Saint Francis-inspired: Contemporary conversations

Church Window Mask

Wednesday 26 July 7-8.15pm

A National Gallery talk to accompany its St Francis of Asisi exhibition

How does the example of Saint Francis inspire art and action?

  • Image

    Detail from Sandro Botticelli, ‘Saint Francis of Assisi with Angels’, about 1475-80

  • Where

    We are at 197 Piccadilly London W1J 9LL between Piccadilly and Jermyn Street, about 200 yards from Piccadilly Circus.

  • Access

    St James’s aspires to be a place where all can belong, and where every person’s gifts and identities are welcome and celebrated. We are working to improve the experience at St James’s in the church building and the online community. We have step-free access from the courtyard to the church, and a toilet for disabled people. The courtyard and Redemption Roasters coffee shop are wheelchair accessible. If you have special access requirements (e.g. wheelchair users) please contact

  • Online Streaming

    This event will be streamed live on our YouTube channel at 7pm

  • Centuries on, Saint Francis (1181/82-1226) remains one of history’s most inspirational and revered figures. His life and legacy still resonate with us today. His commitment to the poor and underprivileged, his care for nature and animals, and his dialogue with Islam, have meant that his influence has endured across generations.

    In a series of conversations programmed to accompany Saint Francis of Assisi exhibition, invited special guests will explore how Saint Francis and his depictions in art might inspire social and cultural change today.

    During the Crusades – the religious wars between Christians and Muslims to secure control of holy sites – Saint Francis made a pilgrimage to Egypt to encounter Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil (ruled 1218-1238). With no common language, the two were still able to share their faiths with each other, expressing a vision of universal kinship rather than religious argument or dispute.

    This discussion explores the achievements and future of interfaith dialogue. Speakers include Tharik Hussain the award-winning author, travel writer and journalist specialising in Muslim heritage and culture, Ayla Lepine Associate Rector at St James’s Piccadilly and from 2021-22 Ahmanson Fellow in Religion and Art at the National Gallery, Naima Khan Director of Inclusive Mosque Initiative, an intersectional feminist mosque, and Mark Oakley the Dean of Chapel, St John’s College, University of Cambridge, where he is responsible for the life of the Chapel and its community.