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Nottingham to host religion and the media summit

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Faith leaders and media professionals are meeting in Nottingham next week to discuss the reporting of religious affairs and how to foster a better understanding of different faiths in the community.

Creating Connections has been organised by the Religion Media Centre in collaboration with the University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University and local churches, temples, mosques and synagogues.

The conference takes place on Thursday 18th November from 2-7pm, in the Adams Room, NTU Conference Centre (Burton Street Reception). The event is one of five taking place this autumn in English cities, bringing together journalists, writers, teachers, academics, researchers, university chaplains, faith groups and religious leaders. All media and communications professionals are welcome to book a free place via Eventbrite.

Leading media professionals will share their insights into their newsgathering operations and how they engage with the local community. There will also be the opportunity for journalists and correspondents to pick up stories and question the faith leaders present. Panels, presentations and workshops from those representing the faith and belief groups in Nottingham will give information on the religious landscape of Nottingham – one of the most diverse in Britain.

Sessions will focus on five key themes on how faith and belief directly affect and influence local life.

  • Young people and mental health – local projects, communities and individuals offer their experience of how mental health has become more of a challenge because of the pandemic and explain their programmes to improve wellbeing. Speakers include Rev Dr Michèle Hampson, Warden at Sacrista Prebend Retreat House; and Musharraf Hussain, of the Karimia Institute.

  • Faith on the front line of the health service - how faith motivated and inspired health professionals during the pandemic and the aftermath – Speakers include Dr Jeetendra Rashod, NHS Registrar and member of the Hindu Temple in Nottingham; Georgia Powell, the University of Nottingham’s Social Prescribing Link; Dr Anna Larvin, who works in A&E at the Queens Medical Centre.

  • Race and religion in Nottingham Culture – Increased awareness and activism since the Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted the challenge of racism in the community and within faith groups. Speakers include Clive Foster, multi faith manager at Nottingham Trent University; and the Rev Paulina Hlawiczka, chaplain at Nottingham University

  • Poverty and care in the pandemic – Places of worship and many individuals stepped in to provide food and care for the vulnerable in the pandemic, motivated by their beliefs and energized by their community organisations. Speakers include Rev Phil Williams, Archdeacon of Nottingham; Rev Liam O’Boyle, Diocesan Partnerships Officer; Patricia Stoat, Salaam Shalom Kitchen in Nottingham, which has been set up by Jews, Muslims and Christians; Gurpreet Singh JI, Siri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Nottingham;

  • Climate change and the environment - Paul Bodenham, Roman Catholic diocesan lead on the environment.

The conference will end with a plenary session reflecting on the new stories that have been told and the media’s response. Speakers include Dr Jon Hoover, Theology and Religious Studies department, University of Nottingham; Bishop Patrick McKinney, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nottingham; and Hisham Jafar, Muslim Chaplain at the University of Nottingham.

Dr Tim Hutchings, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Nottingham

Dr Tim Hutchings from the University of Nottingham’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies said: "Our department includes world-leading researchers dedicated to the study of science, media and interfaith relations. Our staff and students have a long history of working with faith groups and community organisations in Nottingham. Encouraging more nuanced, insightful storytelling about religion is absolutely crucial to the future of our diverse and wonderful city, and this goal is at the heart of our teaching and research. This is a very important event for Nottingham, and we are delighted to support it."

The Religion Media Centre is an independent organisation unaffiliated to any group, which seeks to help the media be better informed and have greater understanding of religion and worldviews in the UK.

Executive chair, Michael Wakelin says: “Our purpose at the Religion Media Centre is to help plug gaps in religious literacy and the understanding of the media, so that communication is improved, and concerns understood. Frequently we hear from faith groups and organisations that they feel misunderstood, misrepresented and ignored, causing them to retreat into silence. The gulf this creates is not good for journalism or faith groups. 84 per cent of people in the world are affiliated to a religion and in today’s global society, understanding beliefs, culture and practices has never been more important to foster understanding, respect and social cohesion.”

The Creating Connections project has been generously funded by Culham St Gabriel’s Trust, an organisation that believes broad-based, critical and reflective education in religion and worldviews contributes to a well-informed, respectful and open society.

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For more information, please contact Dr Tim Hutchings, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Nottingham via email tim.hutchings@nottingham.ac.uk or Emma Rayner, Media Relations Manager on 07738 291242 or emma.rayner@nottingham.ac.uk

Emma Rayner - Media Relations Manager, Faculty of Arts
Email: emma.rayner@nottingham.ac.uk
Phone: 0115 748 4413
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The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2023, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide Sports University of the Year twice in three years, most recently in 2021. We are ranked seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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