San Diego (PhD).