Prior to joining the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University in 2015 Dr Chris Shannahan was Lecturer in Religion and Theology at the University of Manchester (2013-2015). His Doctorate (2008, University of Birmingham) developed the first critical analysis of urban theology in the UK and led to work as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Urban Theology and then a Teaching Fellow in Religion and Society at the University of Birmingham (2009-2012) where he developed a major ethnographic project working alongside unemployed young men on a large Birmingham housing estate.
His first monograph, 'Voices from the Borderland' (2010) was described as a ‘ground-breaking’ example of cross-cultural urban theology and is a set text at Universities and Theological Colleges in the UK, the USA and Australia. His second monograph, 'A Theology of Community Organizing' (2013) provided the first systematic theological analysis of broad-based community organising. His research also utilises Hip-Hop culture as a discourse of meaning, as seen in his 2012 partnership with the street artist Mohammed ‘aerosol’ Ali on his ‘Bromford Dreams – Graffiti Spiritualities’ action research project.
Chris Shannahan's research arises from more than 20 years grassroots experience as the head of Religious Education in a large East London Secondary school; a youth worker in the East End of London and Trenchtown, Jamaica; a Methodist Minister in inner-city London and Birmingham and a community organiser. This diverse background informs and influences his commitment to researching, teaching and writing for progressive social change.