The Open University’s Music Department, the Cowper & Newton Museum and St Peter & St Paul Parish Church, Olney co-hosted 2 conference days.
Day 1: Friday 15 July 2022 at The Open University, Milton Keynes
Papers were presented online and in person, followed by Q&A covering the areas of: Textual origins, Spirituality, John Newton, Dissemination and influence, Slavery and its legacies and New contexts.
Markus Rathey, ‘What is so amazing about grace? “Amazing Grace” in the contexts of eighteenth-century theology and hymnody’.
Marylynn Rouse, ‘Amazing Grace: tracing the overlooked origin of the words of John Newton’s hymn’.
Grant Gordon, ‘The Problem of the Missing Parenthesis’.
Gillian Warson, ‘“Was blind but now I see”: spiritual blindness in hymnody’.
Susan Quindag, ‘In Like Manner of Amazing Grace: A Christian’s Journey for Relationship and the Sound of Spirituality’.
Fiona Evison, ‘Through Many Dangers: “Amazing Grace” as an act of congregational care during the COVID-19 pandemic’.
Janet Wootton, ‘Grace Abounding to Amazing Grace’.
Scott Connell, ‘The Amazing Grace of Friendship: John Newton and William Cowper’
Gordon Giles, ‘Graciousness in the amazing life and soul of John Newton’.
Martin Clarke, ‘Re-tuning “Amazing Grace”: lyrics, music and meaning.
Walter Kurt Kreyszig, ‘Amazing Grace with Its Tune “New Britain” Beyond the Realm of the English-Speaking World: The Tune “New Britain” as the Basis for German Paraphrases of the Original Text and New Texts, 1976-2019’.
John Coffey, ‘Anthony Benezet, John Newton, and the Liverpool slave trade’.
Simon Lee, ‘The Amazing Grace of Redemption’.
Gabriel Ademola Oyeniyi, ‘“Amazing grace”: composer’s global vision and the challenge of grassroots hymn singing in Nigeria’.
Mikael Bäckman, ‘Amazing affordances: Revealing the idiomaticity of the harmonica through a classic hymn’.
The conference was organised by Dr Martin Clarke (The Open University) with the support of Dr Gareth Atkins, Dr Nancy Jiwon Cho, Dr Matthew Williams, and members of the AG250 planning team, notably Amanda Molcher and Tim German. It was generously supported by the Pratt Green Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Plans are underway for a collection of essays to be published, partly drawn from papers presented at the conference.
For further information about the conference, please contact the conference organiser, Dr Martin Clarke, Head of Discipline (Music) at the Open University
Mikael Bäckman also performed Amazing Grace on the harmonica at Day 2 of the Conference held at St Peter & St Paul, Olney. You are able to view this on the Cowper & Newton Museum’s YouTube Channel
Day 2: Saturday 16th July at St Peter & St Paul Church in Olney
A recording of the Roundtable Question & Answers can also available from the Cowper & Newton Museum YouTube channel.
Lecture-recital: Alexander Douglas (piano), ‘A Sacred Journey: From the Olney Hymns to the Antebellum South’
Demonstration and Performance of Amazing Grace on the harmonica: Mikael Bäckman
Recordings of the talks can be found on the Cowper & Newton Museum YouTube or via the video links below.
With grateful thanks to the Open University and the Pratt Green Trust, additional financial support enabled attendance at the two conference days to be free. Grants towards travel costs were also made available.
Some members of the Milton Keynes Youth Cabinet also attended as preparation for university.