Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression festival

The Department of Religious Studies is hosting the Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression Workshop and Festival, a two-day event running over the weekend of 2-3 June, open to all.

The line-up includes, panels, interviews and comedy – a screening of the Stewart Lee show 90s Comedian on Saturday, and a ‘Stand-Up Blasphemy’ session on Sunday. The programme includes:

2 June 2018

Performing Blasphemy
A panel session chaired by award-winning director Shakila Mann, and including Christa Harris (director of the documentary Inside Pussy Riot) and feminist activist Inna Shevchenk, as well as academics from Kent:

Blasphemy, Colonialism and the Politics of ‘World Religions’
A panel session chaired by Yasmin Rehman from the (End Violence Against Women Coalition and the Centre for Secular Space, including writer and journalist Gita Sahgal, as well an international panel academics including Professor Richard King from the Department of Religious Studies:

Sticks and Stones: Why Words Still Hurt
A talk from Maureen Freely from the University of Warwick:

Film screening: Stuart Lee’s 90s Comedian
A performance by Stewart Lee will be shown in the Gulbenkian cinema. To book, please visit this link:

3 June 2018

Law, Blasphemy and Censorship
A panel session chaired by Professor Maria Drakopoulou (Kent Law School), featuring Shakila Mann and lawyer and activist Clara Connolly, as well as a range of academics from UK universities:

Speaking Out on Sexual Violence Within Sikh Communities: An Interview with Gupreet Kaur Bhatti
Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti is a British Sikh writer who writes for stage, screen and radio. Her play Behzti [Dishonour] was controversially cancelled by the Birmingham Rep after violent protests. Her most recent play is Elephant. She will be interviewed by Sukhwant Dhaliwal:

Blasphemy and Comedy
A session chaired by Dr Shaun May (School of Arts) with the four comedians who will be performing the following session: Daphna Baram; Giacinto Palmieri; Ravi Holy; and Sameena Zehra:

Stand-Up Blasphemy
And finally, to round off the festival, a comedy session in the Gulbenkian with the four comedians from the above session. Fee required: to book, please see:



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