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Fellowship of the Faithless

Julie Miller

Ends 15 December 2012

Evangelism, familiar to the people of Belfast, is the process of promoting a set of beliefs in an attempt to convert others to the same belief.
Making something small happen began as a simple exploration of the possibilities that evangelism holds as an artistic methodology.
The work attempts to promote dialogue about evangelism, gift giving and reciprocal obligation. Reciprocal obligation describes the feeling that once a gift has been received, one should be given in return. I am interested in how this same obligation functions within public art in Belfast.
I have used three approaches to explore these themes.

  1. The first are the tracts, a form of evangelical pamphlet, written and distributed by me on the streets of Belfast.
  2. The second is the account given of my experiences during the distribution of the tracts, which takes place on my blog.
  3. The third is a series of events that deconstruct the traditional protestant church service and investigate how they can be used to address a range of secular needs.

The work is not designed or desired to be spectacular, its strength is in its persistence. I have adopted the passive approach of one particular Christian street evangelist often seen at Belfast City Hall, who first sparked my interest in the potential of evangelism as art. This work uses many of the qualities and values that are often attributed to Christianity but reclaims these as an intrinsic part of my secular lived experience.
The project explores what a Fellowship of the Faithless may look like and how it could function. Not as a means to exclude those with religious beliefs, but as a fellowship which does not build its foundation on them, but rather on art and its possibilities.
Text: Julie Miller

A love of baking – tract 4 day 6

Julie Miller: Distribution of pamphlets

08 December, 2pm: Artist Testimony

Dear all

I am hosting an event on the 8th December, the event is an opportunity to discuss why we believe in art. I am interested in the parallels between art and religion and in using religious methodologies as artistic methodologies. Giving Testimony is a way Christians share their story, what their life was like before becoming a Christian, how they became a Christian and how their life has changed since. I am asking artists to share their experiences using this established method. As a guide you would be asked to share what your life was like before you were an artist, how you became and artist and how your life has changed since. I would ask that those prepared to share would do so without the aid of powerpoint and in a language that is accessible to everyone. This exploration is questioning how the accountibility to share religious experiences to strengthen bonds and for conversion of others functions within art. The event will run from 2pm there are 10 available spaces to share your stories each person will have 10 minutes. There are 10 available audience spaces, there will be a discussion afterwards. Tea, coffee and cake will be provided.
Any further questions or to participate please email me anyone not wishing to share but just to experience the event please email to book a space also.
Best wishes

'I arrived at my usual spot (which has now become the drain cover outside GAP on Royal Avenue) at around 12.30 today, set my timer and got to work. The free bible giver was there again today and I noticed several people stop to talk with him. I had a couple of people stop and talk to me also. One man stopped to say he had read the tract yesterday and he thought it was really good, another passed by twice, the second time he stopped to say he really enjoyed the tract and that he was going to try baking for strangers so I would love to know if he does and how it goes. This aspect of the work that I put the tracts out there but get little feedback or shared experience beyond handing the tract over is something I would like to work on.'
Text: Julie Miller. From her blog- Making Something Small Happen