Making Suburban Faith are pleased to present our first ever public competition!
Dr. Claire Dwyer
Our second research workshop was held at UCL in September 2017 and was themed around our second participatory creative project ‘My Life is but a Weaving’ developed with project artist Katy Beinart. In planning the workshop we brought together other academics working on engaged arts practice with textiles, researchers working on community textiles and textile artists as well as colleagues interested in using creative methods to engage community.
Text by Dr. Nazneen Ahmed
Photographs by Laura Cuch
Between May and August this year, one of our key case studies, the West London Islamic Centre, held a series of farewell events to mark the impending demolition and redevelopment project. These included a “Communitea” for the broader Ealing community, the annual WLIC Family Fun Day, a final Friday prayers, and then, finally, a meal for worshippers with moving speeches broadcast throughout the mosque the night before it finally closed on Monday 7th August and demolition work began.
Once the workshops finished in September 2016 Katy Beinart worked on an installation of the textiles for exhibition. This exhibition drew together the pieces made by the participants during our seven workshops at St Thomas’ Church Hall and interviews conducted with each of the participants by the Making Suburban Faith researcher Dr Nazneen Ahmed which explored both their biography of faith and fabric and their reflections on being part of the textiles project.
In putting together the installation Katy sought to produce a piece which would both showcase the individual pieces and bring them together through one collective textile piece. The installation was also developed as a site specific piece which meant that it changed and adapted to each venue at which it was exhibited. The name for the piece came from one of the poems selected by one of the participants for her contribution, the anonymous poem ‘My life is but a weaving, between my Lord and me’.
About this time last year, my placement-based dissertation project at Guildford Cathedral began, and a year on, I could not have foreseen the impact it has had on my career trajectory, my University experience, the Cathedral community and myself personally. Initially, thoughts for the project centred on the Buy a Brick Campaign for the neo-gothic 20th century structure – the charitable community initiative that secured the building’s completion and its subsequent epithet ‘The People’s Cathedral’. However, following a meeting with key individuals of all things Guildford Cathedral, it became apparent that there was a strong community adoration for – and distinct lack of work on – the kneelers.
In March 2017, Natalie Hyacinth was awarded funding by the Imaginaries of the Future Research Network to attend and present at the Utopia After the Human symposium at Cornell University, New York. The symposium took place from the 11th-12th April 2017 at Cornell’s College of Human Ecology. The symposium is the fifth of six symposia organised by the Imaginaries of the Future Leverhulme International Research Network based at Newcastle University. The network seeks to develop conceptual and political strategies for re-thinking the future and the diverse bodies that will inhabit it. Previous iterations of the symposia series are entitled; Utopia at the Border held in Regensburg, Germany and Utopian Bodies and the Media, held in Montréal, Canada.
Dr. Nazneen Ahmed
On Sunday we attended the Shree Jalaram Mandir Greenford’s Holi festivities, the Indian festival which celebrates the coming of Spring with the spectacular throwing of powdered, coloured pigments, music, dancing, and of course, food.
On 1st February, I took a plane from London to Helsinki to take part in the opening week events of Festival of Political Photography 2017: Post-Food. The project Spiritual Flavours, which is part of my practice-led PhD, had been selected to be exhibited at STOA cultural centre, alongside Asunción Molinos Gordo’s Project, The Non-Egyptian’s Restaurant, from 4th February to 30th March.
On Wednesday 25th January I embarked on a 3 hour train journey from Kings Cross to Durham for the one day Geography, Music, Space conference at Durham University.
The conference, supported by the Institute of Musical Research and Durham University’s Department of Geography, was a stimulating day of talks and discussion of all things Geography, Music and Space, just perfect for me!
I was motivated and inspired by the diverse collection of papers that in various ways, reflected on music’s complex spatial associations.
The conference was divided into 3 sessions;
♣ The political spaces of music
♣ Music and everyday space making
♣ Performance spaces: hearing, playing, feeling
Making Suburban Faith research associate Dr. Nazneen Ahmed has been announced as one of the twelve winners of the Write Now programme run by Penguin Random House ‘which aims to find, mentor and publish new writers from communities currently under-represented on the UK’s bookshelves.’
Each of the winners is paired with a mentoring editor from Penguin Random House for a year. Together they will work together to make their manuscripts the best they can be and ready for publication. Over 2000 writers applied for the twelve places so we are very proud of Naz!
Naz’s book The Strange Children of Spittlefields is a fantasy fiction novel for young adults set in the 19th century between London, Gujarat and East Bengal. Naz said
“Just having my story noticed by Penguin Random House has given me the self-belief to think of myself as a writer, and focus on getting my book finished and out there, neither of which seemed possible before. I have also met some inspirational writers who have become very close friends. These friendships have formed the basis of a support network, which is really valuable, as the writing process can be very solitary.
“We need more diverse books that can speak to the diverse society that is Britain today (and Britain of the past!) But there are so many barriers to being published as a “minority”, not least that the publishing industry itself is still so predominantly white, straight and middle-class. Schemes like WriteNow reach out to those who wouldn’t otherwise be heard by the industry because they don’t have the right kind of tools, knowledge or contacts, and that’s crucial to getting more diverse books out there for us all to read.”