Creative Dialogue in Rome, Italy: Thinking Beyond Discourse-Based Interfaith Engagement

Creative dialogue is a distinct emergent form of interfaith engagement that should be accounted for in any typology of interfaith dialogue methodologies. Creative dialogue features artistic collaboration and the engagement of interpersonal, artistic, and literary methods toward increasing civic interaction, civic discourse, and awareness of diversity. In this article, the analysis of creative dialogue is grounded in data derived from ethnographic study of an interfaith magazine and programme office located in Rome, Italy, and then parsed with scholarly literature about the benefits of engaging in non-discursive modalities. Creative dialogue is shown to allow for the analytical inclusion of dialogue that is neither discursive, nor overtly religious; one that is chiefly experiential, yet often yields a concrete product. This study of creative dialogue – which extends the boundaries of the standard construct of ‘interfaith dialogue’ far beyond institutional contexts with high-ranking clergy and religious elites – is grounded in a post-secular analysis of religious diversity and pluralism that shows that interfaith dialogue, like religious practice, is fluid, relational, embodied, creative, and socially embedded.

Jenn Lindsay

Social scientist and documentary filmmaker

Dr Jenn Lindsay is an award-winning social scientist and documentary filmmaker specialising in social and religious diversity and a professor of Sociology and Communications at John Cabot University in Rome.