AHRC/ESRC
RELIGION & SOCIETY
PROGRAMME
Warwick Religions & Education Research Unit
Religion in Education:
Findings from the Religion and Society Programme
Mon 25 July–Tues 26 July 2011
ABSTRACTS
University of Glasgow
Presentation 1 (Jim Conroy, Vivienne Baumfield & David Lundie):
“Religious Education: Public and Private”
Myriad public claims are made about RE’s contribution to young people’s social and
moral development, in particular with regard to life in a multicultural society. Drawing on
our ethnographic studies, including those focused in areas of cultural diversity and
community conflict, this paper elucidates a range of classroom practices which proved
efficacious in mediating successful encounters with the beliefs and practices of others,
drawing attention to the distinction between committed pluralistic practices in classroom
discourse and a thoroughgoing relativism which seeks surface consensus by eliding
students’ deeply held commitments.
Further, conflicts of intention emerge in balancing the demands of Religious
Education as an academic subject leading to assessment and recognized qualifications,
pupils’ personal spiritual and moral development, ability to engage with truth claims, and
the social aims of religious education in multicultural Britain. Recent reports by Ofsted
and HMIE suggest that the personal dimension of pupils’ spiritual development is the
least well developed aspect of religious education, suffering from a lack of understanding
of how to measure and communicate progress. This difficulty is compounded by
anxieties, noted in the literature and in teacher practice, about the appropriate treatment
of personal religious faith (pupils’ and teachers’) in the classroom. Again drawing upon
our findings, we discuss certain approaches to religious education that have emerged, and
which appear to offer more success in balancing the demands of academic success while
dealing robustly but respectfully with the deeper personal dimensions of the subject.
Presentation 2 (Jim Conroy & David Lundie):
“Forum Theatre and Meaning-Making in the Classroom”
This paper represents a methodological innovation in taking a forum theatre enactment
of research findings and subjecting that interpretation, alongside the original
interpretation of findings, to a further analysis. The focus of this iterative process will be
the way in which ‘deep’ meaning may be seen to be absent even in those contexts and
circumstances where meaning appears to be the central purpose of the activity. While
much political and policy discourse advocates the centrality of meaning-making to the
very nature of religious education, the nature and process of such activity are, we wish to
demonstrate, more complex than is frequently admitted and the very instruments used in
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the service of meaning-making in the class can and do on occasion create the antithesis
of their purported purpose. Absence of meaning emerges pluriform not only in the
absence of teaching but in the constitutive.
Tomlinson and Engelke argue that such failures of meaning-making allow
approaches to meaning as a contested and uncertain process, rather than an entity
waiting to be uncovered. This contested conception of meaning allows for the
consideration of cultural artefacts, images and events that follow, not as the bars of a
rigid cultural cage within which students and teachers are caught, but as the strands from
which students and teachers weave a tapestry or tapestries of meaning. An aspect of the
meaningfulness of such a tapestry is that it can have holes, areas in which the negotiation
of meaning falls flat; it can unravel, when core values and beliefs fail to withstand the
testing of life in the world; the possibility of the failure to make meaning in itself renders
meaning possible on a normative level beyond the purely descriptive. Meaning allows for
the imagined and the normative to have a place within culture, for the intersubjective
paradigm to retain its ethnographic closeness to the language and identity of the subjects.
As Bornstein illustrates, these moments of meaninglessness for participants may
themselves be both pedagogically and ethnographically meaningful. On occasion, as in
the cases of two particular schools in the study, operating in areas of overwhelming
secularism, indifference and hostility to religion, the tapestry can be almost blank,
offering no points of reference from which to begin an exploration of processes of
meaning-making within a given religious culture. Such cases stand in contrast to those
that illustrate the creation and negotiation of meaning that arises from the subversion, by
teacher and student, of those constraints by pedagogic and system failures imposed on
the opportunities for creating meaning.
