Welcome to the UCL European Institute, UCL's hub for research, collaboration and information on Europe and the European Union.

Contact us

16 Taviton St
+44 (0) 207 679 8737

How to find us >>



From Indyref to Indignados: how passions and politics mix

As Scotland heads to the polls, this piece discusses the extent to which emotions have arrived at the heart of contemporary politics – yet we still hesitate to admit it. Emotions can neither be banished nor ignored when we discuss what constitutes political communities, how political decisions should be made and political action springs into being. Yet to embrace the rise of emotional politics without acknowledging how intimately it is and should be entangled with reason equally risks undermining just political action.
Dr Uta Staiger
18 September 2014

Starts: Sep 18, 2014 12:00:00 AM

10 things you need to know about what will happen if Scotland votes yes

As the Scottish independence referendum draws closer the outcome is hard to predict. Both Westminster politicians and the wider public are asking what – in practical terms – would happen if the Scots were to vote Yes. Robert Hazell offers a 10-point overview of what the road to independence might look like.
Professor Robert Hazell
9 September 2014

Starts: Sep 9, 2014 12:00:00 AM

The truth is, Scandinavia is neither heaven nor hell

The Nordic countries have received exceptionally good press in the UK - at least until earlier this year, when British travel writer and resident of Denmark, Michael Booth, claimed to dispel the of Scandinavia as the perfect place to live. Many are now confused. Is everything we believed about the social ideals of Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland a lie? Well, not entirely but we’re not all drunk serial killers either.
Dr Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen
19 August 2014 More...

Starts: Sep 8, 2014 12:00:00 AM

Negotiating Religion: Workshop 4

Publication date: Oct 10, 2011 10:16:31 AM

Start: Jun 12, 2012 12:00:00 AM
End: Jun 12, 2012 12:00:00 AM

Legal Frameworks: Schools and Religious Freedom
12 June 2012

Workshop 4: Legal Frameworks: Schools and Religious Freedom

12 June 2012

followed by reception

Moot Court Room
UCL Faculty of Laws
Bentham House
Endsleigh Gardens
London WC1H 0EG

Negotiating Religion 4


Registration is now open. Please check here for different ticket options.

Introduction: Inquiries into the History and Present of Religious Accommodation

In 2011-12, UCL organises a series of four workshops to discuss the complex processes through which religious communities create or defend their place in a given commonwealth, both in history and in our world today.

The focus is on communities' ability to formulate and present their claims, to identify potential spokespeople and their addressees, to secure their institutions and assert their physical and political presence, as well as on the epistemological, political and social conditions facilitating or complicating processes of negotiation. The workshops thus intend to focus on the agency of both sides in processes of negotiation, broadly understood as all societal and political interactions that not only concern a religious community but directly involve it.

The main objective is to stimulate a debate about the complex relationship between religion and society. Throughout their history, European commonwealths have been shaped by religious identity, community, and conflict. Constitutions and legal systems to this very day are deeply affected by religious traditions. Secularization has reduced religious tension within Western societies. However, these find their spiritual and cultural identity challenged by communities marked by stronger religious commitment, notably communities belonging to the world of Islam. Instead of reducing present day conflicts to essentialised notions of religious community, the workshops aim to explore the impact of religious legacies in European history and to contribute to a more precise understanding of the role of the multilayered processes of moderation and negotiation in the shaping of contemporary societies.

Workshop 4: Legal Frameworks: Schools and Religious Freedom

This fourth and final workshop will examine the extent to which legal frameworks and judicial decisions allow a space for negotiating with religious demands.With a focus on education, the workshop will explore the tensions between human right requirements and the national compromises reached in relation to religion at school.

In a human rights era, European States are increasingly under pressure to have due regard to individual claims to religious manifestation at school. Simultaneously, States struggle to formulate a coherent approach to religion which is both faithful to their national traditions and constitutional national frameworks and respectful of the growing diversity in religious practices and attitudes towards religion within their societies.

The claim that any of these approaches to religion – whether embedded in national compromises or in human rights law – may be “neutral” will be assessed critically.
Through recent case law and legislation, the sessions will in turn consider issues surrounding religious symbols and clothing at school; religious education; religion and staff and religious schools.

Questions will include: Does this negotiation take place with religious communities or directly with the individuals who claim that their religious freedoms have been infringed? What are the main actors of the negotiating process? Who benefits from it? What are the risks of « negotiating »? Is « negotiation » the best way to reach a fair compromise between conflicting rights and claims? Is negotiating with religious freedoms any different to negotiation in respect of other human rights? What special features/dangers derive from the school context in which this negotiation takes place? What does teaching in a secular institution imply?


9.45 Welcome Address
Speaker Dr Myriam Hunter-Henin (UCL)
Professor Patrick Weil (CNRS / Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne University)
  Professor Maleiha Malik (King’s College London)
Chair Professor Mark Hill QC (Cardiff Law School / 3 Pump Court Chambers)
Professor Cécile Laborde (UCL)
Refreshment Break
Speaker Professor Ian Leigh (Durham University)
Peter Cumper (Leicester University)
  Frank Cranmer (Cardiff Law School)
Chair Professor Eric Barendt (UCL)
13.20 Lunch
Speaker Professor Lucy Vickers (Oxford Brookes University)
Colm O’Cinneide (UCL)
  Dr Ronan McCrea (UCL)
 Chair  Dr Tobias Lock (Surrey University)
15.20 Refreshment break
Professor Julian Rivers (Bristol University)
Dr Julia Ipgrave (Warwick University)
  Dr Peter Petkoff (Brunel University)
Dr Javier Oliva (Manchester University)
 17:50 Closing Remarks
18:00 Reception. All welcome


Dr Myriam Hunter-Henin (UCL Laws)

For further information on the individual sessions or the series as a whole, please contact: Dr François Guesnet or Dr Uta Staiger.

Previous workshops

23 November 2011
Workshop 1: European Legacies, European Challenges This first workshop addressed the history of religious conflict and accommodation, and gauged the impact of religious skepticism and secularization in Europe.
More detail and programme HERE.

10 February 2012
Workshop 2: Accommodating Religious Communities in Contemporary Europe - Constitutional and Philosophical Dimensions

This workshop examined the character of the contemporary European state in its relation with religions and religious pluralism, and the general policies developed by states to address religious affairs.
Details and programme HERE.

7 March 2012
Workshop 3: Negotiating Religion in Urban Space

This workshop investigated the spatial incorporation of religious communities in the city both in the form of the material urban environment, for example in the presence of religious buildings and other faith spaces, and in  everyday urban cultures, practices and politics.
Details and programme HERE.

The series is coordinated by the European Institute and UCL's Research Initiative Religion and Society (supported by the Grand Challenge of Intercultural Interaction).

Throughout, the organisers hope to engage UCL's community in a discussion about what London's global university could or should contribute to a reflection of these issues as a leading institution in research and in higher education, and as an academic community.