The Kendal Project Lancaster University Home Page
Department of Religious Studies, Furness College, Lancaster University LA1 4YG.

Other Outputs


Paul Heelas and Linda Woodhead with Benjamin Seel, Bronislaw Szerszynski and Karin Tusting (2005): The Spiritual Revolution: Why Religion is Giving Way to Spirituality. Oxford: Blackwell.

Paul Heelas and Benjamin Seel (2003): An Ageing New Age? In Grace Davie, Paul Heelas and Linda Woodhead (eds) Predicting Religion: Christianity and Alternatives in the West. Aldershot: Ashgate. (Draws on Kendal Project findings to provide critical evidence regarding the future of New Age spiritualities)

Ben Seel (2001): The Kendal Project. Patterns of the Sacred in Contemporary Society. British Association for the Study of Religion Bulletin, 94 (November), pp. 28-30.

Other means of disseminating results

(i) Planned and Proposed 'Replications' of the Kendal Project in other Localities

The Kendal Project has captured the imagination of other researchers and research teams interested in exploring how the sacred is faring today. Currently there are three proposed 'replications' of the Project, the first one (below) having gained approval and funding from the Church of Sweden Research Council.

  • Enkoping (Sweden): invitation from the Church of Sweden Research Department to provide advice concerning a similar research project (commencing in 2004). Invitation accepted for February 2003.

  • The urban north east (England): invitation from Gerard Loughlin (Religious Studies, University of Newcastle upon Tyne) on behalf of a group of researchers to report on the Kendal Project. Invitation accepted for January 2003.

  • Chester: Christopher Partridge and Ron Greaves (Chester College) have begun the 'Chester Project'.

  • Dent: a retired academic, Gordon Neal, has carried out a 'mini-Kendal' in the (nearby) village of Dent.

(ii) Visits by academics

(Other than those who came to the 'Research Priorities in the Study of Religion' national workshop (Lancaster, 1998), an event which included extensive discussion of planning the Kendal Project.)

Four visits by members of the Church of Sweden Research Council
Two visits by Chris Partridge (Chester)
Two visits by members of the Polish Academy of Sciences
Ruth Bradby (Chester)
Steve Bruce (Aberdeen)
Grace Davie (Exeter)
Gordon Heald (Opinion Research Business)
Gordon Lynch (Birmingham)
David Martin (LSE/Lancaster)
Steve Sutcliffe (Stirling)
Chris Baker and colleagues (Manchester, researching religion in Manchester, funded by the William Temple Foundation)
Desmond Dryan (Edinburgh, Researching Spirituality in Health and Social Care Project ) (January/February 2003)

In addition, many other contacts with academics in Britain and overseas have been developed.

(iii) Presentations and Lectures

(ranging from feedback sessions in Kendal to academic conferences)

2003 Paul Heelas: The New Age of Wellbeing (Plenary, Alternative Spiritualities and New Age Studies conference, The Open University, May)

2003 Linda Woodhead: How Soft is Liberal Christianity? Woodhead is to convene a joint session of the American Sociological Association (ASA) and the Association for the Sociology of Religion (ASR) on 'The Softening of Christianity')

2003 Linda Woodhead: Church on Sunday, Yoga on Monday. Societe
Internationale de Sociologie des Religions (Turin)

2002 Paul Heelas: The Spiritual Revolution: From 'Religion' to 'Spirituality'
(Lecture and workshop, Lund)

2002 Ben Seel and Bronislaw Szerszynski: Findings from the Holistic Milieu
(feedback session, Kendal)

2002 Ben Seel and Bronislaw Szerszynski: The Kendal Project: Patterns of the Sacred in Contemporary Society (The Iona Group)

2002 Ben Seel and Bronislaw Szerszynski: Mapping Alternative Spiritualities in Kendal (Feedback presentation to Kendal's holistic milieu)

2002 Bronislaw Szerszynski and Karin Tusting: Findings from the Kendal Project (Centre for Practical Christianity, Kendal)

2002 Bronislaw Szerszynski: Civic Community and Religion in Kendal: A
Locality Study (Lancaster-Polish Academy of Sciences workshop, 'Community's Challenge: The Global Complexity', Warsaw, Poland)

2002 Bronislaw Szerszynski: Findings from the Kendal Project (The
Alternative and Complementary Healthcare Network (ACHRN), Manchester)

2002 Karin Tusting: Prayer as a Social Practice (British Association for Applied Linguistics, Cardiff 2002 Annual Meeting)

2002 Linda Woodhead: A Spiritual Revolution? Findings from the Kendal Project (Guest Lecture, Dept. of Religious Studies, Stirling University)

2002 Linda Woodhead: A Spiritual Revolution? Findings from the Kendal Project (Practical Theology Seminar, University of Manchester)

2002 Linda Woodhead: A Spiritual Revolution? Findings from the Kendal Project (Seminar Paper, Sociology of Religion Research Seminar, London School of Economics)

