AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme

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The AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme is a five-year strategic research initiative funded by two UK research councils: the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council. running 2007-2012. It has funded 75 projects across UK universities investigating various aspects of the complex relationships between religion and society, both historical and contemporary.

Research supported includes the website "British Religion in Numbers",[1] providing a one-stop shop for statistics on religion in Britain led by Professor David Voas at Manchester University, Professor Kim Knott at Leeds University’s restudy of British media coverage of religion and spirituality, and an investigation of Hindu, Muslim and Sikh shrine practices across the Punjab led by Dr Tej Purewal, also at Manchester. Phase 2 of the Programme has focused on Youth and Religion specifically, supporting projects like Dr Basia Spalek at Birmingham University’s research into police partnerships with young Muslims.

The Religion and Society Programme is hosted at Lancaster University, and directed by Professor Linda Woodhead helped by Dr Rebecca Catto (Research Associate) and Peta Ainsworth (Administrator). The Programme also helps to organize various relevant and topical events such as a day at the British Library asking ‘where next for religion in the public sphere’ in July 2010 and a closed seminar asking ‘Child abuse in the Catholic Church – what can be learned?’ at Heythrop College London in November 2010.