Tuesday 9 December, 12:15 at St Andrew's
The St Andrew’s Trust for the Study of Religion and Society offers speaking events which promote religious literacy, tolerance and relevance to the general public.
Later this month there will be celebrations in the Bay of Islands to mark the sermon delivered by Bishop Marsden on Christmas Day two hundred years ago. Our nation’s history has been blessed by the juxtaposition of religion and society – a clear path links Bishop Marsden with the Treaty of Waitangi twenty-five years later.
The Māori people already living in Aotearoa New Zealand – the tangata whenua – sensed both opportunity and danger in missionary activity. But, happily, that quarter-century saw the establishment of the roots of Christianity in Aotearoa New Zealand and the beginning of a durable bi-cultural system.
To help us understand the motives on all sides: missionary, Māori, settlers and agents of government, we have invited two guest panelists to take part in a Conversation chaired by Noel Cheer.
- Retired Anglican Bishop Richard Randerson, who was the first chair of the Marsden Cross Trust Board.
- Dr Geoff Troughton, Senior Lecturer at the School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies at Victoria University of Wellington.
Chris Longhurst, previously Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the Vatican, introduces us to the richness of Islamic sacred art.
Dr. Christopher Longhurst originally hails from Napier, Hawke’s Bay. For the past two years he has been living and working in Morocco as Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Islamic Studies Program at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane. He also works as a docent (operatore didattico) at the Vatican Museums, Rome, Italy, leading tours, lecturing, and conducting seminars. His field of study is theological aesthetics or the interdisciplinary study of religion and art. Besides pushing the boundaries of what is considered “sacred pictorial art” by presenting abstract expressionist artworks as a theological locus, Longhurst’s secondary research interest explores manifestations of beauty in Islam. His work in this field has produced several publications among which are “Mihrab: Symbol of Unity and Masterpiece of Islamic Art and Architecture” (Lonaard, 2013), “Theology of a Mosque: The Sacred Inspiring Form, Function and Design in Islamic Architecture,” (Lonaard, 2012), and “Beautiful Holiness of Kalām Allāh: On the Transmission of the Divine Word in Islam through Art” (Encounter, PISAI, 2011). Longhurst also writes on religion and art for L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. Holding a Ph.D. in Theology from the Angelicum, Rome, 2009, his talk today: Sacred Art in Islam: Meaning and Language, looks at Islām’s aesthetic theory and how Islām manifests itself through sounds and letters based on Qur’ānic injunctions.
An Islāmic aesthetic
Islāmic abstraction, tawḥīd and the arabesque
Recitation and calligraphy
The question of images
Common language of Islamic art
After the recent stimulating Conversation with Dr Zainal Bagir, we have invited him back to give us a lecture on one aspect of the material covered.
An old question that has been asked a lot is “Is Islam compatible with democracy?” This question tends to be answered in abstract by defining (or assuming) what democracy is and what Islam is. The problem is that both are not unequivocal, but contextual. Recent rethinking of secularism and democracy have opened up new possibilities to think about religion and democracy. This question is important particularly in the case of Muslims who now live in countries undergoing democratization but also the increasing number of Muslims who live as minorities in democratic countries. In this lecture, rather than answering the compatibility question, I will show the diversity of meanings of both, looking at how in practice Islam and democracy is lived. Further, when religion is said to be “compatible with democracy”, does it refer only to the liberal kind? Can democracy live with a conservative religion?
Dr Zainal Abidin Bagir (Visiting Lecturer, Religious Studies, Victoria University, Wellington; Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies, Graduate School, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia).
He has been running two undergraduate classes: Islam in the Contamporary World and Political Islam.
In a former class, entitled Democracy and Pluralism, he raised questions such as: “When religion is said to be compatible with democracy, does it refer only to a liberal kind of religion?”, “Can democracy coexist with a conservative religion?” and “If diversity is a mark of today’s democracy, what kind of pluralism is required by a pluralist democratic polity?”
Please note: The price of $20 on the flyer is US Dollars. In New Zealand the price is $25.
Tuesday 14 October
Dr. Zainal Abidin Bagir In Conversation with Noel Cheer
St Andrew’s on The Terrace,
Tuesday 14 October, 12:15pm – 1pm
The West is not well-served by its news media when it sees Islam only as war-mongering, fanatical and dangerous. Certainly there are Muslims as individuals and as groups who fit these categories, but we can also point to Christians, Buddhists, Hindus – and atheists.
In an attempt to offer a balanced view, we have invited Dr. Bagir (from Indonesia, the world’s most populous Islamic nation) to discuss this subject.
