Research course

Place Locality Culture and Performance

Open University · Department of Religious Studies

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent).

Months of entry


Course content

Religious lives are lived out in specific localities, from busy urban neighbourhoods to rural and coastal communities. The Religious Studies discipline at the OU is particularly interested in historical or ethnographic research oriented towards experiences of locality and the development of spatial approaches to religion. Current research in this area includes extensive ethnographic study in Glastonbury, work on urban/religious affect in relation to social movements, and historical and ethnographic research in shifts in the sites of religion in the city.

The discipline also has considerable expertise in the performance of religions and spiritualities and their manifestation in material and visual cultures. This dovetails with our interest in lived and vernacular forms of religion and spirituality and their expression across multiple scales and contexts. In contrast to studies that privilege religious texts, ideas and beliefs, we focus on what people do, how they do it, and on the sensuality of the materials they use. Research concerned with material, visual and performance cultures promises to make important contributions to understanding religions in historical and contemporary contexts. Current research in this area includes projects exploring powerful and potentially transcendent and transgressive experiences generated through noise and pain.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    full time
    36 months
      part time
      72 months
      • MPhil
        full time
        15 months
          part time
          24 months

          Course contact details

          Dr Paul-Francois Tremlett

          +44 (0)1908 652032