Brain Matters

neuroscience, creativity, and diversity

REA Annual Meeting 2011

4-6 November, Toronto, Ontario

REA Annual Meeting: Brain Matters

Our theme for the 2011 annual meeting in Toronto was “Brain Matters: Neuroscience, Creativity, and Diversity.” Download Flier

Ten years after the original “Decade of the Brain,” new insights in biology, neuroscience, and brain studies continue to inform and at times confound our understandings of cognition, creativity, and educational practice. Within this growing body of social and scientific discovery, theologians, philosophers, and neuroscientists, along with educators, counselors, and religious practitioners face a myriad of questions around the relationship between religious experience and cognitive neuroscience. This annual meeting provided an opportunity for diverse engagement in exploring this relationship both in formal education strategies and in formational practice.

Understanding the intersections between neuroscience, creativity and diversity shaped our conversations as we engaged for three days together in Toronto Ontario, Nov 4-6, 2011. Many not only came, but also invited people who had not joined us in a couple of years, or who did not yet realize how the work they’re doing is congruent with these questions.

Returning to Friday-Sunday Format

In 2010 we created a schedule that allowed people who are new to the field, or just dipping into the research, to come for Sunday and Monday (with the banquet honoring Parker Palmer taking place on Monday evening), while reserving Tuesday as an intense day of focus on the conference theme and the field of religious education. 2011 followed a similar format but returned to our earlier Friday through Sunday schedule that allows regional practitioners to take advantage of our offerings, including international educator Mary Gordon, founder of Roots of Empathy, and our special banquet speaker NPR correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty, author of the New York Times bestseller, Fingerprints of God: The Search for the Science of Spirituality. We asked people who are deeply involved in the field to make a commitment to stay for the entire meeting — which concluded in the afternoon of Sunday, Nov. 6th.

We  also continued a new plenary of “lightning talks.”  With the relative newness of the topic of neuroscience and religious education we have a number of resources posted to this site to assist with developing paper submissions and our growing awareness of how “brain matters” for the REA in the future.

REA Mission

The mission of the Religious Education Association is to create opportunities for exploring and advancing the interconnected practices of scholarship, research, teaching, and leadership in faith communities, academic institutions, and the wider world community. The Association accomplishes its mission in four ways:

  • Through sharing, critiquing and encouraging publication of substantive research, probing scholarship and practical approaches to religious education (particularly through its journal Religious Education);
  • Through ecumenical, inter-religious, and cross-cultural, interdisciplinary and inter-professional dialogue that stimulates members to recall and examine historic traditions and explore fresh visions of religious education for the diverse and ever-changing human family in our complex world community;
  • Through creation of international networks of communication, cooperation and support in order to strengthen leaders in religious education, and religious education as a distinctive and vital field; and
  • Through interpreting the nature, purposes, and value of the field of religious education to the wider society and those preparing to become professors, researchers, or other leaders in religious education.

Are You a Member?

The Religious Education Association: an Association of Professors, Practitioners, and Researchers in Religious Education is an incorporation of the venerable 100 year old Religious Education Association (REA), who have gathered semi-annually, published and taught religious education during this past century, and the Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education (APRRE), a group of professors, scholars and researchers who for the past 30 years have gathered annually as a guild of scholars building and sharing a body of theory and research.

REA dues are determined with a sliding scale based on income. As a benefit of membership, you will receive up to five issues of Religious Education, the official journal of REA. Your 2011 membership is valid from January 1, through December 31, Regardless of when you renew your membership, all memberships expire on December 31, each year. Join REA Online and enjoy the full benefits of the REA.

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