Dr. Zainal Abidin Bagir is the director of the Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies at Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia. He is presently a Visiting Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington, teaching “Islam in the Contemporary World” in the Religious Studies Department. He deals with dialogues between Islam and other religions, Muslim responses to today’s science, politics (especially democracy) and the emerging secular West.
His current research projects include freedom of religion and management of religious diversity in Indonesia; he recently completed a research on Christianity in contemporary Indonesia. His other academic interests include religion and science, and religion and ecology. A book he edited, Science and Religion in the Post-colonial World: Interfaith Perspectives was published by Australasian Theological Forum Press (2006).
Dr. Bagir received his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia while his master’s degree was obtained from the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization, Malaysia and doctoral degree from the Indiana University, U.S..
The interviewer, Noel Cheer, is a long-term member of the Board of The St Andrew’s Trust for the Study of Religion and Society. He has recently completed a seven-year series of half-hour interview on the Auckland’s Triangle Television. For enquiries about this event call him on 0274 483 805.
Entry free – donation welcomed.
Although doubt is encouraged in most disciplines, in religion we have been expected to abandon all creative thinking and ‘just believe’, blaming ourselves for any doubts we may have.
This is more about authority and belief systems than about faith, and – as in all other disciplines – tantalising carrots enticing us to richer experiences. Rather than being the enemies of dogma and the preying forces of evil, doubt is the harbinger of hope.
Just as with each doubt investigated a scientist anticipates new discoveries, in this lecture Val Webb invites you to boldly go where other cannot – into uncertainty.
Val Webb writes for those who calls themselves spiritual rather than religious, those disenchanted with organised religion, and those simply fascinated with the human search for meaning. The author of ten books, her latest is In Defence of Doubt: An Invitation to Adventure.
* There is no charge for admission to this lecture – we welcome your donations / koha.
Rev Dr Jim Cunningham Interim Minister of St Andrews on The Terrace will introduce the conference and welcome participants
The 2014 Geering Lectures combines with Public Good to present Democracy, Ethics and the Public Good
Rev Dr Jim Cunningham Interim Minister of St Andrews on The Terrace will introduce the conference and welcome participants
LLoyd Geering - Introduction on ethics and democracy
YOU! Your contribution to conference workshops will help kickstart a national conversation about the quality of our democracy.
Democracy, ethics and the Public Good: The 2014 Geering event August 1&2
You will find here information on the speakers which will also be available in a conference pack for attendees. Many of the speakers will also be helping out at the workshops on the Saturday.
The St Andrews Trust bookshop will be available throughout the conference as will books from some of the presenters at the conference. There will also be information available from the organisations represented at the conference.
Rev Dr Jim Cunningham is the interim Minister at St Andrews and the chair of the St Andrews Trust for the Study of Religion and Society. He is also a counsellor, a communicator and a story- teller, including of radical and progressive theological ideas, through his preaching. Family and travel are important aspects of his life.
Jim will introduce the conference, set the scene and be our MC on Friday evening.
Professor Lloyd Geering is a ground breaking and controversial commentator on theological issues. He has been an ordained Presbyterian minister for more than 70 years and has held a number of significant academic positions in New Zealand. He is a Companion of the British Empire and in 2001 was named a Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Lloyd’s writings have often addressed key questions concerning contemporary religion and society. Although he has retired as Principal Lecturer for the St Andrew's Trust for the Study of Religion and Society, he is still an Honorary Associate Minister and Theologian in Residence for the Parish of St Andrew's.
Lloyd will open the conference with some remarks about democracy and ethics.
Dr Bronwyn Hayward is a Senior Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Canterbury, and co researcher at the University of Oslo on the Voices of the Future project and Surrey University’s Sustainable Lifestyles Research group, UK. Bronwyn Hayward’s academic background is in political science and geography and she specialises in children, youth and democratic response to rapid social, economic and environmental change. Bronwyn is the author of Children and the Environment: Nurturing a democratic imagination (Routledge/Earthscan London, 2012).
Bronwyn’s topic is Our Social Handprint: Understanding the kind of democracies we are creating.
Bronwyn developed the SEEDS, FEARS and SMART models of social handprint as ways to think about how we are currently responding to crises and change. She has identified three dominant political responses. One is the authoritarianism of the FEARS model, where we frustrate citizen agency (the ability to imagine and effect change with command and control authoritarianism). Secondly is thin democracy of SMART citizenship with its emphasis on self-help, markets, individual entrepreneurialism, technocratic imagination, and representative government. Hayward argues there is nothing wrong with the SMART model – of course we need new technology, entrepreneurs and clever thinking, but it leaves unchallenged and unquestioned the fundamental drivers of inequality, social justice and dangerous environmental change. Instead she advocates a SEEDS model of democratic citizenship. A diagram of the Seeds social handprint for democracy is attached to the final page of these notes.
