An interactive and engaging day of talks, workshops, and discussions exploring what it means to be Buddhist in Britain today.

Saturday 21 October 2023 10:00 – 16:00 BST

Burmese Buddhist Vihara, 29-31 Osler Street Ladywood Birmingham B16 9EU

The UK Association of Buddhist Studies (UKABS), the Network of Buddhist Organisations (NBOs) and the Centre for Applied Buddhism (CfAB) are hosting a one-day, in-person conference for academics, practitioners and guests exploring what being Buddhist in Britain means today.

Bringing together practitioners from diverse traditions of Buddhism, including those born to Buddhist families and those not born to Buddhist families, for a day of group discussions, short talks, experience sharing, and friendship, the conference will cover some important topics including gender, race, social class, challenges for the Buddhist community of practice in a post-covid Britain, being young and Buddhist, and many more!

Guest speakers will include academics from the field of Buddhist studies, monastic leaders from various Buddhist traditions, lay-member Buddhist practitioners, community faith leaders, PhD students and others.

There will be a light lunch served during the day for all participants.

The conference will open with brief welcome remarks by Dr. Elizabeth J Harris, President of the UKABS Committee, Kaspa Thompson, Chair of NBOs, Jamie Cresswell, Director of the Centre for Applied Buddhism. Dr. Caroline Starkey, Associate Professor of Religion and Society at University of Leeds, will begin the day with a brief introductory talk on Buddhism in Britain to give some context for participants who may be new to exploring the topic.

It is strongly recommended that you register your place at the conference in advance since the venue hosting the event has a limit and can hold up to 100 people. It may be possible to turn up on the day without registering.

To register: Being Buddhist in Britain: a practitioner conference Tickets, Sat 21 Oct 2023 at 10:00 | Eventbrite

Provisional programme:

10.00 Coffee available

10.15 Introduction and welcome – Lucy Plummer (MC) and Jamie Cresswell

10.18 Welcome to Pagoda, Ven. Nagasena

10.20 Prof Elizabeth Harris

10.30 Kaspa Thompson

10.40 Amal Abeyawardene

10.50 Caroline Starkey [A recording of the this lecture is available here]

11.10 Coffee Break

11.35 Ice Breaker groups

12.00 Break out discussion groups

13.00 Lunch

14.00 Roma and Lucy

14.15 Discussion pairs

14.20 Short plenary

14.30 Rahena Harilall

14.40 Keith Munnings

14.50 Coffee break

15.10 Ven. Udunuwara Indaratana

15.20 Break out discussion groups

15.45 Plenary

16.00 End

Being Buddhist in Britain talk by Dr Caroline Starkey

Posted 30th November 2023 by Carlos Garcia-JaneDate: Wednesday 13th DecemberTime: 19:30-20:30 PMLocation: on Zoom[A recording of this lecture is available here]

Description: Dr. Caroline Starkey, Associate Professor of Religion and Society and Director of Liberal Arts in the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science at the University of Leeds joins us online for a fascinating talk based on her work studying Buddhists in Britain. Caroline writes, ‘The aim of this talk is to provide a brief historical overview of Buddhism’s connection to Britain, detail its contemporary trajectories, and give particular focus to burgeoning areas of study and reflection of interest to Buddhist practitioners and academics alike, including gender, social class, secular mindfulness, and Covid. Whilst Buddhism in Britain has grown and diversified since the 1960s, it still does not receive the kind of academic attention it deserves, and the aim of this talk is to encourage a revitalisation in the study of Buddhism on British shores. Through the talk, I weave together a discussion of what it is like being a Buddhist in Britain, whilst also studying Buddhists in Britain, and the opportunities and tensions inherent within occupying this particular position.’ Caroline’s talk will be followed by a live Q&A session. You don’t want to miss this!

How to register: please register for the online event using this link – once you have registered you should receive the Zoom log-in details. If you do not receive the log-in details within 24 hours of registering, please send me an email and I will help you with that.

Note: UKABS, NBOs, BMBS and CfAB are hosting a follow-up Being Buddhist in Britain meeting online on Wednesday 13th December from 7:30-8:30pm!
As those of you who attended last month’s event will know, due to the adverse weather conditions that the UK was experiencing on that weekend and the resulting disruptions to transport services, the key speaker, Dr. Caroline Starkey, was unfortunately unable to make the event. We tried to arrange for her to dial in over Zoom on the day, however, that didn’t work out either.