Mission Statement

The Spirituality, Nature and Culture Laboratory (SNC-LAB) is a not-for-profit research network based at Queen’s University dedicated to fostering research into holistic solutions to 21st century challenges. We are committed to an interdisciplinary approach that recognizes the interdependence of human aspirations, beliefs and belongings, the networks of culture and technology that shape human society, and the planetary systems that support human wellbeing. Going beyond the key dichotomies of modernity (nature/culture, matter/spirit, West/East) we aim to identify, cultivate and research new paradigms of knowledge and value, new approaches to wellbeing, and new pedagogical strategies for future flourishing.

To do so we offer an innovative pedagogical structure and an interdisciplinary research framework so that all our members can strengthen their research and leadership skills.




Pedagogical Innovation

To achieve the aims laid out in our mission statement, SNC-LAB will spur pedagogical innovation by sponsoring a range of activities and events that supplement the teaching, learning, research and mentoring that take place in traditional humanities and social sciences departments.

Our pedagogical program thus has the following core objectives:

  1. To develop academic leadership skills
  2. To develop skills in research, writing, presenting & publishing
  3. To promote mental health, overcome academic isolation and build community
  4. To provide a broad intellectual framework for individual research projects
  5. To foster pedagogical experimentation and innovation
  6. To foster cross disciplinary fertilization
  7. To bridge academic / nonacademic worlds

To achieve these objectives we are engaged in range of activities and methods as follows

  1. All our events provide opportunities for students to be leaders and mentors within the lab community
  2. Lab Meetings and Conferences provide a forum for people to present their own research in progress, and receive feedback from peers and mentors
  3. Lab Meetings provide formal and informal contexts for people to share in and engage with each other’s ideas, build rapport & camaraderie, and offer mutual support and advice, in a therapeutic, non-competitive environment
  4. Lab Meetings and Conversations offer training in key intellectual issues at stake in the lab’s mission that provide a context for individual research projects
  5. All our activities offer students a university-within-a-university where education and training can take place outside the corporate university context
  6. Our research framework creates new intellectual spaces for interdisciplinary engagement not present within the university’s disciplinary structure
  7. Our conferences and our board of advisors help us to foster broader social engagement for our research.


Research Framework

In 2017 it is clear that the world faces a number of key sociocultural challenges: unprecedented economic inequality; climate change; religious conflict; tensions between nationalism and globalization, indigeneity and colonization; the rise of technology and a growing alienation from nature. By 2050 the world’s population is predicted to peak at around 10 billion people, exacerbating the tensions that are already present. Furthermore, the rise of emerging economies will mean that the 20th century world order dominated by European and American values will give way to a more multipolar world, with no one value system dominant.

Our aim is to empower individuals and societies with new approaches to knowledge and strategies for action that will meet 21st century challenges and help create sustainable futures. To do so we will foster disciplinary innovation and embrace synthesis across cultures and disciplines in our research methods. Our research framework forms around four key themes, Axiology, Planetarity, Pedagogy, and Spirituality (APPS).

Our researchers and associates work on their own research projects that are related to these four key themes. Through meetings, workshops and networking events, they learn from each other, develop academic leadership skills, and see how to situate their research so as to contribute to a flourishing and equitable future for the planet.


How do we develop ways of valuing for integrated social, economic, and ecological wellbeing in a world of 10 billion human beings?


Recognizing our shared planetary home, how do we live with diversity and build a sustainable future in a multipolar world without resorting to fundamentalism, separatism, and ethnic violence?


How do we develop modes of education to equip future generations to face challenges that are as yet unknown?


How do we foster meaning and spiritual purpose in a world transformed by technology and facing the existential threat of climate change?



Executive Team

Core Researchers

Associate Researchers

Advisory Board


School of Religion
Queen’s University
Kingston, Ont.
Canada K7L3N6