The Sacred spaces project was a collaboration between the Wisdom Project based at Eton Dorney, and Art Beyond Belief, in Slough. The project originally grew out of the reservations and resentment of some Eton boys at attending compulsory chapel, and the idea of giving them a chance to make their views known and their voices heard through video came about. In order to make the project more inclusive, and for a wider range of opinion, we decided to investigate what the idea of sacred means to young people in its widest sense.
What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not the goal.
The project examined what could be identified as a Sacred space, accepting that while such spaces could be places, they could also be times, objects or states of mind. The exploration of what is a special space, a time apart, a time with others, or a time alone, is made through the medium of video – sometimes interviews, sometimes a combination of music and visuals. The project was more than an introspective look at Me Time; it was a reflection of what being Me was about. The Sacred space, time or place was one where thoughts, perceptions and ideas were contemplated, refined and distilled, often with surprising results.
The project was based at Eton College, and involved young people from Eton College, from St. Joseph’s RC School and Upton Court Grammar School. St Joseph’s and Upton Court Grammar were both schools located in Slough.
From participants in Sacred Spaces:
Speaking and realising that it is your voice, you are being heard, and you are you.
How easy it is to not say something and then how hard it becomes not to think it.
The way we can never truly be anyone, but ourselves and whether or not that is positive
Mirrors – I never see myself as the rest of the world does. Only with a mirror can I see my face. To be so far from something, yet so close intrigues me.
Sitting alone in my chair at home – it helps me to focus and reorganise thoughts I have had, often accompanies decision making
Clips from Sacred Spaces – The Internet as a Sacred Space – Personal Views – and an interview with Professor A C Grayling.
Sacred Spaces was launched at Eton College in February 2014. John Breadon, one of the chaplains of the Eton College introduced the programme, following which David Sparrow presented the outcomes. The audience watched clips of the interviews during the evening
During the Interfaith Week 2013, a group of young people from local secondary schools showed video interviews they had produced as part of the Sacred Spaces project.
As part of Fear of Secularism discussion evening, James Gibbons, student at St Joseph’s showed clips from the interview the group produced with the prominent Humanist Professor AC Grayling. James focused on Prof. Grayling’s comments on Persecution of difference, majority norm versus minority norm, the roots of anti-homosexuality, religious morality against human nature and conflicting individual rights. On the same evening, Joe Boorman, student at Eton College was one of the speakers of discussion on doubt, and how faith and doubt go hand in hand.
Attending as part of the panel on 2013 Interfaith Week’s fifth evening discussion on “Fear and Freedom of Speech“, Upton Court Grammar School student Farhaan Aziz questioned whether freedom of speech actually existed. Speaking of his grandfather’s experiences as a journalist in Pakistan, he talked about the reasons for restrictions on freedom of speech, such as beliefs of those in control, the exercise of power, and to act against those in opposition. He said that the law of defamation stopped journalists seeking the truth. Stressing that the future of investigative journalism is at the mercy of media corporations, Farhaan suggested that it was time to decide what freedom of speech actually is, how much we value it, and what we are going to do about it.