Below is a note from  summary of the Symposium held in 2011

Academic Research

There was a broad consensus from the visiting academics that now is a time of uncertainty in all universities. No one quite knew what funding was going to be available and certainly, funding is being severely cut in areas such as the arts and comparative religion. On the other hand there were still funds available for some types of research. There was a general feeling that it might be possible to create something worthwhile in the way of research in Glastonbury.

The idea for the research centre has been circulating in class with me for many years there are some interesting notes made by the Pilgrim Reception Centre in 2017


In the middle Ages, Glastonbury Abbey was one of the largest and richest in England and had a great library, a school, and links with the universities and political power in London.  The Abbey was acknowledged as a powerful centre of academic and spiritual activity. With the dissolution of the monasteries and the closing of the Abbey all this activity ceased. 

In the early part of the 20th Century, interest in Glastonbury as a ‘Special Spiritual Place” revived and well-known personalities such as Dion Fortune and Rutland Boughton established themselves in the town The war disrupted these activities but in the 1980s came a renewed interest in Glastonbury as an academic centre and over the last 20 years, a large number of courses have been established in the town offered by various independent centres and individuals.  

In recent years, a growing number of undergraduates and postgraduates have come to Glastonbury in recent years to carry out research including Dr. Marion Bowman of the Open University and Dr Miguel Farias of Oxford University. 

 Present Resources in Glastonbury

The Library of Avalon -

The original vision for the library was that it should emulate, in contemporary form, the famous library of the Abbey. It would become a great centre of research and learning. It would not only have books but would have facilities for research and for publishing books, CDs and films. This bold vision has not been accomplished but the library is today firmly established and has some 13,000 books, is well run and in premises that are entirely adequate for its present size. 

Isle of Avalon Foundation

The Isle of Avalon Foundation began life in 1991 as The University of Avalon, with the original vision to re-establish Glastonbury as a great centre of sacred learning. In 1995 it changed its name to The Isle of Avalon Foundation. The Foundation runs a wide variety of educational programmes and courses in personal development and spiritual transformation.

The Glastonbury Trust

The Glastonbury Trust is a fund-providing charity with the objects of supporting projects offering services in the fields of academia, religion and the spiritual.  It provides start-up funds for projects that fall within the objects of the Trust and which are seen to be capable of becoming self-sustaining within one or two years. 

Glastonbury Pilgrim Reception Centre (PRC) -

The PRC is an organisation providing information and support to visitors on esoteric aspects of the town.  A not for profit organisation, it is managed and run by local residents who have strong links within the community. Many universities are sending undergraduates and postgraduates to Glastonbury, to carry out research projects in subjects such as contemporary spirituality, religion, anthropology and medieval history. The PRC is in a unique position to assist researchers in their projects in the town and is currently working with universities and individual students.

The Vision

Glastonbury Pilgrim Reception Centre is now exploring the possibility of setting up an Academic Research Support Centre in Glastonbury. The object of the Centre is to work with service providers and others in order to offer an integrated source support for those interested in research, learning and teaching in this unusual environment.

These objects could be achieved by: 

  • Consolidating information on the courses and workshops currently available in Glastonbury.
  • Working with others to set up courses that might be needed to complete what was thought to be the range of services required.
  • Offering practical support to academics wishing to set up research projects in Glastonbury.
  • Offering practical support and help, where needed, to individuals and projects offering courses and academic services in the town.