Happy birthday to us!


This year, the Centre for Theology and Public Issues will celebrate its 30th birthday! (I know, we look so young!) We’re planning a number of interesting talks to mark the occasion, as well as a birthday party.

Check back on the blog for more news of upcoming events, or like us on Facebook to get events in your newsfeed.



Peacebuilding and Music

Peacebuilding and Music

Join us for a special seminar on peacebuilding and music, with Professor Rachel Beckles Willson from Royal Holloway, University of London. We’ll be exploring some of the challenges facing peacebuilding through music, and hearing Rachel talk about her research in the West Bank.

Places are limited, so please book your free ticket online for this event using this link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/musics-failures-and-musics-dangers-the-case-of-the-west-bank-tickets-9577449409

What’s Wrong with Poverty?

You are warmly invited to a public lecture by Revd Dr Sam Wells on ‘What’s Wrong with Poverty?’ Sam Wells is vicar of St Martin in the Fields, London, and Visiting Professor of Christian Ethics at Kings College London. He has spent fifteen years in parish ministry in the Church of England, of which ten were spent in urban priority areas. He also spent seven years in North Carolina as Dean of Duke University Chapel.

Sam has published 20 books, including academic studies and textbooks in Christian ethics, explorations of social mission, intercessory prayer and Anglican faith, and 3 collections of sermons.

CTPI and the RISECI Project


The RISECI Group kick-off meeting in Barcelona

The Centre for Theology and Public Issues has joined forces with universities and institutes in Spain, Slovenia and Sweden to take part in a research project on ‘Religion in the Shaping of European Cultural Identity’ (RISECI). Joint-funded by the European Union, the RISECI project aims to explore how religion makes a positive contribution to the construction of European identity. Over the next two years, the various partners in the RISECI project will be organising workshops, exhibitions and academic events exploring the themes of identity, religion and culture in Europe. The workshop in Edinburgh, which will tie in with our Peacebuilding Through Media Arts project, will take place in October 2013.

The project is being led by Professor Miriam Diez Bosch of the Blanquerna Observatory of Communication, Culture and Religion, at the Universitat Ramon Llull in Barcelona. The other participating institutions are the Sigtuna Foundation, based near Stockholm, and the Slovene Museum of Christianity, based near Ljubliana.

Essay Competition: Religion and the Idea of a Research University

Religion and the Idea of a University
The Cambridge Inter-faith Programme, as part of its ‘Religion and the Idea of a University’ project, is running an essay prize.  Win £200 for a 1,000 word essay on the relation between the modern western university and theology or religion.  Closing date 31 January 2013.  For details see www.ideaofauniversity.com/events/2012/jun/6/2012-idea-university-essay-prize/
We are also hosting an inter-disciplinary conference on the same theme, 3–5 April 2013.  For the Call for Papers, see www.ideaofauniversity.com/conference/call-papers/
For more information about the project, see www.ideaofauniversity.com

Conference Announcement: Occupy the Issues (29 November 2012)

Occupy the Issues: Alternatives in Politics, Economics, and the Media

A Conference and a Seminar at the University of Edinburgh, Thursday, 29 November 2012



CTPI in conjunction with IASH and Ekklesia is proud to announce the Occupy the Issues conference and seminar to be held 29 November 2012, at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.


A year ago, on 24 November 2011, the City of Edinburgh Council became the first governmental body in the world to officially recognize both the Occupy Edinburgh and the worldwide Occupy Movement. The tents are now gone, but the Occupy Movement continues and the issues remain. Scandals plague the media, politics, and our corporations, while the influence of big money within these sectors have left many questioning whether they can once again operate for the common good.

This day conference and seminar will examine the sectors of politics, economics, and the media. Inspired by the Occupy Movement, which has usefully shone a light into the plutocratic nature of our economic and political life, Occupy activists and expert speakers will examine questions of how we got into our present predicament, and what options might exist for moving toward a more equal, just, and peaceful society.

In accordance with the mission of CTPI, this conference and seminar seeks to highlight how Christian theology can make a constructive contribution to these debates. The Conference and seminar will offer papers from named speakers and offer plenty of time for conversation and debate from a range of perspectives.


