Lancaster University professor provides ‘real world’ anchor in new book


Professor Stuart Walker’s book ‘Design and Spirituality’ set against his photographic composition ‘Sacred Symbols’.
Professor Stuart Walker’s book ‘Design and Spirituality’ set against his photographic composition ‘Sacred Symbols’.

The link between design and spirituality comes under the microscope in a new book just published by a Lancaster University professor.

The book, ‘Design and Spirituality’,  which examines the philosophical context of our current situation and its implications for design has attracted a review by former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

Written by Professor Stuart Walker, a lecturer in Design, Sustainability and Contemporary Issues at the University’s Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, the book explores how modernity and our constricted notions of progress have contributed to today’s crisis of values.

A wide range of topics are covered, including material culture and spiritual teachings; sustainability and the spiritual perspective; traditional and indigenous knowledge; technology and spirituality; notions of meaningful design; and how particular material things can have deeper, symbolic significance.

There are also reflections on areas such as the language of design; busyness and its relationship to wisdom; design and social disparity; and traditional sacred practices.

Professor Walker, a leading thinker in the field, says: “While not avoiding issues that are controversial, and sometimes hard-hitting, in ‘Design and Spirituality’ I try to get to the heart of the key issues affecting us today.”

It is written in a highly readable and accessible format and presents arguments in a manner that invites the reader to reflect and think about where we are all going, why we are going there and what really matters. 

Rowan Williams, author of ‘The Way of St Benedict’, said in his review: “The challenge for us as human beings is to work out how we live humanly, taking our part in a larger and more mysterious set of processes – not trying to stand above or outside the world…Stuart Walker anchors us in that ‘real world’ – so different from what we often mean by the phrase – and reintroduces us to our physical and spiritual selves."

The book was published on December 31 by Routledge

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