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Recent activities

Recent activities
My recent and forthcoming activities are immediately below, with those from longer ago further down. If you want to contact me, please do so via m.d.francis(remove this obfuscation)

Recent and forthcoming

  • November 26th - Invited to write an article for The Conversation about how radicalisation and terrorism are not the same thing.
  • November 19th - Invited to write a case-study on Aum Shinrikyo for the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser's 2014 annual report, on innovation and risk.
  • October 23rd - Interviewed for article in Time magazine on the shooting in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa.
  • October 16th - Following Tony Blair's comments about religion and education I wrote an article for The Conversation about how religious literacy, not respect for religion is the way to prevent radicalisation.
  • October 14th - I was interviewed for the magazine On Religion, for a pair of 'expert interviews on understanding radicalisation'.
  • October 7th - I was invited to write a blog for the think-tank Theos as part of a series on how to prevent radicalisation.
  • September 18th - I spoke at the annual conference of The Society for Terrorism Research in Boston, USA, on the sacred, religion and violence.
  • August 22nd - I was interviewed by for an article on British foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria.
  • August 21st - I was interviewed on BBC Breakfast about research on radicalisation and foreign fighters.
  • August 20th - Following the murder of James Foley I wrote an article for The Conversation on foreign fighters.
  • June 30th - I wrote an article for The Conversation on brainwashing and radicalisation.
  • May 22nd - I was invited to write an article for The Conversation about radical ideology and violent extremists, following the convictions of Abu Hamza and Mashudur Choudhury.
  • May 1st - I spoke at a debate on 'Weathering the twitter storm: the pros and cons of social media', co-organised with Debating Matters.
  • February 11th - I was selected to attend a course on engagement with policy-makers, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and organised by the Institute for Government (IfG).
  • January 31st - I presented at the 25th Anniversary Inform conference on the past, present and future of new religious movements.
  • January 24th - I was invited to speak at a symposium hosted by London School of Economics on the sacred.
  • January 8th - I was invited to speak at an Open University symposium on religion and security.

  • December 19th - I was invited to write an article for The Conversation about the trial of Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, who murdered Lee Rigby. This was republished in The Huffington Post.
  • September 11th - I spoke at a conference at Chester University on apocalyptic imagination in late modernity.
  • September 3rd - I presented at the British Association for the Study of Religions annual conference on religion, migration and mutation.
  • June 14th - I was invited to write an article for Public Spirit in response to media reports about extremism in British universities.
  • May 22nd - I was invited to write an article for The Conversation about the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich.
  • May 17th - I was an invited speaker at a conference on religion, media and diversity.
  • May 15th - I spoke at the Open University on contemporary religion in historical perspectives.
  • March 22nd - I presented at a conference on social relations and human security at the Centre for Social Relations, Coventry University.
  • February 22nd - I was invited to teach at a University of Kent course on methodological approaches to the study of religion.
  • February 2013 (until July 2015) - I became the Senior Research AssociateIdeology, Belief and Uncertainty, hosted at Lancaster University and funded by the RCUK Global Uncertainties Programme.
  • November 2012 - April 2013 - I was part of a team working in partnership with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on a series of open dialogues to promote religious literacy. Read more about it here.

  • December 3rd-5th - I was invited to speak at a conference hosted by Wilton Park, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Canadian High Commission in London: Combating intolerance and promoting freedom of religion or belief for all: working on UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18.
  • November 14th - I was invited to write an article for The Huffington Post about the need for religious literacy.
  • November 7th and 8th - I organised the national RLLP 'Religious Literacy' workshops for 60 HE staff, with workshops on Good Campus Relations and Equality and Diversities, amongst others.
  • June 2012 - January 2013 - I worked as an Assistant Research Officer at the charity Inform - The Information Network on Religious Movements.
  • June 6th and 7th - I co-organised the RLLP and Campus Lokahi FlashPOD workshops, which trained university staff to deal with sticky situations on campus.
  • May 8-10th - I spoke at Uppsala University at a colloquium organised by the Religion and Society Research Centre, on the subject of religious literacy.
  • April 11-13th - I co-organised the Religion stream at the annual British Sociological Association (BSA) conference (with Titus Hjelm), taking place this year in Leeds. I also presented further findings from my current research with Martha Shaw.
  • March 28th-30th - I presented at the BSA SocRel annual conference in Chester, with a co-authored paper (with Martha Shaw) on: 'The role of religion in Higher Education: a case study' which formed part of a panel on 'Religion and belief in Higher Education' which I organised.
  • March 27th-28th - I organised the BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group (SocRel) Postgraduate Study Day, to coincide with the SocRel annual conference at Chester.
  • March 7th, 2012 - I spoke at the Westminster Faith Debates, organised by the AHRC/ESRC Religion & Society Programme, on the topic of radicalisation. Read my paper What causes radicalisation?.
  • November 2011 - March 2012 - with Martha Shaw at the Faiths & Civil Society Unit I am undertook a case-study into the role of religion within a Higher Education Institution. This small HEFCE funded study complements the broader output of the Religious Literacy Leadership Programme.


