About Public Spirit

Join us for spirited debate about religion and public policy…

Public Spirit is a forum for researchers, policymakers, politicians and practitioners from the voluntary and community sectors to debate recent developments in faith and public policy that crosses political affiliations and religious traditions. We feature articles and reports from a wide variety of contributors from academia, politics, policymaking and faith-based and community organisations, with the aim of making accessible recent research findings, sharing a range of expertise reflections and analysis and stimulating conversation about religion and public policy.

The aims of Public Spirit

Interest in, and the visibility of, religion in public life have grown immensely in recent decades. Religious individuals and viewpoints are increasingly included in debates about a wide range of political issues, ranging from legal debates about discrimination and freedom of conscience to social policy debates about the role of the state in the delivery of welfare. Public life is also more religiously diverse, with a growing number of faith communities looking for a space in the public square and policy decisions having an impact on religious traditions in varying ways. Yet public conversation about religion is often fractious and ill-informed, and policy decisions have as a result become harder to negotiate. One reason for this is that high-quality academic research into religion is often not made available in an accessible format and it consequently tends only to reach a specialist readership.

The purpose of Public Spirit is to help remedy this. We aim to contribute to policy and political debates about religion by:

  • Disseminating recent high-quality academic research about religion to a range of policy, practitioner and civil society audiences through the publication of accessible online articles and discussions of the research findings;
  • Engaging with public figures by featuring contributions from policymakers and practitioners and through themed debates, commentary and contributions;
  • Highlighting and sharing knowledge about religion in different local contexts by hosting ‘spotlights’ on different cities in the UK, including facts and figures, links to relevant locally-focused research, analysis of local policy and politics, and contributions from public figures in the area.

Public Spirit is independent of any religious tradition and political party and seeks to reflect the perspectives of all sections of society.

Our funders and supporters

Public Spirit is sponsored by the main academic funding body for the humanities in the United Kingdom, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and is hosted by the Centre for the Study of the Ethnicity and Citizenship at the University of Bristol. The project is led by Dr Therese O’Toole working with Dr Stephen Jones and the Centre’s Director, Professor Tariq Modood.

Alongside the Centre’s staff, our editorial board consists of Dr Nasar Meer (Reader, University of Strathclyde), Dr Daniel Nilsson DeHanas (Research Fellow, University of Kent), Professor Linda Woodhead (Professor, Lancaster University and Director of the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society programme), Elizabeth Oldfield (Director, Theos) and Daniel Singleton (Director, FaithAction).

The aims of Public Spirit are supported by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Faiths and Society and its Secretariat, FaithAction. Although independent of both organisations, Public Spirit covers topics that fit with the concerns of the APPG and hosts articles by the APPG’s members or associates.

Contact Us

You can contact the editors of Public Spirit using the email or the form below. If you want to subscribe to monthly updates about articles on the site you can sign up on our subscribe page.

Email: editors@publicspirit.org.uk

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