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ECR event: Practice, Activism and Advocacy in Academic Research on Religion, Gender and Sexuality

8th November 2018 - 9th November 2018

Early Career Researchers’ Conference: Practice, Activism and Advocacy in Academic Research on Religion, Gender and Sexuality

8th-9th November 2018

University of Exeter, UK

Sex, gender and sexuality are prominent issues in public debate concerning religion and society. This conference includes training for early career researchers (ECRs) working in the broad areas of sex, gender, sexuality and religion (in any discipline including but not limited to theology and religion, psychology, history, and law). It is designed to help ECRs network with practitioners and learn more about collaborating with partners beyond the academy. ECRs will have a chance to meet and learn from both senior academics (on e.g. research design, ethics and governance; transition to being a principal investigator; working with faith groups) and from practitioners, activists, advocates and faith group leaders (on e.g. co-creating and co-curating research).

It brings together a network of early career scholars and senior researchers for a day conference to include mentoring and training on research design and development, an ECR poster/video installation session, and speed networking. The programme also includes several public engagement events, including a photographic exhibition, live play, and film screening.

The events are funded by the British Academy as part of the British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award (BARSEA) held by Dr Susannah Cornwall.

We are delighted to have participation from senior academics including

Prof John Barton, Biblical Studies (Oxford)

Prof Kate Fisher, History (Exeter)

Prof Peter Hegarty, Psychology (Surrey)

Prof Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Religion (Exeter)

Prof Adrian Thatcher, Theology and Religion (Exeter)

and from activist and advocacy organizations including

Rainbow Jews / Liberal Judaism


Intersex UK

Sibyls trans spirituality group

as well as independent activists and practitioners.

Thursday 8th November 2018

Screening, Stories of Intersex and Faith; Q&A with producer Dr Megan DeFranza

Response from Valentino Vecchietti (intersex human rights campaigner and independent academic)

Friday 9th November 2018

Panels with senior academics and expert activists

Small-group mentoring for ECRs

Speed networking session

Activist and practitioner showcase

ECR poster/video competition

Exhibition, Twilight People (trans people’s stories of faith)

Live performance, Angels Are Intersex

Dinner (pay for yourself – we will choose an affordable local venue)

Early career researchers will receive small-group mentoring on collaborative project design, project leadership and governance from a senior academic.

Attendance is free, but places are limited. A limited number of travel bursaries may be available. Other than that, travel and accommodation costs are the responsibility of attendees.

To be eligible to attend you must be

  • A current postgraduate student
  • OR a scholar within ten years of the award of your PhD (taking into account career breaks)
  • OR a research-active practitioner, activist or advocate

You do not need to hold a current academic post in order to be eligible. To apply for a place, please send a short statement of under 350 words setting out

  1. Your academic or professional discipline
  2. How you fall into one or more of the above categories
  3. What you hope to gain by attending the event
  4. Whether you would like to be considered for a travel bursary
  5. Whether you would like to propose a research poster or video to exhibit
  6. Your dietary requirements and any accessibility requirements

to Dr Susannah Cornwall by 15th October 2018.

Prof John Barton is an Anglican priest and biblical scholar who was, until 2014, Oriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture at the University of Oxford. He has extensive experience in public engagement and working with faith groups, via, for example, his presidency of Modern Church, and his membership of the Church of England’s General Synod. He also has extensive experience of research design and project leadership including directorship of the Ethics in Ancient Israel project (for which he was awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship).

Prof Kate Fisher is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. Her specialist subjects include the history of sex and sexuality, medical humanities, and oral history. Her first book, Birth Control, Sex and Marriage in Britain, 1918-1960, won the Royal Historical Society’s Whitfield Prize in 2007. She has extensive experience in public engagement and knowledge exchange work including co-directorship of the Wellcome Trust-funded Rethinking Sexology project, and, with Prof Rebecca Langlands, of the Sex and History project. Sex and History uses museum visits, object-based workshops and games to add a new, rich dimension to sex education. The Sex and History team have worked with a wide range of partners including Age UK; Barnardos; Eddystone Trust; Effervescent Social Alchemy; Exeter Foyer; Groundwork SW;  Platform 51; Plymouth City Museum; Plymouth Youth Service; Russell-Coates Art Gallery and Museum; Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter; Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro; RSE Hub, The Science Museum, Wellcome Collection.

Prof Peter Hegarty is Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Surrey. His research specialisms include sex, gender and sexuality studies, queer theory, the history of psychology, language and communication. He has extensive experience in research design and public engagement work, including co-directorship of the British Psychological Association-funded project Enabling Public Engagement with Intersex/DSD through Psychology and Mobile Technology, and of the British Academy-funded Heroes Against Homophobia project. He has been a consultant to the British Psychological Society and contributed to its guidelines for psychologists working with gender minorities.

Prof Francesca Stavrakopoulou is Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Religion at the University of Exeter. She is an expert in ancient Israelite and Judahite religion; gender and religion; social and religious responses to death; history and ideology in the Hebrew Bible; and body and culture. Her public engagement experience includes numerous public debates, festivals, public lectures and personal appearances, and extensive media work including presenting the major BBC TV series Bible’s Buried Secrets. She has given lectures for Jewish synagogue communities, Christian cross-denominational societies, and atheist organizations. As a patron of Humanists UK, she has lectured on the roles of the Bible, religion, and atheism in ancient and contemporary societies at a number of Humanist conventions and conferences. She has led major research projects including the AHRC-funded Use of the Bible in Environmental Ethics project (with Prof David Horrell).

Prof Adrian Thatcher is Honorary Professorial Research Fellow in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Exeter. He also teaches Medical Humanities at the Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry. His areas of research expertise include the theology of sexuality and gender; sexuality and biblical interpretation; and the history and theology of marriage. He speaks to a wide range of audiences including churches, community groups, activist groups, psychotherapists, trainee clergy and military chaplains, and has been an expert consultant on human sexuality to the Church of England’s House of Bishops.


8th November 2018
9th November 2018

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