A guest blog from Dr Marika Rose, of our associate, the University of Winchester
During one of my Philosophy, Religion and Ethics lectures last year, we were asked to rank bodily fluids in order of disgust; mucus, menstrual blood, vomit. If it came out of a body, it was on the list. Looking around the room, everyone was in their groups trying to persuade others of their hatred of pus or that they didn’t really mind vomit, but what was most prominent was the division of genders and their ranking of menstrual blood. In the lecture itself we were discussing how the Hebrew Bible concerns itself with bodily fluids and their relation to gender. We were led to question how bodies and their products are influenced and constructed by scripture. This was just one of the challenging topics that we were asked to consider and learn from. And now I’m really excited to be heading off to a festival that asks us to consider equally important questions.
As August comes to a close, students and staff from the Theology, Religion, and Philosophy Department at the University of Winchester will be travelling to Kettering to be involved in Greenbelt. Of course, we will enjoy the music and the other entertainment but what is offered is not merely performance. There are also tens upon tens of tents, each devoted to its own individual cause, whether that be providing access to advice and care for young mothers or sharing the beautiful melodies of Qawwali music. If there is a cause, a charity or a food that holds a place in your life, you can find it there.
And the University of Winchester, as Greenbelt’s sole academic associate, has a tent of its own. This unique opportunity allows us to chat to those looking to enter higher education and to share the knowledge of both students and staff in a relaxed, informal setting. We have also partnered with the Student Christian Movement, with whom we run a student-led session providing guidance and information on student life to the young people at the festival.
In addition, we are very lucky to have sessions hosted by three leading academics from the University’s Theology, Religion and Philosophy Department: Dr. Marika Rose, Dr. Andreas Andreopoulos, and Professor Neil Messer. They will be asking, receiving and discussing the big questions of life – and for me that is what Greenbelt is all about; asking questions, not just for answers but also to broaden our understanding so that when they are asked of us we know that, whilst there isn’t always an answer, we can at least consider how the questions form part of ours and other people’s lives.