As advocates for excellence in broadcasting that explores belief, ethics or morality, the Sandford St Martin Trust is committed to making the case for creative, thoughtful and entertaining content that furthers our understanding of how religion – whether you’re a believer or not – affects the world around us.

Since 2014 this has seen the Trust form new partnerships with organisations like the Edinburgh International TV Festival, the Media Society, Sheffield Doc/Fest, the Insight Film Festival and many more. Our newest initiatives are the Sandford St Martin Media Salons, run in cooperation with organisations like Theos, the Bradford Literature FestivalFull Fact and the House of St Barnabas in Soho and partially supported through a grant by the Benefact Trust, these events are aimed at encouraging conversations between media experts, practitioners and audiences about some of the biggest issues in broadcasting, journalism and the media coverage of religion and ethics today.

For more information about our work and forthcoming events follow us on social media or sign up to receive our newsletter. To discuss potential partnerships or ideas for future events, please contact

Previous Events


19 OCTOBER 2023, St Ethelburga’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, London

For more than 50 years the BBC’s flagship ‘Sunday’ programme on Radio 4 has investigated how religion impacts on world affairs. On the evening of 19th October, Edward Stourton, who has been the programme’s main presenter since 2010 and Sunday’s former editor Amanda Hancox joined Chine McDonald, Director of the religion and society think tank, Theos for a special salon. In front of a live audience they reflected on the changing face of this Radio 4 stalwart, on how religion is reported in an ever-evolving religious-Britain and their new book Sunday: A History of Religious Affairs through 50 Years of Conversations and Controversies.

>> Click here for more information or to access a full recording of the salon.


28 NOVEMBER 2022, Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester

Between the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, the last few years have done much to expose and exacerbate social inequality in the UK. This was brought into stark relief a couple of years ago by the BBC News correspondent Ed Thomas through a series of reports from Burnley which gave viewers a rare insight into both the resilience of one of the nation’s most vulnerable communities but also of the vital role grassroots organisations have played in supporting them. On 28 November, we caught up with Ed, Father Alex and Bishop Mick at a special Sandford St Martin salon in Manchester, to find out what if anything has been the legacy of the media attention Burnley received. And, as the country finds itself in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, what’s now and what’s next for their community?

>> Click here for more information or to access a full recording of the salon.


25 JUNE 2022 – In partnership with the Bradford Literature Festival (and in defiance of national rail strikes) we explored what role religious programming serves in multi-platform, multi-cultural, multi-faith and increasingly secular Britain. Chaired by TV executive and Sandford St Martin trustee, Aaqil Ahmed, our expert panel of industry professionals included founder and CEO of Avanti Media Emyr Afan, the BBC TV commissioner Daisy Scalchi and SSM Executive Director, Anna McNamee.


24 MAY 2022 – A live and in-person audience with the multi-award winning (including a Sandford St Martin Radio Times’ Readers Award) creator of  “Call the Midwife”, Heidi Thomas. Heidi is one of the UK’s most successful screenwriters having turned the little-known memoir of a midwife trained by nuns during the 1950s into an international television hit. Eleven series in, and Call The Midwife continues to dominate audience figures in both the UK and the US. But perhaps what’s particularly compelling about Heidi’s work is how she’s turned it into a manifesto for living compassionately and humanely. How does she do it?

>> Click here to listen to a full audio recording and to find out more.


28 OCT 2021 – A live and in-person Sandford St Martin Media Salon exploring the issues around the media representation of diverse communities and their stories. Featuring Bernard P Achampong (Founder of the digital development company Unedited), Ngunan Adamu (journalist, broadcaster, “Nigerian Scouser” and Sandford St Martin Trustee), Ibrahim Kamara (digital entrepreneur and co-founder of GUAP, which has grown from the world’s first video magazine to becoming a multi-platform youth media brand) and Chine McDonald (broadcaster and head of public engagement at Christian Aid).

>> Find out more.

WHAT 4? How will the privatisation of Channel 4 affect religious diversity?

6 SEPT 2021 – On the day Channel 4 launched its new Leeds headquarters and a week before the deadline for public submissions to the government’s inquiry on the future ownership of Channel 4 our Media Salon considered how privatisation could impact Channel 4’s public service content, particularly the quantity and quality of religious and ethical programming on offer, and how would the change impact the UK’s creative sector.

A live online discussion featuring Aaqil Ahmed, Maggie Brown and Marcus Ryder MBE, chaired by Torin Douglas.

>> Find out more.

Broadcasting in the Time of Corona: strategies for Journalists and Producers

Broadcasters and content-makers talk about how their work changed and how they have adapted to meet the challenges imposed by COVID-19.

>> Find out more.

FOR SAMA: Journalism Under Siege

The Trust’s first online Media Salon featured directors Waad al Kateab and Edward Watts talking about how they made the multi-award winning feature documentary ‘For Sama’, the future of reporting from Syria and other conflict zones, the international response and how their film has affected our understanding of war.

To find out more about the campaign to end the targeting of healthcare facilities in Syria visit:

Is Truth Dead?

What is truth in media in a post-truth world? In the wake of a general election campaign when issues of trust dominated the agenda, at a time when the US President whose preferred mode of communication is Twitter was facing his first impeachment, and in the face of the rising influence of news-by-algorithm on social media, we asked: How can you tell whether or not someone is telling the truth? And do journalists and broadcasters need to change their tactics when it comes to reporting and representation?

Is Truth Dead? featured the writer and broadcaster Trevor Phillips, LBC’s Political Editor Theo Usherwood, the Sunday Times journalist Rosamund Unwin and William Moy Director of Full Fact, an independent fact checking charity, live in conversation at the House of St Barnabas in Soho.

Edinburgh TV Festival

Billed by the Edinburgh TV Festival organisers as one of the Festival’s hottest debates ‘God: TV’s Holy Grail?’ asked whether its time to for television execs to rethink their idea of what audiences want when it comes to religion.

>>Find out more

Media Society Debate

Co-produced in partnership, this sold-out debate was described by the Guardian’s Roy Greenslade as “one of the most illuminating Media Society events I’ve ever attended”.

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Sheffield Doc/Fest

“Religious Docs: Who Needs Them?” was produced by the Trust for one of the world’s most influential media festivals and brought together commissioners and programme-makers from across the industry to discuss the creative and commercial opportunities offered by engaging with religion.

>>Find out more

Church and Media Conference

“More TV Vicar?” explored screen depictions of clergy and asked what these versions say about public attitudes to religion and how they reflect the challenges facing the church.

>>Find out more