Creating Connections – Coventry

Date: Thursday 5 October 2023
Time: 14:00 – 19:30
Venue: Coventry Cathedral, The Refectory, Sir John Laing Centre, Priory St, Coventry, England, CV1 5AB
Tickets: Free via Eventbrite here >>
Inquiries: [email protected] | 0203-970-0709

Explore the way religion and worldviews are interwoven into the life of Coventry, as people from long-standing and diverse communities share their stories and open the window into their world.

The event is one of six being staged in cities around England, intending to raise understanding between religious groups and the media. This is an opportunity for journalists, writers and media professionals, teachers, academics, faith groups, researchers, religious and community leaders to network, enhancing religious literacy and local understanding. A selection of workshops will give local faith groups the chance to pitch their stories to journalists.

The event is hosted by the Religion Media Centre, an impartial and independent organisation aiming to increase further cohesion and understanding in society by helping the media report and understand religion and belief. Join our mailing lists here >>

Key media professionals will give insights into their engagement with the community in a panel discussion with senior editors from the region, including Gary Newby, news editor ITV News Central; and Sukhi Hayer, freelance journalist based in the Midlands.

The event also includes a presentation on the religious landscape of Coventry, showing numbers and locations of main faith groups, by Manjit Kaur, chair of SACRE Coventry and Warwickshire. A group of sixth formers will explain how they pick up news about religion from the media and what they think about its coverage.

Journalists will offer an overview of the media in Coventry and offer tips and advice on media skills.

Executive chair, Michael Wakelin says: “Our purpose at the Religion Media Centre is to help plug gaps in religious literacy and the understanding of the media, so that communication is improved and concerns understood. Frequently we hear from faith groups and organisations that they feel misunderstood, misrepresented and ignored, causing them to retreat into silence. The gulf this creates is not good for journalism nor faith groups. 84 per cent of people in the world are affiliated to a religion and in today’s global society, understanding beliefs, culture and practices has never been more important to foster understanding, respect and social cohesion.”

The Creating Connections project has been generously funded by Culham St Gabriel’s Trust, an organisation that believes broad-based, critical and reflective education in religion and worldviews contributes to a well-informed, respectful and open society.

Our Creating Connections events are also taking place in the following cities: Bradford (19th September), Newcastle (18th October), Liverpool (9th November); Bristol (22nd November) and Norwich (28th November).


2.00pmCoffee and tea
With stalls from faith groups around the room
2.10pm Welcome from the Dean of Coventry, John Witcombe

Introduction with presenters Leo Devine, former senior editor in BBC regions and Sandra Godley, presenter BBC CWR
– What is the Religion Media Centre and why are we all here?
– What are the concerns about the relationship between religion and the media in
– What stories are not being told?
2.45pmPresentation: the religious landscape of Coventry, by Manjit Kaur, chair of SACRE
Coventry and Warwickshire
3.00pmPresentation: the media landscape of Coventry, by local journalists
3.15pmSixth formers from local schools tell us how they pick up their knowledge of religion
from the media. What stories do they like to read?
3.30pmMedia panel: Who are the local media, what stories are they interested in and tips of
the trade?
Chaired by Leo Devine, with a panel including
Gary Newby, news editor ITV News Central
Kamlesh Purohit, former editor BBC Radio Leicester, now devising a strategy for BBC Local Radio’s community content
Amardeep Bassey, community reporter based in the Midlands
Sukhi Hayer, freelance journalist based in the Midlands, contributing to BBC local radio religious programmes
4.15pmNetworking and coffee / tea break
4.30pmTell Us Your Story: Opportunity for faith groups and individuals to present their stories of
interest to journalists, through a variety of presentations and conversations. Here are some examples:

– Exhibition on Jewish history of Coventry – Mark Johnson
– Faith on the front line – the Faith Partnership Charter
– Church Action Networks bringing communities together – with Jet Jones
– Faith in rural areas – with Matt Jeffrey, Arthur Rank Centre, Warwickshire
– City of peace – with Balbir Sohal, member of the Lord Mayor’s Peace & Reconciliation Committee
– Coventry Pride – with Kirsty Mabbott
– The role of Methodism in the heart of Coventry – with Rev Stephen Willey
– Building student relationships across religion and worldview difference – with Prof Kristin Aune, Coventry University
– The Together In Action Trust – Deepak Naik
– British Muslim Civil Society Project from The Mercy Mission – with Jehangir Malik

There will also be a workshop on media skills, led by journalists
5.20pmPlenary and evaluation. What are the next steps?
5:30pmAfternoon Section Ends. Refreshments served.
6.00pmWelcome and introduction to the Religion Media Centre, and exploration of local
concerns about the relationship between religion and the media in Coventry
6.10pmPresentation: the religious and media landscapes of Coventry, with Manjit Kaur
6.20pmMeet Roger Bolton – Journalist, broadcaster, and RMC Trustee
7.00pmCreating Connections through workshops: opportunity for faith groups to present their
stories to journalists
7.20pmEvaluation .. and next steps


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