Skip to main content

This was the first conference of the International Network for the Study of Spirituality to be held outside the UK

South East Technological University (SETU) was proud to host a significant international conference on spirituality studies from May 16-18. The title of the conference was 'Spirituality, Critical Reflection and Professional Practice in an Uncertain World'. This was the first conference of the International Network for the Study of Spirituality (INSS) to be held outside the UK in its 14-year history.

Participants from 25 countries and five continents

Dr Michael O'Sullivan, Emeritus Senior Lecturer at SETU is the first Irish person to be elected to the Board of Directors of INSS, and he persuaded his colleagues to hold the conference at SETU given that it is the leading university in Ireland for spirituality studies. 

Presenters and participants came from 25 countries and five continents to take part, and a total of five keynotes and over 80 parallel papers were presented. Topics covered included spiritual care, reflective practice, ecological spirituality, soul narratives, pilgrimage, epistemic justice, spirituality labs, spirituality and diversity, embodied compassion, and spirituality in the University. The five keynotes are available to view on the Spirituality Institute for Research and Education (SpIRE) YouTube channel. 

Supporting research in spirituality

Dr Derek O'Byrne, Vice President for Academic Affairs opened the conference, which also included a celebration of the INSS journal, Journal for the Study of Spirituality, (JSS) a leading international journal for the study of spirituality. Dr Cheryl Hunt, University of Exeter and founding editor of JSS remarked afterwards, "I think the conference brought its own bit of magic to the city." While Prof Maria Dolores Pascual, University of Alicante in Spain, said "We enjoyed the conference very much; interesting talks, nice participants and wonderful place".

SpIRE in Dublin collaborates with SETU in delivering postgraduate studies, and supporting research in spirituality as an applied academic discipline. The SETU PhD students in spirituality studies were delighted to have the opportunity to meet the cohort of emerging international scholars at the conference and look forward to staying in contact online.


Photo Caption: Members of the SETU SpirSoP Research Group with Dr Suzanne Denieffe, Dr Derek O'Byrne, and Dr Geraldine Canny
Photo Credit: George Goulding