CURRENT PROGRAMMES AND PARTNERSHIPS
COEXIST HOUSE AT THE GREENBELT FESTIVAL
Do join us at this year's Greenbelt Festival which is held at Boughton House in Northamptonshire - www.greenbelt.org.uk/buy-tickets/
Shelter, Monday, 11.00am
Scripture and Violence: Challenging Assumptions
Join in a ’Scriptural Reasoning’ session where we will explore the assumptions around passages in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim sacred texts that might seem to incite the very violence and hatred we are working in good faith to counter and combat today.
With the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme, Rose Castle Foundation and Coexist House
Shelter, Sunday, 2.00pm
Interfaith Matters (with 21 4 21)
Georgia May, Arzoo Ahmed, Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers
Young laureates from this year’s 21 4 21 Programme share an honest discussion about the joys and challenges of interfaith work.
With Georgia May (Programme Director at Rose Castle Foundation), Arzoo Ahmed (Physics and Medieval Arabic Thought graduate from Oxford and currently completing a philosophy masters in the ethics of science and technology at King’s College London), Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers (Community Educator for Reform Judaism)
And special guests Katharine Crew (university interfaith practitioner), Rev Heston Groenewald (from multi-faith west Leeds where he spends almost as much time in mosques as in churches) and Ruth Edmonds (a first year ordinand at the Queens’ foundation and previously involved in an interfaith IFTAR with liberal Muslim group City Circle)
Chaired by Bilal Hasan (creative director of British Muslim TV)
Produced by Coexist House
Our Head of Programme wrote an article for the Church Times published on 18th August about the project in partnership with the Cambridge Inter-faith programme - The Scriptural Roots of Religious Violence; Here is the link - its on page 13. :
CAMBRIDGE INTER-FAITH PROGRAMME
We have recently started some fresh initiatives with our partners in the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme.
‘Scripture & Violence: Common Assumptions, Impact & Response’ on Thursday, 27 June from 7.30 – 9.15pm at the LSE Faith Centre in London, addressed such questions as: Do scriptural texts directly cause or contribute to real-world violence? Why do many people view certain scriptural texts as 'inherently violent'? Do people commonly assume that 'their texts' are violent, while 'our texts' are peaceful?
This event combined a panel discussion along with audience-engaged Scriptural Reasoning. Panellists include: Dr Julia Snyder (Regensburg), Dr Nauman Faizi (Lahore), Dr Dr Giles Waller (Cambridge), Dr Daniel Weiss (Cambridge), and Prof David Ford (Cambridge).
21 4 21
In 2018 British Muslim TV, the Jewish News and the Church Times, in partnership with Coexist House, launched a nationwide search for 21 young faith leaders for the 21 century.
Thursday May 2nd 2019 saw the awards ceremony for this unique initiative at Lambeth Palace. Canon Dr Sarah Snyder welcomed us all on behalf of Lambeth Palace and then Sir Bernard Rix, Chair of the Coexist House trustees, welcomed everybody on behalf of the 4 partners, ITV’s news anchor Alistair Stewart hosted the evening and did an exceptional job, with grace and enthusiasm throughout. All but one of “the 21” were present along with the Highly Commended, Several of their friends and supporters also attended.
This is the coverage published in the Jewish News, complete with the video messages and gallery.
There was a feature on Premier Radio’s drive time show the next day featuring three of our “winners”.
This is the Coverage from the Church Times:
And here is the link to the BMTV video – which features a message from London Mayor, Sadiq Khan
RELIGION AND MEDIA FESTIVAL
Exploring Belief, the second Religion and Media festival, was held at the JW3 Centre in north London on 30 April 2019. Coexist House was pleased to be providing the programme for the event. which ensured everyone was aware of our presence. There was a good attendance throughout the day peaking at around 120 for the keynote speech in the morning. There was a lot of twitter feeds and other social media and we were covered in the Times especially in relation to the comments from the BBC TV Commissioners.
The keynote speaker, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, said: “The media has not covered religion as well as it might; not given it space, time or quality of knowledge that it should have done. And yet religion is essential in understanding what is going on in the world.” An audience of media professionals, academics, faith representatives and others, listened as the theme was picked up with panel discussions on how religion is understood; the stories still waiting to be told; and the impact of social media on the transmission of religion. Punchy, provocative polemics included the story of a young Jamaican Muslim rapper, Tanya Muneera Williams, who was spat on and abused by a gang. How has the media, she asked, contributed to the normalisation of hate?
