Geography, Music, Space Conference

Natalie Hyacinth

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

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Dr. Nazneen Ahmed wins Penguin Random House competition!

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!

Photo: Laura Cuch

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.”


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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