Religion, Belief and No-Belief Strategy and Action Plan
Our Religion, Belief and No-Belief Strategy and Action Plan builds upon the Listening Project based at the Belief, No Belief and Religious (BNBR) Life Centre.
The Listening Project worked with staff and students to understand their lived experiences in relation to religion, belief and no-belief. The findings were used to map out what a more inclusive approach to religion, belief, and no-belief may look like.
This project contributed to the objectives and actions in our Religion, Belief and No-Belief Strategy and Action Plan.
The Action Plan outlines how we will continue to build a more inclusive workplace and student experience that is tailored to the needs of our staff and students.
We acknowledge that we still have work to do. Therefore our Strategy and Action Plan is a living document that we will continue to review and update over time as we progress the actions and learn from our experience, our community, and experts in this area.
The Delivery Group leads the implementation of the Action Plan. This comprises senior stakeholders accountable for the progress and delivery of actions, reporting to the University's Equality Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
The Action Plan has four overarching objectives. Each objective focuses on how we will create a more equitable and inclusive culture and outlines how we will embed a greater understanding of religion and belief across the University.
The four overarching objectives are
- Objective 1: Create an environment to maximise access, experience and learning for students for whom religion, belief and no-belief is an important aspect of their identity
- Objective 2: Create an environment where applicants and existing staff members for whom religion, belief and no-belief is an important aspect of their identity, are supported with their personal development and career progression
- Objective 3: Create an equitable, inclusive and open culture that facilitates belonging and promotes respect for staff, students and the wider community for whom religion, belief and no-belief forms an important part of their identity
- Objective 4: Address religious hatred and intolerance to ensure that our culture remains equitable, inclusive and open.
We recognise there are many overlaps between the three categories ‘belief’, ‘no-belief’ and ‘religion’ and outline below how these may be recognised within an evolving language.
- Language and terminology
An open approach has been taken in defining the protected characteristic of ‘religion or belief’, to include all major recognised world religions, other belief systems, and systems and convictions of ‘no-belief.’
There are many overlaps between the three categories ‘belief’, ‘no-belief’ and ‘religion’, and although the protected characteristic is ‘religion or belief’, this strategy takes a three-named approach to more accurately identify that a person may have an identity that straddles these three named categories.
We note that belief, no-belief and religion identities are not necessarily coterminous with practice or observance but might be determined/focused by other factors such as culture, other protected characteristics and the longer set of examples listed below (for example, culture, national, dual or multiple national identities, refugee or asylum status, chosen migration, role, status, poverty or wealth).
For people with a belief, no-belief and religion identity or identities, it is important that there is choice about how people can speak of this aspect of the self.
This Action Plan recognises the importance of the intersection of belief, no-belief and religion identity or identities with all other protected characteristics and other aspects of the self, such as, for example, culture, national, dual or multiple national identities, refugee or asylum status, chosen migration, role, status, poverty or wealth.
Intersectionality helps us to understand how people experience services, such as education, differently as a result of their identify and unequal power dynamics.
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