2022-23 Autumn and Spring Conferences

Exploring our two-fold mission, our Autumn conference will focus on ways in which Christians can contribute to their field in the light of Scripture, and the Spring conference will focus on ways in which Christians can draw on their academic expertise for apologetics and evangelism. 

Autumn 2022 Conference:
Biblical Critical Theory


Date, time and location

Theme and focus

Conference Programme



Dr Chris Watkin

Dr Watkin is Associate Professor in French studies at Monash University, where he teaches across French and Literary Studies. He has a PhD in European Thought from the University of Cambridge, and has authored a number of books in modern and contemporary thought, including Phenomenology or Deconstruction?, Difficult Atheism, French Philosophy Today: New Figures of the Human and Michel Serres: Figures of Thought. He has also written a number of books on the relationship between theology and philosophy, including Thinking Through Creation, and volumes on Derrida, Foucault, and Deleuze.

Dr Jennifer George

Dr Jennifer George is Head of Computing at Goldsmiths, University of London. She previously taught at Anglia Ruskin University and SAE Institute and her research areas include human computer interaction, digital accessibility and design.

Dr Tom Simpson

Dr Simpson is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, and a Senior Fellow at Wadham College. He works particularly on trust, and issues at the intersection of technology and security. He has a PhD from Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge, where he also served as a Research Fellow. 

Prof. Em. Richard Winter

Richard Winter is a Psychotherapist/Counsellor who was trained in medicine and psychiatry in England and a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He was then a director of the English branch of the L’Abri Fellowship for 14 years before becoming Professor of Practical Theology and Counselling at Covenant Theological Seminary in St Louis, MO, USA for 30 years. He is now back in England, retired, and Professor Emeritus. He has also lectured in Europe, the USA and Canada on mental health issues. He is the author of When Life Goes Dark: Finding Hope in the Midst of Depression, IVP 2012; Perfecting Ourselves to Death: The Pursuit of Excellence and the Perils of Perfectionism, IVP, 2005; Still Bored in a Culture of Entertainment: Rediscovering Passion and Wonder, IVP, 2002, and other books and professional journal articles. He is married with four children and eleven grandchildren.

Spring Conference 2023:
Speaking of Hope: a model for cultural apologetics in the academy

Date, time and location

Saturday 11th March 2023  |  9.30am-4.30pm  |  St Catharine’s College

Theme and focus

How do we introduce matters of ultimate concern in a world whose horizons appear to be stubbornly limited and inflexible, far removed and perhaps even vehemently opposed to any consideration of the gospel? How do we share the gospel of Jesus Christ with our colleagues in an authentic and organic way without attempting the excruciating ‘crunch’ of conversational gear-changes that is both superficial and artificial? Might it not be better to keep our heads down, quietly get on with our work, and leave evangelism to the experts?

At this conference Dr Dan Strange (Director of Crosslands Forum) introduced a conceptual framework showing how academics in all disciplines can introduce the gospel in a winsome way, drawing naturally on their own academic expertise. He presented a new paper offering an academic model to think about the way Christ both subverts and fulfils the deeper longings expressed through the cultures of our various faculties.

Three leading academics from a range of fields (Professor David Lyon, Dr Anna Nickerson and Dr Chris Willmott) responded to the proposed framework and considered how it can be applied. The conference also featured discipline-specific seminars and workshops.


Conference Programme



Dr Dan Strange

Dan Strange is the director of Crosslands Forum, a centre for cultural engagement and missional innovation. Formerly he was college director and tutor in culture, religion, and public theology at Oak Hill College, London. He is a contributing editor for Themelios, and vice president of The Southgate Fellowship. Dan's book, Their Rock Is Not Like Our Rock: A Theology of Religions (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015), received an award of merit for theology/ethics in the Christianity Today 2016 Book Awards. His most recent books are Plugged In (The Good Book Company, 2019), and Making Faith Magnetic (The Good Book Company, 2021) both with forewords from Tim Keller. Dan is married to Elly, and has seven children. He is a member of Hope Community Church, Low Fell, Gateshead.

Professor David Lyon

David Lyon is Former Director of the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. Educated at the University of Bradford UK, Lyon has been studying surveillance since the mid-1980s. A pioneer in the field of Surveillance Studies, he has produced a steady stream of books on the topic – translated into 18 languages – and articles, starting with The Electronic Eye (1994). The latest is Pandemic Surveillance (2022). He also has authored many books on Christian perspectives in academic disciplines, including Sociology and the Human Image (IVP 1983) and The Steeple’s Shadow: On the Myths and Realities of Secularization (SPCK 1985). He has led several large collaborative research projects on surveillance, with research funding totalling almost $8 million. His work has been recognized in Canada, Switzerland, the USA and the UK with a number of fellowships, prizes, awards and an honorary doctorate.

Dr Anna Nickerson

Anna Nickerson is Katherine Jex-Blake Research Fellow and College Lecturer in English, Girton College, University of Cambridge. She is a scholar of nineteenth- and twentieth-century poetry. Most of her work is concerned with the intersection between poetry and philosophy. She is especially interested in the ways in which poetry might enable us to apprehend those things that lie beyond the usual sphere of knowledge and experience. As such, her work often has a theological as well as a philosophical edge. She is co-editor of Walter de la Mare: Critical Appraisals (2022), and she is currently writing a book about the poet and Jesuit, Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Dr Chris Willmott

Chris Willmott is an Honorary Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Leicester. As an undergraduate, he studied Biological Sciences at the University of Leicester, before staying on to do a PhD. He subsequently worked for four years as a Regional Staffworker for UCCF, taught at a comprehensive school in Northamptonshire, and then took up a lectureship at Leicester in 2000. As well as teaching Biochemistry, Chris developed interests in both pedagogy (especially "Authentic Assessment") and bioethics, which has increasingly become his core focus. He received a University Distinguished Teaching Fellowship in 2003, a National Teaching Fellowship in 2005, and was runner-up in the national Bioscience Tutor of the Year in 2013. He retired in 2022 to pursue a career in Science Communication. Chris is author of Where Science and Ethics Meet: Dilemmas at the frontiers of medicine and biology (2016, co-authored with Salvador Macip) and Biological Determinism, Free Will and Moral Responsibility: Insights from genetics and neuroscience (2016). He has been commissioned by Cambridge University Press to write a volume on Ethics and Genomics for their new Elements series (submission due August 2023). Chris is married to Anne, a paediatric doctor, and they have two grown-up sons. Since November 2021 Chris has been the Chair of the Trust Board for UCCF.

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