The Living Religion website is an online resource originating from the Study of Religions team at Bath Spa University and funded by the Higher Education Academy Philosphical & Religious Studies Subject Centre.
The information on this website was put together by the following staff:
I mainly teach Hinduism and Sikhism along with gender and sexuality in religions and Indian and Chinese philosophies. My main research interests centre on modern India, especially the relationship between ‘East’ and ‘West’. A current project is a study of Sir Edwin Arnold, a Victorian journalist and poet, who played an important part in bringing Buddhist and Hindu ideas (or perhaps ideas about Buddhism and Hinduism) to a Western readership.
In my own time as an undergraduate, I do not recall ever visiting a place of worship or talking to a believer (or even being encouraged to do so). It was not until I was researching for my doctorate on the Indian women’s movement that I did fieldwork in India. However, this experience made me realise how valuable it is to go into the field and not just research in libraries and archives. This is one of the reasons why I think that placements have so much to offer students in academic and personal terms and why I wanted to work on this project.
My main teaching covers religion and education in an international perspective and contemporary spiritualities with a focus on research methods. However, I am probably best known for my work on Buddhism, such as writing an A level textbook. My research centres upon the relationship between young people’s spirituality, especially young pagans, and religion in education. This has involved me in examining why teenagers become witches and also making a case for the broadening of the religious education curriculum to include a wider variety of religious and non-religious worldviews.
My first degree was Theology, with an emphasis on textual work, with no visits or placements, and I discovered fieldwork for myself when researching Tibetan Buddhism for my dissertation as part of my MA in Religious Studies. It seemed like a good idea to go and experience and interview Tibetan Buddhist communities given that they could be found in Britain, as well as researching the history and teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, and reading relevant sacred texts.
On joining the team at Bath in 1986, I was impressed by the idea of placements, and have always considered this experiential learning the most important part of our degree course.
I developed the Living Religion website alongside Denise and Catherine, creating a digital identity for the project and collating the materials and resources. As a Technical Demonstrator, my job is to support students and staff with project work within the College of Liberal Arts (CoLA) at Bath Spa University.
The Living Religion project team has been supported by an Advisory Group chaired by Prof. Paul Hyland, Head of Learning and Teaching at Bath Spa University, and comprising Dr Lynn Foulston, Programme Leader for Religious studies at University of Wales, Newport, Dr Richard Noake, Head of Theology and Religious Studies at York St John University, and Dr Simon Smith, Director of the Higher Education Academy’s Subject Centre for Philosophical and Religious Studies.
Thanks are due to the following for providing materials – Mahinda Deegalle; Wendy Dossett; Lynn Foulston; Kim Knott; Mark Plater; Sue Rodford. For providing images – Abigail Angus; Denise Cush; Martin Davies; Lynn Foulston; Dave Francis; Sarah Heseltine-Flynn; Stuart Hillman; Alexandra Hyde; Sian Jones; Sarah Lawless; Catherine Naughtie; Anna Parkman; Mark Plater; Caroline Quin; Rebecca Tantony; Carlyjo Whereat-Read.
Our particular thanks to all the communities, students and colleagues with whom we have had the pleasure of working over so many years.