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Personal profile

Research Interests

Lucy rejoined the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations in 2020 as a Research Fellow following the completion of her PhD in interfaith relations and young people at the Centre. Lucy is a member of the Centre's Faith and Peaceful Relations research group and primarily works with Professor Kristin Aune on research related to religion and higher education. Alongside this, in her first six months at the Centre Lucy has won two bids as Principal Invesigator in collaboration with interfaith charity The Faith and Belief Forum; one investigating the impact of the ParliaMentors university interfaith leadership programme, and the other exploring interfaith dialogue as a tool to tackle faith-based hate and harassment in London. 

PhD Project

Lucy's PhD research provided an original account of the relationships between interfaith encounters and peaceful relations among young people in British schools, through a case study of the Faith and Belief Forum’s School Linking Programme. The School Linking Programme is an informal education programme which trains teachers in interfaith dialogue facilitation skills and brings students from different schools together to engage creatively with questions around religious and non-religious belief. In order to explore how School Linking fosters peaceful relations between students, the research asked: a) what impact can be captured by the Faith and Belief Forum’s existing evaluation data, b) how the School Linking process informs or inhibits peaceful relations at the interpersonal and institutional levels, and c) how academic understandings of ‘peaceful relations’ can be reassessed in light of the research’s findings.

The research’s contribution to knowledge was fourfold. First, it contributed to a number of themes in religious and intercultural education literature (including religious literacy, ‘safe space’ and the role of community schools as sites of religious diversity) and addressed a lack of research-driven evaluations of interfaith initiatives with young people and/or in schools. Second, it took an inductive, reflective approach to evaluation, which was implicitly critical of the assumption-based ‘theory of change’ model. Third, the research generated the first dataset of its kind to capture teacher and student feelings towards interfaith contact across 75 schools in London and Birmingham. Lastly, contact theory was reassessed to develop a new, context-specific, theoretical framework for how interfaith contact supports and inhibits ‘peaceful relations’ in schools. A further, practical, outcome of the research was to inform the design and evaluation of School Linking through consultation with the Faith and Belief Forum during Autumn 2020.

The PhD took a unique approach to an under-researched topic; it combined interdisciplinary research around religion and education and the sociology of religion with impact evaluation to provide an original account of the role and effectiveness of interfaith approaches as a tool for fostering peaceful relations among young people in schools.

Biography

Prior to joining CTPSR in September 2016 to undertake doctoral research, Lucy was Fundraising and Communications Manager at peacebuilding charity Concordis International for over three years. Before this, Lucy achieved a First Class BA in Theology and Religious Studies from the University of Cambridge in 2012 and an MSc with Distinction in Global Governance and Ethics from University College London in 2013.

As Research Assistant to Dr Kristin Aune during her doctorate, Lucy has been involved in a number of tasks for two national research projects: 'Chaplains on Campus' and 'Tackling Religion-Based Hate Crime on the Multifaith Campus'.

Lucy is an Associate Teaching Fellow of the HEA and has delivered lectures for the Religion, Peace and Conflict MA module, as well as workshops for the university's Doctoral Training Centre.

Education/Academic qualification

MSc, University College London

Award Date: 1 Aug 2013

Degree, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Jul 2012

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