As a methodology, forum theatre enhances our attentiveness to these questions
of meaning and its absence by bringing to bear a different eye from those who have
conducted the research and interrogated the emergent data.
WRERU, University of Warwick
Presentation 1 (Julia Ipgrave & Elisabeth Arweck):
“Young People’s Attitudes to Religious Diversity: A Qualitative Perspective”
A current study in the Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit (WRERU) at the
University of Warwick is investigating the attitudes of 13-17 year old pupils from a
variety of geographic, demographic and cultural contexts across the United Kingdom. It
is a three-year study (2009-2012) funded by the ESRC/AHRC Religion and Society
Programme. The project combines qualitative and quantitative research methods to
explore pupils’ attitudes to religious diversity and the factors that shape those attitudes—
an area about which little research has been conducted to date. The paper will discuss the
way theory and method have been approached in this project so that one can inform the
other. It will then focus on the first qualitative stage and use material from focus group
discussions with young people to demonstrate how data gathered at the local level poses
challenges to some common understandings of the role of religious education in
promoting religious tolerance.
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Presentation 2 (Leslie J. Francis, Jennifer Croft, Alice Pyke & Mandy Robbins):
“Researching Attitudes towards Religious Diversity: Quantitative Approaches from
Social Psychology and Empirical Theology”
This paper discusses the design of the quantitative component of the WRERU project
and anticipates preliminary findings from the data. The questionnaire draws on three
bodies of knowledge. The overall coverage of the questionnaire was shaped by a
distillation of the themes generated by the qualitative component of the WRERU project.
From the field of social psychology in general (and the social psychology of religion in
particular) theories were incorporated concerning the function of factors like personality,
self-concept and empathy. From the field of empirical theology in general (and the
quantitative approach to empirical theology in particular) theories were incorporated
concerning the function of factors like images of God and theologies of religions. In
order to provide a comparative study, the sample embraced the five ‘nations’ of the UK,
attempting to capture 2,000 cases each from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales
and London. The questionnaires were printed during February 2011: 10,000
questionnaires take time to code, so some preliminary findings will be presented at this
conference from those data ready for analysis by that stage of the process.
Judith Everington, WRERU, University of Warwick
“‘We’re all in this together, the kids and me’: Beginning Teachers’ Use of their Personal
Life Knowledge in the RE Classroom”
The focus of this paper is on trainee RE teachers and the role that their personal ‘life
knowledge’ plays in their planning, teaching and understanding of the role of the RE
teacher. Drawing on a two-year qualitative study of English trainee teachers, I will
explore the kinds of ‘life knowledge’ that trainees use in the classroom (from insider
knowledge of a particular religious tradition to personal knowledge of bereavement and
political struggle), the differing ways in which they use this knowledge and why they do
so—reflecting different views of the role of the RE teacher and the nature of RE. In the
light of concerns about the ‘tyranny of intimacy’, I recognize the dangers of this practice
and also trainees’ need to ‘share’, their view that this is crucial to effective RE teaching
and their own views on how to avoid the dangers. I argue that in the selection of trainee
teachers it is important to consider ‘life knowledge’ as well as academic subject
knowledge, but that it is also important to consider that teacher trainers should develop
and provide opportunities for beginning teachers to explore the personal and
professional issues raised by the use of their ‘life knowledge’ and collaborate in the
development of guidelines for doing so.
Jenny Berglund, Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden
“Young Muslims’ Confidence in Teachers Suggests the Importance of Relational Skill”
In the course of reviewing a recent quantitative survey of approximately 1,300 Swedish
youths on the subject of religion, leisure activities and other issues, I came across what,
from my perspective, was an intriguing finding: some 50% of those that identified
themselves as Muslims reported that they confided in their teachers (compared to only
5% of the non-Muslims) for help with personal problems. Supplementing this finding
with several studies as well as my own interviews, this paper explores its possible
meanings and examines its implications relative to such matters as the value of relational
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skills in teaching, the content and direction of teacher training, the importance of the
teacher-student relationship and the potential of teachers to facilitate integration.
