Shaping debate on religion in public life.

Fellows Awards

The William Temple Foundation Fellows’ Award scheme, inaugurated in 2022, is designed to allow William Temple Scholars and other early career academics to develop their PhD work for publication, impact, and research.

All research is intended, in the spirit of Archbishop William Temple, to map and analyse the impact of lived religion and belief, and the theologies and practises they generate, on the public squares in which we live. The fund has been made possible by a generous bequest from Len Collinson, former Deputy Lieutenant of Merseyside, Honorary Professor of the University of Central Lancashire, and a prominent business leader in northwest England. We are pleased to announce Dr Matthew Barber-Rowell as the first recipient of this award.


Dr Matthew Barber-Rowell is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Master of Environmental Politics, Founder and Director of Spaces of Hope, and a former William Temple Scholar. Matthew has spent the last ten years working in urban contexts in the northwest of England, engaging with issues of loneliness, isolation and social connection, and applying grounded and assemblage theories to produce interventions that combat health inequalities. Matthew specialises in gathering stories, surfacing motivations, beliefs, values and worldviews and contextualising their role in shaping spaces, places and the wider environment.

In November 2020 Matthew successfully defended his PhD Thesis, which offers a new paradigm and consultative methodology for Faith Based Organisations. Spaces of Hope, as the paradigm is known, offers a means of mapping and coproducing shared assets, alliances, values, and practices within liminal contexts. In 2018, Spaces of Hope was included in the Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society in England, as a pioneering approach to bridge building and peace brokering. During 2019, Matthew contributed to the Church of England and Church in Wales Social Responsibility Network Annual Conference, using Spaces of Hope as a lens through which to see ‘Church on the High Street’. During 2020, Matthew supported research, along with colleagues from the Faith and Civil Societies Unit at Goldsmiths, looking at COVID-19 response by FBOs and Local Authorities nationally, for the APPG for Faith and Society. Matthew has recently been leading work scoping responses to General Synod’s call for Dioceses to be Net Zero by 2030. He is also scoping the potential role of emergent shared values and local leadership in post-COVID-19 contexts and the significance for our environment over the next ten years.

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