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Cultures of Unbelief

Register for Cultures of Unbelief

Dates: Tuesday 28 May to Thursday 30 May 2019

Venue: Pontificia Universita Gregoriana Central Building 

Address: Piazza della Pilotta, 4, 00187 Roma, Italy

As the global population of religious ‘unbelievers’ continues to grow, the Cultures of Unbelief conference brings together leading academics, leaders of religious and nonreligious groups, journalists, educators and many others to understand what it really means to be a religious ‘unbeliever’. Cultures of Unbelief will explore how ‘unbelievers’ engage with religion, their diverse existential, metaphysical and moral beliefs, and prospects for dialogue and collaboration between believers and unbelievers

Cultures of Unbelief also marks three significant anniversaries in the academic study of ‘unbelief’: the 50th anniversary of the Vatican’s pioneering ‘Culture of Unbelief’ conference at the Gregoriana in 1969; the 10th anniversary of the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network’s (NSRN) 1st conference at Oxford University in 2009; and, the conclusion of the landmark $3m research programme, Understanding Unbelief, funded by the John Templeton Foundation (University of Kent, 2017-20). We invite conference participants to join us in this unique opportunity to reflect on the history, present and future of both religious ‘unbelief’ itself and its scholarly exploration.

Alongside a public event commemorating these significant anniversaries, headline findings from the Understanding Unbelief programme’s ground breaking core research ‘Understanding Unbelief Across Disciplines, Across Cultures’ (ADAC) will be presented at Cultures of Unbelief. Proceedings will also feature papers from the programme’s 22 international project teams who have been studying unbelief in over 40 countries, as well as additional papers from NSRN researchers.

The Understanding Unbelief programme also includes a substantial public engagement stream, which has been creating documentary photography, films, audio resources and other media outputs, working with the British Library, NatCen, independent documentary filmmakers, and other partners. The Cultures of Unbelief conference will exhibit selected works from these public engagement projects throughout the event.

Draft Programme (right click and open link in new tab)


Full attendance £100

Public Event only (2pm onward 28 May) £10

Day Rates

28 May - £40

29 May - £40

30 May - £20

Cultures of Unbelief is a collaboration between the Understanding Unbelief programme, the NSRN, the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontificia Universita Gregoriana.

Understanding Unbelief (2017-2020) is a major research programme aiming to advance the scientific understanding of atheism and other forms of so-called ‘unbelief’ around the world. Its central research questions concern the nature and diversity of ‘unbelief’. Based at the University of Kent, the programme is made possible through a grant from the John Templeton Foundation (JTF grant ID#60624), and is a collaboration with St Mary’s University Twickenham, Coventry University, Queens University Belfast and the NSRN.


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For payment and registration queries, please email