BIAPT Prizes for Practical Theology

Each year, BIAPT offers two prizes: one for the best Masters Dissertation submitted and one for the best Publishable Article.

The 2023 Prizes are now accepting entries. Please submit your applications by 10 December 2023.

BIAPT 2023 Masters Dissertation Prize

BIAPT 2023 Publishable Article Prize

BIAPT Annual Masters Dissertation Prize for Practical Theology

The British and Irish Association of Practical Theology (BIAPT) brings together practitioners, researchers, teachers and students for mutual support and learning. The aims of this prize are to acknowledge excellent research undertaken by Masters level students and to encourage students to see BIAPT as an on-going community of learning and reflection during and after their studies.

The Masters Dissertation prize is a free place at the 2024 BIAPT conference. The winning dissertation and runner-up (if designated) will have their title and abstract posted on the BIAPT website.

Criteria for Applicants

  • You will have completed a post-graduate degree at Masters level with a dissertation in practical, pastoral or public theology.
  • You will normally have received the official notification of the dissertation mark during 2021/22 or 2022/23
  • You are a current member of BIAPT. You can join at our Join BIAPT page.

The Prize Committee will be chaired by Professor John Swinton. The Committee reserves the right not to award a prize in any given year, as well as the right not to designate a runner-up. The Committee’s decisions are final.

BIAPT 2023 Masters Dissertation Prize



BIAPT Annual Publishable Article Prize for Practical Theology

The British and Irish Association of Practical Theology (BIAPT) brings together practitioners, researchers, teachers and students for mutual support and learning. The aims of this prize are to acknowledge and publish excellent research undertaken by BIAPT members in the form of a publishable article. The prize is aimed at those who have, to date, little or no publishing record, and will not be awarded to anyone with a substantial publishing record.  

The prize is a free place at the 2024 BIAPT conference and the publication of your article in the journal Practical Theology. The winning article will have its title and abstract posted on the BIAPT website.

Criteria for Applicants

  • You have a recent and relevant publishable article, no longer than 6,000 words, which meets the criteria for publications within the journal Practical Theology.  For details, please see Aims and Scope and Instructions for Authors  but DO NOT submit the article through Editorial Manager. Submit as directed below.
  • You are a current member of BIAPT. You can join at our Join BIAPT page.
  • You have no more than one previously published article in the field of Practical Theology. 

The Prize Committee will be chaired by Dr Karen O’Donnell. The Committee reserves the right not to award a prize in any given year. The Committee’s decisions are final.

BIAPT 2023 Publishable Article Prize




This page lists the awards made in earlier years. Click on the appropriate link for downloads.

Masters Dissertation prize winners

2022 Belinda Stanley

A qualitative study of the spiritual practices of those who care for survivors of torture: an exploration of how some aspects of spiritual practice are perceived to impact upon vicarious trauma and post-traumatic growth 

2021 – no Prizes run this year

2020 Stewart Rapley

The impact of autistic cognitive distinctives on conception of God and interpretation of the sacred texts of the western Christian tradition: implications for the cognitive engagement of high-functioning autistic adults within the church

2019 Daniel Tsoi

“When Muslims meet Moltmann” -In what ways can Jürgen Moltmann’s theology of suffering help the forcibly displaced Iranians in the UK to assimilate their experience of suffering and Shi’a background on the journey to reconsider their understanding of God and become faithful followers of Christ?

2018 Andrew J Scholes
“What contribution can the Celtic ‘soul-friend’ make when considering contemporary one-to-one approaches to discipleship and spiritual formation?”

2013 Paul Ede
“Urban eco-mission: Healing the Land in the Post-industrial City. How can Clay Community Church more faithfully perform brownfield rehabilitation for community use?”

2012 Catherine Duce
“Church-based work with the homeless”

The runners up for this year’s dissertation prize were
Clare Radford – “The character of Christian faithfulness in contemporary community transformation projects.”
Kathryn Wehr – “Patristic and contemporary evangelical visions of the celibate life.”

2011  Joint Prize Winners – Pauline Reid
“Bloody Joy: How does the experience of birth and mothering enrich our understanding of priesthood?”

