Mark Dawson

Mark Dawson

PhD Student

Summary: Researching church action on Fair Trade as a form of Public Theology. Examining both the 'public' nature of the action and the theology of the churchgoers who take part.


Read Mark's blog post for the William Temple Foundation 'Does the Fair Trade Movement Still Need the Churches?'

Research Interests

Public Theology, Ordinary Theology, religion and public life, religion and development, religion and globalisation, Fair Trade support.

Academic History

  • MA Theology and Religious Studies (Distinction) York St. John University, 2012.
  • Diploma in Environment and Development (Distinction) Open University, 2009.
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education, University of Oxford, 1994.
  • BA (Hons) Medieval and Modern History, University of Liverpool, 1989.

Academic Roles

  • Postgraduate Impact Fellowship (awarded 2013).

  • Research Support Internship for the University of Leeds Centre for Religion and Public Life (appointed 2013).  Roles include organising and chairing the CRPL research seminars, editing the CRPL newsletter and organising conferences.

Teaching Experience

  • THEO 1140 Religion in Modern Britain (Seminar Leader)
  • THEO 1165 Key Texts in Theology and Religious Studies (Seminar Leader)
  • THEO 1350 Introduction to the Bible (Guest Seminar Leader)
  • THEO 2320 Theology and Ethical Theory (Seminar Leader)
  • THEO 3190 Religions and Global Development (Guest Lecturer)
  • THEO 3360 The Religious Mapping of Leeds (Seminar Leader)
  • THEO 5050M Religions and Global Development - Masters Level (Guest Seminar Leader)
  • THEO 5370M Theology and Public Life - Masters Level (Guest Seminar Leader)
  • Writing Mentor for the School of Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science (2015-16).

Teaching Qualification

The University of Leeds Teaching Award Professional Standard 1 with Merit (2015).

Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (from 2016).

Papers Presented

  • 'Image of the Kingdom? The Practice of Fair Trade as an Act of Symbolic Witness' presented to the Society for the Study of Theology Postgraduate Conference.  University of Manchester.  9th January 2015.
  • 'A Vision for Trade Justice: Church Action for Fair Trade in the Context of Mainstreaming' presented to the International Fair Trade Symposium.  Politecnico Milano, Milan, Italy.  30th May 2015.
  • 'The Fair Trade Town: A Model for Church Engagement in Pluralist Society?' presented to the Loyola Institute interdisciplinary conference 'The Role of Church in a Pluralist Society.' Trinity College, Dublin.  23rd June 2016.
  • 'The Church and Fair Trade: The Challenge of Promoting Sustainable Livelihoods' presented to the 'Sustainable Perspectives on Future Challenges Conference.'  University of Leeds.  3rd February 2017.

Talks and Workshops

  • The University of Leeds, Centre for Religion and Public Life Research Seminar (26th February 2014).
  • Impact workshops held with groups of churchgoers in Barnsley (17th March 2014), Haxby (3rd April 2014), Skipton (1st May 2014) and Dunnington (17th June 2014).
  • Address at the service in celebration and thanksgiving for the 10th anniversary of York as a Fairtrade City, St. Lawrence's church, York (11th May 2014).
  • Chaired debate on 'The future of Fair Trade' at York Priory Street Centre, with Professor Bob Doherty (25th September 2014).
  • Presentation on my research findings at the British Association of Fair Trade Shops AGM , St. Martin's House, Leicester (17th May 2015).
  • Facilitated discussion on 'Fair Trade Towns and Faith Groups' at the International Fair Trade Towns Conference, Science Centre, Bristol (4th July 2015).
  • Presentation and workshop on 'Reimagining the Fairtrade Church' at the Fairtrade Foundation Supporter Conference, King's College, London (17th October 2015).
  • The University of Leeds, Centre for Religion and Public Life Research Seminar presentation on 'The Green and the Good?' Church Action for Fair Trade and the Sustainability Agenda' (15th February 2017).


  • Nominated by the School of Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science, and then by the Faculty of Arts, for the University of Leeds Postgraduate Researcher of the Year Award 2015.


  • Member of the Fairness UK group of UK academics working on subjects associated with the theme of Fair Trade and Alternative Trade.


  • Awarded a University of Leeds, School of Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science Research Scholarship.

Other Roles

  •  Coordinator of Fairtrade Yorkshire, 2010 to present.
  •  Member of the Association of Oxfam (part of the governing body of Oxfam GB), 2007 to 2013.
  •  Oxfam Activist Advisory Board member, 2007 to 2011.
  •  Worked in local government and retail management.