The CODEC Research Centre for Digital Theology
Who are we?
CODEC is place of research, inquiry, translation, re-coding and re-engineering between faiths millennia old and the contemporary digital world. Our aim is to research and to transform the theological conversation concerning digital culture. The current staff are displayed in the photo, but CODEC includes a much larger network of people exploring together the impact digital culture is making on contemporary pedagogy, the world of faith and discipleship, and on our engagement with the Bible and other sacred texts.
What do we do?
CODEC is a research centre – so our staff can be found presenting public lectures in major universities; speaking at faith festivals such as Greenbelt or Spring Harvest; leading a small group conversation in a local church; giving a paper at an academic conference; supervising a student working on a dissertation at Durham or elsewhere; sitting at a desk coding, or reading, or watching a video; or creating a Lego movie of Psalm 139; reading and writing papers; engaging with local and national government; writing funding bids for the UK’s leading Research Councils.
Listening and Resourcing
Our research is both theoretical and applied – listening to voices from the public, from the pew and from the academy; both a servant of the Church and a prophetic voice to the Church; developing the practical outcomes of our research into reports, resources and training opportunities:
- We are frequently invited to speak at conferences and events and any invites should sent initially to our administrator, Penny Bissell.
- We run MediaLit – a week long course for faith practitioners exploring both the practicalities and theology of digital culture, communication and faith - bookings can be made via the MediaLit page.
- CODEC's world first MA in Digital Theology, managed by Dr Jonas Kurlberg.
Why Digital Theology?
Digital is changing the world. It's not just the impact of new digital technology, but a whole raft of social changes accompanying this digital shift across many aspects of the way that we live in the twenty-first century, and across different geographic and social regions. Changes in technological innovation, not least the internet and social media, impact nations and their political realities in different ways, as well as transforming our homes and relationships. The Church too is changing through its engagement with social media, its communication through websites, and increasing use of digital technology in worship, in pastoral practice and in evangelism.
At the same time, a number of thinkers are exploring how this massive cultural change affects theology and, vice versa, how theology might speak into this massive cultural change. In what ways might theology temper, adapt or offer a steer for digital culture? In what ways does our digital context provide a new lens through which we can reflect on key Christian doctrines? Are there elements of contemporary religious practice which lend themselves to digital expression more easily than others?
What are our foci?
Our work focuses on four areas:
- Theology in a Digital Age – including Biblical literacy; the impact of digital transformation on society, culture and communication; theological issues related to religious identity online
- Preaching & Communication in a Digital Age – homiletics; communication of ideas; theology of entertainment; and the place of imagination in the life of faith.
- Discipleship in a Digital Age – discipleshiptrove.com; the continued BigBible web project; issues of growth and discipleship within religious communities and their use of social media; being human in a digital age.
- Digital Resources – providing first class examples of digital artefacts for use in teaching, training and discipleship through the Common Awards process and for wider distribution within theological training establishments in the UK and beyond.
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