Religion and Society

Through this research, Politics, Philosophy and Religion (PPR) is

  • Enhancing understanding and debate about religion in the media, in public life, and civil society
  • Contributing to cultural enhancement, such as advising on religion-related exhibitions like Pilgrimage and Buddhist Art at the Asia Society Museum in New York
  • Helping to promote equality for religious groups and individuals, women, and ethnic and religious minorities

This area covers the facility significant work on:

  • Religious change in modern Britain
  • Religion, popular culture and media
  • Religion and gender
  • Religious dynamics in India, Japan, Latin America, the Middle East and South-East Asia
  • New Religious movements
  • Pilgrimage

Religion-related Organisations

PPR staff in this field work with many religion-related organisations. These include Engage, Theos, the Lokahi Foundation, INFORM, the Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Runnymede Trust, and Religions Working Together. We also work with policy and political agencies such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission (whom our staff have advised on implementing new equality law regarding Religion and Belief) and the Gender Equality Network Myanmar (which helped to draft Myanmar's National Strategic Plan for the Advancement of Women).

Media Appearances

Our experts in this field are drawn on by UK media including: the BBC (eg Thinking Allowed, World Service, Radio 4, Woman’s Hour); The Tablet, Church Times, The Guardian, etc.; and overseas media, eg US National Broadcasting Company (NBC), Canada NBC, and US Public Radio. Staff have been consulted, for example, for the BBC series Around the World in 80 Faiths and the BBC programme Does Christianity have a Future?, which drew over a million viewers.

Westminster Faith Debates

PPR staff Linda Woodhead and Charles Clarke co-organise the Westminster Faith Debates. These have brought together academics and public figures including the Attorney General Dominic Grieve, Richard Dawkins and Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali to open up debate about the place of religion in public life today. The series has been funded by the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme (directed by Woodhead), which has over the last five years supported more than 200 academic researchers across the UK. Award holders have presented key findings at the debates to an audience comprising MPs, peers, senior civil servants, journalists, third sector workers, think tank researchers, teachers, and members of religious communities. Media coverage of the debates has been extensive: for example, the February 2012 debate on faith in schools led to headlines in The Daily Mail, The Guardian, and the BBC News.

Access media coverage, watch the video and download the podcasts and academic presentations