Here is the coverage in the Jewish News:
there was also an article in the Times.
The third Religion and Media Festival will be held on Wednesday 25th March 2020
We have re-established our link with the Greenbelt Festival
We are co-producing two events this year – a 21 4 21 panel featuring three of our “winners” (Georgia May, Arzoo Ahmed and Rabbi Debbie Young Somers) which will champion the need for interfaith dialogue, especially amongst young people. And in partnership with CIP, a follow up to the ‘Scripture & Violence: Common Assumptions, Impact & Response’ SR event in June.
ENCOUNTERS ART EXHIBITION
We have been working closely with the artist Nicola Green who has spent the last 10 years photographing the worlds religious leaders including two Popes, the Dalai Lama, two Archbishops of Canterbury and the Grand Mufti of Egypt. Nicola created some remarkable images including life-size models. The exhibition was hosted at St Martin in the fields with a VIP launch on Monday 17th September 2018 followed by a lecture (the first in a series) given by Rowan Williams..
As well as Rowan’s lecture there was a subsequent lecture series featuring speakers including Justin Welby, Ben Okri, Jonathan Sacks, Neil MacGregor, and Rose Hudson Wilkin.
A book accompanies the exhibition published by Brepols, entitled Encounters: The Art of Interfaith Dialogue. This book explores interfaith dialogue through the lens of the exhibition and set in a theological and art historical context. The publication includes contributions from academics, theologians and artists including Rowan Williams, Prof Aaron Rosen, Dua Abbas, Prof Ben Quash, Skinder Hundal, Dr Chloe Reddaway (formerly connected to CIP) and Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra.
RELIGION AND MEDIA FESTIVAL 2018
An opportunity for media professionals, academics and stakeholders from the various faiths to come together to celebrate and challenge religious broadcasting in all its forms on air, online and in print.
The first took place on Tuesday March 27th 2018 at JW3 – it was so successful that we immediately booked our second festival which will be held Tuesday April 30th.also at JW3.
The first festival featured James Harding former Editor of BBC News, Mark Thompson Editor in Chief of the New York Times, Dr Erin Saltman (UK Policy Manager for Facebook), Miqdaad Versi, Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain and screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce.
21 4 21
Working in close partnership with the Church Times, the Jewish News and British Muslim TV we launched a nationwide search for 21 exceptional young faith leaders for the 21st Century. The project was endorsed by the Prime Minister and received national media coverage on BBC Radio 4. Over 100 people were nominated, and our 21 "winners" were announced by all media outlets on November 15th 2018.
Coexist House Head of Programmes speaks out on Tesco advert
Responding to the controversy over a Tesco advert for reduced prices on beer and cider with the accompanying message "Good Friday just got better". Our Head of Programmes, Michael Wakelin, was interviewed for "Five Live Daily - with Sam Walker". The story due to powerful social media interest was picked up by BBC News
As Michael explained, "Religion is all around us and in order to be a cohesive and peaceful society we need to learn to respect each other's opinions and beliefs. Understanding how religion is important to so many people in our country and the wider world is a pre-requisite for us to Coexist. Once we understand each other we can move from mere tolerance to deep respect and enable religion to be perceived more as an asset than a liability. The Tesco advert revealed that there is a need for better religious literacy".
RELIGIOUS LITERACY FOR ORGANISATIONS
We have over the past two years developed an online religious literacy training programme with global giants EY. We are currently taking it to market through a series of executive seminars. Our Head of Programmes has been in negotiations with several major companies and has spoken about the programme on two occasions at the European Parliament.
EY launches religious literacy training
programme for organisations
EY has announced the launch of Religious Literacy for Organisations (RLO), a diversity and inclusion training program designed to help organizations better understand religious inclusion and its positive impact on business process and performance. Developed in collaboration with Coexist House, an organization dedicated to transforming public understanding of the practices and perspectives of the world’s religions, and with research from Professor Adam Dinham, an expert in faith and public policy at Goldsmiths, University of London, the program can support organizations and their people to take effective steps toward religious literacy and their perceptions of religious diversity. Adam Dinham, says:
“The concept of religious literacy starts from the observation that there is a lack of understanding about religion and belief in the workplace. However, it is not about religious education, or necessarily about having more religion in the workplace, rather, it is about having the confidence and skills to deal effectively and positively with religion and belief issues when they occur.”
