What are the elements that make up our shared spaces?  This is the question posed to young people by The Elements Experiment. Supported by an Inspirit Foundation National Impact Grant, and based out of the University of Toronto’s Religion in the Public Sphere Initiative, The Elements Experiment was launched in 2014 by students at the Department for the Study of Religion, for young people across Canada, and across disciplines, professions, and lived experiences.

The Elements Experiment is comprised of two elements: an online space, and a conference. The online space invites submissions from youth (ages 18-30) across Canada to share work that speaks to the themes of religion, the secular, and public spaces in an age of diversity, regardless of whether the content is academic, journalistic, creative, or experiential.  This intention is carried into The Elements Experiment Conference in October 2014, where individuals will present work they have published on the online space and new content is brought into the conversation. This conference is an opportunity for face-to-face engagement and the creation of an intellectual space without boundaries.

The Elements Experiment is actively attempting to create an intellectual space that disrupts understandings of who can speak about religion, the secular, and public spaces, and what kinds of language is considered acceptable when speaking about it.  Students at the University of Toronto Department for the Study of Religion started The Elements Experiment based on what they perceive as a distinct lack of spaces for students to produce work and have that work legitimized using more than solely academic language and systems of legitimacy. Elements is experimenting with the notion that academic knowledge, experiential knowledge, artistic expression, and other ways of engaging, can be in conversation with each other, creating a shared intellectual space. The Elements Experiment asks, what if we could put aside the project of shaping our knowledge and language for a single discipline, and expand ourselves to engage with diverse ways of knowing and communicating?

Six submissions will be highlighted monthly on the online space after being in conversation with the Elements Review Committee.  The Elements Experiment Conference will be hosted in October 2014.

Please see our call for submissions and submission guidelines for more details.

The Elements Experiment Mandate

  • Vision: The Elements Experiment envisions the creation of a shared intellectual space where diversity of knowledge styles and communication methods come together in discussion of religion, the secular, and public spaces in Canada.
  • Purpose: To encourage the perspectives of young people in Canada and to present them as legitimate knowledge. Our purpose is to fulfill a need for a multi-disciplinary, multi-medium, and multi-voice conversation and space (intellectual as well as physical), in order to respond to the need for a more open academy, and a more intellectually engaged public.
  • Goals: The goal of The Elements Experiment is to encourage the passionate engagement of young people through their submissions and consuming each other’s content, resulting in a feeling of ownership over the intellectual space created. It is our goal that this intellectual space will then bee seen by other audiences in Canada as an authentic glimpse into the perspectives of young people on religion, the secular, and public spaces.

The Elements Experiment is sponsored by

Inspirit Foundation Logo Religion in the Public Sphere Logo