Theology Slam to return in 2020

01 November 2019


The finalists at the inaugural Theology Slam final, in March: Hannah Barr, Hannah Malcolm, and Sara Prats

The finalists at the inaugural Theology Slam final, in March: Hannah Barr, Hannah Malcolm, and Sara Prats

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has welcomed the news that Theology Slam — the competition that seeks young voices on theology and the contemporary world — will return in 2020.

The competition, which was launched last year, is organised jointly by the Church Times, SCM Press, the Community of St Anselm, and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.

It is open to anyone aged between 18 and 30, lay or ordained, and consists of a qualifying round and a live final.

In the qualifying round, applicants are asked to write 500 words on one of 12 contemporary issues, which include theology and race, theology and celebrity, and theology and disability (full list below).

Alongside the 500 words, applicants are also asked to submit a short video, introducing who they are and why they are interested in the topic.

Entries open on Friday 1 November. The deadline for submissions is 11.59 p.m. on 5 January 2020.

Three entrants will be chosen to take part in the Theology Slam Final on 26 March 2020 at St John’s, Hoxton, in London, where they will deliver talks of between seven and ten minutes, without notes, based on their 500-word entry.

Each finalist will have been given a half-day training session on public speaking before the final, free of charge.

The three talks will be judged on the night by a panel that consists of experts and leading theologians.

The three talks will be judged on the night by a panel that consists of experts and leading theologians:

  • Revd Dr Isabelle Hamley - Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
  • Selina Stone – Tutor and Lecturer in Political Theology at St Mellitus College, London
  • Mark Greene – Executive Director, The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (LICC)
  • Hannah Malcolm – Winner, Theology Slam 2019

The winner will receive £250 to spend at Church House Bookshop and the Theology Slam trophy. His or her talk will be published in the Church Times.

Archbishop Welby said: “Theology is exciting. It is about God’s word, God’s world and God’s people. It is vitally important for the church to nurture young Christians into thinking, speaking and writing about God and the world, and it is even more important that the Church listen to their voices. #TheologySlam encourages us to do just that: listen to God, listen to the world, and listen to the voices emerging within the Church, so we can join into God’s work in the world today.”

Last year three finalists — who were chosen from nearly 75 entries — delivered their talks to an audience of almost 150 people. The judges praised all the finalists for the quality of their talks, and chose Hannah Malcolm as the winner (News and Podcast, 8 March).

List of topics: 

  1. Theology and on-demand services
  2. Theology and populism/nationalism
  3. Theology and masculinity
  4. Theology and celebrity
  5. Theology and #MeToo
  6. Theology and the environment
  7. Theology and race
  8. Theology and mental health
  9. Theology and friendship
  10. Theology and work
  11. Theology and disability
  12. Theology and austerity

For more information about the competition and how to apply, click here.

Listen to an interview with the 2019 winner, Hannah Malcolm, and hear excerpts from the 2019 final, on the Church Times Podcast.

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