Exploring Belief – The 2021 Religion Media Festival

The third Religion in the Media festival, like its predecessors, was packed full of stand-out keynote speakers, in-depth discussions and panel talks delving in to all aspects of the presentation of religion.

From mainstream television, radio and print to the huge engagement with religion online and in social media, it was an essential event for anyone wanting to help shape or critique the narrative of modern day religion.

For the first, this event took place online.  Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury opened the day with a morning keynote.


11.00: Rowan Williams: “Review of the Year”, keynote speaker and interview with Roger Bolton 

11.45: Polemic: ‘You don’t understand me’:  Professor Suzanne Franks on the British media coverage of Israel 

12.00: Panel Discussion: What is British Islam, what is French Islam? Panel discussion chaired by Tim Wyatt with Professor Jocelyne Cesari, University of Birmingham; Dr Joseph Downing, LSE;  Dr Abdul-Azim Ahmed, University of Cardiff; and Hakim El Karoui, Institut Montaigne, Paris.

12.45: Panel Discussion: How young people engaged with religion, belief and spirituality during the lockdowns and through the pandemic. Chaired by Kate Christopher 

13.15: Lunch

13.45: Podcasts: Top ten tips for great podcasts Gerard Edwards CEO Podcast Radio  

14.00: Keynote: Session on the relationship between the government and  faith groups with the government’s faith engagement adviser Colin Bloom, Daniel Singleton from Faith Action, Laura Marks and Julie Siddiqi, chaired by Hannah Scott Joynt 

14.45: Polemic: ‘You Don’t Understand Me’: Dr Dulcie McKenzie, on how the media report and understand the mainly black churches in the UK 

15.00: What is an evangelical? How has the term been used in America and how does UK experience differ? Chaired by Rosie Dawson with guests Prof Andrea Hatcher, Rev Dr David Muir and Prof Matthew Guest 

15.45: Polemic: ‘You Don’t Understand Me’: Rahul Tandon, BBC East India correspondent, explains the religious dimension when covering India   

16.00: Reporting communities in Britain: How are media organisations responding to this challenge, with Helen Harper, Regional Head of Communities at Reach PLC; Debbie Luxon and Adnan Rashid, Reach PLC community reporters; and Alex Strangwayes-Booth from the BBC. Chaired by Leo Devine


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