A Centre that Holds

Rana Aytug is a PhD student at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations. Her research explores the role that young people play in peacebuilding in diverse but divided cities. In this post for the Faith and Peaceful Relations Forum blog Rana reflects on the ways in which the arts can be used as a means of building peace….An arts-based approach to peacebuilding, viewed through the urban lens can shape a city. And in retrospect, art can be shaped by the narrative of the city. These creative acts can embrace or reject the many paradoxes characteristic of highly polarized and diverse communities.

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Rap, Religion and Social Exclusion

An area that Chris Shannahan explores in his research at CTPSR is the ways in which rap music provides socially excluded urban youth to explore questions of identity and meaning and to articulate their experience of deep seated social exclusion. Since it’s emergence in the New York Bronx in 1973 rap has evolved into a global language, drawn upon in Cape Town as well as Compton and Brixton as well as the Bronx. In June 2017 Chris was a guest panelist on BBS Radio 4’s flagship religious affairs programme ‘Beyond Belief’ discussing ‘Rap, Religion and Social Exclusion’. You can listen to the programme by clicking on the link…

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Desmond Tutu Was Right

In this short article just published in Open Democracy Chris Shannahan writes about the role that faith has played in the 2017 UK General Election campaign. He suggests that it is inevitable that politics and religion will continue to mix and argues that the important question to ask is ‘What kind of religion and what kind of politics?’ 

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Faith Groups, Conversation & Marginalised Communities

Dan Range is a Research Associate in the Faith & Peaceful Relations research group at CTPSR. Here Dan writes about the way in which faith groups can support the learning of English. Creative English is a programme which aims to teach learners, primarily women from Pakistani, Somali and Bangladeshi backgrounds, English through drama and experiential learning. It is hoped that this learning will also increase both integration and social mobility.

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Science, Faith & Fairness

Dilwar Hussain is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Trust, peace and Social Relations and the Chair of New Horizons in British Islam. Here in a post first published in ‘Science: Not Just for Scientists’ Dilwar explores the relationship between science, Islam and ideas about fairness and equality. He begins with a question – ‘How do we square religious belief with modern notions of equality and fairness? And what on earth does this have to do with science?’

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Why Universities Need To Become More ‘Faith-Friendly’

In this post, which was previously published in the magazine ‘Christian Today’. Kristin Aune argues the universities in the 21st century need to become more ‘faith friendly’ as part of their commitment to diversity and equality….’Universities have undergone a secular transformation. From being places of religious learning for elite men in the 11th to 13th centuries, they began to discard their religious roots as the Age of Enlightenment dawned…..’

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What Have Zombies Got To Do With Multiculturalism?

Yes, that’s right, ‘What have zombies got to do with multiculturalism?’ Here Faith & Peaceful Relations Forum coordinator, Chris Shannahan writes about the zombie war that’s raging in our superdiverse world….’Academics and activists, preachers and politicians have got a lot to learn from movies like ‘Dawn of the Dead’. To find out more carry on reading

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Women’s March, Women’s Rights? Religious women, reproductive rights and feminist ideals

Alison Halford is a PhD student within the Faith and Peaceful Relations group at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations. Here Alison offers some critical reflections on the recent Women’s March, feminism and attitudes towards birth control….

On Sunday, January 21st as women walked to raise consciousness about gender inequality that limits women’s abilities, ambitions and actions, the daytime TV presenter Piers Morgan, claimed to be ‘planning a male protest ‘the creeping global emasculation of my gender emasculation by rabid feminists’. In framing it as an attempt by ‘Feminazis’ to dominate and demean men, Morgan imposed a distorted narrative upon the march, failing to understand the complexity of women’s motivations to march.

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Can Religious Groups Help To Prevent Violent Conflict?

Laura Payne is a Research Fellow within the Faith and Peaceful Relations research group at CTPSR. Her work focuses largely on the role that faith-based organisations play in conflict prevention and peacebuilding. Here in an article for Open Democracy Laura asks whether faith groups can help to prevent violent conflict. A glance at the daily news confirms that religion is regularly complicit in violence. In early January of 2015, Boko Haram killed up to two thousand people in Baga, Northern Nigeria. As this massacre unfolded, two men stormed into the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris and murdered 12 people. Hijacking a car, they told the driver “If the media ask you anything, tell them it’s al-Qaeda in Yemen.” Both before and after these events the so-called Islamic State (IS) drip-fed films showing the beheadings of civilians and hostages in territory it controls.

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Why feminists need to learn about religion

Kristin Aune is the leader of the Faith and Peaceful Relations research group and a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Relations. In a recent article for ‘The Conversation’ Kristin argued that feminists need to learn more about religion. Kristin writes….

‘Faced with religion, what’s a good feminist to do? Some strongly reject religion of all kinds as oppressive to women, while others celebrate faith as part of human diversity. Others try to forge a middle ground…..

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President Trump and the Christian Right

Chris Shannahan is an urban theologian and a Research Fellow in the Faith and Peaceful Relations research group. In this piece for Open Democracy Chris asks if religion and politics mix or whether should faith be a purely private matter confined to home, church, synagogue or mosque. Arguments about this seemingly black-or-white question raged in Europe and North America for most of the twentieth century. Life, however, is seldom so clear-cut, as the fictional US President Josiah Bartlett noted in The West Wing….

To read on please click on the hyperlink to go to the full article in Open Democracy…

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