‘Religion in the Media’: Gregynog Annual Colloquium 2009/10
Sara Mullery, our second year Religious Studies student, reflects on her two day stay at Gregynog in Mid Wales for the Gregynog Annual Conference organised by the School of Theology, Religion and Islamic Studies at the University.
Every year the School partake on a two day residential conference at the University of Wales’ Gregynog residence, during which students and staff have the opportunity to hear guest lecturers speaking on a range of current topics.
This year’s conference was themed ‘Religion in the Media’ and its participants were lucky enough to receive lectures delivered by the staff on topics such as the Atheist Bus Campaign, Religion in the Broadsheets and The Little Mosque on the Prairie.
The highlight of the annual trip however is the task set every year which all students compete in to win prizes and to bring home the title of Gregynog champion. The task set for Gregynog 2009 was a group activity to create a new television series based around religion, be it a drama or documentary style series. The diversity and standard of ideas entered was exceptional, including many university based dramas but also such programs as ‘Faith Swap’ and ‘Last Vicar Standing’.
One group to make the finalists were ‘Three Men in a Teapot’ a reference to Bertrand Russell’s analogy of the celestial teapot. This takes place in a retirement home for the academically gifted and starring aged versions of our very own Greg Barker, Amjad Hussain and Stephen Greg with Ainsely our College Chaplain co-starring as the tea lady. This mixture of academic debate, religious conflict and prank pulling on Amjads’ part appealed to the egos of the lecturing team and ensured everyone a good laugh.
The winners of the competition came up with ‘lock down’ a series dealing with the aftermath of a terrorist incident in an airport which is immediately locked down as its staff and customers piece together their predicament free from the media and outside information. Second and third prize went to the creators of ‘Holy Landlord’ and a documentary style series dealing with the crash landing of a British paratrooper in war torn Afghanistan and the effect that the Islamic faith of his rescuers have on his own Christian beliefs. The event was once again massively successfully in welcoming the new firs years into the school and proved to be an experience enjoyed by everyone.