2002 Linda Woodhead: Findings from the Kendal Project (Talk for Carlisle Humanist Society)

2002 Linda Woodhead: Softening in the West, Hardening in the Rest: Contemporary Christianity Worldwide (Guest Lecture, Regent's Park College, Oxford)

2001 Paul Heelas together with the rest of the Kendal Project team: The Kendal
Project (Department of Religious Studies Postgraduate Seminar, Lancaster)

2001 Paul Heelas: The Sacralization of Life (The Engelsberg Seminar, The Future of Religion, Sweden)

2001 Ben Seel: Alternative Spiritualities in Kendal (British Association for the Study of Religion/European Association for the Study of Religion conference, Cambridge)

2001 Bronislaw Szerszynski: Alternative Medicine, the 'Turn to Life' and the Good Life (Accessing the User Perspective, seminar 4 in the Alternative and Complementary Healthcare Network (ACHRN) Seminar Series, Developing the Research Agenda in Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Salford University)

2001 Karin Tusting: Religious Congregations as Communities of Practice (British
Association for the Study of Religion/European Association for the Study of the Study of Religion conference, 'Religion and Community', Cambridge)

2001 Linda Woodhead: Christianity and the Turn to Life (Center for Theological Inquiry, Princeton, USA)

2001 Linda Woodhead: Christianity and the Turn to Life (Paper at day conference on Christianity and Culture, King's College London)

2001 Linda Woodhead: The Softening of Christianity (Federation Lecture, University of Cambridge)

2001 Linda Woodhead and Paul Heelas: Christianity in Kendal (Centre for North-West Regional Studies, Lancaster University)

2001 Linda Woodhead: Soft Religion. (Hull Theological Society)

2000 Paul Heelas and Linda Woodhead: The Kendal Project. Patterns of the Sacred (Lancaster-Polish Academy of Sciences workshop: Communities under Conditions of Globalisation Programme)

(iv) Media (press, TV, radio, the Kendal Project website, other educational websites)

2005 Kendal Project used as the basis for a major feature on Newsnight, BBC1, 12 July.

2004 Jenny McCartney: 'They're really, really spiritual - that is, totally selfish', Sunday Telegraph, November 7 (article in response to the Kendal Project).

2004 Carol Midgley: 'Spirited away: why the end is nigh for religion', The Times, T2 cover story and pages 4-5, November 4.

2004 Michaela Robinson-Tate: 'Yoga outstripping church worship', Westmorland Gazette, October 15.

2003 Linda Woodhead: interviewed, and Kendal filmed, for last programme in a series on religion and magic in the UK, C4, shown in January 2003.

2001-2002 a number of articles about the Project in the local newspaper, Westmorland Gazette.

2001 David Ward: 'Alternative spirituality "rising fast"', The Guardian, June 18th (article based entirely on the Kendal Project).

2001 Linda Woodhead and Karin Tusting: contributions to the Sunday Programme, BBC Radio 4 (Easter Day)

2000 Sheila May: A Picture of Faith, Christian Herald, 16th September

(vi) Kendal Project Newsletters

While we were carrying out the project we made a point of issuing a regular newsletter so that those in Kendal or elsewhere who were interested could receive updates on the project's progress and findings so far. Copied of the newsletters can be downloaded using the links below.

PLEASE NOTE - the newsletters are included here primarily for historical interest. For final figures and more considered interpretations, readers are advised to go to The Spiritual Revolution.

RTF files can be read in most word processors, including Microsoft Word. PDF files can be read using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded free from

Kendal Project Newsletters

Newsletter 1 (April 2001)

rich text format


Newsletter 2 (September 2001)

rich text format


Newsletter 3 (June 2002)

rich text format


Newsletter 4 (March 2003)

rich text format



(vi) Teaching

An important form of dissemination has been by way of our teaching at Lancaster University as well as at schools and colleges where we have been asked to speak about the state of religion and spirituality in Britain. The Project Leaders have incorporated Kendal research findings into a number of courses on contemporary religion, culture and society at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Several students have been stimulated by this to carry out their own research in Kendal to supplement the project. For example, undergraduate student Andrea Cheshire wrote a BA dissertation on 'spiritual' provisions on sale along the Kendal high street (her findings are used in the forthcoming volume); and Abby Day has begun her PhD (supervised by Heelas and Woodhead) on 'Oral Histories of Secularization in Kendal' (findings also to be used in the forthcoming volume). An External Examiner for the MA, Ian Astley (Edinburgh) has praised the integration of the Project into teaching. Other undergraduate students have been directly involved in the Project, most notably in the attendance count, when 22 students travelled to Kendal on a particular Sunday (November, 2000) to help us count attendance in every church and chapel in Kendal.

As well as eliciting inquiries from the general public, people from the media and other academics, the Kendal Project website has also resulted in inquiries from 6th Formers and students from other Universities.

Peter Langley is using material provided from the Kendal Project for inclusion in an 'A' Level text book.

(vi) Data

Graphs and tables from the two questionnaires used on the Project have been made available on the website - see Methods and Findings page.

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