Portrait of James blackhall

James Blackhall

What made you want to apply to your MA course and to Leeds?

I’ve had an interest in religion for as long as I can remember and I wanted to be able to research more in depth than in my first degree, especially around the areas of politics and religion and to research Methodism as a committed member of the Methodist Church. 

I completed my undergraduate degree in Leeds and knew that I wanted to continue my studies here as the department is so supportive and I thoroughly enjoyed my undergraduate degree. I also realised that there was so much more that I wanted to learn and therefore applying for an MA was the obvious choice.

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

I’m passionate about my area of study because I believe religion affects everything. Politics, culture and current affairs are all influenced by the role of religion and therefore it is important that people have a deeper understanding of religion than what they read in the newspapers. As a student here, I enjoyed the opportunity to really discuss in depth questions with other students, and lecturers, from all backgrounds and faith positions.

What would you say about the facilities and opportunities in your School and at the University in general?

The libraries at Leeds have a phenomenal amount for Theology and Religious Studies students, and there’s plenty of space to work in the Philosophy, Religion and History School along with really fantastic online learning resources.

There are lots of activities for every taste - even Quidditch! Much of my time was taken up going to classes at the Edge which is such a fantastic facility that we are really lucky to have.

What do you plan to do now you’ve finished your course, and how do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed at Leeds will help with these plans?

Now that I’ve finished my MA, I am exploring candidating for Methodist Ministry and I’m currently working as a youth worker for two Methodist Churches in Leeds. I am also looking at working in student recruitment as I was a student host throughout my time at Leeds. 

The skills I have gained from Leeds have helped me greatly because I had to learn to be empathetic to all points of view whilst being able to critically reason them. I am also better equipped to answer questions I receive about other faiths from the young people I work with as I have learnt so much during my time at Leeds.