Research update on the Shared Space project – a joint initiative with NATRE and Bristol University

Over the past year the Shared Space project has been proceeding apace. Shared Space explores whether positive community relations can be promoted in RE lessons, an important claim for the subject made in the Commission on RE Interim Report. Since its launch at the Words Beyond Words Conference in Blackburn in October 2016, teachers have completed a national survey to report on ways in which they embed community relations into their practice and specifically if they use Contact Theory. This theory, developed by social psychologists, explains how meaningful interactions can be promoted when people from different social groups are brought together. In addition to the survey, the project has involved researchers from Bristol University explaining the principles of Contact Theory to RE teachers by visiting Local Groups across the country, and members of the NATRE Executive spending time in Bristol and Northern Ireland listening to others who have worked in this area.

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