Research Profile: Rebekah Pryor

BAppSci(Hons), GradCertVisArts, PhD

Research Interests

Rebekah Pryor’s research is focused on Christian feminist theologies, particularly in relation to cognate fields of philosophy of religion and gender studies, as well as contemporary art. Her approach is necessarily interdisciplinary and, through her work as a visual artist and curator, often practice-led.

Rebekah’s PhD focused on visual representations of the gendered body, particularly the maternal body, in contemporary Christian culture and beyond. Her book Motherly: Reimagining the maternal body in feminist theology and contemporary art is based on this research and is contracted to SCM Press for release in late 2021.

Current and ongoing research develops the notion and materialisation of a feminist religious imaginary and particularly focuses on the ecstatic nature of the sexuate body, especially in relation to work by philosopher Luce Irigaray and others, including theologian Catherine Keller, to examine the urgent ecological, political and theological implications and transformative possibilities (including artistic and liturgical) that emerge to promote and enable more ethical approaches to sexuate and other difference in the western Christian church and society at large.

Rebekah is a member of the Australian Collaborators in Feminist Theologies steering committee and works at The University of Melbourne in Arts teaching and research. She is also a visual artist and curator (visit the website) and in 2018 was named among the finalists in The 65th Blake Prize. She is the former curator of Lamppost Gallery, a space dedicated to exploring contemporary art and Christian spirituality, and a member of the Arts and Culture Advisory Panel of her local municipal council.

Recent Publications

Motherly: Reimagining the Maternal Body in Feminist Theology and Contemporary Art. London: SCM Press (forthcoming 2021).

Feminist Theologies: Interstices and Fractures. Edited by Rebekah Pryor and Stephen Burns. Minneapolis: Fortress Press (forthcoming 2021).

Contemporary Feminist Theologies: Power, Authority, Love. Edited by Kerrie Handasyde, Cathryn McKinney and Rebekah Pryor. Abingdon: Routledge (2021).

“Thinking, dancing: Exploring the gaps between ecstasy and distress.” In Contemporary Feminist Theologies: Power, Authority, Love, edited by Kerrie Handasyde, Cathryn McKinney and Rebekah Pryor. Abingdon: Routledge (forthcoming 2020).

“This is My Body: Re-making the maternal image in terms of divine relation and difference.” In Feminist Theologies: Interstices and Fractures, edited by Rebekah Pryor and Stephen Burns. Minneapolis: Fortress Press (forthcoming).

“Performing the Icon and other maternal gestures.” In Topologies of Sexual Difference, edited by Louise Burchill. Albany, NY: SUNY Press (forthcoming).

Lullaby: Births, deaths and narratives of hope.” Religions 11, no. 3 (2020): 138. doi:10.3390/rel11030138

Non-Traditional Research Outputs

Rebekah’s interdisciplinary, practice-led research has also generated Non-Traditional Research Outputs, including numerous public exhibitions and other engagements, among them: Cathedral (a solo exhibition in St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne, 2015), The 65th Blake Prize (a group exhibition of international significance in which she was named among the finalists in 2018), and Holy, Honest Confluences (a group show curated by Rebekah and exhibited at ACU Gallery, Fitzroy in 2019).

For more, visit her website

Her art and writing also appear in other art and theology-related places:

Pattenden, Rod. “Tears of the Mother”, review of Saltcellars by Rebekah Pryor, ArtWay, January 26, 2020

Pryor, Rebekah. “Blue Spring Skies: Yoko Ono’s Five Dots (2014) and other prompts for seeing beyond the image”. Art Reflection for The Gallery, The Cooperative, 2020

Pryor, Rebekah. “Holy, Honest Confluences and the Value of Multiplicity”. Art/s and Theology Australia, 2019