Staff Profiles


Mr Finley Lawson

LASAR Research Fellow

School: Faculty of Education Faculty Office

Campus: Canterbury

Tel: 01227 922404

Profile summary

Finley Lawson is a research Fellow at the LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion) Research hub based in the Faculty of Education at CCCU. He joined LASAR in 2017 having previously worked in schools for 10 years as an educational support worker and Religious Studies specialist. His is interested in the dialogue between STEM, Religion and the wider humanities, and how this can be fostered in the primary and secondary curriculum. His current research examines the impact of developing students' epistemic insight (understanding of the nature of knowledge and knowledge formation) through Informal Science Learning (ISL) focused on the philosophical big questions raised by science and technology. Finley is the Lead Research Fellow on the HEFCE funded Inspiring Minds Project run in collaboration with Outreach, and the Royal Academy of Engineering funded Engineering Ed project. 

His broader interests focus on the impact of epistemic insight-led pedagogy on subject compartmentalisation and whether the development of a broader understanding of the nature of knowledge will influence student aspiration and widening participation on HE. This develops his previous experience as an advanced skills tutor for the Brilliant Club (primary and secondary) and a tutor for the Advocacy Academy.

In addition to his faculty role he is undertaking a part-time PhD applying current scientific understanding of the holistic nature of the world to our theological metaphysics, in particular in relation to discussions of divine and human personhood. With a wider interest in using a holistic ontology to develop a more coherent account of personhood, and how this account can be profitably brought into theological discussions about diverse embodiment - Supervisory Team: Ralph Norman & Jeremy Law. 

Research and knowledge exchange

2018 - All Saints Educational Trust: Raising the profile of RE through teacher education, whole school & policy engagement with the importance of RE in addressing Big Questions raised by our technological world. (co-authored proposal; PI: Prof. Berry Billingsley)

2018 – 2019 RAE Ingenious Award: “Working with Engineers to Teach Children to Think Like Engineers”. (co-authored proposal; PI: Prof. Berry Billingsley) 

Within the broad theme of Epistemic Insight, this project will research the impacts for engineers and primary schools of designing and delivering workshops to give young people an authentic experience of the curiosity and wonder of thinking like an engineer. The project is working with engineers, engineering students and BA Education students to design and deliver sustained engagement workshops for upper Key Stage 2 pupils on "Engineering and Big Questions".

2017-2019 Inspiring Minds Project with CCCU Outreach 

HEFCE funded project for the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP). NCOP and its regional consortium in Kent & Medway (KaMCOP) aims to support the most disadvantaged young people in England to progress into higher education. 

The Inspiring Minds programme empowers students to make informed decisions about their education and employment trajectories while providing spaces where they can share their ideas with each other and have their voices heard. The course builds students’ epistemic insight, which refers to students’ ability to think across their subjects and beyond, to ask good questions and to make good use of what is already known. Each session has been designed to support students to develop their critical thinking skills through bridging the boundaries between STEM and their other subjects.

Teaching and subject expertise

Teaching Experience (in school & informal settings):

  • Key Stage 5: A-Level and Pre-U: Philosophy & Theology; Study/Employability Skills & UCAS
  • Key Stage 3 & 4: Philosophy; Science, Technology and Religion
  • Key Stage 2: Philosophy; Science, Technology and Religion
  • CPD development & delivery for pre- and in-service teachers/tutors
  • CPD development & delivery for engineers involved in ISL activities
  • Development & Delivery of Inspiring Minds academic content

Professional Membership:

  • Science and Religion Forum (full member since 2015; Committee Member since 2018)    
  • Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (full member since 2015)
  • Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (full member since 2015)

External activities

Conference Presentations since joining LASAR (for a full list of presentations see profile)

Oct 2018      “Religion and Worldviews” – How can Students Navigate Discipline Boundaries?: Understanding the Place of RE in the Wider Curriculum; Presented at 20:20 RE: “Practice, Policy and Powerful Knowledge” 

May 2018     Teaching Science and Religion in the Digital Age; Presented with Dr Mehdi Nassaji at University of Edinburgh (Eidyn) Conference: “Online Pedagogy”

April 2018     Navigating the “Human” and “Divine” Natures in a Holistic World; Presented at ESSSAT Bi-Annual Conference: “Nature and Beyond”

Publications and research outputs


2018  Billingsley, B., Nassaji, M., Fraser, S., Lawson F. 'A Framework for Teaching Epistemic Insight in Schools', Research in Science Education, [Open Access]


2019 (TBC)  F. Lawson, "Denying the Binary – A Non-Boolean Approach to Queer Bodies in Theology", in A. Vähäkangas, K.H. Johansen, T.S Kaufman & S. Angel (eds) Reforming Practical Theology: The Politics of Body and Space

2018 F. Lawson, “Complete in Manhood” – Understanding Christ’s Humanity in Light of Quantum Holism, in Evers, Fuller et al. (Eds) Studies in Science and Theology Vol. 16 (pp. 127-142), Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

Conference Proceedings

2016 F. Lawson, “He who descended is Himself also He who ascended” - Exploring the Identity of the Son of God in Light of Quantum Holism, in N. Spurway & L. Hickman (eds) Forty Years of Science and Religion: Looking Back, Looking Forward (pp179-186), Cambridge Scholars Publishing


2018 F. Lawson, Review of On Faith and Science, by Edward J. Larson & Michael Ruse, Reviews in Science and Religion, no. 70 (pp. 26-31)

2016 F. Lawson, Review of The War on God: Science Versus Religion Today, by Christopher Nassaar, Reviews in Science and Religion, no. 67 (pp28-34)


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Last edited: 29/01/2019 15:27:00