Dr Michael Macaulay is Director of the Institute of Governance and Policy Studies (IGPS) at Victoria University and Associate Professor in Public Management at the School of Government. Before joining Victoria University in 2013, Michael was Professor of Public Management at Teesside University, UK, and he is currently Visiting Professor at the Universities of Sunderland and York St John. He has previously been Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
He has had a diverse academic career He is currently one of two Executive Editors of International Journal of Public Administration. He has worked with organisations such as Transparency International, numerous local authorities, and recently with the Council of Europe creating integrity audit tools for the Turkish public sector.
Michael will talk about the Open Government Partnership from the perspective his UK and New Zealand experience with transparency and integrity systems.
Professor Jane Kelsey is one of New Zealand’s most acute social commentators. Professor of Law at the University of Auckland, she is actively committed to social justice in her teaching, her work on Maori sovereignty, and her international research and advocacy on the crisis in globalisation. For several decades her work has centred on the interface between globalisation and domestic neoliberalism, with particular reference to free trade and investment agreements. Since 2008 Jane has played a central role in the international and national campaign to raise awareness of, and opposition to, the Trans Pacifiic Partnership Agreement.
Jane will be addressing the risks to democracy of international ‘free trade’ treaties like the TPPA, TPIP and TISA whose approach to treaty making is not a given and has risks to democracy and sovereignty that are being largely overlooked by the proponents.
Dr Sandra Grey is a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at Victoria University of Wellington. Sandra is working on a major project examining activism by the New Zealand women’s, union, and anti-poverty movements since 1970.
Dr Charles Sedgwick is a sociologist with strong interdisciplinary interests. During the course of his career he has taught at the University of Canterbury and at Victoria University of Wellington.
Sandra and Charles will present “Stomping all over ‘grass-roots’ advocacy and activism”
Grassroots organisations have a crucial role to play in ensuring we live in a robust and healthy democracy. Sandra and Charles’ work explores decades of activism and advocacy by grass-roots organisations aimed at ensuring the voice of the most marginalised New Zealanders are heard in public debate. What their research shows it that despite a government rhetoric of ‘continued improvement in the way we work with communities, NGOs and other groups, and how we purchase services’ the reality is very different. A strong elitist-style of government has contributed to an ongoing decline in democratic engagement. In particular, government contracting has created a climate in which the community and voluntary sector fears ‘biting the hand that feeds it’; and elite rhetoric has seen grassroots groups recast as ‘vested interests’ or ‘wreckers and haters’. The question for citizens is how do we force governments to once again recognised the legitimacy of grassroots activism and advocacy.
Wendy McGuinness is Chief Executive of The McGuinness Institute, a non-partisan think tank working for the public good and contributing strategic foresight through evidence-based research and policy analysis. Among the McGuinness Institute’s work has been Nation Dates, a book of significant dates that have shaped New Zealand and which is now in its second edition. The Institute has also created a body of work looking at how to implement a potent idea which originated with the late Professor Sir Paul Callaghan of “New Zealand – a place where talent wants to live”.
Wendy will introduce the institute to conference attendees and talk about the McGuinness Institute’s contribution to the Constitutional Advisory Panel. The 2012 Draft Constitution was prepared by 50 young New Zealanders as part of the 2012 review of the constitution “He Kōtuinga Kōrero mō Te Kaupapa Ture o Aotearoa”. Wendy will also introduce the Saturday morning speakers.
Associate Professor Bill Ryan is at the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington. In his most recent book, Future State: Directions for Public Management in New Zealand (co-edited with Derek Gill), he argued that developments in society particularly in civil society make it essential that approaches to government and governing in Aotearoa change significantly, particularly in opening up those processes for wider citizen participation.
Bill will speak on the pressures on government caused by social media, openness and the 24 hour news cycle and a public sector legislative framework that is overdue for renewal. There are growing opportunities for citizens in using social media and the need for government to keep with their demands that is starting to set the scene for open government. For public services there is a contrast between the situation on the ground, where things happen to deliver services, and the top of government departments, where there are problematic relationships between chief executives and their ministers. After 26 years, the State Sector Act is showing its age.
Myles Thomas directs reality television and documentaries by day, and by night he is chief executive of the Coalition for Better Broadcasting Trust. He led the opposition to the closure of TVNZ7.
Myles’ presentation is titled One pillar, two pillar, three pillar, four... Is it time for a fifth pillar of democracy? The fourth pillar of democracy, our media is crumbling with weaker audiences and funding problems, so they are less able to hold the first three to account.
