Next month, join us for our seventh Modern Places of Worship debate in Cardiff. With only a couple of debates remaining, this is one of the last opportunities to contribute your views on the topic. Register for your free tickets here:

**This event is being hosted in partnership with Cardiff University’s School of Geography and Planning, The Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK, and the Religion, Faith and Society Research Group at Cardiff University**

Join us to explore how places of worship can sometimes divide as well as unite communities, as settings for creativity, encounter and rapprochement. This event is part of a series of UK-wide discussions. We look forward to hearing your contributions.

Sacred spaces can often reflect societal identity – a sign of belonging to a certain community or country. Yet they can also become the focal points of conflict over who are insiders and outsiders in local communities. Over the last year, the police presence around places of worship increased in response to a spike in hate crime, focused on religious buildings and their users.

Speakers will address different aspects of this debate, including: the ways in which local planning authority decision-making on faith buildings has shifted over time, reflecting changing political priorities and underlying social and cultural attitudes; the meanings and attachments invested in religious space by different communities, and how these can anchor forms of social engagement; and the ways in which places of worship can be sites of connection and creativity. More widely, the debate will explore the future for places of worship, from architectural design to their changing meaning in the current environment.

Our panel and audience will consider the following questions:

  • From a design perspective, should buildings be required to ‘blend in’ with existing structures and landscapes?
  • How might local planners respond to the politicisation of religious architecture through the planning process, to mitigate the effects of stigma and exclusion?
  • What positive approaches might be adopted to promote a more hopeful symbolism of religious buildings as spaces of encounter, creativity and understanding?

This free debate will consider these questions starting with a series of provocations from a panel of speakers that bring a diverse range of experience and insights into the topic. The event is open to anyone interested in exploring the wider issues pertaining to places of worship.

Series summary

Innovations in design and technology are changing the way we live, work and play. As our lifestyles adapt, the Baroness Warsi Foundation explores what this means for the future of faith and design in the UK. In a series of UK-wide debates, influential figures from the world of architecture, academia, theology, government and heritage, will consider the evolving relationship between places of worship, their congregations and communities. Debate themes will include design, technology, the role of places of worship, gender equality, security, and innovation. Typical questions: what could a modern place of worship look like? What challenges do they face? Are they inclusive? What role can technology play?

Events are being held in Bradford, Woking, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cambridge, Leeds, Cardiff, Glasgow, and London. Debates are free to attend and open to the public.

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