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Research in Theology and Religious Studies is undertaken by staff from the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Chester.  The unit is committed to sustainability, transparency, and public impact in its research activity. Research activity is spread across sub-disciplines of Theology (Systematic and Practical/Contextual), Religious Studies (Historical and Social-Scientific), and Biblical Studies.

The University’s targeted research funding has been bolstered by external funders including: the AHRC, Templeton Religion Trust and the Church Universities Fund. 

14 staff were identified as having significant responsibility for research in REF2021, leading to a requirement for 34 outputs to be submitted.

Research outputs submitted to REF2021 are included in the Theology and Religious Studies Collection of ChesterRep, the University of Chester’s online research repository.

The impact of research in this unit was exemplified through the following case studies:

Facilitating Access to Addiction Recovery: Spirituality in a Secular World: Research on spirituality and substance misuse recovery led to the establishment of the Higher Power Project. Impact of the Project includes:

  • a significant positive change in the attitude to, and greater take up of, the Twelve Step Mutual Aid among people with substance addictions;
  • the dismantling of one of the most significant barriers to Mutual Aid, namely the perceived religious nature of the Twelve Step programme, through the provision of Mutual Aid Facilitation (MAF) courses;
  • the University of Chester’s co-leadership in the emerging ‘Recovery Friendly University’ campaign in the UK, with collaborators at other Higher Education Institutions, driven by the research on spirituality in the wider recovery movement, anti-stigma practice, and recovery contagion.

Motivating Changes in Attitudes and Practice towards the Consumption of Animals: The implications of Christian theology and ethics for human relationships with the more-than-human world raise questions with relevance for Christian thinking about the current climate crisis, the current anthropogenic mass extinction of wild animals, the growth of industrialized animal agriculture, and the intersections with human health, food and water security, poverty, sexism, and racism. Published research has led to:

  • the establishment of the US non-profit organization CreatureKind;
  • changes in Christian attitudes and practice through the activities of CreatureKind and influence on books and periodicals for a popular Christian audience;
  • changes in organizational policy through the DefaultVeg campaign encouraging organizations in the UK and US to adopt default plant-based catering;
  • impact on the policy and practice of partner organizations, including through the Christian Ethics of Farmed Animal Welfare project.

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