First published in 2015, the bfo-Journal is a yearly, multilingual, peer-reviewed open access journal hosted on For our fifth thematic issue we are inviting paper proposals, which address the question of the contemporary and future use of religious spaces in Europe. 

As established religious protestant and catholic communities, especially in Western Europe, decline, many traditional spaces of gathering like churches, chapels, cathedrals and monasteries are opening their premises to new communities, other, e. g. post-migrant congregations or even different religions, invite additional social and cultural uses of their spaces or are transformed entirely into museums, hotels, community centers, amongst other. How do these challenges affect the architecture and what questions and problems do these processes pose to architectural and art historical conservation? 

At the same time, expositions like the Vatican Chapels, the Vatican's contribution to the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2018 on Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, as well as the rise of multifaith spaces or prayer rooms reflect the vibrant contemporary interest in creating architectures that hold spiritual value, often even beyond a clear confessional or even religious affiliation.

The 2019 issue invites proposals that critically analyze, reflect and question one or both of these contemporary dynamics and their effects on existing religious spaces, as well as on the creation of new spaces today. Specific case studies are just as welcome as theoretical reflections on these transformation processes. Possible topics amongst other are the re-use of religious spaces from a sociological or anthropological perspective; the architectural adaptation and transformation of religious spaces by different religious communities or for non-religious purposes; the challenges of architectural conservation in case of dynamically used historical religious spaces; new concepts of alternative sacred or spiritual spaces; investigations into new spatial, architectural and material propositions.

We seek abstracts for proposals in English, German, French or Italian of up to 500 words (incl. spaces). Upon their acceptance by the editors, the final papers should be no longer than 30’000 characters (incl. spaces and footnotes). They may be accompanied by maximum 10 illustrations and require an abstract of 800 characters (incl. spaces) and a short biography of no more than 500 characters (incl. spaces).

Proposals may be sent to the editors by April 15, 2019 at [email protected] For more information about bfo-Journal und further submission guidelines, please visit