About us

The project

The rules were made to be broken. Too often what we read about religion in textbooks, print and online media, fails to capture the complex ways in which religion and nonreligion are lived by ordinary people. The Lived Religion Project seeks to highlight the complexity, depth and humour with which religion and nonreligion are carried in life. It does so through interviews with ordinary people telling their unique story. For academics, policy makers and journalists, we offer an open resource for research. For the wider public, we offer snippets of how different people live their lives. By helping people listen to each other, we hope that we can offer a small contribution to the dream of living well together.

The founders

Fernande Pool aims to challenge divisive discourse and practice through ethnographic research. Her PhD thesis, completed in March 2016 at the LSE anthropology department, explores the ethical life of Muslims in West Bengal, India. In particular, it reveals the everyday experiences and vernacular meanings of secularism in relation to contemporary transformations in Islamic belief and practice, as such destabilising hegemonic conceptualisations of religion and secularism. In subsequent research, Fernande continues to critically explore the nature of ethical life, and alternative experiences and meanings of religion and secularism, both in South Asia and beyond. Her ambition is to work at the interface of academia and social justice, engaging in innovative, cutting-edge research with a tangible social impact. She is currently a Visiting Scholar at the School for International Studies at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver. 


Timothy Stacey is passionate to find the ‘myths’ or ‘stories of great events and characters’ that contribute to solidarity across religious, political and economic differences. His PhD at the Faiths and Civil Society Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London, explored sources of solidarity amongst civic activists in the religiously, politically and economically diverse setting of London, UK. Tim is now living in Vancouver, Canada, where he is exploring the deep beliefs and values that contribute to solidarity amongst ‘secular activists’, that is, ‘people for whom religion is of no more than a secondary concern’. 



Advisory board

Prof. Lori Beaman is the Canada Research Chair for Religious Diversity and Social Change at the University of Ottawa. She is the Director of the Religion and Diversity Project. Beaman is best known for her work on religion and law and “deep equality”. Her most recent book, Deep Equality in an Era of Religious Diversity was published with Oxford University Press in June 2017.


Stephen Shashoua – Founder, Plan C: Culture & Cohesion, working at the intersections of the arts, identity and culture in order to promote better social relations and inclusion. He is the former director of 3FF. Shashoua built 3FF from a staff of two into a team of 18 to innovate, design, and deliver a wide portfolio of award-winning social cohesion programs that encourage interaction and learning between people of different faiths and beliefs in the UK and internationally.


Prof. Peter van der Veer – Director, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. Van Der Veer is a globally recognized expert on Indian religion and society, and has received particular attention in recent years for his crucial work on Hinduism and Islam amongst migrant communities in Western Europe.