Making Suburban Faith – 2016 Project Report


This report marks the end of the second year of the Making Suburban Faith Project. It has been another very successful year for the project and this summary reports on some of the highlights of the year for the project. Although originally scheduled to run for three years until December 2017 the project will now run until December 2018 – this is welcome news giving us the chance to further develop some of ongoing initiatives.

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Report on International Hip Hop Studies Conference, Cambridge University, June 2016

Natalie Hyacinth

On Thursday 23rd June – Saturday 25th June 2016 I attended the first “It Ain’t Where You’re From, It’s Where You’re At” International Hip Hop Studies Conference at the University of Cambridge. The three-day conference was a stimulating, enlightening and thought provoking series of talks, debates and discussions surrounding everything hip hop, one of my favourite topics!

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Come and Sing! St Thomas Church, Saturday 21st May 2016 by Natalie Hyacinth

The Come and Sing! Choral Workshop was organised by St Thomas’ Church to celebrate the renovation of their new organ. Natalie Hyacinth, PhD student on the Making Suburban Faith Project whose work focuses on the role of music for suburban faith communities, has been conducting research with St Thomas’ Church Choir over the last year. She helped to organise the event and has also been interviewing some of the participants for her research. Here she provides an account of the day.

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A floral celebration at Sts Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church: 90 years of Northfield Parish

Claire Dwyer

On the weekend of 24-25th April the Catholic Parish of Sts Peter and Paul in Northfields opened their doors to visitors to celebrate their 90th Year of foundation with a flower festival which was themed around local parish groups. The parish began as a Chapel of ease for St Joseph’s church in Hanwell as a hut on Leyborne Avenue. It became an independent parish in 1926 and the foundation stone for a new church as laid in 1931 with the new church, designed by Church architects, T Birchall Scott, opening on the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul in 1934. It was not consecrated until 1959 when the church was finally completed and debt free.

The flower festival was organised by members of the parish some of whom are also members of the Ealing Flower Club. The sixteen arrangements were spread throughout the church and each of them celebrated a different aspect of parish life, many linked to statues or devotions to different saints. Outside the church a grotto to Our Lady was also decorated by the Knights of St Columba, a male-only Catholic organisation.

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Architecture, Creativity and the Spaces of Everyday Faith – Prof. David Gilbert

Professor David Gilbert

March 11th 2016 saw Making Suburban Faith hold our first symposium, on the theme of Architecture, Creativity and the Spaces of Everyday Faith. It was an unseasonably warm and sunny day, and also a big day for the project, with a presentation of the Architecture project with Brentside School and Mangera Yvars to follow in an event that evening. The Symposium took place in the grand surroundings of Royal Holloway’s centre in Bloomsbury, a recently refurbished town-house in Bedford Square.

The symposium brought together different perspectives on the relationship between built form and the characteristics of faith and worship. While our project is focused on suburbia, the symposium broadened out to discuss other perspectives on the spaces of everyday faith. This included academics with an interest in design and architectural history; other academics and practitioners involved in the planning and conservation of religious buildings; practicing architects with experience in the making of new faith spaces or the conversion of other buildings; and faith leaders and worshippers of different faiths, theological positions and liturgical traditions. Please click through for copies of the programme and abstracts.

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Thoughts on the ‘Architecture, creativity and the spaces of everyday faith’ symposium. 11th March 2016 – Rev’d Dr. Robert Chapman

Rev’d Dr. Robert Chapman

The Making Suburban Faith project hosted a wonderful day at Royal Holloway’s house in Bloomsbury entitled, ‘Architecture, creativity and the spaces of everyday faith’, and its content gave rise to a compulsion to offer a brief (well fairly brief… ) reflection.
Being the only theologian (and vicar!) present the inevitable opening introductions on the day made by geographers and architects could have made me feel like a gate-crasher at a wedding. However, the insightful contributions of the symposium proved how these different disciplines interwove often in subconscious ways.

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