From 30 August to 1 September 2023, the second Team Meeting for the three year International Research Project: ‘Religion in Societies Emerging from COVID-19’ was held in Bremen at the ZeMKI (Center for Media, Communication and Informationstudies).
After one year of collaboration, it was time to look back, and with two years ahead, time to look forward as well. Over three days, the team discussed their findings in the field of religious media published in the first three years of the pandemic, and the specifities of their respective contexts. Together they decided on their approaches to the second part of research, featuring questionnaires and interviews with religious experts and members of religious organisations.
Day One was dedicated to looking back: the post-doctoral researchers presented core topics and narratives from the religious media – that is religious magazines or news media associated to or pubished by religious organisations – between march 2020 and the end of february 2023. In the afternoon, those results from the qualitative analysis of religious media were compared to results from the very first step of research, the qualitative analysis of statements, guidelines and press releases published by the religious organisations.
The afternoon closed with a public lecture, titled “Religions and Digital Media during COVID-19. Findings from Canada, Germany, Ireland, and Poland” at the ZeMKI in Bremen.
On day Two, the team discussed the issue of questionnaires and which questions should be included. The questionnaires are built to gather a broader picture of religious leaders and members perceptions of religion in times of the pandemic. Themes include physical health and well-being, digital innovations, religious freedom, the role of restrictions on religion, and many more, based around the three key research themes.
On the final day of the meeting, organisational as well as content-relatied issues that came up in the previous days were addressed. Overall, the workshop was not only very productive in means of discussion and project development, but also had the very enjoyable component of meeting, trying the Northern German Cuisine and Culture, and exploring the City of Bremen. It surely got the whole team highly motivated for the next year until the meeting in Canada next year.