Higher and Further Education Activities
Inter Faith Week offered a range of opportunities for students to get involved, notably through Higher and Further Education institutions.
A wide variety of events were held across the UK at universities and colleges of all kinds that brought together staff and students of different faiths and beliefs.
Events were run by Students’ Unions, Chaplaincies, faith, belief and inter faith societies and a range of faculties and departments, along with associated institutions and centres. Many events were also run by local, regional or national inter faith organisations working in partnership with these.
Activities included visits to places of worship, faith trails, ‘speed faithing’, open door days, lectures, seminars and exhibitions along with more informal events, such as open mic nights, ceilidhs, film screenings or bring and share meals. Such events demonstrated that Inter Faith Week was a fantastic way for students of different faiths, backgrounds and beliefs to come together and learn from each other, creating lasting connections and more cohesive student bodies.
Examples of events held at Higher and Further Educations institutions included:
- An ‘Open Faiths’ conversation held by the University of Newcastle Students’ Union with a panel comprised of members from various faith societies. Each member of the panel answered questions, as well as offering their views on the role faith plays in student life.
- An inter faith ‘open mic’ session held by the De Montfort University Creative Writing Society in Leicester. Students from different backgrounds were invited to celebrate Inter Faith Week by performing a poem, reading from a sacred text or offering other reflections, as well as taking part in dialogue and discussion.
- A lecture at the University of Plymouth by the Rt Revd Nick McKinnel, Bishop of Plymouth, on the theme of ‘Confidence and Courtesy: The Challenge of Inter Faith Relations’. The event was organised by Plymouth University Multi-faith Chaplaincy.
- A range of visits to places of worship by students at Edge Hill University, Lancashire, organised by the Edge Hill University Chaplaincy. Students and staff visited a local synagogue, the Roman Catholic cathedral and a mosque. The visits encouraged students to appreciate the area’s religious and architectural heritage, and to strengthen inter faith relations at the university.
- A ‘Faith and Food’ symposium of the University of Kent, Canterbury. This symposium was hosted by the University chaplaincy and a number of faith and belief societies, and was followed by a buffet reception. Speakers from different faiths spent a short time talking about the place of food in their worship, celebrations and rituals.
- The Cambria College ‘Faith Trail’, Wrexham. This ‘faith trail’, organised by the Cambria College Chaplaincy, brought students from different faiths and beliefs together to find 10 religious symbols hidden across the college campus in the quickest time possible.
- An ‘Interfaith Bible Study’ held at the London School of Economics, and facilitated by a student leader from the Council of Christians and Jews. This event, open to students of all London universities, brought students together to read and discuss the story of Cain and Abel.
- The Celebration of World Faiths at West Suffolk College. This celebration, on the theme of ‘New Beginnings’ featured talks from a range of speakers from different faiths and beliefs.
- Dialogue and discussion at Newman University, Birmingham, on the theme of ‘How to be a good neighbour?’ This event gave people from different backgrounds from across the university the chance to reflect on how different faiths mark significant events in their family and community’s life.
- A discussion on LGBT issues and Faith, organised by the Multi Faith Chaplaincy at the University of Sheffield, which gave students of all faiths and none the opportunity to discuss a range of issues and ask each other questions.
- A University of Bedford Student Union faith trail to bring students of faith and no faith together to break down barriers. Trails took place in both Luton and Bedford, and gave students the opportunity to visit a variety of places of worship.
- A special event for young people at City College, Coventry: ‘Words Matter’. The event explored the role of young people in challenging and combating hate speech, and looked at how our beliefs and values inspire us to act. The event, organised by the United Religions Initiative, included dialogue and discussion, as well as addresses from invited guest speakers.
To see how Scottish higher and further education institutions marked Scottish Interfaith Week, go to http://www.interfaithscotland.org/scottish-interfaith-week/.
Published 18 January 2017