Mathew Guest, Durham University
“The University Campus as a Site of Religious Expression: Allegiance, Controversy and
Community among Campus-based Christians in England”
Christians constitute one of the largest campus-based religious populations in the UK,
yet little is known of their size and constituency or of associated patterns of religious
expression and social engagement. This paper reports on a three-year project involving a
nation-wide survey of undergraduate students, supplemented with qualitative case
studies, examining how the experience of university—social networks, exposure to
religious and cultural difference, and the academic learning process—shape on-campus
expressions of moral and religious values. Reflecting the conference theme, we will also
examine how Christian constituencies approach university life as a means of broader
social engagement.
Nicola Madge, Anthony Goodman & Colin Webster, Centre for Child and Youth
Research, Brunel University
“Together and Alongside in Multi-faith Communities: The ‘Youth On Religion’ Project”
The ‘Youth On Religion’ (YOR) project is looking at the place of religion in young
people’s lives and the ways in which faith and non-faith identities are developed and
negotiated. Research data have been collected from an online survey, focus groups,
paired interviews and e-Journals involving some 10,500 13–18-year-old pupils in
secondary schools and colleges in three locations in England. This presentation will
examine young people’s knowledge of different religions and how those from different
faith and non-faith backgrounds seem to interact and get on at school and in the
community. It will also explore the factors that seem important in promoting interfaith
contact and understanding.
Sarah Jane Page, Durham University [Nottingham]
“Recounting the Past: Sexual Knowledge among Religious Young Adults”
This presentation will outline the narratives of 18–25-year-olds from various faith
backgrounds who recall their experiences of how they learnt about sex and sexuality in
the context of faith. Based on questionnaire, interview and video diary data from
religious young adults living in the UK, the presentation will outline the inadequacies felt
by the young adults in the sample regarding sexual knowledge and the strategies
employed in overcoming knowledge gaps. Fields of exploration will include the role of
religious organisations and religious leaders, family and friends as well as school in
knowledge transmission. It will highlight that, although young adults frequently cited
their religious faith as the means through which their sexual ethics were lived, working
out these values and codes of conduct was very much an individualised process, with few
clear paths of support.
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Mark Pike, University of Leeds
“Religious Education in Two Contrasting Christian-Ethos Schools”
This paper draws upon the case studies of two schools. The first is an academy with a
Christian-ethos, which has no ‘faith test’ for admission and serves a largely secular social
area. Here the sophisticated relation between the school’s Christian ethos, the
importance it attaches to Religious Education (to which two hours a week are devoted,
even though the school specialises in business and enterprise) and its ‘secular’ core values
are of most interest and will be discussed. This school’s approach will be contrasted with
the confessional religious education, across the curriculum, of a parent-funded, would-be
free school which was established as a faith-based alternative to secular schooling.
Interviews with 14-year-old students inform the analysis.
Jasjit Singh, University of Leeds
“Keepers of the Faith: Formative Influences in the Lives of British Sikh Religious
Transmitters”
Using data gathered as part of a research project which is studying the transmission of
Sikhism among young British Sikhs, this paper will examine how those involved in the
transmission of Sikhism have been influenced to do so. Examining the influences of the
family and the school environment and the various methods being used in Gurdwaras,
including Punjabi supplementary schools, this paper will offer a retrospective look at the
ways in which young Sikhs are nurtured and socialised into Sikhism, providing an
understanding of which methods appear to work and why.
Naomi Stanton, Open University
“Christian Youth Work as Religious Education?”
