Faith, Secularism and Public Policy
A Series of Seminars funded by the Economic and Social Research Council
The following seminars will be held at Manchester Cathedral Visitors' Centre, 11.00 a.m.-3.00p.m unless otherwise indicated. Please note that for catering and accommodation reasons you must book for the seminars in advance.
For further details of how to apply, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
22nd January 2009: Faith, Secularism and Public Life
- Revd Dr Mark Chapman, Vice Principal and Lecturer in Systematic Theology, Ripon College Cuddesdon.
- Professor Elaine Graham, Samuel Ferguson Professor of Social & Pastoral Theology, Manchester University
In the first seminar of the series, our aim will be to identify some of the key intellectual and political dimensions of the current debate of faith in public life and to map the territory. Download a summary of the session in pdf format here.
24th February 2009: Human Rights: Law, Freedom and Religious Identity
- Professor William F. Storrar, Director, Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton University, USA.
- Mr. Mohammed Shafiq, Chief Executive, Ramadan Foundation
The second seminar in the series will aim to tease out some of the complexities of the relationship between religious identity/practice and the state. For example, should the State recognise religion by privileging an established church or protecting religious pluralism? What should count as religion for the purposes of public policy and how might instances of discrimination, defamation etc., be legislated for?
19th March 2009: Political Economy, Faith and Finance
- Mr. Andreas Whittam-Smith, First Estates Commissioner, Church Commissioners.
- Mr. Philip Lowe, Director General for Competition, European Commission.
This is the third seminar in the series and its main aim is to consider aspects of the emergence of faith-based political economy and the influence on the policies/practices of commercial financial institutions and public policy. Download a summary of the session in pdf format here.
23rd April, 2009: Media Religion and Representation
Please note: this seminar will be held at New Broadcasting House, Oxford Road, 11am to 3pm.
- Wahida Shaffi, Freelance Consultant and Researcher.
- Professor Kim Knott, Dept of Theology & Religious Studies, University of Leeds.
- Mr. Michael Wakelin, Head of Religion & Ethics, BBC Oxford Rd.
In the fourth seminar in the series, we will consider how representations of religion in the broadcast media contribute to attitudes and understanding of faith in wider society.
20th May 2009: Faith Schools: Cohesion or Segregation?
- Revd Janina Ainsworth, Chef Education Officer, Church House
- Rabbi Jonathan Romain, Chairperson of Accord
This is the fifth seminar in the series and its aim is to identify key issues and establish the terms in which claims about the beneficial or divisive impact of faith-schools might be evaluated.
18th June 2009: Welfare, Faith and the New Social Contract
- Professor Paul Smyth, Social Policy, University of Melbourne, Australia
- Francis Davies, Fellow & Director of the New Las Casas Institute on Ethics, Governance and Social Justice, University of Oxford.
- Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, Financial Secretary at the Treasury and Vice Chair for Faith Groups for the Labour Party.
The aim of this session is to examine the implications of government (and opposition) interest in faith-based organisations as part of the so called 'third sector' in delivery of substantial areas of welfare provision including welfare to work schemes, education and personal social services. Questions will include: do FBOs have adequate capacity; does this represent a dismantling of the welfare state, what protective legislation may be required if faith-based provision conflicts with liberal secular values?