A few weeks ago, we revealed that Alastair John Gordon (or Ally to his friends) is going to be artist in residence at the Catalyst Festival 2018. But what exactly is he going to be doing? We caught up with him to find out a bit more.

So, what is an artist in residence? 

An artist in residence brings a bit of colour and creativity to the week. We know God is invested in the creative arts as all acts of making are born from his character. The arts shape the way we think and act. The job of an artist in residence is to bridge the gap between the church and the arts to open possibilities for understanding and dialogue.

Through the week I’ll be exhibiting my own paintings, running a few seminars on art and opening the doors for you to come and make something as well.

What will you be doing specifically for artists and creatives at the festival?

There’s so much we can say here. We’ll be discussing the role of the artist in contemporary culture and signs of faith in the creative arts. We’ll also discuss some of the nitty gritty around making a living in the arts, working with integrity and paying the bills without selling out. I work in the art world. I don’t work for a church. I’m looking forward to meeting fellow practitioners, especially those who are out there in the workplace and real art worlds.

What’s going on in your life right now?

I’m working on paintings for a show here in London in the new year. The studio is full of drawings, spreadsheets and empty coffee cups. I have a show that opened four weeks ago in New York which is very exciting and runs until early January. Praying for good follow up on that.

In Morphe, we just launched a new lecture series about the good art can serve in society. Check out the MAKE GOOD Lectures on the website. God has been very kind and I’m thrilled so many people come who don’t identify in the Christian tradition. It’s been very encouraging and a challenge as we think about what God might want for us next. The regular crit groups, group shows and gigs carry on as usual. I also lecture in painting at the Leith School of Art in Edinburgh. We’re running a new course this year on professional practice which has prompted me to pull up my socks a little before I start lecturing on being professional!

What are the main things that you are praying for the arts and for the church at the moment?

We’re gearing up for Christmas events right now at church. Very excited about the carol services and Christmas music. It’s such a great opportunity to invite mates to church. Everybody likes to sing carols and it’s the one time of year my mates in the arts actually respond to invites. Of course they get a free beer and mince pie which always helps.

Arts wise, lets keep praying for those who influence and shape the arts. There are openings through the academies at the moment for ideas of the post-secular and certain philosophical discussions around faith in the contemporary arts. The arts influence us; the question for us is- who is influencing the arts for the love of Christ? If Christians don’t get involved in the arts then we can’t complain about the lack of a credible voice for Christian belief in creative culture.


Thanks Ally. All that remains then is to get booked in and keep your eyes peeled for further updates about Sputnik festival shenanigans.