2017 Conference

Remembering Beliefs – The Shifting Worlds of Religion and Faith in Secular Society


The 2017 Conference Abstracts Brochure can be viewed here.


The Annual Conference of the Oral History Society in conjunction with Newman University and Leeds Trinity University

Friday, 14th and Saturday, 15th July, 2017 at Leeds Trinity University, Horsforth, Leeds, LS18 5HD

In recent years, belief and non belief have developed new significance. What might once have been valued as something individual and private in many contexts only a generation ago can now be a matter of open identification and even confrontation and judgement. In seeking to understand what has changed, memory has an important part to play: identifying how belief and non belief have played out at the level of family, community and society; recognising how people engage in the practices of belief and experience the institutions of organised religion. For reasons perhaps of prejudice, perspective and communal difference oral historians have largely neglected the topic of belief and non belief.

Going beyond studies which have focused on those with religious conviction, oral history offers the possibility to move debate outside the confines of institutionalised religion both conceptually and practically, pushing the boundaries of what is meant by belief. Indeed, it offers the ideal approach to understanding manifestations of belief and secularism at an individual level while tracking their relationship to shifting expressions of broader cultural norms and the conferment of identity. Tackling this exciting agenda, the remit of the Conference will be broad but contributions have been invited that focus on oral history in relation to the following:

  • methodological challenges in understanding belief, secularism and religion
  • understanding the process of secularisation through oral history testimonies
  • inter-subjectivity in interviews on belief and non belief
  • the role belief plays in shaping memory
  • exploring the interface of religion, belief and cultural/ national identities
  • belief and education
  • belief and non belief in social, political and cultural transformations
  • shifting the narratives of religion away from an institutional base
  • gender and established religious institutions
  • sects and movements

Keynote speakers: Professor Callum Brown, University of Glasgow; Dr Abby Day, Goldsmiths, University of London; Dr Tina Block, Thompson Rivers University, British Columbia. After-Dinner Speaker, Friday, 14 July: Bruce Kent

To view the conference programme click here.

The conference will include strands dedicated to the OHS Higher Education and Special Interest Groups.

Community Workshop

Friday 14th July, 16.45 – 18.15

During the annual conference the Oral History Society will hold a workshop for oral historians in community settings. The workshop will be a chance to discuss issues arising in community projects, network with other community groups in the region, display project work, and consider the conference theme of religion and faith, belief and non belief, in community contexts.

The workshop is separate to the main conference, delegates will not pay the full conference fee to attend. The cost for attendance is £5.00 per person with a maximum fee of £15.00 per community group, including exhibition table.

For more information please contact Michelle Winslow: m.winslow@sheffield.ac.uk

To book a workshop place click here.