Shared Religious Education

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 June 2024 | Viewed by 325

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1LN, Northern Ireland, UK
Interests: the role of religion in education; the possibilities for sharing education in divided societies

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Guest Editor
School of Education, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1JA, UK
Interests: philosophical reflection on teacher education; ethical deliberation and teaching; religious education and its pedagogy; values education/moral education in schooling

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Guest Editor
Fachrichtung Evangelische Theologie, Universität des Saarlandes, 66123 Saarbruecken, Germany
Interests: interreligious learning; confirmation classes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The concept of "shared education" has been employed in a range of international settings, including Macedonia, Israel, and the USA (Gallagher 2016), though it is generally acknowledged to have emerged within the context of Northern Ireland, where the education system remains largely separated by religious identity (Gallagher et al. 2022; Hughes & Loader 2015). Shared education in these contexts has been understood as sustained curriculum-based contact of pupils from different schools, with the purpose of building reconciliation and enhancing educational opportunities.

Shared religious education has not received particular attention in the wider shared education literature; however, it is proposed here as concept that can highlight a range of existing pedagogical strategies and approaches to religious education that exist in multiple contexts and across a wide age range of learners. Indeed, both single-identity settings (such as faith schools or religious communities) and plural-identity settings (such as public schools) can offer shared learning experiences (Nelson 2018). This can take many forms, from joint projects where learners from different settings work together towards a common goal (such as in Wegerif et al. 2017) to plural religious education where students with different worldviews learn about religions and beliefs together in a public school classroom (such as in Meyer 2021, Boehme 2023). A shared approach to religious education is not exclusive to any one setting. It may also be adopted as part of Initial Teacher Education or Teacher Professional Learning activities (e.g., Kienstra et al. 2019; Williams et al. 2019). The editors interpret the term broadly but also believe there are some general characteristics that can help define shared religious education, for example, teaching and learning in religions and beliefs, which involves learners studying and working together for short or long periods of time with a view to deepening their understanding of each other’s belief perspectives and may include working on common tasks or goals. Furthermore, shared religious education is likely to have some or all of the following: a curriculum that makes space for diverse knowledge; a pedagogy that values dialogue; and teachers who adopt an outward-oriented, intercultural perspective and who seek creative ways to work with and through boundaries. Shared religious education may emerge from top-down policies, like a common curriculum, or it can develop from "bottom-up" approaches where educators initiate shared learning in response to a recent event that has caused conflict or a historical legacy of separation between religious communities.

The academic treatment of religious education often distinguishes between contrasting approaches, like confessional/non-confessional, denominational/non-denominational, insider/outsider, or exclusive/inclusive. However, in practice, religious education can challenge or even defy these categories (Cush 2007). This Special Issue seeks to provide a space where researchers can share findings and perspectives on shared religious education from a wide range of approaches. The editors are interested in receiving papers that provide academic insights into shared religious education understood in a broad way. Papers may include those of an empirical or theoretical kind. Contributions from under-studied regions or contexts are particularly welcomed.

Research areas may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Evaluations of pedagogical interventions employing shared projects or shared activities within religious education classrooms or as extracurricular activities;
  • Theoretical papers on concepts related to sharing, cooperation, and collaboration in religious education;
  • Investigations of possibilities for shared religious education in societies or communities where people are divided by religion;
  • Research into initiatives in Initial Teacher Education or teacher professional learning that involve an element of shared religious education;
  • Exploration of how shared spaces and/or shared experiences might contribute to encounter and dialogue between students or teachers.

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 200-300 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send it to the Guest Editors, Dr. James Nelson (, Dr. Janet Orchard (, and Prof. Dr. Karlo Meyer (, or to the Assistant Editor of Religions, Ms. Margaret Liu ( Abstracts will be reviewed by the Guest Editors for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blinded peer review.

Regarding the word length, the minimum is 4000 words; normally, papers are 60008000 words; and anything above 8000 words must be agreed on by the editors.

Deadline for abstract submission: 31 March 2024
Deadline for response to abstracts: 30 April 2024
Deadline for full manuscript submission: 20 June 2024

We look forward to receiving your contributions.


Boehme, K. (2023). Interreligiöses Begegnungslernen. Grundlegung einer fächerkooperierenden Didaktik von Weltsichten. Herder

Cush, D. (2007). Should religious studies be part of the compulsory state school curriculum? British Journal of Religious Education, 29(3), 217–227.

Kienstra, N., van Dijk-Groeneboer, M., & Boelens, O. (2019). Training for Interreligious Classroom Teaching: An Empirical Study. Religious Education, 114(5), 594–608.

Gallagher, T. (2016). Shared education in Northern Ireland: school collaboration in divided societies. Oxford Review of Education, 42(3), 362–375.

Gallagher, T., Duffy, G., & Robinson, G. (2022). Turning Research into Policy. In Activist Pedagogy and Shared Education in Divided Societies (pp. 93–105). BRILL.

Hughes, J., & Loader, R. (2015). ‘Plugging the gap’: shared education and the promotion of community relations through schools in Northern Ireland. 41(6), 1142–1155.

Meyer, K. (2021). Religion, Interreligious Learning and Education. Peter Lang

Nelson, J. (2018). The Case for Dialogical Learning as a Signature Pedagogy of Religious Education. In J. Astley, L. J. Francis, & D. Lankshear (Eds.), Values, Human Rights and Religious Education (pp. 91–108). Peter Lang.

Wegerif, R., Doney, J., Richards, A., Mansour, N., Larkin, S., & Jamison, I. (2017). Exploring the ontological dimension of dialogic education through an evaluation of the impact of Internet mediated dialogue across cultural difference. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction

Williams, A., McKeown, S., Orchard, J., & Wright, K. (2019). Promoting positive community relations: what can RE learn from social psychology and the shared space project? Journal of Beliefs and Values, 40(2), 215–227.

Dr. James Nelson
Dr. Janet Orchard
Prof. Dr. Karlo Meyer
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • religious education
  • shared education
  • inter-religious learning
  • worldviews education
  • interfaith dialogue

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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