The Cluster of Excellence investigates in studies spanning epochs the question of what makes religion a motor of political and social change, and attaches great importance to the transfer of its research findings to society. As well as carrying out fundamental research, its approximately 140 scholars seek to engage the general public in dialogue on pressing issues of the future and contribute their expertise, be it in the form of sociological findings on migration in Europe, philosophical reflections on biopolitics, legal analyses of religious constitutional law, or historical studies of the relationship between religion, violence and gender.
Centre for Research Communication
The Centre for Research Communication uses formats specific to a particular theme to disseminate the Cluster of Excellence’s research from the humanities and social sciences to a large number of target groups in society. It promotes dialogue with representatives from the media, politics, educational institutions, culture, churches, and religious communities, as well as with the general public. The Centre is the first point of contact for all those interested in the Cluster of Excellence.
The Centre for Research Communication’s concept for the humanities and the social sciences quickly became a model across Germany. The Centre disseminates its knowledge about the requirements and methods of communicating research in the humanities and social sciences in public formats, and regularly advises other institutions in the humanities.
Media Relations and Social Media
The centrepiece of the Cluster of Excellence’s knowledge transfer is its national and international media relations, for which the Centre for Research Communication identifies research findings’ social relevance, disseminates them in multimedia formats and thereby achieves a wide reach. The expertise of the researchers from more than 20 subjects is thus integrated into current debates. In print and online media as well as in radio and television, the public is regularly informed about the Cluster of Excellence’s research results. The media relations, which are supplemented by social media and coordinated with the University Press Office’s university-wide communication, have met with great public interest for years. Through such media relations, topics could often be promoted which had previously met with little public attention.
Invitations to lectures and to panels in foundations, political committees, schools, museums, educational institutions, religious associations and schools of journalism follow in what often becomes a snowball effect. Research communication thereby gives rise to further forms of transfer such as political consulting and the transfer of research results to various areas of society. Added to this are the website www.religion-und-politik.de/en, which is kept up-to-date and has multimedia on offer, and a newsletter with more than 2,400 subscribers from academies, foundations, museums, schools of journalism, as well as political and religious institutions.
Training in discipline-specific research communication
The Centre for Research Communication trains researchers in discipline-specific research communication. It offers students of the humanities and the social sciences professional taster placements and provides information in workshops on choosing a career.
Discussion and Cultural Events
The Centre designs many other formats in the field of research transfer, the spectrum ranging from advising politicians and stakeholders, through creating digital information and materials for educational work, to a wide variety of transfer events for citizens of all age groups. For example, the Centre organizes and supports discussion forums and cultural events, such as exhibitions, film series, concerts, lectures, book presentations, and panel discussions. These are often coordinated in cooperation with institutions outside the University such as museums, publishing houses, trusts, educational institutions, schools of journalism, cinemas, choirs and schools.
Campus of Religions
The transfer activities will in future be continued on an internationally unique “Campus of Religions”. From 2023, it will bring together Protestant, Catholic, Christian Orthodox and Islamic theology as well as institutions of non-denominational religious studies at the University of Münster, promoting interdisciplinary academic exchange. As a location, the campus in the city of the Peace of Westphalia lends itself to being a neutral platform for mutual understanding in the conflict-laden field of “religion and politics”. It is to become a venue for the exchange between leading national and international representatives from academic, political, religious and ideological communities and non-governmental organisations, the media, culture and the arts.
A focus of the transfer activities of the Cluster of Excellence is on consulting politicians and other stakeholders, such as from religious or ideological communities and non-governmental organizations, who have professional interest in the research findings of the Cluster. Topics include integration and migration, religious freedom and religious policy, religiously motivated violence, and the communication of values. With the research and transfer focuses “Religious Politics” and “Dealing with Religious Plurality”, the Cluster of Excellence has called attention to a policy area that had previously been scarcely considered in federal, state and local politics.
Transfer at the University of Münster
The University Management of the University of Münster attaches great importance to the transfer of research findings to wider society, and wishes to expand and consolidate such transfer. The Cluster of Excellence contributes its experience and knowledge to the further development of the transfer strategy, and helps to connect and advise other faculties and research networks at the University. A holistic university transfer structure is to be created in this way, one that takes into account the fact that specialised research transfer is currently under development at German universities.