2019 Workshops and Breakout Sessions

Vermont Conference on Christianity and the Arts: 2019 Breakout Descriptions

Workshops and Lectures are still works in progress. Some workshops are still subject to change as the sessions develop. However, these descriptions give a good feel for the type of content to expect at the conference.


Intersecting Faith and Story Craft (Eric Taylor)

As writers of faith, we sometimes have something we want to say – a moral, perhaps. Yet we also have the demands of story and of craft, and these resist moralizing. The session looks at the intersection of these two sides, and it also looks at some of the big picture elements that come up in the course of editing our work from a big picture perspective.

Nature and Narrative Non-Fiction: Writing into the Unwritable (Matthew Dickerson)

In his essay “A Native Hill,” Wendell Berry writes, “It is the privilege and the labor of the apprentice of creation to come with his imagination into the unimaginable, and with his speech into the unspeakable.” In this workshop, Matthew Dickerson discusses why this is such an important and worthwhile task for writers—especially writers of Christian faith—and how it can be done well.  

Crafting Short Creative Non-fiction (Eric Taylor)

Creative non-fiction involves writing about real events (for example, stories from our own lives) using techniques of creative writing to also have powerful writing and good story. We’ll talk about elements of focus and craft and style that strength creative non-fiction, elements that help us move hearts while telling a good story and avoiding being preachy. The principles apply to longer writing as well, but in this session, we’ll focus on very short non-fiction (flash non-fiction). Exercises will guide you through a few different types of writing. Then you’ll be able to either continue the exercises or use the techniques to shape a story from an event you want to write about.

Fiction Workshop

Details coming later

The Vermont Conference on Christianity and the Arts, 2008. General sessions were held in the sanctuary of the United Methodist Church, Middlebury.


Writing Poems of Gratitude (Abigail Carroll)

“Everything is a gift. The degree to which we are awake to this truth is a measure of our gratefulness,” says Brother David Steindl-Rast. In this workshop, we will read poems of gratefulness, explore poetry-writing as a lens through which to see the world as gift, and put pen to paper in search of our own practice of gratitude through verse. All levels of writing experience welcome.

Word and World: Sound as Incarnational Technique (Benjamin Myers)

We will explore how poetic devices such as alliteration and assonance can bridge the divide between word and thing and how choices in diction can contribute to a poetics that honors our creator God.

The Redeeming Image: Poetic Concreteness as the Antidote to Gnosticism (Benjamin Myers)

This workshop will help participants focus their poems on concrete images to better connect their words to embodied experience. Participants will generate a memory-based poem in the course of the workshop.

Visual Arts

Learning to Listen as an Artist & Responding in Your Art (Kevin Moffatt)

In this workshop, we’ll begin with historical methods of spiritual attention to the voice of God: Lectio Divina (“Divine Reading” of Scripture), contemplative prayer, etc. We’ll take time to meditate on a Scripture passage and focus on what stands out. Then we’ll consider what sorts of images that “hearing” suggests and how we can respond artistically. We’ll conclude by discussing what we “heard” and our various responses in our different artistic mediums and approaches.  

Photographing Stick Season: Discovering Vermont’s Sense of Place in Late Autumn (Paul Rogers)

While Vermont is legendary for its handsome seasons, its in-between seasons––especially late autumn––are times when one can explore its unadorned landscape and culture to find a sense of place. Vermont photographer Paul Rogers shares images and insights from his decade-long documentary project called Stick Season.

Graphic Design (Sarah McNulty)

Description forthcoming. Check back later.

Film and Originality (Cameron Bushey)

In a world glutted with countless films and videos, it can feel like every chair at the table is taken, like fresh and original creations are impossible.  How does one find a style and a voice that’s uniquely one’s own? Is original even possible?  Cameron will walk participants through a process, not of searching for more options, but of carefully choosing limitations. When we creatively explore within chosen boundaries, our own style and voice will emerge, and we will find ourselves being original. 

Block Printing with Linoleum (Kristine Fradenburg)

In 1905, a German artist began using linoleum, a common flooring material, to create a new form of block relief printing. In this workshop, we’ll learn how to use this art form, carving images into linoleum blocks, rolling ink onto the surface, and make prints from that. No experience is necessary, and all materials will be provided. (Small materials fee may be required.) If you wish, bring a simple sketch to work from.

Watercolor (Linda Turner)

Description forthcoming. Check back late  

Theater in the Church (Patty Orgain Wood)

Church dramas have been presented for centuries. Before the faithful could read, these were an effective means of teaching scripture and inspiring faith. Today, many churches integrate dramatic presentations in their services – short humorous skits, serious monologues, long re-enactments with sets and full-scale production. This workshop sets the stage with basic considerations for developing a short skit. We’ll supply basic props and costumes, offer concepts, coach and encourage you to be creative and play with ideas. This workshop is for everyone interested in drama–newbies and old hands alike. We’ll open hearts and minds to Inspiration, learn from each other, and hopefully have some fun!


Songwriting Workshop with Kenny Hutson & Katy Bowser Hutson

Description forthcoming. Check back late

The Arts in Service to Others

Art and Therapy (Christine Wilkins)

Description forthcoming. Check back late