Funding boost to promote inter-religious and cultural dialogue

Funding boost to promote inter-religious and cultural dialogue

The National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) and the University of Bristol have successfully won two research bids for a joint project exploring better ways of promoting inter-religious and cultural dialogue in the classroom.

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Westhill Endowment Trust, the two bids (totalling over 25,000) will involve a two-way knowledge exchange secondment, enabling University of Bristol researchers and Executive members of NATRE to work together to transfer relevant knowledge and understanding. The initiative will help teachers working in culturally diverse settings to better understand theory, while researchers develop new theoretical ideas based on classroom-based knowledge shared by teachers.

This will include ‘ theory’ – a key idea that will enhance teacher’s understanding of how to share ‘space’ in classrooms in ways that promote inter-religious and intercultural dialogue. Two teachers will spend time in residence at the University of Bristol during the project, while researchers from Bristol will spend time on the NATRE Executive and in local NATRE groups.

In the local groups, they will undertake a national survey of RE teachers, which will help to gather essential evidence of the potential the best religious education has to promote good community relations. The results of this two way knowledge exchange will be shared with teachers of RE at NATRE, RE today and other events over the next year.

Daniel Hugill, Chair of NATRE said: “NATRE is always keen to look at positive ways of working with the research community, so teaching can become a more evidence-based practice and we are also passionate about how Religious Education can contribute to promoting positive community relations. We are delighted to be involved in such a collaborative and timely initiative.”