Creating Connections – The North East

Date: Wednesday 18 October 2023
Time: 14:00 – 19:30
Venue: Newcastle Cathedral, Saint Nicholas Square, Newcastle, England NE1 1PF
Tickets: Free via Eventbrite here >>
Inquiries: [email protected] | 0203-970-0709

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

Join us for workshops and presentations with journalists, teachers, academics, religious leaders and invited guests, making new contacts and networking with local media representatives who are looking for stories.

The intention is to raise understanding between religious groups and the media, exploring new stories, breaking down misunderstanding, and showcasing the expertise of RE teachers and academics from local universities.

The main entrance is the Cathedral north door, on the square with the Queen Victoria statue. The accessible entrance, which is completely flat, is the east entrance.

Newcastle is one of 6 cities chosen to host this unique networking opportunity this year, along with Bristol, Bradford, Coventry, Liverpool and Norwich. Attendance is free, but you must register beforehand.

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 >>

This project is generously funded by the Culham St Gabriel’s Trust.

2.00pmCoffee and tea
With stalls from faith groups around the room
2.10pm Introduction with presenters Leo Devine, former senior editor in BBC regions

– 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
the North East?
– What stories are not being told?
2.30pmPresentation: the religious landscape of the North East – with Kayleigh Foster, The Northern Echo
2.45pmPresentation: the media landscape of the North East – with David Bootle, Head of Communications and PR, Allies Group marketing agency
3.00pmMedia 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
Helen Dalby, Audience and Content Director, Reach North East and Yorkshire
Gavin Foster, Group Editor Newsquest (North East)
Sarah Carter, assistant editor, BBC Radio Newcastle
Helen Ford, diversity champion, ITV News Tyne Tees 
Chris Stokel-Walker, lecturer in multi media journalism University of Newcastle
3.30 pmStudents and Sixth formers from local schools tell us how they pick up their knowledge of religion from the media. What stories do they like to read?
3.45pmNetworking and coffee / tea break
4.00pmWorkshops: Opportunity for faith groups and individuals to present their stories of
interest to journalists, through a variety of workshops and conversations:
•     Introduction to media skills for faith groups
•     Religious Education hub and resources (Karenza Passmore)
•     60th anniversary of Reform Judaism in Newcastle (Linda Scott)
•     The Chinese Methodist community in Newcastle (Rev Paul Cleever-Thorpe)
•     Healthcare chaplaincy (Raza Rahman, Mental Health Chaplain, Newcastle)
•     The impact of Muslims’ front line contribution during Covid – (Imam Ami Asad)
•     Faith and front-line support (Val Barron)
•     How local faith communities have responded to refugees (Joanne Thorns)
•     Interfaith work in Hexham and Newcastle (Carol Cassidy)
•     New forms of cremation (Rev Prof Douglas Davies)
•     Pagans in the North East (Dr Jennifer Uzzell)
•     Prayer vigils at Derwent immigration centre (Liz Archibald, Justice & Peace Co-ordinating Council)
•     National Churches Trust work in preserving buildings (Sarah Stewart)
4,40pmPlenary and evaluation. What are the next steps?
Afternoon Section Ends. We move to the Cathedral Café where refreshments are served.
5.30pmWelcome and introduction to the Religion Media Centre, and exploration of local
concerns about the relationship between religion and the media in the North East
5.40pmInterview with the Bishop of Newcastle, Helen Ann Hartley, on religion and the media
6.00pmPanel summarising the afternoon event, with journalists and workshop leaders,
including questions and discussion
6.20 pmNetworking break opportunity for faith groups to present their stories to journalists
6.40pmPresentation on the Faith Museum in Bishop Auckland, with Amina Wright, Senior Curator
7.15 pmConcluding the event – next steps


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