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Professor Kim Knott
Kim works in the study of religions, using sociological and geographical approaches in particular to research relationships between the religious and the secular, and the location of religion in ostensibly secular institutions, bodies and discourses. She has researched religion in relation to diasporas and migration, ethnicity, terrorism, gender, identity, and public life, and has held research grants for much of this work. She developed a spatial approach for studying religion in secular contexts, for examining its engagement with other social and cultural institutions and issues, and for ‘breaking open the secular’ and understanding secularist and other non-religious ideologies and beliefs. She has used this approach to examine the location of religious and secular values in an English medical centre and high school, in urban multicultural landscapes, and the media. She recently followed up earlier research with a project on British media portrayals of religion and the ‘secular sacred’ which compared media coverage and representations from the early 1980s with those from 2008-10.
From 2005-11, she directed the £6.2 million interdisciplinary research programme on 'Diasporas, Migration and Identities' for the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The findings, publications and other outputs of the programme can be found online. An edited book, Diasporas: Concepts, Identities, Intersections was published in 2010. Stories, information and learning resources based on the research are presented in a non-academic book, Moving People, Changing Places.
In association with the Diasporas Programme, in 2006 she was funded by the UK Home Office to review research literature in the arts and humanities on terrorism, its roots, practices and consequences.
In recent projects Kim has worked collaboratively with the Citizenship Foundation, Runnymede Trust, Engage, Institute of Ideas (Debating Matters), National Maritime Museum, Tate Britain, the Home Office, local and regional government in Yorkshire and the Humber, and with media professionals.
Dr Matthew Francis
Matthew Francis is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University, working on the GU ideology, decision-making and uncertainty fellowship.
He is undertaking an original programme of research into the role that beliefs, commitments and ideologies make in decision-making in the face of risk and uncertainty and supports Professor Knott on making interdisciplinary links between researchers and external stakeholders in this field.
This work builds on previous research where he analysed the move to violence in religious and non-religious groups. His research maps the significance of shared non-negotiable beliefs through coding the public utterances of members and leaders of groups and has previously focused on case-studies including Aum Shinrikyo, al Qaeda, the Red Army Faction, Agonshu, the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee and Hizb ut-Tahrir. He is currently researching far-right movements and groups in the UK.
Matthew was until recently the Programme Manager and Research Associate on a national HEFCE-funded project on religious literacy in Higher Education. He has worked with the Equality and Human Rights Commission and spoken at a Wilton Park conference and other academic conferences on a role for religious literacy in society.
He founded and is the Editor of the website RadicalisationResearch.org, which is funded by the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme and which brings high-quality academic research on radicalisation and extremism to the attention of people working in policy and media settings.
Peta is the Administrator for both this project and the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme. She is responsible for co-ordinating and administering the information, activities, communications, budget, and events associated with the Fellowship.
Peta has coordinated the Religion and Society Programme since 2007 and previously worked in a variety of roles in Lancaster University. She currently works Monday to Thursday.
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