Conference organised by Alex Baratta and Paul Smith, Call for papers: An exploration of religious voices and identities in higher education, The University of Manchester

This one-day conference brings together researchers, lecturers and students who share an interest, be it personal, teaching or research-based, in the topic of religion in higher education.

The focus is to explore the reality for university students who are also members of a faith. The broad question that derives from this is essentially, ‘can the two identities of student and member of faith peacefully co-exist?’

Prior publications (e.g. Guest et al. 2013) point to the possibility of a ‘cognitive dissonance’ in that experience of being at university might introduce alternative belief systems to students. More frequent episodes may include the student perception that aspects of university assessment, instruction, or curriculum are ‘incommensurable’ with their faith. These experiences will cause dilemmas of varying magnitude, and require different kinds of resolution.

Thus, our conference will explore what it means to be both a student and a member of faith in higher education today. The geographical focus need not be tied solely to the United Kingdom, and we hope to hear of students’ experiences from a variety of religious and academic backgrounds in a higher education setting.

The conference themes would include, but need not be limited to, the following areas of research:

  • Incommensurability, dissonance, or conflict in in assessment, instruction, and the curriculum
  • The challenges brought by higher education to students of faith
  • How do some students manage to avoid any conflict at all?
  • The relations of atheist students with students of faith
  • Religious identity and the notion of ‘safe spaces’ on campus
  • The relation of religious identity to ‘voice discourses’ and identity politics on campus


The conference will take place on Monday, November 28th from 9:00am – 5:00pm in the Harwood Room, in the Barnes Willis building.

A campus map is provided below:

There is no registration fee, and lunch, along with tea/coffee breaks, will be provided.