Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture
Welcome to the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture
Welcome to the web pages for the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, a research and teaching centre within the Faculty of Humanities and the Performing Arts at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. The Centre’s purpose is the consideration of how we live on planet Earth, with particular reference to the sky and cosmos as part of the wider environment.
The Centre’s work is partly historical, partly anthropological and partly philosophical. It has a wide-ranging remit to investigate the role of cosmological, astronomical and astrological beliefs, models and ideas in human culture, including the theory and practice of myth, magic, divination, religion, spirituality, architecture, politics and the arts. Our work considers the ways in which people have tries to live in harmony with the cosmos.
We deal with the modern world as much as indigenous or ancient practices, and our work ranges from the study of Neolithic sites to medieval cosmology, the history of astrology in the ancient world, India and the west, the nature of space and place on Earth as well as in the sky, and the ethics of modern space exploration. We do not confine ourselves to any time period or culture. If it concerns the sky then we will find a place for it!
The main qualification we teach is the distance-learning, on-line, MA Cultural Astronomy and Astrology, the only academic degree in the world which explores humanity’s relationship with the sky. There is no need to live in the UK to study this MA. We have a global community of students and scholars who connect on the web. Modules from the MA are also taken by students in other MAs at the University, including the MAs in Ancient Religion, the Study of Relgions, Engaged Anthropology, and Ecology and Spirituality.
We also offer the following flexible options for study which suit students with either particular interests or with commitments which make it difficult to sign up for the full MA:
- Occasional student (take one or two MA modules)
- Postgraduate Certificate (three MA modules)
- Postgraduate Diploma (six MA modules)
If you sign up for one of these options initially, you can then progress to the full MA if you wish.
The Centre also supervises PhD students, holds conferences, publishes books and articles, sponsors events and manages research projects. Our major research project of the moment is ‘Welsh Monastic Skies’, an investigation of the alignment of Welsh abbeys in relation to major features in the sky and land. We have been instrumental in developing the concept of the skyscape as a vital feature of human cultures.
- For our research activities see here.
- For our public outreach, including our conferences, events, online public lectures and newsletters see the Sophia Project.
- For publications see The Sophia Centre Press, our academic publisher, founded in 2009 as a spin-out company from the University, Culture and Cosmos, the journal for the history of astrology and cultural astronomy, and Spica, the postgraduate student journal.
- Our other current projects include the Harmony Initiative which explores how people can or do live in harmony with the planet and connects to wider environmental concerns, and the Sophia Tairona project which provides academic support for the Tairona Heritage Trust.
If you are interested in the way we use the sky to create meaning and significance then the Centre may be the best place for you to study. By joining the Sophia Centre you enter a community of like-minded scholars and students whose aim is to explore humanity's relationship with the cosmos.
‘The work of the Centre is as broad as possible and the MA syllabus is ground-breaking, unique and innovative. We study the many ways in which human beings endow the cosmos with value and use the sky as a theatrical backdrop to tell stories and create meaning. ’
Dr Nicholas Campion, Director of the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture.