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Diversity Initiatives

The Department’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee promotes best practice across the Department and the membership includes representatives from all sections of the Department.

The Athena SWAN Silver Award recognises our commitment to advancing women's careers in academia, progressing our students into academia and improving our work environment for all staff.

Read more about the Athena SWAN Silver Award.


Bullying and harassment

The Department of Theology and Religion is committed to producing an environment in which all forms of unwanted behaviour such as bullying and harassment, hate incidents, sexual misconduct and domestic abuse are not tolerated, and in which people feel comfortable and supported in reporting any such behaviour.

Bullying may be characterised as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient. While bullying and harassment are related, bullying is usually intentional.

Harassment is unwanted conduct which adversely affects the dignity of an individual. It may be persistent or a single isolated incident. The key is that the actions or comments are viewed as hostile or intimidating, demeaning and unacceptable to the recipient.

Hate incidents and hate crime are acts of violence or hostility directed at people because of who they are or who someone thinks they are. Something is a hate incident if the victim or anyone else think it was motivated by hostility or prejudice based on one of the following things: disability, race, religion, transgender identity and sexual orientation.

Sexual misconduct and violence is any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which occurred in person or by letter, telephone, text, email or other electronic and/or social media.

Domestic abuse and coercive or controlling behaviour is defined as any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.

It is important to note that you can make a complaint about unwanted behaviour even if you are not the target of the behaviour.

If you or someone you know is subject to any of these forms of behaviour, it is important that you seek advice and support. There are many people you may turn to, including:

The main university online portal for reporting and receiving support concerning unwanted behaviour is Report and Support. This enables you, whether you are staff or student:

  • to report anonymously or with contact details;
  • to report on behalf of yourself or of someone else;
  • to obtain help and support.

Other useful contacts include:

  • Durham People of Colour Association: DPOCA aims to provide representation and support for any student of Durham University who identifies as a person of colour.
  • Durham LGBT+ Association: The Durham LGBT+ Association exists to provide welfare services to any Durham student who identifies as being under the LGBT+ umbrella.

For further details of University policies and procedures, see the following:


Gender and Career Progression in Theology and Religious Studies

In 2013 three members of the Department, Mathew Guest, Sonya Sharma and Robert Song, published Gender and Career Progression in Theology and Religious Studies. This report, which has been much discussed since its publication, sought to measure gender imbalance among staff and students in UK TRS departments, set this issue in broader context, explore reasons why these patterns might have emerged, and make recommendations for how universities might address associated problems.

Gender & Career Progression in Theology and Religious Study