2022 Annual Conference – Flesh & Blood: Embodiment & Practical Theology
The theme of embodiment seems a natural next landing point for our Annual Conference following last year’s exploration of the theology of climate change. It is as embodied beings that we interact with and construct the world around us. Other bodies are the means by which we know, love and welcome others. Our bodies locate us, not only in space and time, but also in the shared narratives of our communities. Increasingly these embodied identities are the currency of national and international politics. And yet, vital though our bodies are to our human identity, many of us have spent a large proportion of the past two years interacting with others in a disembodied virtual way. All of these concerns, of course, interact with and shape our theological understanding and are, therefore, the stuff of practical theology. It is our hope and – looking at the list of contributors – expectation that this conference will enable us to engage more deeply with the nature of our embodied existence.
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Welcome to our 2022 Conference pages which we hope will provide all the information you need to book a place at the conference, apply for a bursary or to offer a paper, workshop or art exhibit to the programme.
Our virtual conference, using the Whova platform, is an online experience which will be flexible across different time-zones and as varied and creative as possible. Building on our successful online conference in 2021 this platform enables many different kinds of engagement over the course of our conference, from informal chats between colleagues and friends, keynote sessions, workshops, papers and online gallery space, plus the opportunity to access conference content in the forms of recorded sessions and shared resources for six months after the event.
Monday 11 July Keynote Panel:
Embodiment in Black and Womanist Theologies
Our panelists will be:
Professor Anthony G Reddie
Professor Anthony Reddie is the Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Culture in Regent’s Park College, in the University of Oxford. He is also an Extraordinary Professor of Theological Ethics and a Research Fellow with the University of South Africa. He is the first Black person to get an ‘A’ rating in Theology and Religious studies in the South African National Research Foundation. This designation means that he is a leading international researcher. He has a BA in History and a PhD in Education (with theology), both degrees conferred by the University of Birmingham. He is a prolific author of books, articles and chapters in edited books. His latest book is Intercultural Preaching, co-edited with Seidel Abel Boanerges and Pamela Searle. He is the author of Theologizing Brexit: A Liberationist and Postcolonial Critique (Routledge, 2019). This book is the first intercultural and postcolonial theological exploration of the Brexit phenomenon. His previous book was Journeying to Justice (Paternoster Press, 2017 – co-edited with Wale Hudson Roberts and Gale Richards). He is the Editor of Black Theology: An International Journal. He is a recipient of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s 2020 Lambeth, Lanfranc Award for Education and Scholarship, given for ‘exceptional and sustained contribution to Black Theology in Britain and Beyond’.
Revd Dr Tessa Henry-Robinson
Revd Dr Tessa Henry-Robinson is a Minister of the Word and Sacraments in the United Reformed Church (URC). She is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Practical Theology, a member of the Board of Governors at Northern College, Manchester, and a Womanist Practical Theologian who is interested in the empowerment of ethnically-minoritised communities, women in particular. Alongside other gatherings of lay and ordained ministers and Church related community workers (CRCW) in the URC, Tessa is a founding member of Cascades of Grace (COG). COG is a group set up through URC Global and Intercultural Ministries (GIM) to empower minoritised women, to be present and audible in the denomination.
Her doctoral thesis, which will soon be published, uses a womanist practical theological lens, to focus on the ‘invisibility and inaudibility’ of ethnically-minoritised women in leadership and decision-making roles in the denomination. She has written several articles, two of which have been published in Black Theology: An International Journal, Volumes 12 and 15, and one co-written with a founding member of COG for Volume 26 of the Feminist Theology Journal. The articles respectively are: ‘A Qualitative Account of a Relationship Story Between the URC and BME Women’, ‘Blackness, Black Power and God Talk: A Reflection’ and ‘Cascades of Grace’. Tessa is a regular contributor to the URC Prayer Handbook.
Fr Jarel Robinson-Brown
Fr Jarel Robinson-Brown is the Assistant Curate at St Botolph-without-Aldgate in the Diocese of London. He is also Visiting Scholar in Contemporary Spirituality at Sarum College, Salisbury, and his research interests are in Early Christianity, particularly Christianity in Late Antique Egypt. His most recent book is Black, Gay, British, Christian, Queer: The Church and the Famine of Grace published by SCM Press in 2021.
