Chris Shannahan was a post-doctoral research fellow in Urban Theology on the three year Excluded Urban Youth and Religious Discourse in the Trans-local City project from 2009-2012, building on his PhD which developed a critique of British Urban Theology since 1970 and sought to map a new direction for the development of cross-cultural Urban Theologies in the 21st century. Chris’s current action-research project, which is rooted in ethnographic fieldwork on a large housing estate in Birmingham, focuses on the impact that the experience of social exclusion has on the spiritualities of 16-24 year old urban youth and their use of implicit/explicit religious discourse.
In particular he is interested in the ways in which graffiti art and rap music are used by socially excluded young men to explore and express identity and meaning. This is something he has recently been working on in the 'Bromford Dreams - Graffiti Spiritualities' project which will form the basis for his next book. In May 2012 Chris completed his research fellowship and took on the role of Teaching Fellow in Urban Theology and in February 2013 was given the title of Honorary Research Fellow in Religion and Society. From September 2013 - June 2014 he will be a Visiting Lecturer in Political Theology at Canterbury Christchurch University in Kent.
Chris worked as a Religious Education and Sociology teacher in a large comprehensive school in the East End of London during the 1980s. Before joining the Theology and Religion Department in 2009 he served as an inner-city Methodist Minister for sixteen years in Kingston (Jamaica), where he helped to develop work with teenagers on the fringe of gang culture in the downtown area of Trenchtown and in London and Birmingham where he was involved in work with asylum seekers and refugees, building broad-based community organisations and community centred Christian-Muslim dialogue.