The Beyond Belief archive is currently an under used public resource that provides a wide range of communities across the UK the opportunity to learn about issues in the study and practice of religions, about cultural and religious diversity, and about the contemporary experience of people in faith communities. Furthermore, the Beyond Belief archive has the potential to enhance the learning experiences of students across the UK studying RE A-level and Religions and Theology at University by providing access to accounts of individual lived religious experience that are not readily accessible in the majority of learning resources available.

This project aimed to develop a creative partnership between UoM Religions and Theology Department and BBC Radio Beyond Belief producers by collaboratively building an online educational resource to facilitate greater engagement with the BBC Beyond Belief archive by A-level and UG students. By collaborating with the BBC, we in UoM Religions and Theology aim to build a more accessible public facing resource that allows researchers to creatively engage with both BBC producers and their radio content, as well as with a wide range of audiences and in doing so to enhance expertise in public engagement.

To establish a long term collaborative relationship with BBC Beyond Belief in the ongoing development of a learning resource that compliments the radio programme and UoM research, and that serves as a foundation for further outreach work that might continue to shape both the learning resource and also the programming of the radio show (we have already worked collaboratively with Amanda Hancox and Esther Zarifi to provides suggestions for topics on the next series). There is also potential for the relationship with the BBC to provide UoM students with the opportunity to work with a public broadcast agency in the dissemination of research on religion to a public audience.

Project activities included workshop events that include a session for teaching staff/A-level exam providers/UoM staff/BBC and other sessions with students – A-level and UoM. Following the workshops, the aim is to produce a website by UoM reflects the needs of A-level RE school teachers and students, as well as most effectively facilitating wider engagement with the BBC Beyond Belief archive. The aim is for UoM Religions and Theology staff to curate the online learning resource in collaboration with A-level providers and teachers, using their own expertise on particular relevant religious and theological issues to enhance and optimise public engagement with Beyond Belief archives.

External Partner(s): BBC Radio Beyond Belief, Amanda Hancox and Esther Zarifi

Funding source(s): SALC SR fund for workshops

Project duration: 2019

Project lead(s): Holly Morse