Wednesday 13 July Keynote Address:
Dr Karen O’Donnell
Karen O’Donnell leads the teaching and research in Christian Spirituality at Sarum College, Salisbury. She is a feminist, constructive theologian with a particular interest in the way in which theology interacts with both trauma and bodies. She has published widely in the area of Trauma Theology. Her most recent publication is The Dark Womb: Re-Conceiving Theology through Reproductive Loss (SCM Press, 2022).
Flesh and Blood: Reproductive Loss as a site of Theological Imagination
Fleshy, bleeding bodies have long been taboo in theological discourse. Bleeding bodies are, of course, subject to various kinds of cultural taboo and in the masculine dominated history of theology, bodies that bleed not from violent inflicted wounds, but from natural bodily processes have been terrifying, messy, and best ignored. However, these fleshy, bleeding bodies can be profound sites of theological discourse. In this paper, I will consider theology from the perspective of one such bleeding body – the miscarrying body – and examine what engagement with such messy flesh can reveal to us about the nature of God, our relationship with God, and how we might care for those who bleed in such ways.
Thursday 14 July Keynote Address:
Dr Saiyyidah Zaidi
Saiyyidah Zaidi (say-ee-dah zay-dee) is the first Muslim to complete the Doctorate in Practical Theology (DPT) in Britain. Born and raised in super-diverse London, she spent 10 years living in Glasgow, studying and practising as an Architect. After a career in local government, Saiyyidah left her Director role and set up her coaching practice, and spent several years travelling internationally with her mixed ethnicity family. These experiences informed several theological reflections including the formation and development of identity, and the intersection of religion, race, and gender. Saiyyidah’s DPT Theology thesis ‘This is the sound of my soul: A journey seeking belonging and inclusion in Practical Theology’ investigates these matters through the lens of the lone Muslim Brown British Woman in British Practical Theology. Saiyyidah is honoured to be the first non-White Faculty Member and Tutor with Meyler Campbell, and the first Muslim Committee Member and Trustee in BIAPT. In 2021, Saiyyidah founded the Centre for Belonging and Understanding with the aim of cultivating, curating, and convening belonging and understanding for individuals and organisations. As a practitioner researcher, her interests are inclusion, diversity, belonging, lived experience, identity, subversion, allyship, blind spots, and intersectionality; and helping people to lean into their full potential.
What you see is not always what you get: exploring the embodiment of race, religion, and gender through contextual intersectionality
‘Never judge a book by its cover’ is a phrase in common parlance. However, humans have an innate propensity to judge with bias being implicit rather than unconscious, i.e., people are undervalued because of perceptions of who they are, rather than what they actually are.
With constant negative portrayals of the ‘other’ in traditional and social media it is no surprise that our perception and views of people and communities we are not familiar with is based on views that may not be accurate. World religions all have a version of ‘we made you into nations and tribes so you may get to know one another’ (Quran 49:13) but the focus is the divide that difference creates, rather than the human presented in front of you, and possible points of connection. This disparity is more than just a societal problem; it is also a theological one.
For example, when you see a Muslim woman across the road or on TV, what immediate thoughts come to your mind? The answer to this question is becoming more and more important given the predicted change in religious demographics globally. As religion and belief, race, and gender are protected characteristics enshrined in law how does the intersection of these elements impact individuals (the other and those othering), and society as a whole?
The conference will feature three short sessions offering delegates an introduction to practical modes of embodied prayer. These will be led by Monica McArdle who will draw from both her ministerial and academic experiences.
Monica graduated from Durham University, UK, in 1992 with a BSc degree and PGCE in Chemistry. She then became a full-time member of Sion Catholic Community for Evangelism, working in schools and parishes across the UK. Her ministry there, for the most part, involved exploring the use of drama, mime, dance, and sign language as modes of communication for bringing about an experience of the Christian Gospel in the lives of others.
After 20 years in active mission, Monica went on to complete an MA in Somatic Movement and Dance Education (SMDE) at UCLAN, Preston. According to ISMETA (International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association), SMDE is a ‘study of self from the perspective of one’s lived experience’, encompassing the dimensions of body, psyche, and spirit’. The research component of her MA, was a focused study of embodied prayer, albeit in a secular setting.
Monica then undertook a MProf in Practical Theology at the University of Chester, UK. She is now in her fourth year of a part-time PhD at Roehampton University, UK, under the supervision of Dr Clare Watkins and Dr Ashley Cocksworth. Monica’s research project is entitled ‘Word Made Flesh: Perceiving the role of the body in Christian prayer, through the process of lectio divina.’
* A chance to catch up with old friends, make some new ones or just get away from the screen for a while.
