You are on the Natcen site

Click here for Scotcen

natcen map

You are on the Natcen site

Click here for Scotcen

natcen map
20 May 2019

Belief and Unbelief: Supporting communities in times of national tragedy

Head In Hands

Join us as we discuss the country's changing religious composition and deliberate moral leadership in times of crisis.

Register here

Time: 9.30am - 1pm. The event will begin promptly at 10am

Location: Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BJ (nearest tube: Euston and Euston Square​ map​)

Refreshments: Lunch will be provided from 12pm-1pm

Almost two years have passed since the Grenfell fire and a spate of terror attacks across the UK. These incidents saw a national outpour of grief as communities struggled to make sense of widespread violence and loss of life.

In times of local and national tragedy, it is commonplace for religion to take a central role both on the ground and in the media - with faith led speakers, memorials and ceremonies acting as a focal point for moral guidance and reflection. Yet, data from NatCen's British Social Attitudes Survey found more than half of Britain's population are non-religious and the generation gap on religious affiliation is widening.

As the country's religious composition continues to shift what shape should support take when religious rituals are not relevant to more than 50% of the population? In addition, what do these changes mean for policy makers, media and communities when providing support in times of crisis?

The event will be chaired by Katie Harrison, Director, Faith Research Centre, ComRes.


  • Professor Christopher Baker, Professor of Religion and Public Life, Goldsmith, University of London
  • Dr Lois Lee, Senior Research Fellow, University of Kent and Principal Investigator, Understanding Unbelief Programme

  • Iain Overton, Investigative Journalist and Executive Director, Action on Armed Violence.

  • Simon O'Donoghue, Director of Humanist Care, Humanists UK

  • Stephen Timms MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society and MP for East Ham
  • Mark Harris, Outreach Manager, Samaritans

The event will be followed by a networking lunch. Attendance is free and open to all but please register your place.

Register here

This event is a collaboration between NatCen and the Understanding Unbelief programme.

NatCen is Britain's largest independent social research agency. For the last 50 years we've worked on behalf of government and charities to find out what people really think about important social issues and how Britain is run. Understanding Unbelief (University of Kent) is a £2.3 million research programme investigating the nature of atheism and other forms of unbelief around the world.

Back to Upcoming events