The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH)
The University of Edinburgh, Hope Park Square,
Edinburgh EH8 9NW (map)

Martin Hall
New College, Mound Place
Edinburgh EH1 2LX (map)

Registration and Enquiries


Free registration for the conference at IASH is by emailing your name, organization, and contact details to iash@ed.ac.uk. Also include any special dietary requirements for lunch. Or phone +44 (0)131 650 4671. Numbers are extremely limited.

The seminar at New College is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

All other enquiries to organiser Richard Davis- Richard.Davis@ed.ac.uk


  • Simon Barrow, co-director of Ekklesia
  • Kathy Galloway, Head of Christian Aid Scotland
  • Prof Philip Goodchild, Professor of Religion and Philosophy, University of Nottingham, author of Theology of Money (2007)
  • Hannah Hofheinz, ThD student Harvard Divinity School, Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Boston, and Occupy AAR/SBL
  • Prof Jolyon Mitchell, Director of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues, University of Edinburgh, author of Media Violence and Christian Ethics (2007)
  • Prof Michael Northcott, Professor of Ethics, University of Edinburgh, author of Life After Debt – Christianity and Global Justice (1999) and An Angel Directs the Storm: Apocalyptic Religion and American Empire (2007)
  • Dr Paul-François Tremlett, Lecturer in Religious Studies, The Open University



10:15 to 15:30 at IASH

  • Welcome – Mr Richard Davis, CTPI
  • Setting the Scene – Mr Simon Barrow and speaker from Occupy Edinburgh
  • Faith & Occupy: Harvard Yard to Zuccotti Park – Ms Hannah Hofheinz, Occupy Wall Street
  • Politics – Prof Michael Northcott, Edinburgh
  • Media – Dr Paul-François Tremlett, London and Prof Jolyon Mitchell, Edinburgh
  • Economics – Prof Philip Goodchild, Nottingham

Public Seminar

16:10 to 17:30, Lecture Room 1, New College, followed by a drinks reception in Rainy Hall.

Chair: Dr Alison Elliot, Associate Director, CTPI


  • Rev Kathy Galloway, Christian Aid
  • Prof Philip Goodchild, University of Nottingham
  • Prof Michael Northcott, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Paul-François Tremlett, Open University


Can there ever be peace without justice?

The Peacebuilding Through Media Arts project is sponsoring three screenings at this year’s Scotland African Film Festival, and after attending last night, I have to say we can be proud of having anything at all to do with such vital and moving works of ‘media art’. The showings of the first 2 documentaries were attended by a lively, engaged crowd (you could tell their political sensitivity from the way the noisy chattering through all the adverts abruptly ceased – no dissenting voices – as a picture of the occupied West Bank came up at the beginning of a trailer). And it was pretty much a full house.

The first short film, Peace Wanted Alive: Kenya at the Crossroads was about a grassroots peacebuilding initiative in Kenya said to be responsible for averting much bloodshed during during election violence of 2008. Powerful and punchy, it demonstrates a model of civic society peace building.

It was followed by Dear Mandela, an award-winning feature-length documentary following the progress of a movement fighting for the rights of those living in the euphemistically termed ‘informal settlements’ outside Durban. Eighteen years after the end of apartheid South Africa is still experiencing a divide of similar injustice and tragedy: that between rich and poor, symbolised here by the summary evictions and forced transportation of many so-called slum dwellers. The story had so many twists and turns it felt scripted, and so many fluent and engaging characters you might think they were actors; so many live dramatic scenes were shot you wondered how the director and crew knew where to be and when to shoot. But this was a real movement of ordinary people making a stand against both local opposition and a set of eviction laws they believed were unconstitutional. If I told you how it turned out, I’d have to put a spoiler alert at the top of the blog- let’s just say I was deeply moved, and that if you have a chance to see it, DO! And it seems only right to link to the ‘Take Action’ tab on the film’s website: <http://www.dearmandela.com/?q=node/71>

The third film we are sponsoring, Cry of Love, has its UK premiere in the Festival on Nov 1st at 8.15, the Filmhouse, Edinburgh. See you there?