We welcome 200 – 300 word abstracts for 20 minute papers, from a range of disciplines and religious and spiritual traditions and emerging themes in non-religion.
We welcome 200 – 300 word abstracts for online workshops of 40 or 80 mins duration.
We are looking for a wide range of artistic exhibits to populate our conference virtual gallery.
Professional Doctorate Summer School 2022
Please see link for full details: 2022 Schedule – Professional Doctorate Summer School
When booking your ticket, don’t forget to tick the ‘Summer School’ box so we can identify you as a joint BIAPT / Prof Doc Summer School delegate and set your event access permissions accordingly.
Feedback from delegates at BIAPT’s first online conference in 2021:
“I’ve been to many online conferences in the past year or so, including two the week before BIAPT. BIAPT was by far the best. A real sense of friendship even online. The Whova platform was a revelation, and it really did feel like a conference – the conversation topics were great.”
“I was so pleased to be able to connect with others interested in research in a similar area and Whova turned out to be a great platform for that kind of connecting.”
“Thoroughly enjoyed it as a first timer – I can’t emphasise that enough!”
“This has been a brilliant experience for me as somebody who was involved at the beginning of BIAPT.”
“The culture of active reflective practitioners – both listening to others and presenting their own research and reflections on experience.”
“I found it a most thought-provoking, challenging and yet reflective experience.”
“I really enjoyed the varied input and loved the fact that so much material was available for sessions I wasn’t able to attend live.”
“Always good to go to a conference where people are passionate about things, not just coolly, academically detached.”
“The small reflection groups were wonderful. As a first time participant I felt really welcomed by other members.”
“I appreciated the interfaith membership of the conference, and also the attendance of younger members.”
“I appreciated the co-existence between liberal and more evangelical approaches within the conference.”
“The platform enabled so much! Excellent speakers, opportunities for reflection, community conversations and messaging. It was brilliant.”
“So grateful that this conference has been online, I have been able to engage with theological thinking but still be able to carry out my responsibilities to my family.”
“I thought it was really good that people from across the world could join us and that the online conference was better for the environment.”
“The Gallery – fantastic!”
BIAPT has held an Annual Conference for the last 20 years:
“It was my first conference and I loved the culture of warmth & openness. I felt I could participate and that was lovely.”
“Not so much a [best] moment as a consistently high level of experience.”
“Thank you to all involved in the organisation of this conference. I have had a challenging and stimulating time and am leaving with much to process.”
“My first time – why haven’t I come before? Great atmosphere and really relevant and thought-provoking material for this practical theologian. Thanks! I’ll be back!!”
“Thank you so much for all the input – my heart and head are reeling but there was so much that was moving, challenging, heartening!!!”
BIAPT is committed to helping those who might otherwise not feel able to attend our annual conference. We have 2 bursary schemes:
- Conference Bursaries may be applied for by any BIAPT member in financial need. All Conference Bursaries will be awarded subject to available of funding. Apply here: BIAPT Conference Bursary Application Form 2022.docx
- BAME Bursaries may be applied for by anyone of BAME & BAME heritage.
For further details about our BAME Bursary scheme, please read on.
BIAPT is keen to facilitate Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students, scholars and practitioners, and those of BAME heritage, to participate and contribute to its Annual Conference. [We understand that some prefer to identify as African, African Caribbean, Asian, Majority World Christians or Christians from the Majority World, or of Majority World heritage.] We want to address the marginalisation of their voices, questions, experiences and perspectives and to become a space for deeper and broader theological conversation.
To that end, BIAPT offers a bursary for BAME scholars, students and practitioners that will cover much of the cost of attending the conference. If you are BAME or someone of BAME heritage and would like to join us at the conference but the cost presents an obstacle to you doing so, please do apply. These funds are for those for whom the full conference cost would pose a financial difficulty.
There are a limited number of bursaries available, and bursaries will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. We anticipate that this scheme will be oversubscribed so we suggest you apply promptly and, if you are a BIAPT member, consider making an additional application for a BIAPT Conference Bursary in the event you are not successful in your BAME Bursary application. Successful applicants will be awarded bursaries of £100 to cover the full conference ticket cost. Please note, if you are successful in your BIAPT BAME Bursary application, you will not also be awarded a BIAPT Conference Bursary.
Apply here: BIAPT BAME Bursary Application Form 2022.docx
This year we are offering a discounted ticket to delegates who are resident in the countries listed below. Delegates from these countries are still eligible to apply for a Conference Bursary or a BAME bursary.