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Reverend Ian Colson

Research Student

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Research Student in the Department of Archaeology  
DCAD Fellow in the Durham Centre for Academic Development (DCAD)  


Academic Biography

After first degrees in Biology and Theology and an MA in Religious Education, in 2018 I joined the Parish Church Studies course at University of York which in turn led in 2021 to an MA (Distinction) in Heritage and Interpretation from the University of Leicester.

Current Research

My research centres around the interpretation of religious belief and material culture within heritage settings looking at this through the lens of 'Golden Age' Northumbrian Christianity. I am interested in how this distinct expression of Christian belief is portrayed in a contemporary society where some would argue that declining religious literacy, and hence cultural capital, when combined with limited empathy for religious themes inhibits audiences from constructing the fullest  of meanings. 

Using an ethnographic methodology, I am attempting to describe the interperative discourses that are apparent at a variety of case study sites, not least when they intersect with religious materiality, concepts of social value, and modern expressions of belief. I will then go on to try and better understand how interperative schemes came about and what were the drivers behind them.

Research Interests

  • Early Medieval Christianity
  • Religious Heritage
  • Heritage Interpretation
  • Social Value and Authenticity
  • Monasticism


Colson, I. (2004) ‘“Their churches are at home”: the communication and definition of values in four aided Church of England secondary schools’, British Journal of Religious Education, 26(1), pp. 73–83. doi:10.1080/0141620032000149935.