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Aidan Gillespie

Senior Lecturer

Department: Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing

 Aidan Gillespie

Originally from County Mayo in Ireland I have lived and worked in the UK since 1999. I have taught in primary schools in Lincoln, London and Kent before completing a Doctorate in Education while working full-time. I have been a Senior Lecturer in Education at Canterbury Christchurch University in Kent from 2012-2017 before coming to teach at Northumbria in September of 2017.

Campus Address

C115, Coach Lane Campus West,
Northumbria University,
Newcastle upon Tyne



Research Themes & Scholarly Interests

As head of subject for Religious Education across the Teacher Education programmes at Northumbria University I have a deep interest in children’s and teaching professionals’ spirituality and how this affects their understanding of self and identity. My research has looked at the motivations arising out of spirituality including and exceeding that of recognised faiths and the interplay this has with professional agency. I am currently engaged in research examining the link between emotional investment in religious stories and how this assists in the understanding and empathetic response of children to stories and lessons from within differing religious traditions. 

Professional Activity

Member of Northumberland Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education.

Member of Newcastle and Gateshead Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education.

Member of National Association of Teachers of Religious Education.

Member of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality.

Member of the International Association of Children’s Spirituality.

Current/Recent Projects

‘An investigation to compare moral thinking and communication among emerging adults in different cultural contexts’. (2019)

‘Emotional development and the links to Religious Education in primary schools. A programme of personal development and challenge in parallel with religious stories and characters to aid learning’. (2017)

‘A quantitative analysis of teacher education students’ perceptions of the appropriateness of a secular education in the English context.’ (2014).

Key Publications/Outputs

Gillespie, A. (2015) Can using children’s visual literacy help them to learn Religious Education? In: Sangster, M. (Ed) Challenging Perceptions in Primary Education. London: Bloomsbury.

Gillespie, A. (2015) How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? (Psalm 137.4) A Quaker understanding of education. In: Bryan, H. and Worsley, H. (Eds) Being Christian in Education. London: Canterbury Press.

Revell, L. and Gillespie, A. (2015) An Introduction to Religious Education. In: Driscoll, P. Lambirth, A. and Roden, J. (Eds) The Primary Curriculum; a creative approach. London: Sage.


2016, BASS – British Association of the Study of Spirituality:

Presented paper on ‘Challenges to Traditional Concepts of Vocation’.


09/2015,  BERA – British Education Research Association:

Co-presented a paper on ‘Assumptions of the Secular: an examination of student teachers’ perspectives on the role of religion and secularism in Education’.


05/2015, NICER – National Institute for Christian Education Research

Co-presented a paper on ‘An analysis of student teacher perspectives on secularism and the assumption of a secular world view’.

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? (Psalm 137.4), Gillespie, A. 2 Nov 2015, Being Christian in Education, Norwich, UK, Canterbury Press
  • An Introduction to Religious Education, Revell, L., Gillespie, A. Mar 2015, The Primary Curriculum, SAGE
  • Can Children's Visual Register be an Aid to Accessing Knowledge of Religion?, Gillespie, A. 26 Feb 2015, Challenging Perceptions in Primary Education, Bloomsbury


  • Education MA June 30 2009
  • Fellow (FHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2015


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