What’s needed is a fifth pillar, more of a bank or a large scaffold working with the fourth pillar. That fifth pillar is the people or people power. It is exactly what Public Good is attempting to do.
Barbara Bedeschi-Lewando is a Nelson-based International Development Practitioner focused on participatory democracy.
Barbara will talk about the participatory democracy approaches being used in Brazil and elsewhere.
Dr Cath Wallace is the co-chair of ECO, the environment and conservation organisation of Aotearoa/New Zealand and served two terms on the Council of IUCN, the World Conservation Union as well as lecturing at Victoria University in economics and public policy, focusing primarily on the environment.
Cath will address the impact of recent changes to the Resource Management Act
Ben Knight is a co-founder of Loomio, an online tool for collaborative decision-making built by a team of open-source developers, facilitators and activists in New Zealand and a workers cooperative. Ben has an academic background in the evolution of collective intelligence, a practical background in grassroots community organising, and a passion for the potential of technology to spur positive social change. He was closely involved with the Occupy movement in 2011, which exposed him to the massively empowering results of collective decision-making on a large scale, and the possibility that online tools could make participatory democracy a part of everyday life.
Ben will talk about participatory democracy and the role of Loomio in supporting collaborative decision making. Loomio refers both to the worker’s cooperative that Ben is a member of and a tool that makes it easy for as many people as possible to put their heads together and to come up with better solutions than anyone would have come up with on their own.
Julia Amua Whaipooti, Ngati Porou completed her legal studies in 2013 and now works for the Community Law Centre providing legal education and information to local communities. She is passionate about social justice and sees many of the issues within our criminal justice system as reflecting the social justice failures in broader society. Julia is involved with JustSpeak because she believes in its kaupapa and its aims to empower young people to have a voice in the criminal justice conversation.
Ko ngā Rangatahi ngā Rangatira mō āpōpō. Young people are our leaders of tomorrow and JustSpeak is a waka that helps shape our tomorrow by asking for change.
Julia will speak about democracy and justice issues including the removal of the right to vote.
Stephanie Rodgers is a feminist, social communications expert and blogger and her witty, trenchant and well informed commentary at the Boots Theory and The Standard has influenced policy issues in social democratic and feminist circles. She has often addressed the issue of whose voices are actually being heard.
Stephanie will talk about the effectiveness of social media in changing and developing ideas and new generation feminism.
Meg Howie developed AskAway as her Master of Design project at Massey University in collaboration with a number of open source developers. It is aimed at increasing youth voter turnout in the 2014 General Election and it was tested in the 2013 local council elections. It is one of the election engagement initiatives which make up Massey University’s Design & Democracy Lab.
Meg will talk about her work on the Askaway project which allows people to put questions to political parties.
Kieran Stowers is an award-winning graphic designer, design-led researcher and recent graduate of the Master of Design programme at the Massey University College of Creative Arts. His research pays particular attention to the capability of design to innovative new modes of community dialogue that will advance the future health of public civic participation in the 21st Century.
Kieran is currently working out of Massey’s newly established Design & Democracy Project, Kieran is further developing On the Fence – a web tool designed to guide inexperienced, first time voters to make an informed decision in this year’s election. Originally launched in 2011, On the Fence is a fun, accessible political-values questionnaire presented as an online game. It acts as civic education tool by translating esoteric political jargon into ideas that young people can understand
Max Rashbrooke is a Wellington journalist and author who has worked on inequality in New Zealand and edited the bestselling Inequality: A New Zealand crisis in 2013, which examines, among other things, the democracy and participation issues related to high levels of inequality. Max has worked on The Guardian in the UK and among his work in the New Zealand was the notable Listener article recounting his grim experiences undercover in a NZ halfway house.
Max will talk about the disenfranchising effects of the extreme inequality in New Zealand. Inequality makes it hard for more than 300,000 New Zealanders to play a full part in New Zealand society including taking part in democratic and representative issues.
Esther Bukholt is an experienced facilitator and has helped design the process for the participant engagement in the conference.
Her life philosophy is that we all have the right to live, work and play in ways that sustain us, our communities and the earth. Indeed, we are the richer for it. She has applied this philosophy to her life and work for over twenty years in community development, recreation and adult education. She is committed to social inclusion and have initiated a wide range of successful discussions and projects with community, public, and private partners. This work has taught her that one size does not fit all and given valuable insights into the diversity of our communities.
As well as these great speakers the real strength of the conference is the opportunity for participants to reflect on what they have heard and to take part in workshops that will develop and build on the ideas from the presentations.
