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The Kendal Project

The Kendal Project explored religious pluarlity in the market town Kendal situated at the south-eastern entrance to the English Lake District. Towards the end of the 1990s three academics at Lancaster University, Paul Heelas and Linda Woodhead of the Department of Religious Studies, and Bronislaw Szerszynski of the Institute for Environment, Philosophy and Public Policy, decided to use Kendal as the location for the first locality study of the sacred in Britain.

Mapping Religion and Spirituality in a small town

The team of the Kendal Project attended services and other church events regularly, interviewed many church members about the meaning of their faith in their lives, and distributed a questionnaire in each of the case study churches. Besides this, the team mapped the holistic milieu by associational activities taking place beyond the congregational domain. A questionnaire was administered to facilitators and participants of all those associational activities which appeared to involve subjective-life spirituality.

Additionally, a street survey was designed. The goal of the street survey was to investigate the vast majority who do not go to church or get involved in any alternative spiritual activities. A small area in Kendal was selected, with a wide range of different types of housing, for a door-to-door survey. Semi-structured interviews were used to elicit people’s beliefs, and information about their religious and spiritual backgrounds and practices. Find more information on the methods and findings on the project's website.

Researching religious plurality in England's industrial heartland

Since 1976, the Community Religions Project has conducted empirical research on religion in the cities of Leeds and Bradford and beyond. In 2009 when the Plurelgion Network came into being, Professor Kim Knott directed this project on religious plurality and supervised student teamwork projects on the 'Religious Mapping of Leeds'. She is currently cooperating with CERES in the project Iconic Religion.

After her leave in 2012, the project has changed to focus on learning and teaching. Increasingly, the project's website will showcase all that is best in supporting undergraduate students and others to research religion in their local community. Much of the history of the Community Religions Project relates to changing patterns and trends in the study of religions. You can find out more about the history of the project by visiting the Research Archive. Learn more about this project here.


The Kendal Project


Prof. Linda Woodhead

Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, Lancaster University, UK

Community Religions Project

Prof. Kim Knott
(Director Community Religions Project until 2012)

Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, Lancaster University, UK