Is religion the topic of the moment? I would say 'yes' judging by the talks and events happening in London in recent months. I have always enjoyed the exhibitions and events organised by the Wellcome Collection but as it becomes more popular, it is also harder to book onto their free events.
I managed to book onto the 'The Culture of Pilgrimage' talk, which was part of the Pilgrimage evening that coincided with their two current exhibitions, 'Miracles and Charms'. I visited the exhibitions a few months ago, and was especially fascinated by 'Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings', which exhibited over 100 of votive paintings from Mexico documenting 'miracles' experienced by ordinary Mexicans dating from the 18th century to the present day.
The evening talk was given by Professor, John Eade, exploring briefly on religious and secular pilgrimage sites from Lourdes to Graceland, which was interesting but not as much as the Q & A afterwards. I think the fact that the public are interested in religion again and its place in our secular society is a good sign; it shows that we are questioning our lifestyles and our consumption-driven society, even though religion may not be the cure for the crisis we are facing today.
The evening also included a screening of 'Loudres' (2009), which I saw when it was first released here, and coincidentally, it will be aired on BBC4 on Sunday 19th Feb at 10.30pm. This is a beautifully shot, intelligent and objective film on religion, faith and human nature. Along with 'Of Gods and men' (2010), they are the two of the best and memorable films on religion and faith in recent years and I highly recommend them!
Miracles and Charms will end on 26th February.