The Sandford St Martin Trust promotes thought-provoking, distinctive programming that engages with religion of all faiths, ethics or morality. The Trust devotes the majority of its energy to the annual Sandford Awards which celebrate the best audio, visual and online programmes exploring religious and ethical themes.
Thanks to £79,000 funding from Benefact Trust, the team at Sandford St Martin have now embarked on a programme of public events aimed at encouraging conversations between media experts, practitioners and audiences about some of the biggest issues in the media coverage of religion and ethics today.
These events – media salons – have covered a broad range of topics from the challenges and realities of reporting from Syria and other conflict zones, to broadcasting in the time of coronavirus, to the impact of the potential privatisation of Channel 4 on its religious programming. High profile media personalities and leading industry professionals have joined these conversations which have attracted significant audiences.
The pandemic moved these conversations online, which presented new opportunities to engage with audiences from across the UK and abroad, and to record the discussions for viewers to watch or listen to at a later date. And while broadcasters and content-makers were forced to work from home, Benefact Trust funding also supported the creation of a broadcaster’s directory: a comprehensive record of all the content-makers and their broadcast projects from the 2021 Sandford Awards to facilitate professional connections while the Sandford St Martin Trust was unable to hold its in-person awards ceremony.
With great excitement, the Sandford St Martin Trust held the first in-person event since lockdown at the House of St Barnabas in October 2021: Why Black Media Matters. The event took place inside the beautiful chapel inside the House of St Barnabas in Soho, and explored the media representation of diverse communities and their stories with an impressive panel of broadcasters and media professionals.
These events have enabled the Sandford St Martin Trust to engage with stakeholders and audiences – despite a global pandemic - about the value of religious programming and the challenges and opportunities facing the media coverage of faith, belief and ethics in the modern world.