Academics at the University of Worcester and Worcester Cathedral have joined forces for a new series of talks addressing religion in modern life. 

The online sessions will take issues of general interest and relate them to themes in the study of religion. 

Topics include the ‘digital afterlife’, the spiritual aspects of the experience of ageing, the environment, faith schools, and women bishops. The talks, due to start later this month and run over the summer, are open to the general public and are designed to be accessible to all, both people of faith and those with no faith.

One of the organisers, Darren Oldridge, Professor of Early Modern History at the university, said: “Our speakers will address a range of thought-provoking topics related to religion. The aim is to engage people with the religious dimension of topics in the news and other themes of general interest, to look at issues in ways that perhaps people haven’t considered before. For instance, climate change can be viewed from a religious perspective as it involves our relationship with the created world around us.”

The six speakers giving talks are a combination of University of Worcester academics and external contributors, some from the church, organised by the university’s Religion and Society Research Group in collaboration with cathedral colleagues. The lecture series continues the relationship between the Research Group and the cathedral.

The series opens on Wednesday, April 28, at 5pm, when the University’s Professor of Higher Education Research, Maggi Savin-Baden, will explore ‘digital afterlife’, the continuation of an active or passive digital presence after death, whether through digital memorialisation or the  creation of a digital immortal.

She will present the initial findings of a study that examined how digital media and the creation of ‘digital immortals’ affected religious understandings of death and the afterlife.

The study sought to understand the impact of digital media on those living and those working with the bereaved, including clergy, public intellectuals, academics, and a bereavement counsellor.

Co-organiser Canon Dr Georgina Byrne, from the Cathedral, who is also a University of Worcester Honorary Fellow, said: “We are excited to be part of this new group, furthering our partnership with the University of Worcester. This series will allow real discussion on matters that concern us all as human beings, from the perspective of faith and spirituality. Faith traditions have centuries of wisdom and breadth of experience to offer in contemporary issues.”

For more information on the talks visit