SRF Annual Conference 2022 - Birmingham


Topic: Information and Reality – Questions for Religions and Science

Date: 26th - 28th May 2022 (Booking will open in early 2022) (Deadline for registration MIDNIGHT 16th May)

Location: Woodbrooke Study Centre, 1046 Bristol Road Birmingham, B29 6LJ, United Kingdom


PLEASE NOTE: We are aiming to host this conference as an in-person event, but we remain conscious of the ongoing global situation with Covid so may have to revise our plans at short notice. If this occurs we will endeavour to move our conference to a suitable online event as in recent years.

The conference will address the topic through two strands: (1) Metaphysics, nature of reality and divine/human being (2) The use and ethics of information (data) for science, religion, and society.

Strand 1:

Whilst questions at the interface of religions and science have long been concerned with issues that touch on metaphysics including constitution, personhood, action and interaction (human and divine), these are often addressed from the assumption that, at its most fundamental level, reality is composed of some form of substance. However, there is increasing traction to the idea that information (quantum, biological, digital) are the fundamental building blocks of the universe. What impact does this metaphysical shift have on our theological understanding of the world?

Strand 2:

Information (biological, personal, digital) is increasingly important in understanding the place of religions, ethics, and science in society, for example in AI and medical data collection. What are the theological and/or ethical implications of the interaction of information and science in society?

Keynote Speakers and Titles

The Gowland Public Lecture 2022 will be given by Prof. Niels Henrick Gregersen, University of Copenhagen with the title “The God with Clay: Theology in a World of Mass, Energy, and Information”.

A Response will be given by Dr Andrew Robinson, University of Exeter.

Other confirmed speakers are:

Dr Emily Qureshi-Hurst, Pembroke College, University of Oxford - The Many Worries of Many Worlds: Exploring Some Implications of Everettian Quantum Mechanics

Dr Beth Singler, Homerton College, University of Cambridge - Deepfaking God? AI and Religious Creativity, Information, and Disinformation

Revd Dr Peter Phillips, Spurgeon's College - God and the Metaphysics of Information

Dr Matthew Kuan Johnson, University of Oxford and Dr Rachel Siow Robertson, University of Cambridge - Co-Liberatory Framework for Big Data

Rev. Dr Mike Fuller, New College, University of Edinburgh - Big Data: Risks and (Theological) Responses

Call for Short Papers - DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MIDNIGHT 31st MARCH 2022

The conference will include a short paper session for which attendees are encouraged to submit proposals. Short papers must be related to the main conference theme. Each speaker will have a maximum of 15 minutes presentation time, to be followed by 10 minutes discussion. “Religion” is understood in a broad sense including spirituality and worldviews. We welcome proposals from all perspectives and addressing issues beyond the Global North. The Forum provides an inclusive space for discussion and prefers inclusive terms when speaking about humanity, divinity and people.

Proposals, in the form of a title and a 200 word summary, should be sent by 11:59 PM 20th MARCH 2022 (GMT) to Finn Lawson. Submissions will be acknowledged within two weeks of receipt. If you do not receive an acknowledgment please re-submit your proposal. Acceptance of short papers will be according to criteria of quality, originality, relevance to the conference theme, and plausibility of presentation within 15 minutes. Submissions from students are particularly encouraged. Those whose proposals are accepted will be informed by 31st March 2022. 


We are also running a student essay prize (including a cash award of £250, and UK travel and accommodation costs for the conference) – for more details see the Peacocke Prize page.

SRF Annual General Meeting

The SRF Annual General Meeting for SRF Members will take place as part of this conference. Time and date TBC.