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Cambridge Interfaith Programme

A box of objects primed to assist a young storyteller - a recipe for challah is visible

Join this interactive workshop to explore stories of peculiar, boundary-crossing objects and the dynamic lives of things in religious worlds. Includes chance to share your own experiences. Everyone welcome! 

Far from being the hapless companions to wilful humans, or the silent backdrop to social drama, things have lives. The ability to encapsulate entire lifeworlds. Things move across space and time, charting cycles, relations and patterns. Things are the main protagonists of stories, histories and cosmologies. They have miraculous powers, make decisions, determine futures… And, they often resist easy categorisation.

In this thing-focused workshop, scholars tell short stories about the lives of objects. Stories will touch on shared rituals, ambiguity, mixture, and many kinds of inter-religious relation. Each object story will also cast fresh light on the life, practice and methods of its storyteller.

Together, we will discover how objects (and people?) cross boundaries.

About the scholars

This event is organised by Dr Anastasia Badder and Dr Safet HadžiMuhamedović for the Cambridge Interfaith Programme. Storytellers include scholars from the University of Cambridge and beyond:

  • Anastasia Badder (Faculty of Divinity) works on Jewish lives and languages and contemporary Europe 
  • Hina Khalid (Faculty of Divinity & Woolf Institute) works on historical philosophy and poetry in the Indian subcontinent.
  • Safet HadžiMuhamedović (Faculty of Divinity) works on shared sacred landscapes, syncretism and post-conflict interfaith relations
  • Susie Triffitt (Faculty of Divinity) is studying people who became Christian during the pandemic, particularly through online engagement.
  • Vanessa Paloma Elbaz (Faculty of Music) works on interdisciplinary projects around music and inter-religious encounter.

An interactive workshop

Discover your talent for inter-religious inquiry. Flex your storytelling muscles.

Those attending the workshop are invited to take an active role. The workshop will include a chance to join small group discussion, enabling all who choose to share an object and/or tell an object-based story.

Workshop venue

The workshop will be in the Gibson Hall, at the rear of Downing Place Church (CB2 3EL). The venue is fully accessible.

Downing Place Church is located close to Lion’s Yard shopping centre, and less than 5 minutes’ walk from the Market Square. Those attending other Festival events at the New Museums Site should allow 2¬-3 minutes to move between venues. (On older maps, the church may appear as St Columba's. It is a United Reformed Church.)

Free event - booking recommended

This storytelling workshop is part of the 2023 Cambridge Festival. Bookings open (on Eventbrite) when the full festival programme is released (Monday 13 February 2023).

Advance booking is recommended, though some places may be available on the day on a first come, first served basis. If the event is oversubscribed, preference will be given to those who book.

Families are welcome at this event. Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult at all times.


Saturday, 25 March, 2023 - 14:30 to 16:30
Event location: 
Gibson Hall, Downing Place Church, CB2 3EL

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