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On 12 April 1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first human in outer space and the first to orbit the Earth. 2011 sees the fiftieth anniversary of that event. In almost every human culture the sky functions as a backdrop for mythical encounters, employing the celestial environment as a stage set for narratives of human and divine experience. That moment when human beings first left the planet gave us a different perspective on the sky.

THE EVENT:This conference will bring together scholars to examine the relationship between the heavens and culture through the arts, literature, religion and philosophy, both in history and the present. We have accepted proposals from 80 academics in the arts, humanities, social sciences and sciences. Topics include astronomy and music, literature, painting and the visual arts, architecture, religion, history and society.

THE EXHIBITION : The conference is proud to present an exhibition of David Malin's extraordinary and beautiful pioneering space photography. The exhibition, Visions of Heaven, is curated by Darrelyn Gunzburg and held at The Bristol Gallery. The exhibition will be launched with a champagne reception (included in the conference registration) on Friday evening 14th October. You will be able to buy art works signed by David at the launch.

CO-CHAIRS:This interdisciplinary conference is organised jointly by Nicholas Campion (School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, University of Wales Trinity Saint David) and Darrelyn Gunzburg (Department of History of Art, University of Bristol).

PRE- AND POST-CONFERENCE TOURS:
Half-day walking tour of Bristol Cathedral and St Mary Redcliffe Church with Jon Cannon (Thursday 13th October).

Full day coach tour of Glastonbury Abbey, Wells Cathedral and the Bishop's Palace with Jon Cannon (Monday 17th October ). Due to the need to travel by coach this tour has limited numbers. Further information.

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN: Please see our registration page for more details.

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