Supported by a $500,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, the Public Scholarship Project will assemble an interdisciplinary Working Group which will meet regularly and collaborate over a period of three years. The project Working Group includes prominent scholars from a variety of fields and disciplines. During this time, they will develop new ways of studying and understanding religion in the digital age. “It’s not just about the way religion is being made and re-made through modern media, it is also about how we can use digital media as scholars and professionals to transform our work,” said Deborah Whitehead of CU’s Department of Religious Studies, one of the project’s directors. “Our Working Group is made up of people who can contribute a great deal through their own research, but who can in turn have influence in the academic world to change the way Universities think about and do research on religion,” notes Hoover.

The Project will work directly on that goal by holding faculty and student “best practice” workshops in its final year and developing a “white paper” of recommendations to colleges and Universities, Hoover added. Alongside their research efforts, the project’s team will develop a new web platform designed specifically for academic collaboration, idea development, and multi-platform communication, including digital, print, video, and interactive forms.

“We’re particularly excited about this project because it takes such excellent advantage of the resources in our new College of Media, Communication, and Information at CU,” said Lori Bergen, CMCI Dean. “We have faculty and students across our departments who will be really interested teaming up with this Project’s Working Group in its important efforts.” 

The Working Group will also interact with wider networks of academics and practitioners, hosting seminars and workshops on the Boulder campus and at relevant meetings that will engage important innovators in journalism, creative arts, digital practice, and public education. “Religions today exist to the extent that they exist in the media,” said Center Associate Director Nabil Echchaibi. “It is simply the case that to understand religions today we have to understand how they are mediated, how they use media and how they are understood through media.  We all know that there is more religion in public all the time. That automatically means media.”