Conference Announcement | Contemporary Religion in Historical Perspective: Publics and Performances

Kents Hill, Milton Keynes | February 19-21, 2018


Themes | Education, Media, Pilgrimage, Politics, Ritual, Spirituality

Keynote Speakers | Bettina Schmidt, Philip Williamson, Steven Sutcliffe

At a time when the public role of the University is under increasing scrutiny, how can we ensure that research and teaching about religions reaches new publics? What can we do to enhance religious literacy both within and beyond religious and non-religious communities? How is ritual and performance involved in communication between religious communities, the academy, policy makers and the broader public? Are there ways in which we can learn from the past in better understanding such channels of communication?

Bringing historical perspective to the contemporary role of religion in the public sphere, this conference will include contributions from practitioners and third-sector organisations, who bring their perspectives to the academy to consider the public impact of Religious Studies.

The Open University invites proposals for papers and panels. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Secular and political rituals
  • Faith-based organisations in the secular state
  • Religious rhetoric in the public sphere
  • The changing historical relationship between religion and the state
  • Ritual theory
  • Religion and the Media
  • Spirituality and well-being
  • Religious literacy, education and policy-making
  • The role of inter-faith groups
  • Pilgrimage
  • Secularisation
  • Historical case-studies on religion, performance and the public

Full Call for Papers here, or visit

Abstracts (200 words) should be submitted to by 30th October 2017. Papers will be 20 minutes, with 10 minutes for discussion. The organisers also welcome proposals for panels. Panels will be 90 minutes, normally including three papers. Panel proposals should include panel title, abstracts for each paper and the name of the convener/chair. We also welcome proposals and suggestions for alternative and innovative formats.

Deadline for paper/panel submissions: 30th October 2017

Notification of acceptance of papers/panels: by 15th November 2017

Online registration for conference open from: 30th October 2017

For any enquiries, please contact the Conference Organisers Paul-François Tremlett and David G. Robertson on