We’re now recruiting for a research associate and two fully funded PhD studentships for a new AHRC funded project ‘Design, material culture and popular creativity in suburban faith communities’, led by Dr Claire Dwyer (UCL Geography) and Professor David Gilbert (RHUL Geography). This project explores the aesthetics of faith in suburbia and the material cultures and practices of diverse suburban faith communities focused on eight communities located in West London. The project team will include a post-doctoral research associate and two PhD students, one based at UCL and one based at RHUL. The project also involves artistic and practice-based collaboration involving architect Ali Mangera; photographer Liz Hingley and artist Katie Beinart.
The Research Associate position is for 24 months from 1st January 2015 (or soon thereafter). Based in UCL the postholder will undertake documentary and qualitative interview research members of faith communities developing two strands. First an extensive survey combining archival research and interviews to explore the architectural and design histories of the selected case studies; second, in-depth ethnographic work focusing on the creative adaptation of the congregational spaces by the faith communities and the material cultures and practices of these communities both in these spaces and beyond. They will also collaborate with the artistic projects where appropriate. Applicants should have a PhD in a relevant discipline and expertise in documentary and qualitative research. For further details see: http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AJT468/research-associate/
One fully funded PhD student, starting in January 2015 at UCL Geography will explore the domestic material cultures of suburban faith.
One fully funded PhD student, starting in January 2015 at RHUL Geography will addresses the wider research aims of the project concerning creativity and innovation through an investigation of the relationships between music, sound, silence and spirituality in suburban faith spaces.
Talked about St Thomas’ Church and the Salaam Centre, Harrow at the Imaging the Suburbs Conference in Exeter last week. My paper argues that both are examples of suburban modernity.
The video of the lunch hour lecture which I gave at UCL on 27th March ‘Buddhas of Suburbia: faith, migration and geographies of suburban change in London’ can be uploaded here
Today I took the Faith in Suburbia Exhibition to Ealing Gurdwara. These are some of the photos of people viewing the exhibition, and these are some of the things which people said about the exhibition:
“It’s a great idea and good in terms of knowing about other religions in our community..It’s really creative and I look forward to more photos presented in a creative way to educate children and adults about different religions”;
“It is good to see how the group of individuals from different faiths take time in seeing the similarities and appreciation of others work of art in their places of worship”;
“I think it is really good for people to find out about other communities”
Great to have the exhibition up at the Year of Faith Celebration Evening at Our Lady and St Joseph’s on Friday 23rd November. A truly multicultural evening featuring entertainment from dancers from Dominica and children performing Polish dances not to mention gastronomy from round the globe!
This week Faith in Suburbia opens in a second local church in Hanwell, at the parish centre of the Catholic Church of Our Lady and St Joseph. http://www.rcdow.org.uk/hanwell/
The exhibition, newly installed today, is timed to coincide with a special celebration on Friday 22nd November to mark the end of the Year of Faith. After a celebratory mass at 7pm in the church there will be a multicultural parish celebration in the Parish Centre featuring food from the many different home nations of the parishioners.
The exhibition is also open after masses on Sunday at 10.00am and 12.00am. I’m looking forward to hearing what the congregation thinks about the project and the pictures.
The third version of the Faith in Suburbia Exhibition opens today in St Thomas the Apostle Church in Hanwell, W7. Great to have the exhibition open at one of the participating places of worship. It looks great with the banners hung on the elegant columns in the nave of the church.
The church is open daily from 8-5pm. It is also open this weekend as part of London Ride and Stride http://www.rideandstrideuk.org/
And on the weekend of 21st-22nd September the church is open as part of London’s Open House weekend http://www.londonopenhouse.org/
Designed by architect Edward Maufe in 1993 this is a wonderful hidden gem of a suburban church – well worth a visit! http://www.thomashanwell.org.uk/
It is time to write about the second case study for the Faith in Suburbia Project, which is a site in the suburb of Richmond, Vancouver known colloquially as ‘Highway to Heaven’ because of its cluster of religious buildings along a short stretch of the Number 5 Road on the edge of the city. Our research has explored the geographies of ‘Highway to Heaven’ via interviews with all of the faith communities located there.
A paper about this collaborative research project undertaken with UBC colleagues David Ley and Justin Tse has just been published on the website of Metropolis Canada.
Access a copy of the paper here http://mbc.metropolis.net/assets/uploads/files/wp/2013/WP13-06.pdf