Mark Porter

is creating Research on Christianity, Music and Climate Change

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What am I doing?
I am researching and writing about the ways in which different Christian groups are beginning to create and establish innovative musical practices in response to our changing relationship with the environment. How are different groups changing the way they relate to the natural world through music and worship? How are songs being used to protest and to lament? What happens when worship moves out of doors?

Why is this important?
Climate change is one of the most important issues facing the world right now. A lot of work is going into scientific and technological solutions to the problems we are facing, but music, ritual and worship are an important space where we learn to feel, to experience and to relate to the world around us. If the world is changing, then we need to develop new ways of doing this so as to live joined-up lives and so as to connect environmental crisis with our experience of faith. Whilst lots of groups are trying to figure out what to do, it's good to have people reflecting on what they're doing and to offer insights that can help us learn from each-other. That's something academics are good at.

How am I doing it?
My main work is based around fieldwork interviews. I find the different groups and individuals who are innovating in this area, I look at what they are doing, visit them if possible,  I contact them, I talk to them about their experiences, approaches and concerns. A typical interview lasts around an hour, I transcribe this, and then analyse in relation to the data I am gathering from other groups, looking for common challenges, alternative approaches and the things that can be learned from what they are doing.

Ok, so which groups exactly?
So far I've done about 20 research interviews. I've talked to evangelical songwriters from Doxecology, to Christian Climate Action protestors, to creators of Requiems for Lost Species, and to Forest Church musicians. I've made a start, but there's more to do, and much of what these groups are doing is a work-in-progress which will take time to develop.

Why am I qualified to do this?
I have ten years of experience researching music and churches. I have published three books on the topic, and co-founded and run numerous international conferences. I have presented on these topics to academic and non-academic audiences in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, the USA and the Netherlands. I've worked as a church organist, director of music, worship leader and choir trainer for over 20 years. I'm good at this.

What will be the end product?
The biggest product of this work will be a book. This will sit alongside academic and popular articles that I write along the way and presentations and workshops for different academic and non-academic groups. 

How long will it take?
A research project like this usually takes 3–4 years until completion.

Why do I need money?
I began my academic research on a self-funded basis, funding my PhD through music teaching which I did along the side. For the last four years I have had a paid postdoctoral position, however these contracts are temporary, and this has now come to an end. The academic job market is currently in a bad state, particular for those working on the boundaries of different academic disciplines. I hope to find a position over the coming months, but nothing is guaranteed.

How do I get in touch or find out more?
Write to me - [email protected], visit my website Ask questions, suggest new bonuses, tell me the current tier levels don't work for you. I'm here, I'll answer.

By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 3 exclusive posts
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 3 exclusive posts

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