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School students to discuss their experiences of religion at national event

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More than a hundred secondary school students from different parts of the country will be meeting teachers, faith leaders, policy makers and other community representatives at a multi-faith event hosted by Brunel on 6 July.

The event, to be held at Hillingdon Civic Centre in Uxbridge, is part of the Brunel-led Youth on Religion project, directed by Professor Nicola Madge at Brunel in collaboration with Middlesex and Leeds Metropolitan Universities. Many of the students attending the event have been involved with the project, which saw 10,000 students from the London Boroughs of Hillingdon and Newham and from Bradford completing an online survey, with around 150 also taking part in interviews and discussion groups. The three Boroughs were chosen because of their religious diversity.

The event will showcase new research findings and provide an opportunity for young people to discuss their views and experiences of religion. It will also feature a speech by the Mayor of Hillingdon, Councillor Mary O’Connor MBE, as well as displays of youth artwork and sculptures, short films of the research made in collaboration with young people, and live music.

Project leader Professor Nicola Madge, from the Centre for Child and Youth Research at Brunel University, said: ‘We hope the young people at the event enjoy finding out what religion means to people of the same age living in other parts of the country. Our early results suggest that while there are differences in religions between the areas studied, there is an overall respect for people of different faiths, or who don’t have religious beliefs. While the reality may not always be quite so straightforward, we feel this is a very positive message for the future of our communities.’

The Youth on Religion project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council Large Grants (Religion and Society) Scheme.