Workshop: Religions and Development – Redrawing a Research Agenda

  • Date:
  • Location: SOAS University of London
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The role of religions in development initiatives is increasingly emphasised in development research, funding, and practice. One major initiative in bringing this emerging field to the forefront in the UK was the Religions and Development (RaD)research programme in Birmingham, funded by the Department for International Development. The research programme lasted from 2005 to 2010 and produced a number of pioneering studies and publication outputs.

More than five years later, it is time to review the programme’s impact and what has been happening in the field since, in order to discover new approaches, emerging questions, and issues for further studies.

The workshop brings together scholars from various disciplines, development practitioners, and faith-based organisations. It provides conceptual input as well as exploratory discussions aimed at identifying issues of practice and current research areas. Moreover, the workshop also acts as launch event for the new Development Studies Association (DSA) study group ‘Religions and Development,’ which will provide an important platform for connecting research and practitioners in the field for years to come.

The workshop is free (RSVP) and open to all who are researching or working in the intersection between religions and development. It presents an important discussion and networking opportunity in this field.


See original event site for links to presentations

09:30–10:00 Registration & coffee

10:00–11:00 The RaD programme: Findings, impact & developments

Professor Carole Rakodi (University of Birmingham)
Professor Gurharpal Singh (SOAS)

11:15–12:30 Religions and development: Emerging conceptual issues

Impact and impositions: The dangers of mainstreaming religions in development, Professor Emma Tomalin (University of Leeds)

Engaging development theories and policies with religious traditions: Areas of mutual enrichment, Dr Séverine Deneulin (University of Bath) and Augusto Zampini Davies (University of Durham and CAFOD)

Identifying conceptual baggage: Remarks from a long history of religions and development, Dr Jörg Haustein (SOAS)

12:30–13:15 Lunch

13:15–14:45 Current research initiatives

Brief presentations & discussion of current research in the field.

Gendered cultural practices, gender-based violence
Faith, Development and Maternal Well-Being in Sub-Saharan Africa, Professor Tina Beattie (University of Roehampton)
Religion and the promotion/prevention of harmful cultural practices(FGM in Sudan, dowry in India), Dr Tamsin Bradley (University of Portsmouth)
Research on faith perspectives on gender-based violence, Atallah Fitzgibbon (Islamic Relief)
Impact of local faith communities towards progress on SDGs (Gender, Health, Child Protection), Rev Christo Greyling (World Vision)
Gender and development, Orthodox Christianity, Domestic violence, Romina Istratii (SOAS)

Refugees, migration, inter-religious relations
Faith in humanitarian response, Dr Kathryn Kraft (University of East London)
Religion, Migration and Human Security
, Professor Giorgio Shani (London School of Economics)
Western Christian faith-based organisations in the Middle East and their impact on local and global Muslim-Christian relations, Jonathan D Smith (University of Leeds)
Contribution of local faith communities to humanitarian response and resilience, Helen Stawski (Islamic Relief)
Intersectionality lens onto women belonging to religious minorities in the Middle East, Dr Mariz Tadros (University of Sussex)

Poverty relief, economic development
Pentecostalism and development in Nigeria, Dr Richard Burgess (University of Roehampton)
Islamic Micro Finance and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Mohammed Shamsul Karim (University of Essex)
Religious minorities and equality of opportunity in post-Independence India, Dr Heewon Kim (SOAS)
Faith-based development NGOs; domestic poverty programmes and faith-based INGOs, Dr Susannah Pickering-Saqqa (University of East London)

15:00–16:30 Issues of practice

Panel discussion & group exercise centred around issues of practice and collaboration between academics & practitioners

Panellists: Christo Greyling (Worldvision); Atallah Fitzgibbon (Islamic Relief); Mary Lucas (CAFOD) and Helen Stawski (Joint Learning Initiative on Faith & Local Communities)

Chair: Dr Muhtari Aminu-Kano

16:30–17:00 Summary

Workshop summary to identify main results/findings and explore future areas of collaboration and research.

17:15–18:00 Reception & Launch of DSA Study Group ‘Religions and Development’

Organiser: Dr Jörg Haustein

Contact email:

Contact Tel: 020 7898 4731