d_ionne wwww A myblog.arts site

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Steve Cross, BA Media and Culture Studies Unit personal essay assignment, part of the Travelling Cultures case study post on the UAL Religious Literacy blog considers the global context and points to an interconnectivity in exploring cultural identities, in the overview the text states ‘these include considerations of the complex interrelationship between culture and identity in a globalising world’. The personal essay or a blog entry as we are doing, as part of Teaching Within, Finnigan, Richards et al, 2018, helps students to unpack their identities as it relates to religion. Posing questions such as ‘how do you think your own cultural or religious identity informs your being?’ will help students to dig deep and reflect.

Taking excerpts from students’ essays or blog reflections and then citing them in the classroom setting is a useful way of being inclusive and thoughtful – a method that can be used to disarm students who believe there is a particular dissonance in the exchange between teacher and student. Also commenting on blogs from students outside our immediate ethnic and religious groups allows for a wider understanding of the topic, the idea is that other blogs critically sharpens your own sensibility, in essence you’re fine tuning sender and receiver channel. This idea mirrors the process of what plays out into the classroom of Inclusive Learning and Teaching, Finningan, Richards et, al, 2018 where we are asked to work outside our normal student groups.

Craig Cahoun and Tariq Madood, Religion In Britain: The Challenges in Higher Education, June, 2015, moves us firmly away from the reflective mode and into the political and social realm, I’ve highlighted the provocative heading ‘We don’t really do religion’,  as a manner of teaching, it’s indeed a great way to stimulate discussion.  The topic ‘Western Europe and Moderate secular from Madood reviews a sort of public religion vs the private good. His paper takes note of a Western Europeaness as regard to religion – ‘there is also a more radical secularism in European political culture, which is self-consciously exemplified in French laïcité. This form of secularism is less about accommodating religion than about maintaining a republican national space in which religion is not present’. 

Which bring us squarely onto how religion is broader than religion itself and perhaps process Appiah’s expansive ideas on Creed covers this best, it’s of course at the junction with religion, belief, faith, class, gender, sexual orientation and disability identities. In 21c we are working outside the hard lens of strict doctrine, we are more outward looking, this is coming down from the current Pope, who recognises other faith groups, it’s very much apparent in the young, in the university space, counsellors and chaplains have long established this mode having had to interact with an internationalised student population.

As method of learning, navigating your way around the religion, belief and faith website is an experience in itself, reviewing how things are highlighted, what religion is very visible, and what is hidden should be discussed in the context of teaching and learning. I decided to move away from textual analysis to videography and reviewed the TED talk style presentation, the idea is that both videography and the concept of the stop-clock hovering over your exchange improves student engagement, this can be brought into the classroom. Rossen in his video Religion, the Arts and Heresy, discuss the intersection of liberal arts and religion and how he believes contemporary religious art as a modern discourse. It  is a good example of a presentation that features the ‘stop-clock’ technique.

The provocative mode of exhanging ideas in a rousing way is prevalent in academia and even more prevalent in our world of social media, so too is the idea of achieving next level ambitions swiftly.  It’s therefore apt to discuss Alain De Botton Aestheism 2.0, a topical discussion that reviews immediacy and points to gaps in secularism and firmly want us to be easygoing and at peace in feeling an affinity to many aspects of traditional religion, a space inhabited by many in Western Europe. Within an university, which needs to maintain an open democratic and critical thoughtspace, one would suggest that in small mixed groups students could sit and discuss peoples whose beliefs and faiths exist outside the frame of the most practiced religions in Britain, as a way of underscoring inclusivity, here I’m thinking the new and old practices such as Rastafarianism, Sunday Assembly,  Humanist, London Black Atheist, Art, Buddhism, and Quakerism, and how these outliers negotiate and interact with the more fundamentally practised religions alongside art practices would garner particular truisms.



Religion, belief and faith identities in learning and teaching 


Kwame Anthony Appiah Reith lecture on Creed

http: //www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07z43ds

Higher Power: Spirituality and Belief is available at Issuu, and you need sign up because it’s sensitive material.

Religion, the Arts and Heresy, Aaron Rossen


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