This presentation will examine the notion of Christian youth work as religious education
based on research with Christian youth workers and young people engaging in their
youth work programmes. Collins-Mayo et al (2010) have argued that Christian youth
workers are ineffective in transmitting the Christian narrative and foster only a ‘passing
interest’ in Christianity among young people. A three-phase model of Christian youth
work will be presented, ranging from youth work as a social club, small group teaching to
engagement with church services. The model which emerges from my research allows
young people to choose how far to engage with the explicit Christian teaching, without
catering exclusively for those who do. Notions of choice, voice, relationship and
community will be explored in young people’s engagement with Christianity. The
discussion will also challenge the dominant assumption of recent literature that young
people engage with religion as consumers in an individualistic society, by exploring the
significance of social action and volunteering to young people involved in the research.
The argument will be framed within the concept of ‘social currencies’ (a term suggested
by Griffiths 2009) as a two-way, transactional alternative to building social capital.
Collins-Mayo, S.; Mayo, B.; Nash, S.; with Cocksworth, C. (2010). The Faith of Generation
Y. London: Church House Publishing.
Griffiths, M. (2009). One Generation from Extinction: How the Church Connects with the
Unchurched Child. Oxford: Monarch Books.
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DETAILS ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
(in alphabetical order)
Elisabeth Arweck
Dr Elisabeth Arweck is Senior Research Fellow in the Warwick Religions and Education
Research Unit (WRERU) in the Institute of Education at the University of Warwick, and
an Editor of the Journal of Contemporary Religion. Her recent research has focused on the
religious socialisation and nurture of young people. Recent publications include a number
of co-authored articles (with Eleanor Nesbitt) and (co-edited) volumes, such as Exploring
Religion and the Sacred in a Media Age (with Chris Deacy, Ashgate 2009) and Reading Religion
in Text and Context (with Peter Collins, Ashgate 2006). She is the author of several book
chapters and of Researching New Religious Movements in the West (Routledge 2007). Further
details, including a full list of publications, are available at:
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/wie/research/wreru/aboutus/staff/ea/
Vivienne Baumfield
Vivienne Baumfield is Professor of Pedagogy, Policy and Innovation in the School of
Education, University of Glasgow, and works with practitioners and policy makers in
education both in the UK and overseas. She has led research projects aimed at furthering
understanding of the benefits of collaborative school–university research partnerships in
the development of teaching as evidence of informed practice. Professor Baumfield has
published research on pedagogy in RE and has worked with government agencies and
professional organisations in the UK and internationally on the development of inquirybased approaches to promoting professional learning. She is the Editor of the British
Religious Education Journal and the International Dean for South Asia and Eurasia at the
University of Glasgow.
Jenny Berglund, Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden
Jenny Berglund is senior lecturer and researcher. She is particularly interested in Islam
and religious education. In her dissertation, Teaching Islam: Islamic Religious Education at
Muslim Schools in Sweden (Waxmann), she examines how Islamic Religious Education
(IRE) is formed as a confessional school subject within the framework and under the
jurisdiction of the Swedish school system by focusing on how the teachers make and
account for their educational choices. She is currently involved in the research project
TRaTEBB (Teaching Religion and Thinking Education at the Baltic-Barent Brim) which
is designed to study religious education in four sets of twin schools on either side of four
state boundaries in the Baltic-Barent area. She is also analysing young Muslims’ responses
to an extensive survey of the project “Religion as a Resource?”. Jenny Berglund is a
committee member of the European Association for the Study of Religions (EASR) and
the EASR’s working group on religious education. She has initiated a teacher exchange
programme with the Center for Women’s Studies at the University of Jordan.
Jim Conroy
James C. Conroy is Professor of Religious and Philosophical Education and Head of
Internationalisation in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Glasgow where
he was also Dean of Faculty for five years. He has written and taught widely on issues of
religion and education, leadership and philosophy concerning parenting and childhood.
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He is the author of “Betwixt and Between: The Liminal Imagination, Education and
Democracy” and “The Estranged Self: Recovering some Grounds for Pluralism in
Education” (Journal of Moral Education 38.2). He has been a Visiting Professor at the
Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, ACU, and Fordham University; most recently,
he has been EU Visiting Professor at the University of Warsaw. He is currently the
Principal Investigator of the AHRC/ESRC project “Does Religious Education Work?”.
