NONRELIGION IN A COMPLEX FUTURE 2019 TEAM MEETING
The first team meeting for the Nonreligion in a Complex Future (NCF) project was held from November 21 – 23, 2019 at the University of Ottawa. The meeting brought together over 65 attendees including team members, international guests, experts, policy partners, students, and postdoctoral fellows. The meeting combined a mixture of focused presentations and workshops to discuss and develop research design, objectives and focal areas.
Student Workshop: Qualitative Methods, Religion and Nonreligion
The team meeting was preceded by a graduate student workshop, held on November 20th, led by NCF Co-Investigator Douglas Ezzy (University of Tasmania). The workshop saw participation from eleven members of the NCF student caucus, along with two graduate students from the University of Ottawa’s Department of Classics and Religious Studies. The day long workshop focused on developing an understanding of the theory and practice of qualitative research methods when interviewing about religion and nonreligion. Professor Ezzy drew from his own experience, as well as approaches like hermeneutic theory and feminist ethics to give an honest, insightful workshop. For more on the workshop, click here.
On November 21st, the team meeting began with scoping presentations from the NCF Co-Investigators. Scoping exercises were conducted in each of the NCF geographic research sites (Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Nordic Countries) from May-October 2019 to identify research gaps and lay the groundwork for proposal and research development. (View the scoping reports here, which detail the results of these scoping exercises). The scoping presentations provided partner representatives in attendance, such as from Global Affairs Canada, Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Pew Research Center, the opportunity to develop a broader understanding of the scope of the project and to contribute their ideas to address research gaps and develop the initial programme of research. In addition, Dr. Jonathan Lanman (Queen’s University Belfast), programme co-leader of the Understanding Unbelief project (2017-2020, University of Kent, led by Dr. Lois Lee and funded by John Templeton Foundation), delivered a presentation detailing the project’s findings, followed by a Q&A session. For more information, including a link to the video, please click here.
November 22nd consisted of a set of five consultation workshops, one on each of the project’s focal areas (health, law, education, migration, and the environment). Each workshop was comprised of a group of 9-13 participants, including students, postdoctoral fellows, academic and partner experts, and invited international expert guests, discussing and debating key issues related to the relevant focal areas. For a summary of the discussions in each workshop, please click here.
Plenary Sessions & Final Steering Committee Meeting
The team meeting also involved multiple plenary sessions to present and discuss NCF’s commitment to environmental sustainability, bring together the debates and discussions raised in each consultation workshop and receive final feedback from all attendees on the project’s research design and goals moving forward. At the end of the team meeting, the project’s Steering Committee (Co-Investigators, Advisors, and Student Caucus Leader) met to bring together team meeting content and create the project’s research plan.