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Research Impact

Public engagement to create new cultural encounters, shape policy, and enhance religious literacy


In 2021 King's was ranked 11th in the world for the social and environmental impact of its research.

We use our location in the capital to maximise the impact of King's TRS research, sustaining strong links with Parliament and Whitehall, Westminster Abbey, and the National Gallery.  Our London partnerships reflect the University's emphasis on London in its Strategic Vision.

Many TRS researchers - specialising in theology, philosophy, and Biblical Studies - have created digital exhibitions for the Visual Commentary on Scripture, one of our flagship public engagement projects.  The VCS is being used by schools, colleges and faith communities worldwide to foster new conversations about biblical texts and their complex interactions with works of art.

Innovative London-based collaborations such as Alight: Art and the Sacred and the British Coronations Project are facilitated by longstanding partnerships with Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, and other London faith communities. 

Our impact extends to legal London through our collaboration with the historic Temple Church, set within our neighbouring Inns of Court. A series of research projects led by the Rev'd Dr Robin Griffith-Jones have regenerated the ancient semiotics of the Church: built by the Templars to deepen divisions between Christendom and Islam, it now works to bridge those divisions through the principles of the rule of law.  Dr Griffith-Jones is leading the University’s partnership with the Museum of London, with a view to enhancing its coverage on religion when it relocates to London’s new ‘Culture Mile’ in Smithfield in 2024.

TRS houses the educational charity INFORM (Information Network Focus on Religious Movements). INFORM conducts evidence-based analysis of religious movements, provides training for legal practitioners and government bodies, and publishes the Routledge Inform Book Series on Minority Religions and Spiritual Movements. In partnership with INFORM, TRS researchers are shaping policy and legal practice relating to radicalism and minority religions in the UK, Russia, and Eastern Europe and the UK.

TRS in the media

Our research is disseminated through high-profile contributions to public discourse. In 2015 Dr Carool Kersten won the King’s Media Personality of the Year award for his international media commentaries on the contemporary Muslim world. TRS researchers have contributed to BBC Radio 4 programmes including In Our TimeStart the WeekThe Moral Maze and Today Programme, and given interviews for the BBC World Service, PBS, ABC, CNN, France 2, and Al Jazeera.  We have co-organised the Immigrants of Spitalfields Festival, delivered public lectures at the Royal Institute of Philosophy, the British Library, and numerous literary festivals, and written for high-quality print and digital media including the GuardianThe Conversation, and the Tablet.

Professor Joan Taylor’s groundbreaking research in biblical studies and material culture has influenced a series of films about Jesus and his disciples, including ‘Secrets of Christ’s Tomb’ (National Geographic, 2017), ‘Jesus’ Female Disciples: The New Evidence’ (Channel 4/ABC/Sky History Channel, 2018), ‘Mary Magdalene’ (Porchlight Films/See-Saw Films, 2018), ‘Jezus van Nazareth verovert de wereld’ (EO, 2018) and ‘Jesus: His Life’ (Sky History Channel, 2019).

King's TRS collaboration with the V&A

The Raphael Court at the V&A has been one of the great destinations for art lovers ever since Raphael’s ‘cartoons’ of the Acts of the Apostles were first displayed there in 1950. In 2021 the Raphael Court re-opened after a significant refurbishment, and this provided an opportunity for a new collaboration between the V&A and King's TRS. In this half-hour film, Dr Ana Debenedetti, Curator of Paintings at the V&A, and Ben Quash, Professor of Christianity and the Arts at King's, examine Raphael's cartoons, exploring their artistry, their history, their religious intention, and their impact on present-day visitors. Professor Quash asks how these artworks provoke questions that intrigue us today: what do we most revere and why? What would it look like if God was active in human affairs?