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Dr Ruth Cowl

Profile summary

  • Honorary Associate
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Hist, Rel St, Soc, SP&C
  • Religious Studies
  • r.cowl

Professional biography

My connection  with the Open University began when I was appointed as an Associate Lecturer on an Arts Foundation course. Since then I have taught a wide range of courses in English Literature and  Religious Studies.

My first degree was in English Literature at the University of Sussex and I continued there to do an MA in Renaissance Studies. I afterwards returned to obtain an MA in Education for which my  thesis was based on research into Adult Religious Education and focused on the Institute of Adult Education at All Saints' Church, Margaret Street, London.

Later I was accepted onto the PhD programme at the University of Keele and my final thesis was 'London, Brighton and South Coast Religion'. This thesis analysed how far the commonly used epithet 'London, Brighton and South Coast Religion' has any objective validity. The witticism (deriving from the name of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway) implies that a distinct form of Tractarianism and in the later nineteenth century Anglo Catholicism developed in the south coast towns.

I am a governor of St. Paul's Church of England Primary School in Brighton which was chosen in 2012 as one of the four schools to take part in a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to commemorate the bicentenary of the National Society. I was involved in the research for this project which resulted in the production of a DVD and accompanying material which has been widely distibuted to schools and other educational institutions.

Involvement in this project has stimulated my interest in research into the history of National Schools in the Diocese of Chichester. My other main research interest is into the  continuing observance of Sussex rituals and invented traditions which are not part of official religion but which have strong religious associations.

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