Diagram from Bronwyn Hayward’s Social Handprint: Understanding the kind of democracy we are creating. A diagram taken from Children and the Environment.
The Conference has been generously supported by all of the speakers who have given their time at no cost, by members of the St Andrews Trust who have provided logisitical and practical support as well as guidance about the content and by the following individuals and organisations
Noble Painting Wellington, Unity Books Wellington, Dr Ganesh Nana, Dr Richard Norman, Wendy McGuinness
JULY 7 - Spirited Conversation @ The Thistle Inn
Jan and the public good
Jan Rivers is a local librarian and political activist passionate about politics, current affairs and New Zealand’s future. She grew up in an environment influenced by progressive post-war government policies in the UK and recognises the need for progressive pro-people policies in today’s New Zealand.
Why Public Good?
While there are a number of organisations addressing individual issues there is no broad-based organisation that explicitly takes up the whole idea of wider recognition of the role of people and communities – rather than politicians and corporates – in shaping our nation.
There is a need for a citizen group that advocates for the role of an effective public sector – backed by a beneficent state – in providing not only public services but also in addressing complex problems like climate change and environmental degradation, an aging population and high levels of inequality (and its corrosive effects). Public Good aims to ensure that we all have a stake in New Zealand society.
Jan spoke about her influences leading to the work on public good, its journey to date and the upcoming conference Democracy, Ethics and the Public Good which was to be held jointly with the Trust.
Tue June 24 • 12:15–1pm
New Zealanders are starting to recognize that the criminal justice system is failing too many, costing too much, and helping too few. To effectively tackle these challenges, we must abandon heated rhetoric and explore policies based not on ideology, but on evidence. Kim Workman talks about the shift from a ‘Tough on Crime’ policy to a Smart on Crime policy, which emphasizes cost-effective, evidence-based solutions to crime. He discusses the balance between being safe, and being just.
Of Ngati Kahungunu and Rangitaane descent, Kim Workman is a retired public servant whose career spans roles in the Police, the Office of the Ombudsman, State Services Commission, Department of Maori Affairs, and Ministry of Health. He was Head of the Prison Service from 1989 to 1993.
A graduate of Massey University, he has completed postgraduate study at the University of Southern California and Stanford University. Kim was appointed National Director of Prison Fellowship in 2000, and retired from that position in 2010. Prison Fellowship New Zealand under his leadership became a significant provider in the criminal justice sector, establishing the first faith-based prison unit in the British Commonwealth and a mentoring programme for released prisoners, and is the principal provider of in-prison restorative justice services.
In 2005, Kim was the joint recipient (with Jackie Katounas) of the International Prize for Restorative Justice. In 2006 Kim joined with Major Campbell Roberts of the Salvation Army to launch the Rethinking Crime and Punishment Project. Kim was made a Companion of the Queens Service Order in 2007. In the same year he was appointed as a Senior Associate to the Institute of Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington. He is currently completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Religious Studies.
Grief Happens and Support Matters
The role of Skylight in our community
Skylight is a not for profit charitable trust supporting those facing tough times of change, loss, trauma and grief whatever the cause. Skylight also assists those wanting to help them.
How can we support our friends/colleagues during difficult times of change, loss and grief? How do we move people from needing our support to being more resilient?
Skylight is a not for profit charitable trust supporting those facing tough times of change, loss, trauma and grief. They also assist those wanting to help them.
Therese Handscomb is responsible for promoting Skylight’s support services and resources nationwide. She has a military background, serving as a UN peacekeeper in Timor Leste.
Lionel Sharman – Matter and what matters: some science for the religion, and some religion for scientists
‘By accepting science and the technology that springs from it we implicitly accept the scientific method as a method for understanding the material universe. Science must be consistent and coherent, so purpose in the material universe and the miraculous as it affects the material world cannot be accepted. Religion, and in particular, Christianity, must not be lost.’
Lionel Sharman offered some suggestions as to how we might respond.
In 2012 he received the Ashton Wylie Unpublished Manuscript Award for his book Matter and What Matters (Steele Roberts).
Professor Lloyd Geering’s final lecture for the Trust
In 1984, the first series of lectures by Lloyd Geering for St Andrew’s Trust for the Study of Religion and Society was titled ‘Images of the City’.
Thirty years on, we will recall those biblical images and add a post-biblical image in ‘The Evolving City’.
In his final lecture for the Trust, Professor Geering explored the living, changing nature of the city along with the unseen spirit of community that motivates and comes to expression in it.
This talk will shortly be available as a DVD and viewable through this website on a pay per view basis.