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Academics Study Role of Faith in Scotland's Future

Tuesday March 28 2023

Academics at the University of Glasgow have been awarded funding to look at the role of faith in deciding Scotland’s constitutional future.

The Paristamen Charity has awarded its 2023 Blue Sky Grant of £25,000 to a team led by the Rev Dr Doug Gay and Professor Heather Walton, who work in the University of Glasgow’s Theology and Religious Studies subject area.

The Charity asked for proposals to increase understanding of Christian Reflection on Scotland’s Constitutional Future. The aim of the project is to bring together those on all sides of the independence debate, including those who are undecided, to listen and respond to a range of arguments and perspectives.

Dr Gay is a senior lecturer in theology and religious studies, ordained Church of Scotland minister, and Principal of Trinity College, the Church’s training college at the University of Glasgow. He has previously written on the ethics of nationalism.

Professor Walton is Professor of Theology and Creative Practice whose research engages with issues relating to faith and everyday life.

The project will oversee research throughout Scotland, exploring how church members and adherents apply faith-based arguments to Scotland’s continued belonging to the UK or its becoming an independent country. Research will include field work across a range of Christian churches and traditions in the Autumn and Winter of 2023/4, leading to a final report in the first half of 2024.

Dr Gay said: “There are high levels of interest today in the place of faith in public life in Scotland. We are delighted to received funding from Paristamen to explore these issues with folk in the pews and to deepen our understanding of how people relate their faith to their thinking about constitutional options.”

The Paristamen Charity is a small grant-making charity based in East Lothian.  Founded in 1985, in recent years it has awarded a wide range of grants mainly to smaller Scottish charities, and one larger “Blue Sky” grant. It is governed by four trustees who have a range of Christian affiliations and varying political views. Professor Gareth Morgan, Chair of Trustees of The Paristamen Charity, said: “Paristamen has funded a number of projects to encourage debate and exploration of sensitive or controversial issues, usually from a Christian perspective. We were delighted to receive an extremely strong proposal for this project from the University of Glasgow and we look forward to working with their team.”


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