Background & Raison d'ĂȘtre of the Cathedral Lectures

The Cathedral Lectures were set up by Dr Angela Mackie in 2000 in the Selwyn Library of Bishops Court, moving to the Undercroft of the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Parnell, in 2001. Dr Mackie's plan was, and is, to develop, in stages, courses that encompass the classic Liberal Arts as promulgated during the Renaissance and which originated in the time of Plato.

Subjects covered at present include the history and theory of all the major periods of Western Art as well as Italian language and culture. The Italian course has five levels. Future courses may include English literature, Music, and Philosophy. European education developed within the Church during the Middle Ages and it therefore seemed logical to choose an academic setting for the lectures from the ecclesiastical environs of the Cathedral. The Church in Rome was also one of the earliest patrons of the fine arts and so it is most appropriate that the first courses introduced were Art History and Italian.

As universities seem to be moving further and further away from belief in education for its own sake and develop more and more courses with a specific career or meal-ticket in mind, a vacuum in the arts has grown. An appreciation of our Western culture, and with this an understanding of past values and ethics, form the basic raison d'ĂȘtre for these courses. They are informative, they are interesting, and they are great fun!