Jennifer Croft
The Revd Jennifer Croft, previously a research scientist, is a Senior Research Fellow in
WRERU in the Institute of Education at the University of Warwick. She is working with
the quantitative aspect of the ESRC/AHRC project “Young People’s Attitudes towards
Religious Diversity”. Her research interests consist of implicit religion, monitoring
religious attitudes, personality and religion and mental health and spirituality. Her full list
of publications can be found at:
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/wie/research/wreru/aboutus/staff/jc/
Judith Everington
Dr Judith Everington is Associate Professor in the Institute of Education at the
University of Warwick. She is a teacher educator working primarily with secondary
school teachers of RE. As a member of the Warwick Religions and Education Research
Unit (WRERU) her research interests are the (largely biographical) study of teachers of
RE and the development of teaching strategies within initial teacher education. Further
details, including a list of publications, are available at:
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/wie/research/wreru/aboutus/staff/je/
Leslie J. Francis
The Revd Canon Leslie J. Francis is Professor of Religions and Education in the
Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit (WRERU) in the Institute of Education
at the University of Warwick. His research interests include the fields of religious
education, practical theology, empirical theology and the psychology of religion. His
recent publications have appeared in journals like British Journal of Religious Education,
Journal of Contemporary Religion, Mental Health, Religion and Culture and Review of Religious
Research. Further details, including a full list of publications, can be found at:
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/wie/research/wreru/aboutus/staff/lf/
Brian Gates
Dr Brian Gates is the current Chair of the RE Council of England and Wales and
Emeritus Professor of Religious and Moral Education at the University of Cumbria in
Lancaster.
Bill Gent
Following 15 years of teaching in Birmingham secondary schools, Bill Gent moved to
local authority school improvement work for the following 20 years. During this time, he
developed his own interests in spiritual development and collective worship, speaking
and publishing widely in these fields. With his wife Lynn Gent, he wrote two primary RE
books in the Scholastic Curriculum Bank series. He gained a doctorate at the University
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of Warwick in 2006, having used ethnographic methods to research British Muslim
supplementary schooling and the phenomenon of Qur’anic memorisation. As well as
being an Associate Fellow of Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit
(WRERU), he is editor of REsource, the journal of the National Association of Teachers
of RE (NATRE).
Anthony Goodman
Anthony Goodman is Professor of Criminal and Community Justice Studies at
Middlesex University. His publications and research have focused on substance misuse as
well as working with adult and young offenders. Most recently he completed a study,
with colleagues, on “Teenage Drinking and Interethnic Friendships” (2011) for the
Joseph Rowntree Foundation. He is currently researching young people, identity and
religion as part of a large AHRC/ESRC project with Brunel University and Leeds
Metropolitan University.
Mathew Guest
Dr Mathew Guest is senior lecturer in the department of Theology and Religion at
Durham University and Principal Investigator of “Christianity and the University
Experience in Contemporary England”, a three-year research project funded by the
AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme. He has published widely in the
sociology of contemporary Christianity, especially on topics related to the evangelical
movement; he is, for example, the author of Evangelical Identity and Contemporary Culture
(2007) and co-author (with Douglas Davies) of Bishops, Wives and Children: Spiritual Capital
across the Generations (2007).
