Hi there! I am Nazneen, and I’m the Research Associate on the Making Faith project. I’m thrilled to be part of the team and to be working on themes that are close to my heart, but in a part of London that is quite new to me: Ealing.
Before I started at UCL, I was working on the Leverhulme-funded Oxford Diasporas Programme project “Religious Faith, Space and Diasporic Communities in East London: 1880-present.” My role on that project was to look specifically at the history of Muslim settlement in the East End, but my interests have gone beyond that to think about gurdwaras, synagogues and churches too. As the book we’re writing concludes by considering the ways in which communities and their religious practices have moved outwards from the urban East End to its suburbs – Ilford, Romford, Redbridge etc. – the relationship between the urban and the suburban in relation to religion is something I’ve been thinking about but will now get to explore in much more substantive detail!
Alongside my work on the Oxford project, I’ve been involved in community engagement work in East London, which I love. I’m a trustee of a charity and heritage project, the Swadhinata Trust, and I’ve worked with the Jagonari Centre running local history walks for Bangladeshi women – which I did in a mixture of Bengali and English! I’ve also worked with the Faith Regen Foundation on an interfaith project bringing Muslim and Jewish young people together to research the parallels between Muslim and Jewish histories in East London. As the Making Faith project has a significant community engagement component, I’m looking forward to making links with local community groups and starting a whole new set of workshops and activities in Ealing.