  • November 14&15th - as part of the RLLP programme of events I organised our annual Religious Literacy Workshops for over fifty participants from HEIs across the country, one in London at Woburn House and the other at York St John University.
  • October, 12th - I presented a paper, 'Contested boundaries: exploring the role of the sacred in violent religious and non-religious movements', at the Centre for Religion and Contemporary Society at the University of Kent.
  • July 2011 - January 2013, I was the Programme Manager and Research Associate on the HEFCE-funded Religious Literacy Leadership Programme, hosted at the Faiths and Civil Society Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London.
  • June, 7-8th - I presented a paper, 'The move to violence: religion, radicalisation, violence and identity' and led a discussion at a Religion, Policing and Security Colloquium at the University of Leeds.
  • May, 6-7th - I presented a co-authored (with Professor Knott) paper, 'Return? It never left: Exploring the 'sacred' as a resource for bridging the gap between the religious and the secular', for which I received an honorarium and expenses. This was at a workshop run by the Religious Norms in the Public Sphere network at the University of California, Berkeley, hosted by Professor Olivier Roy. Watch here...
  • April, 11-13th - I organised a PG study day as part of the annual SocRel conference, in Birmingham where I also presented a paper 'Mapping the sacred: the application of a new matrix of factors to the analysis of religious and secular beliefs'.
  • February, 5th - I took part in the SocRel Study Day, where I also presented a paper 'For God's sake: making a useful distinction between the 'sacred' and 'religion' in constructions of religious violence'.
  • January, 11th - I presented a paper at the Theology & Religious Studies Research Day at Leeds, on the theme of Religion and Violence.


  • August, 14-22nd - I delivered a paper, 'In God's name? The role of an external legitimating authority in the move to violence in religious and non-religious groups', at the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR) XXth Quinquennial Congress in Toronto.
  • May, 19-21st - I attended an international poster conference and course in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • April, 7-9th - I delivered a paper at the annual BSA conference, in Glasgow.

Further back...
  • November, 2009 - I delivered a paper, 'The danger of contagion: a comparison of two group's aversion to dialogue with the 'Other'', at a Religion and Society @ Leeds, research day.
  • November, 2009 - I spoke at an AHRC regional event on the Library of Congress (LoC) study scheme. Listen here...
  • January - April, 2009 - I held an AHRC/LoC scholarship to study at the Kluge Center in the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
  • May, 2008 - Finished analysis of data as academic consultant, leading to report: Peter Tarleton and Khalid Ahmed Kazi, 'Looking beyond the veil: a research project into people's perceptions of the Muslim Veil in Kirklees'. Batley, WY: Crescent Consultancy.
  • October, 2006 - Finished Home Office funded project (on which I was Research Assistant) leading to a report and presentation at the Houses of Commons in London. Kim Knott, Alistair McFadyen, Sean McLoughlin and Matthew Francis, 'The roots, practises and consequences of terrorism: a literature review of research in the Arts & Humanities', Leeds: University of Leeds.
  • February, 2004 - Produced concluding reports for the Home Office and Her Majesty's Prison Service based on HO-funded research project with Kim Knott. Kim Knott and Matthew Francis, 'Leeds pilot faiths consultation exercise on restorative justice and the rehabilitation of young male ex-offenders', Leeds: University of Leeds. Reproduced in part in Appendix 5 of 'Working together: co-operation between government and faith communities', London: Home Office Faith Communities Unit.

Subpages (1): iGov-paper