Jesuits and Arts Around the World

Mapping our work in the arts
Connecting individuals and institutions

Beitrag zu der Reihe „Replace Rubens“ von Walid Raad in der Kunst-Station Sankt Peter Köln; Photo: Christopher Clem Franken, © Walid Raad


The Society of Jesus has mapped many of its works worldwide. There are maps for social centers, for migration related apostolates, or for education. There is no map however for the institutions or individuals that work with art. Whether they be art centers, cultural centers, or just personal projects, such mapping is missing and the lack of it impoverishes the mission of the Society: Jesuits are not aware of the importance of connecting faith to art, funding for these apostolates is more difficult, and networking can only happen based on word of mouth.
Mapping the Jesuit institutions and individuals that work in the field of art can provide a useful tool for our common mission. The Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies has over the last few years worked on a number of different maps that can be used as examples of what one can achieve with this project. On this particular instance, once this map is underway it can be used to know for instance who is working with contemporary painting, or what institutions dealing with arts can be found in one Assistance, or what collections is the Society responsible for worldwide. It is an endeavor that requires little effort from collaborators, with high promise in terms of helping Jesuits connecting dots.

Main objectives

To publicize the activity and contact of individual Jesuits and of institutions involving the Society of Jesus in the field of arts thus facilitating the connecting for collaborative work, for common grant applications, or for benchmarking good practices

To learn about what the Jesuits on a global scale are up to with regard to the arts

Expected Outputs

A map of the main Jesuit institutions and individuals working in the field of arts

A publication collecting essays from some of the most relevant works the Society of Jesus has throughout the world regarding faith and arts

A Symposium with participants from all major works around the world


Three key resources will be used on this first stage of the project:

  • A reading through of all the 2023 catalogues to look for institutions and individuals whose mission explicitly refers any relation with the arts;
  • A contact with every single Province through the Socius, enquiring generally about whether there are institutions or individuals working in the field of arts in that specific Province;
  • A personal contact with every single institution or individual that was singled out in the two prior steps mentioned above looking for specific information on each work based on a common Google Form.

Data Gathering

Mapping these works finds challenges, one of them being the fact that there is no previous map one can use as a guide. There are also difficulties related to who makes the cut: do we only accept works dealing with contemporary art? Or institutions owned by the Society? Or works currently active but not those which may have closed? These and other examples will be part of the research that will set the parameters for the map, and will become clearer in the course of the initial survey.

Data gathering may address but not be limited to these categories:

  • General description of the work that is being done, when it started, what insight was in the beginning of it
  • Main activity
  • Main achievements
  • Impact/ outreach
  • Disciplines involved: fine arts vs literature vs performative arts vs filmmaking etc.
  • Contemporary art vs other (classical, historic, etc.)
  • Owned by the Society vs not owned
  • Institutional vs individual work
  • Geographical implant
  • Website or other info
  • Museum vs collection vs (…)

Initial References

For the survey starting in May 2024, the plan is to collect names and places of institutions and individuals dealing with art as a generic field. The following institutions can serve as an example of what the map is looking for (though not exclusively looking at institutions such as these):

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