Julia Ipgrave
Dr Julia Ipgrave is Senior Research Fellow in the Warwick Religions and Education
Research Unit (WRERU), where she combines research with supervision of MA and
doctoral students. Her current areas of research include young people’s religious
understanding and their responses to religious diversity and young people’s inter faith
dialogue. Further details and a full list of publications can be found at:
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/wie/research/wreru/aboutus/staff/ji/
Robert Jackson
Robert Jackson PhD DLitt AcSS is Professor of Religions and Education in the Institute
of Education at the University of Warwick, UK, and Director of the Warwick Religions
and Education Research Unit (http://www.warwick.ac.uk/go/WRERU). He is also
Professor of Religious Diversity and Education at the Council of Europe-related
European Wergeland Centre in Oslo, Norway. He has undertaken various projects on
intercultural education and education about religious diversity for the Council of Europe,
the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the United Nations
Alliance of Civilizations programme, as well as taking a leading role in many research
projects, including the European Commission project on Religion, Education, Dialogue
and Conflict (REDCo). He is author of many publications in the field of religions and
education, and is co-editor of the book series Religious Diversity and Education in Europe
(Waxmann). He was Editor of the British Journal of Religious Education 1996-2011. For
further details and a list of publications, see http://www.robertjackson.co.uk/
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David Lundie
David Lundie recently completed his PhD in Religious Education, as a key member of
the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme project “Does RE Work?: An
Analysis of the Aims, Practices and Models of Effectiveness in Religious Education in
the UK”. He has experience in ethnographic methods, the philosophy of education and
education policy work. Employing the Delphi method and analyses of the impact of
policy rhetoric on the language of practice, he has carried out a range of projects tracing
the diverse processes by which educational policy is mediated into practice.
Nicola Madge
Nicola Madge is Professor of Child Psychology in the Centre for Child and Youth
Research at Brunel University. She is currently Principal Investigator for the ‘Youth On
Religion’ project funded by a large grant from the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society
Programme. Her other research interests include parental alcohol misuse and child
welfare, the involvement of young people in research on medicines for children, young
people and deliberate self-harm and children and ‘risk’.
Joyce Miller
Dr Joyce Miller is an Associate Fellow in the Warwick Religions and Education Research
Unit (WRERU) at the University of Warwick. She is the former Head of Diversity and
Cohesion at Education Bradford with responsibility for religious education, community
cohesion and race equality. She is the deputy chair of the RE Council of England and
Wales, chair of the Steering and Monitoring Group of the REsilience project, Chair of
Bradford’s SACRE and Vice Chair of the Schools Linking Network. Her doctoral
research was on community cohesion and religious education and formed part of the
European-wide REDCo project. For seven years she edited REsource, the journal of the
Professional Council for RE (now NATRE), and she has written for a range of
publications, from the Times Educational Supplement to the British Journal of Religious
Education. Now retired, she works in a voluntary capacity for a number of organisations,
including the RE Council and the Schools Linking Network.
Kevin O’Grady
Dr Kevin O’Grady has 25 years of experience of teaching and leading religious education
in English secondary schools. He has studied at the universities of Lancaster and
Warwick, gaining his doctorate in 2007. Dr O’Grady was research co-ordinator (2006–
2009) of the Warwick community of practice, which formed part of the English
contribution to the REDCo project, funded by the European Commission. He is a
member of the ongoing REDCo network and of the International Seminar on Religious
Education and Values (ISREV). He has published widely on religious education
pedagogy and action research, which are his main interests. Dr O’Grady is Faculty
Leader for Religious Education, Personal, Health and Social Education, Citizenship and
Careers at Aston Academy and Associate Fellow in the Warwick Religious and Education
Research Unit (WRERU).
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Christina Osbeck
Christina Osbeck is associate professor of Religious Education at Karlstad University in
Sweden. She wrote her dissertation on pupils’ life interpretations and how bullying in
school is working as a shaping and homogenizing tool of life interpretations. In her
major ongoing research project she is studying knowledge of RE as language and follows
how pupils are expanding their linguistic repertoires about religions, societies and life in
relation to lessons in RE.
Sarah–Jane Page
Sarah-Jane Page is an ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of
Theology and Religion at Durham University. Previously, she was in the School of
Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham as Research Fellow on the
project ‘Religion, Youth and Sexuality: A Multi-Faith Exploration’. She has published in
Feminist Theology and Feminist Review and is currently preparing (as co-author) Religious and
Sexual Journeys: A Multi-faith Exploration of Young Believers, which is due to be published in
2012.
