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About the researchers

You can read more about publications, conferences, and media publications related to this project here

Professor Douglas Ezzy
University of Tasmania

Douglas Ezzy PhD is Professor of Sociology at the University of Tasmania, Australia. His research is driven by a fascination with how people make meaningful and dignified lives and includes studies of religious diversity, religion and the law, nonreligion, contemporary Paganisms, and Christianity.  He is the lead investigator of this research, which is a $447,000 Australian Research Council Discovery project (“Religious Diversity in Australia”). His books include LGBT Christians (2017, with Bronwyn Fielder), Reinventing Church (2016, with Helen and James Collins), Sex, Death and Witchcraft (2014), Teenage Witches (2007, with Helen Berger), and Qualitative Analysis (2002).

Professor Greg Barton
Deakin University

Greg Barton is professor of Global Islamic Politics, and is currently the Chair of Global Islamic Politics at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University.  Greg has been active for the past thirty years in inter-faith dialogue initiatives and has a deep commitment to building understanding of Islam and Muslim society. The central axis of his research interests is the way in which religious thought, individual believers and religious communities respond to modernity and to the modern nation state. Greg also has a strong general interest in comparative international politics, and has undertaken extensive research on Indonesia politics and society, especially of the role of Islam. Since 2004 he has made a comparative study of progressive Islamic thought in Turkey and Indonesia. Greg also has a general interest in security studies and human security and a particular interest in countering violent extremism continues to research Islamic and Islamist movements in Southeast Asia and around the world.


Associate Professor Anna Halafoff
Deakin University

Dr. Anna Halafoff is an Associate Professor in Sociology, and a member of the Alfred Deakin Institute at Deakin University. She is also a Research Associate of the UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations – Asia Pacific, at Monash University. Anna’s current research interests include: religious diversity; preventing violent extremism; education about religions and beliefs; Buddhism and gender; and Buddhism in Australia. In 2011, Anna was named a United Nations Alliance of Civilizations' Global Expert in the fields of religion, conflict and peacebuilding. Her recent books include The Multifaith Movement: Global Risks and Cosmopolitan Solutions (Springer 2013), Religion and Development in the Asia-Pacific: Sacred Places as Development Spaces (Routledge, 2016 co-authored with Matthew Clarke ), Education about Religions and Worldviews: Promoting Intercultural and Interreligious Understanding in Secular Societies (Routledge, 2016 edited with Elisabeth Arweck and Daniel Boisvert) and Re-Enchanting Education and Spiritual Wellbeing: Fostering Belonging and Meaning-making for Global Citizens (Routledge, 2017 edited with Marian DeSouza).


Professor Gary Bouma
Monash University

Gary D Bouma AM (1942-2021) was the UNESCO Chair in Intercultural and Interreligious Relations – Asia Pacific and Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Monash University.  He was an Associate Priest in the Anglican Parish of St John’s East Malvern. His research in the sociology of religion examined the management of religious diversity in plural multicultural societies, education about religions and worldviews, postmodernity as a context for doing theology, religion and terror, and religion and public policy. He served on the Multi-Faith Advisory Group to the Premier and the Social Cohesion Institute of the State of Victoria, Australia.  Author or Co-Author of over 25 books and 380 articles, he was invested as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to Sociology, to Interreligious Relations, and to the Anglican Church of Australia.


Professor Bouma was a CI on the Religious Diversity in Australia Project from 2018-2021, a great mentor to the other CIs and PI Beaman, and co-author on many of the project’s publications. He had a great impact on sociology of religion in and beyond Australia, and will be deeply missed and warmly remembered.

Professor Lori Beaman
University of Ottawa

Lori G. Beaman, Ph.D., F.R.S.C., is the Canada Research Chair in Religious Diversity and Social Change, Professor in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa, and Director of the ‘Nonreligion in a Complex Future’ Project ( She previously directed the 'Religion and Diversity Project' ( Her publications include The Transition of Religion to Culture in Law and Public Discourse (Routledge, 2020), Deep Equality in an Era of Religious Diversity (Oxford University Press, 2017, Italian translation Eguaglianza profunda in un’era di diversità religiosa, Ariele, 2018) and “Living Well Together in a (non)Religious Future: Contributions from the Sociology of Religion,” Sociology of Religion, 78(1): 9-32. Professor Beaman received the 2017 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Impact Award in the Insight Category and holds an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University. She also received the Award for Excellence in Research, Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa, 2017-2018. Her current and engaged areas of research include nonreligion, equality, human/non-human relationships, law, and religious diversity.