& Peter Gubi“The similarities and differences between counselling and spiritual accompaniment”

Highly commended this year: Mark Clayton, Peter Laws, Vincent Manning, Abigail Sines and Loraine Turner

2010 Anne Holmes
“Choose Your Companions From Among the Best”

The runners up for this year’s dissertation prize were:
Victoria Declaudure – “Permitted to Preach? Women’s Ministry among Evangelicals in France”
Tracy Robinson – “Liturgy and Identity: What Does the Liturgy Make of Me?”
Susan Stevenson – “Street Pastors in Lambeth: A Reflection on Partnership in Ministry”

2009  Jill Harshaw
“The Prophetic Role of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities in Contemporary Christianity”

The runners up for this year’s dissertation prize were:
Quentin Chandler  – “What is a Pastoral Assistant? Reflections in Parochialism and Catholicity in Pastoral Care”
Mark Greenwood – “Capacity Development for Christian Social Action in the Ceará United Baptist Churches’ Convention, Brazil”
Stephen Lingwood – “What are the Prospects for a Unitarian Process Evangelism Course?”

2008 Richard Sudworth
“Towards a Theology of Mission Amongst Muslims in a Post July 7th Britain” Spurgeon’s College

In a context of increasing suspicion of religious claims to exclusivism and the apparent dangers of fundamentalism, is it any longer tenable for Christians to consider a missionary vocation amongst Muslims?

The study begins by analysing Islam in Britain and in particular, the internal debate within Islam as to solutions to identity as a minority in the west. This analysis reveals the diversity and fluidity of Islamic British identity. The second stage of the research presents the results of interviews and questionnaires with twenty leading Christian academics and practitioners in the field of Islam and interfaith studies. The questionnaires seek to draw out principles and core themes in the Christian-Muslim interface and suggest the need for an inclusive missiology that can hold together both witness and dialogue.

The final portion of the research examines the theological resources available to Christians that support a witness and dialogue synthesis sufficient to address the diversity and fluidity of British Islamic identity.

The study concludes that a Trinitarian model of relatedness, configured in hopeful vulnerability, offers a way forward for a missionary engagement with Muslims in Britain that allows for subjective witness. This unpredictable and humble approach to relationships avoids the totalising of the Muslim and allows for an expectant and hopeful response from Muslims reflective of the fluidity and diversity within Islam. Such a model of mission is able to see Muslims as gifts to the church, authenticating and deepening the church’s Christian identity.

Runners up:
Matthew G – “Crossing the Line – Reflections on some Chinese house-church Christians’ experiences with the Three-Self Church”
University of Wales (through Spurgeon’s College)

As one of the largest and fastest growing churches in the world, the continuing story of the Church in China has a special fascination for many Christians around the world. But what are we to make of the conflicting accounts and stories emanating from the independent house-churches and the state-approved ‘Three-Self Church’? And is the divide between the two really that clear? This dissertation explores how meta-narratives regarding the Church in China compete for our attention. Based on a series of interviews with local house-church believers in West China, who are themselves involved to varying degrees with the Three-Self Church, the author goes on to show how some Christians find themselves ‘caught in the middle’ and in search of a workable and meaningful ecclesiology. Through reflecting on the some of historical and theological links between the Three-Self Movement and Anglicanism, the author (not himself from the Anglican tradition) proposes some elements which might in future help Christians from outside the Three-Self movement to engage more constructively with it.

Eleanor Williams – “For as long as it takes: Factors Affecting Fresh Expressions of Church in Urban Contexts”
Anglia Ruskin University

The Church in the UK is in decline, with falling attendances, weakening influence, and ‘The end of Christendom’. Signs of hope are appearing: new ways of being church seeking to engage with contemporary culture. In the ‘mixed economy’ inherited expressions of church are becoming ‘mission-shaped’, looking outward, becoming more culturally attuned. Fresh expressions seek to reach those who would not come to church, by going out, becoming incarnate, in contexts and groups, rather than expecting people to ‘come in’. Significant questions are about sustainability and future development towards becoming a mature church; whether the consumerist agenda is too influential; and whether there is too little engagement with the poor. I have addressed these questions by hearing from leaders of fresh expressions in urban deprived areas which have ended, those which are continuing, and also inherited churches becoming mission-shaped.

Fresh expressions in urban deprived areas have taken seriously ‘God’s bias to the poor’, moving into poor areas, spending time building relationships, serving and listening. Key issues are about having a clear vision; listening to the context, allowing that to shape the fresh expression; beginning with sufficient resources of people, finance and time; having accountability and support structures set up; developing mutually enriching relationships with the wider church; and building in processes for theological reflection. Problems that have arisen have usually been related to these factors.

For the future, key areas to explore are about clarifying how inherited and fresh expressions come together in the ‘mixed economy’, how to move towards maturity, how to nurture leaders and prevent ‘burn-out, and how to develop sustainable, simple models of church with indigenous leadership. A theology of ‘dying to live’ and a commitment to following the example of Christ may be the most significant sustaining factors.