Mark Pike
Dr Mark Pike is Reader in Educational Values and Pedagogy in the School of Education
at the University of Leeds. His ESRC/AHRC project gathered data on five schools with
a Christian ethos and included a three-week case study of Trinity Academy which serves
a former mining community and social priority area and has won accolades as the Most
Improved Academy Nationally (2008 and 2010).
Alice Pyke
Alice Pyke has been in WRERU in the Institute of Education at the University of
Warwick since 2009. She contributed to the DCSF project and is now working towards
her doctorate as part of the AHRC/ESRC project on ‘Young People’s Attitudes towards
Religious Diversity’. Her research interests include young people’s attitudes towards
religious diversity and materials used in schools to teach religious education. For further
details, see: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/wie/research/wreru/aboutus/staff
/ap/
Mandy Robbins
Dr Mandy Robbins (CPsychol) is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Glyndwr University,
Wrexham, and Research Associate in the Warwick Religions and Education Research
Unit (WRERU), Institute of Education, University of Warwick. Her research interests are
in the field of practical theology and the psychology of religion. Her recent publications
have appeared in journals like the British Journal of Religious Education, Mental Health, Religion
and Culture and Review of Religious Research.
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Olga Schihalejev
Dr Olga Schihalejev is a researcher and lecturer in the Faculty of Theology at Tartu
University, Estonia. She has worked as a teacher of religious education and has written
teaching–learning resources for students in Estonia. She is a board member of the
Estonian RE Teachers’ Association, actively involved in improving the national syllabus
for RE and organising annual conferences for RE teachers in Estonia. She contributed to
the EC Framework 6 project REDCo (Religion in Education: A Contribution to
Dialogue or a Factor of Conflict in Transforming Societies of European Countries), with
research on how religion is perceived by young people in a secular context. Another
research interest is how different ethnic groups in Estonia perceive religion and
tolerance. A current research area is the contextuality of young people’s attitudes and
convictions regarding religion and religious diversity.
Jasjit Singh
Jasjit Singh is a doctoral student at the University of Leeds working on an AHRC/ESRC
Religion and Society Programme studentship “Keeping the Faith: The Transmission of
Sikhism among Young British Sikhs (18–30)”, in collaboration with BECAS (Bradford
Educational and Cultural Association of Sikhs). His research is investigating why young
British Sikhs wish to learn about Sikhism and how they go about it. He is regularly
invited to discuss Sikhism on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 2 and recently won a prize
for best arts, humanities and social sciences postgraduate poster in a public engagement
competition. Further details about his research can be found at:
http://www.leeds.ac.uk/sikhs
Naomi Stanton
Naomi Stanton is currently writing her PhD thesis, which is based on research of young
people’s engagement with organised Christianity. She is based at The Open University
where she is also an Associate Lecturer. Her professional background is in a range of
community and youth work settings—statutory, voluntary and faith-based. She is part of
the Youth and Policy editorial group.
Colin Webster
Dr Colin Webster is Reader in Criminology at Leeds Metropolitan University. He has
written and researched extensively in the areas of ethnicity and crime, youth transitions,
poverty and social exclusion, drug treatment and youth justice. His most recent book is
Understanding Race and Crime (Open University 2007).
Linda Woodhead
Linda Woodhead is Professor of Sociology of Religion at Lancaster University and
Director of the AHRC/ESRC Research Programme on Religion and Society. Her
research explores the role of religion in modern societies. She is the author, with Ole
Riis, of A Sociology of Religious Emotion (OUP 2010). She was recently involved in an EU
funded research project on the Muslim veil and public policy (‘VEIL’) and in writing a
major report for the Equality and Human Rights Commission on the new duty to protect
equality of ‘religion or belief’. Her earlier publications include The Spiritual Revolution: Why
Religion is Giving Way to Spirituality (with Paul Heelas, Blackwell 2005) and An Introduction to
Christianity (Cambridge University Press 2004).
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Religion in Education: Findings from the Religion and Society Programme