Shri Kanaga Thurkkai Amman (Hindu) ChariotFestival 2015 A photographic essay by Laura Cuch

On 9th August 2015 we attended the Chariot Festival at the Shri Kanaga Thurkkai Amman (Hindu) Temple. The Chariot Festival, a procession from the temple along the streets that surround the temple in West Ealing, is the culmination of the 27 day Mahotsavam Festival held annually every August.

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Sharing Housing Stories in an Ealing Sukkah

Rabbi Janet Burden introducing the Sukkah

Rabbi Janet Burden introducing the Sukkah

On Sunday we joined in a celebration of the Jewish Festival of Harvest thanksgiving which united two of Ealing’s faith communities to discuss the challenges of housing in London with the group London Citizens. Members of Ealing Liberal Synagogue, led by Rabbi Janet Burden, constructed a Sukkah – the traditional ‘hut’ or ‘booth’ which symbolise the temporary dwellings of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness – decorated with harvest fruits, children’s decorated autumn leaves and lulav a combination of date palm, willow and myrtle branches in the grounds of the Church of Christ the Saviour.

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Call for Papers: Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, San Francisco, March 29 – April 2, 2016 Session: Creative Approaches to Researching Religion in the City

Call for Papers: Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, San Francisco, March 29 – April 2, 2016

Session:

Creative Approaches to Researching Religion in the City

Session Organisers:

Laura Cuch, University College London, Natalie Hyacinth, Royal Holloway University of London, Justin K.H. Tse, University of Washington

The concept of religion is a complex term inextricably tied to similarly complex notions of identity, nationality and migration. Recent research has sought a deeper understanding of those urban settings where different faith and migrant communities cohabit. Thus, the study of religion in the city requires an open, creative and participatory approach in order to gain a nuanced understanding of the dynamics of faith in urban space.

In recent years, the social sciences have adopted new creative approaches to researching religion in the city. This includes socially engaged arts practices using a range of disciplines such as drawing, photography, film-making, music, performance, installation, etc.

This panel, therefore, seeks to address creative methodological approaches to researching religion in the modern, transmigratory, interfaith city.

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Report on the 5th International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Emotional Geographies

By Natalie Hyacinth

I had a fantastic time at the University of Edinburgh for the 5th International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Emotional Geographies.

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The conference took place over 3 days from Wednesday 10th June – Friday 12th June 2015. The venue itself was an exciting space to be, with the famous and beautiful Arthur’s Seat providing a very scenic and charming backdrop. It was also my first time in Edinburgh and I was thoroughly blown away by the sheer natural beauty of the city.

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Sharing Memories Coffee Morning, Our Lady and St Joseph’s Church hall, Thursday 25th June

After morning mass on Thursday 25th June, a bright and sunny morning, we hosted a coffee morning for parishioners at Our Lady and St Joseph’s Church. The aim of the coffee morning was to tell them about our research project and to learn more about the history of this faith community. The original church of Our Lady and St Joseph’s in Hanwell was built by Edward Pugin in 1860.

The original Our Lady and St. Joseph's church Source: Essen, R. (2001) Britain in Old Photographs: Ealing, Hanwell and Greenford. Sutton Publishing, Stroud.

The original Our Lady and St. Joseph’s church
Source: Essen, R. (2001) Britain in Old Photographs: Ealing, Hanwell and Greenford. Sutton Publishing, Stroud.

The original Our Lady and St. Joseph church. Source: OLSJ booklet

The original Our Lady and St. Joseph church.
Source: OLSJ booklet

A service in the old church Source: OLSJ booklet

A service in the old church
Source: OLSJ booklet

It provided a spiritual and social centre for the Irish migrant workers building the viaduct and Great Western Railway and it was to remain a predominantly Irish parish for a century. However it is now a diverse multi-ethnic parish with parishioners from Africa, the Caribbean, India and Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Poland and many other parts of the world. As the congregation expanded a larger modern church was constructed in 1967.

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Making Suburban Faith at Hanwell Carnival

Making Suburban Faith at Hanwell Carnival, 20th June 2015, 2-6pm

The MSF Team in front of our stall at the Hanwell Carnival. Left to right: Dr. Claire Dwyer, Christian Sayer, Dr. Nazneen Ahmed, Natalie Hyacinth

The MSF Team in front of our stall at the Hanwell Carnival.
Left to right: Dr. Claire Dwyer, Christian Sayer, Dr. Nazneen Ahmed, Natalie Hyacinth Photo: Liz Hingley

As part of the Connected Communities Festival 2015 we took our Making Suburban Faith stall to Hanwell Carnival on 20th June 2015. Our interest in the carnival was first as a great community event where we would have the opportunity to meet members of the public and engage them with our research. However the Carnival, which was established in 1898 and is thus the oldest carnival in London, has an important place in understanding the making of suburban faith. The carnival, a secular event organised initially to raise money for the local hospital, has interesting religious connections. Members of churches and other faith communities have always participated in the carnival and we have images of carnival floats organised by local churches dating back to the 1920s. There were also Thanksgiving services held on the Sunday after the Carnival, and there are records of these held outside in Hanwell Broadway or Ethorne Park in the 1920s and 1930s. These continued in the park and in local churches including St Thomas’ Church, St Mary’s Church and Hanwell Methodist Church until the last recorded service of thanksgiving in 1996 at St Mellitus Church. Today the intertwining of religious and secular processions are evident in the annual Beating the Bounds walk revived by the Carnival Committee as a fundraiser.

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Beating the Bounds Podcast

Participants at the start of the Beating the Bounds walk

Participants at the start of the Beating the Bounds walk Photo: Laura Cuch

A similar group of Beating the Bounds participants outside the Fox and Grove on Hanger Lane in 1887 source: Ealing As It Was, Hendon Publishing 1993

A similar group of Beating the Bounds participants outside the Fox and Grove on Hanger Lane in 1887
source: Ealing As It Was, Hendon Publishing 1993

This is a podcast made by the Making Suburban Faith team when we took part in the Beating the Bounds walk on May Bank Holiday Monday 2015. Beating the Bounds is an ancient tradition, carried out once a year when the parish priest, churchwardens and congregation would walk around the formal boundary of the parish. They would mark the boundary stones of the parish, sometimes by ‘bumping’ the boys of the parish on the stones. The walk served a practical purpose to determine the true extent of the parish, ensuring the extent of those required to contribute to the church, or who might require its services, such as burial. The young boys were supposed to ensure that this knowledge of the parish boundaries was passed on through oral tradition.

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Home and Art

by Laura Cuch

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On Friday 1st May I gave a presentation at the workshop Home and Art: Creating and Researching Home at the Geffrye Museum, organized by the Centre for Studies of Home at Queen Mary University.
My presentation ‘The Best Place in The World’: A Biography of home was a performance that consisted of a carousel slide projection of my photographic project ‘The Best Place in The World’ alongside a reading combining personal biographical narratives with academic interpretations on notions of home.

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Ganpati on the Move

Dr. Nazneen Ahmed

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My retired father in law has been unusually busy this week. He’s had several trips to Wickes, all his tools are strewn over the dining room table, and the room hums daily with the sounds of banging and drilling. He’s relocating our family’s shrine to Ganpati.

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