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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion

Common Awards Research Themes

Some of our work is clustered around particular themes, chosen because they are already the subject of exciting work, and because we believe they have particular significance for the future of theological education.

Each year, starting from 2017/18, we choose a new theme, and begin a three-year programme of activity surrounding that theme. (We can, therefore, have three overlapping programmes running at once.)

For each theme, we gather an initial small symposium to scope the questions and challenges surrounding that theme. We bring together academics who are working on this theme in the university sector, staff from the TEIs who are teaching and researching in relation to it, and people from the churches who have related interests and involvements. The idea at this stage is not to produce answers, but to explore the topic together and begin identifying some of the challenges and questions that the theme might pose for the theological education sector.

We then set aside some of our seedcorn grant funding for projects that will tackle some of those questions and challenges. Seedcorn grants can be used in a wide variety of ways, and although we ask that the projects should be related to the theme, and of relevance to theological education, we don't have a particular template in mind for what a good project must look like. Projects might focus on some of the theoretical issues involved, they might explore particular practical examples in the life of the church or TEIs, they might focus on the history of some aspect of the topic, they might develop and test proposed new endeavours.

Those projects eventually feed into one of our 'Annual Conferences for Theological Educators'.

Finally, all of the activity is eventually reflected in a special issue of the journal Theology and Ministry.

See our Framework for Common Awards Research for much more detail on how this whole process works.

Current and Upcoming Themes:

Receptivity (start: 2017/18)
Theological Reflection (start: 2018/19)