About the project

This project involves distributing, to various locations around Manchester city centre, 24 open boxes (about 1ft cubed) - one box per day from December 1st to December 24th, just like an advent calendar. Continuing the Christmas theme, they will be left in situ until twelfth night (January 6th) so that any can be revisited a number of times and it becomes possible to take a walking tour of them all.

These boxes will be transformed into shrines, rooted in the Christian faith, by community members, artists, crafts men and women, fashion designers and other creative people. They will be placed within the inner ring road, but in a range of locations from galleries and cafes to parks and streets.

The concept is to reinvent the idea of a Christian shrine for contemporary western urban culture. It is not intended to present something glitzy and full of icons, but rather to create a place for spiritual contemplation, a sacred space in a secular environment, a chance to pause in the seasonal rush.

The project is interested to see how people and institutions will react - will they seize this opportunity to reflect or will they react against it? We expect that some shrines will not survive in tact (due to weather conditions or vandalism), but how many and in what ways will they be degraded? What will this tell us about how people respond to a spiritual nudge?

Each box has cost less than £5 and each designer has been given a secret-santa-size donation of £5 towards the costs of transforming their box. Hopefully this will inspire creativity and encourage recycling of old paints and props.

Finally, this blog has been established to track the project. It will be updated regularly with each new shrine release, including a photograph of it in situ. The project will benefit from the public telling us of their experiences using the shrines and also how they and their environments physically change over the season. Use the blog comments to keep us informed. You can also tweet shrine news to @sanctus1mcr