Kamran Malik, EY Global Learning and Digital Engagement Leader, People Advisory Services, says:
“Rather than taking a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, the EY RLO toolkit provides a framework that can be integrated into a business’s existing suite of inclusive learning tools to amplify and add value to working relationships. Its application can help businesses recognize that a religious diversity framework can be used to support team cohesion, satisfaction and performance; attract and retain talent, customers, clients and partners; as well as enhance stakeholder experience and client relations.”
Exploring New Horizons for Scriptural Reason
Coexist House and the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme will be at The British Islam Conference on the weekend of 25-26 February 2017 to bring Scriptural Reasoning (SR) to a whole new audience.
Now in its second year, The British Islam conference, organized by New Horizons, ‘promotes collaboration and thinking around the idea of a British Islam and encourages the development of British Muslim thought, identity and culture’. With over 40 high profile speakers and artists, and a keynote address by Karen Armstrong, this event is not to be missed!
Coexist House is keen to take scriptural reasoning to new audiences as a means of encouraging better understanding between those of different faiths. It provides an opportunity to explore one’s own and other’s sacred texts, showing mutual hospitality and modeling ‘better quality disagreement’. As such SR is a perfect fit for the conference, which is an open space for discussions, debates and sharing ideas.
As Professor Ben Quash of King’s College, London, a friend of Coexist House wrote in the Church Times earlier this year:
"It's time of joint study across or around a table, the texts are read aloud, pored over, sifted, probed, challenged, and in this very process the people reading the texts together also find themselves being sifted, probed and challenged. Ideas are proposed and tested in relation to the texts, and are argued for and against by the participants. Risks are taken as interpretations are offered. Shared norms sometimes emerge and sometimes do not, but in both cases the participants are exposed to a greater awareness of their own presuppositions. Everyone simultaneously plays the role of a teacher and a learner. The texts are a sort of ‘host’ for the overall dialogue."
Find out more about the conference including the Scriptural Reasoning Workshop which will be open to all, see here
To see the complete article by Professor Ben Quash, click here
Supporting South Bank: Belief and Beyond Belief
Coexist House is proud to have worked with the Southbank Centre to develop a series of weekend events which will be delivered throughout 2017. The season called “Belief and Beyond Belief” explores the music, art, culture, science, philosophy, ritual and traditions that have risen out of religion in its many guises.
The second weekend earlier this month focused on the relationship between science and religion with a keynote lecture on “The God of the Gaps” by Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, and Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science, a post previously held by Richard Dawkins. The Southbank have reported, “excellent ticket sales” to date.
Next month, the festival looks at death, and dying traversing the sensitive and controversial issues around this subject. Various talks will through panel discussions explore different beliefs on what happens after death, the right to die: the assisted dying debate, burial rites: from Viking funerals to the present looking at the different ways people commemorate those who have gone before us, how we live with death, and whether a belief in a life after death makes a difference to how we live.
A whole session will also explore ‘how to live’. A panel of experts and writers will draw on a broad range of teachings and philosophies to discuss what makes a good life and what we can do to make the most of here and now. Speakers include Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds also known as ‘The Blogging Bishop’, and Sarah Bakewell, author of How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in one question and twenty attempts at an answer.
Make sure you are part of these conversations. See details of the talks here
Station of the Cross 2017
Coexist House is delighted to be part of Stations of the Cross, an exhibition which is so far has spanned London and America and for 2017 will be taking place in 14 iconic locations in Washington D.C.
Coexist House is, for the first time, sponsoring an inter-faith space at the Greenbelt Festival. The Canvas tent will be a place of welcome for all in which Scriptural Reasoning with the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme features daily alongside a programme of other engaging talks, presentations and debates.
Botticelli at the V&A
Friends of Coexist House enjoyed a tour of the V&A's sensational Botticelli Reimagined exhibition, led by Coexist House Trustee Rev Robin Griffith Jones. The tour opened up themes of beauty and transcendence in Botticelli's art, in contrast with some of the more earthed commercial spin-offs of Botticelli's works in more recent times.
British Museum education events and private viewing
Following on from two Scriptural Reasoning events which we staged for the British Museum as part of inter-faith week, Coexist House was given the opportunity to treat a group of partners and supporters to a tour of the Museum's Egypt; Faith after the Pharaohs exhibition. We were shown round by the exhibition’s curator Amandine Merat, who shared great insight and knowledge.
The viewing was followed by breakfast and further conversation.