Professor Bob Jackson
University of Warwick, Stockholm University

Robert (Bob) Jackson is Emeritus Professor in Religions and Education at the University of Warwick, UK, and a Visiting Professor at Stavanger University, Norway. He is a partner investigator in the ARC-funded project ‘Young Australians' perspectives on religions and non-religious worldviews’. He is Founding Director of Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit. His books include Religious Education: An Interpretive Approach (1997), Rethinking Religious Education and Plurality (2004), and Religious Education for Plural Societies (2019). He has contributed to the educational work of the Council of Europe since 2002 and he wrote Signposts: Policy and Practice for Teaching about Religions and Non-Religious Worldviews in Intercultural Education (2014) as part of this work (translated into 12 languages). He received life membership of the Association of University Lecturers in Religious Education (UK) and the William Rainey Harper Award from the Religious Education Association (USA) in 2013. In 2017, he received honorary doctorates from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, and the Norwegian School of Theology (MF, Oslo) for his contributions to religious and intercultural education internationally.


Dr. Rebecca Banham
University of Tasmania

Rebecca Banham is employed to work on this project as a Research Fellow at the University of Tasmania. She completed her PhD there in 2019. Rebecca’s doctoral research explored the emotional and ontological connections that people form with Tasmanian forests, and she is particularly interested in the ways that emotion, ontology and experiences of vulnerability and relationship shape how people relate to both other people and to the nonhuman world. Rebecca is also a Postdoctoral Fellow with the ‘Nonreligion in a Complex Future’ project led by Professor Lori Beaman, focusing on the focal areas of law, and the environment. She has a keen interest in the intersections between (non)religion and the nonhuman environment. Her publications include a chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Ecocultural Identity (2020), and articles published in Environmental Sociology and Journal of Sociology.


Geraldine Smith

University of Tasmania

Geraldine Smith is a PhD candidate whose thesis focuses on the multifaith movement and interreligious encounters. She has a background in Performance Studies and Studies in Religion, which informs her current interest in the performativity of multifaith events and encounters. Her previous work has involved fieldwork with a radical Christian group called the Jesus Christians, which has led to a entry into the World Religions and Spirituality Project (WRSP) on the group. Her current research, exploring how performative elements such as atmosphere, setting, mood, and behaviour at multifaith events can alter the outcomes of an encounter with difference, informs the 'Interfaith' case study of this project. 

Research Fellows

The following Research Fellows from Deakin University are also involved with this project. 

Dr. Enqi Weng

Enqi Weng completed her PhD from the School of Media & Communications at RMIT University in Dec 2018. Her doctoral thesis examined religious changes and changing attitudes toward religion through a study of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Q&A program. More broadly, her research interest lies in interrogating the relationships between media, culture and society, and especially in media's influences and effects on religious and social changes. She is currently working on her monograph titled 'Of Dominance and Diversities: Media Perceptions of Religious Changes in Australia' (Routledge). Born and raised in Singapore, she had over seven years of industry experience in marketing communications/branding working within commercial and not-for-profit organisations.

Dr. Ruth Fitzpatrick

Ruth Fitzpatrick currently works as a Research Fellow for projects exploring religion in contemporary Australia. These projects reflect her interest in how religious and spiritual praxis is shaped by the broader social context. Her PhD was on the impact that secularism has on shaping Buddhism social engagement in Australia. She has previously conducted research and published on Buddhism in Australia, gender and Buddhism, socially engaged Buddhism, religion and youth and Spiritualism. She has a background in Sociology of Religion and Buddhist studies and has taught extensively on sociology, sociology of religion and Buddhism.

Dr. Kim Lam

Kim Lam is an Associate Research Fellow for the UNESCO Chair for Cultural Diversity and Social Justice at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation. She is also a Steering Committee Member for the American Academy of Religion Buddhism in the West Unit (2019-2024). Kim has a background in Sociology of Religion, Buddhist Studies and Youth Studies. Her work focuses on changing patterns of diversity and their impact on religious belonging, identity and participation. Her recently completed PhD on Buddhist youth identity focused on the tensions and ambiguities of negotiating Buddhist teachings of non-self, impermanence and interdependence in a de-traditionalised, neo-liberal and multicultural context. She has published articles on these and other topics in the British Journal of Sociology, Journal of Youth Studies and Journal of Global Buddhism.

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