Festival Themes

Spirit & Place has always anchored its work in annual themes. From Remembering and Reconciling and Food for Thought to our more recent one-word themes such as Play, Risk, Home, and 2020’s Origins, we have used themes to create a time of focused reflection, fellowship, and conversation for the community.

Learn more about our current and future themes below.

ORIGINS: 2020 Theme
“Clockwork: A Multimedia Concert Constructed in 24 Hours”

Spirit & Place Themes

Imagine what Central Indiana would look and feel like if we practiced 10 days of gratitude? If we collectively reflected, enacted, and demonstrated what it means to give, accept, and center a spirit of appreciation while sharing space with strangers, wrestling with new ideas, and creatively expressing ourselves?

Gratitude plays a role in several of the world’s religions, influences ancient and modern philosophical thought, and finds expression in a range of artistic practices. In November of 2024, Spirit & Place invites you to move beyond cliched interpretations of “thanksgiving” to explore the theme of GRATITUDE in all its depth and meaning.

By asking how our communities and organizations could be different if we foregrounded gratitude, we hope festival applicants will craft events designed to explore from where gratitude emanates, how it is expressed, the function it serves in public and spiritual life, and the ways in which human creativity has blossomed and shined when expressing gratitude. We also hope the community will be given a chance to express its own feelings of gratitude in participatory events aimed at strengthening our collective sense of place and belonging.

Click here to download theme prompts!

The phenomena we call “nature” includes plants, insects, animals, and everything living thing in between. Sometimes we call it Mother Nature, the environment, or wilderness.

But Nature (with a capital “N”) is the whole system of existence, arrangement, forces, and events not controlled by humankind. Let’s call that the Universe or Creation.

Fascinatingly, nature also refers to something – or someone’s – basic and inherent features. Their character, essence, or substance.

Whether exploring the literal aspects of nature such as earth, wind, fire, and water, or deeply philosophical or religious ideas about “human nature,” the theme of NATURE welcomes you to delve into the elements of life.

Explore topics tied to the natural world and its flora, fauna, and ecosystems. Or, engage with the world’s philosophies and religions to take a deep look at what makes us human. Examine or create art with or about nature; make music in harmony with the landscape; or tell stories out in the woods! Have fun with NATURE and consider it from a variety of perspectives.

Using the arts, humanities, and religion, Spirit & Place encourages you to explore the theme with a broad lens and to create moments of reflection, delight, and wonder for our Central Indiana community.

Spirit & Place
Indiana University – Indianapolis
425 University Blvd., CA 003B
Indianapolis, IN 46202

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