The Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability is based in the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, King’s College, University of Aberdeen. The Centre has access to all of the resources of the university including full computing facilities, extensive research software, as well as access to world class expertise within the areas of theology, medicine, nursing, disability studies and qualitative and quantitative research. It is ideally placed to meet the needs of collaborative research projects, hosting conferences and for the supervision of students at postgraduate and post-doctoral levels.

Purpose and aims

The Centre has a dual focus on:

  • The relationship between spirituality, health and healing and the significance of the spiritual dimension for contemporary healthcare practices
  • The theology of disability

The centre aims to enable academics, researchers, practitioners and educators to work together to develop innovative and creative research projects and teaching initiatives.

The Centre:

  • provides a focal point for developing innovative, action oriented research programs exploring the centre’s two key themes
  • produces research of international standing
  • develops new and innovative educational initiatives aimed at pastoral carers and those working within health and social care services
  • brings together multidisciplinary teams of researchers to develop networks that will produce exciting and innovative collaborative projects
  • encourages formal creative affiliations with other centres, institutions and organisations involved in similar work throughout the world
Centre events

The centre hosts various events throughout the academic year. Please see below for more information about past events.

  • April 2013: The lived experience of dementia: Interdisciplinary perspectives. (International symposium held in Aberdeen and Canberra)
  • May 2012: A Graceful Embrace: Theological and ethical reflections on adopting children. (International symposium)
  • May 2010: Beyond Reason and Will?: Critical conversations on profound intellectual disability and Catholic theology.
  • February 2010: Ecclesiology and Ethnography (British Academy funded): - This was part of a joint initiative with King’s College London. It met in Aberdeen and will meet again in Birmingham and London over the next two years.
  • May 2010: A Theology of Adoption: Critical Reflections from Practical Theology and Christian ethics: an international research symposium.
  • September 2007: Religion and Autism: An interdisciplinary symposium in collaboration with the University of Cardiff
  • March 2007: Learning From The Disabled: An interdisciplinarysymposium sponsored by the Templeton Foundation, L'Arche, Le Ferm, Trosley-Breuil, France. Pictures from La Ferm Trosley-Breuil.
  • September 2006: A Day with Stanley Hauerwas and Jean Vanier: Conversations on disability, friendship and being human. 
  •  August 2006: The Role of Christian Practices in End of Life Issues: Medical and theological foundations: An interdisciplinary symposium with Duke Divinity School
  • May 2005: Genes Eugenics and the Future of Persons: An international symposium on disability and the new genetics
  • January 2004: Spirituality in Healthcare Practices: Remembering the “forgotten” dimension


John Swinton PhD. B.D. RNM. RNMH. 
Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care

School of Divinity with Religious Studies and Philosophy
King's College
University of Aberdeen
AB24 3UB
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 1224 27 3224
Fax: +44 (0) 1224 273750