Saturday 31st January 2015 was the date of our inaugural symposium at Bishopsgate Institute in London. The day was packed with over twenty presentations, an art exhibition, a Spoken Word event and a heritage display reflecting the current research, projects and vision of British Muslim Heritage from museums, heritage, archives, arts, education and media professionals from across the UK. The 120 strong, delegation also represented these professions joining us not only from the whole of the UK but also, Europe.
The Everyday Muslim team has been working hard to provide an online version of the symposium so we can share the extraordinary work that exists in various sectors. We hope it will provide a useful resource for future collaborations with not only the Everyday Muslim project but, with the many professionals, students and community representatives who wish to further the research, documentation and preservation of #BMH British Muslim Heritage.
Why Did We Need a Symposium for the Everyday Muslim Project?
Watch a short video by our founder explaining why the team felt it was the right time to hold the symposium. Also, some very kind and generous words from Professor Humayun Ansari and Dr Seddon describing their experience of the day and hopes for the future of #BMH British Muslim heritage.
Introduction to the Everyday Muslim Symposium
The day started with an introduction from Dr. Michelle Johansen the project’s Liason Officer at Bishopsgate Institute who holds the position as the Institutes’ Interpretation Officer.
Keynote: Professor Humayun Ansari OBE
Professor Ansari is Professor of History of Islam and Culture at Royal Holloway, University of London. His academic research embraces ethnicity, identity, migration, multiculturalism, Islam in the West, Islamism, Islamophobia, radical Islamic thought and Muslim youth identities. In his keynote speech he discusses the importance of archives and reflects on his personal work on the archives of the East London Mosque and the connection between mosque-building and the history of immigration and Empire, trade and war.
Shades of Muslims: Racialisation, representation and White British Muslims.
Amena is a PhD candidate in Social Psychology at the London School of Economics and Political Science examining identity construction and negotiation of White British Muslims. In her presentation entitled: ‘Shades of Muslim: Racialisation, representation and White British Muslims,’ she explores briefly the history of White Muslim converts in Britain and the problems that arise, generally as well as within the heritage sector, as a result of racializing the category ‘British Muslim’ as principally non-white.
Creating a Muslim historical narrative within the museum and archive space.
Halima was the Community Collaboration Assistant at the Museum of London between 2012-2014. She has recently finished her MA in Heritage Studies at the Raphael Samuel History Centre and is now working freelance in the heritage sector. In her presentation entitled Creating a Muslim historical narrative within the museum and archive space she reflects on the ‘What Muslims Wear’ project which she designed and coordinated during her time at the Museum of London, addressing the lack of representation of museum’s collections.
Why Muslim Archives Matter
Tim Powell has been an archivist for over 25 years and is now Senior Advisor to the Religious Archives at the UK’s National Archives at Kew. In his presentation entitled Why Muslim Archives Matter he talks of the importance of an archival record of British Muslims in capturing the full picture of contemporary Britain.
Keynote 2: Navid Akhtar – Muslims in the Media: Telling Our Story
Navid Akhtar (CEO Alchemiya Media, Senior Producer C4 Ramadan Season, and Former BBC Producer, Documentaries & History Unit. In the second keynote speech of the Everyday Muslim Symposium, Navid Akhtar, CEO of Alchemiya Media and Senior producer for Channel 4’s Ramadan Season, reflects on the portrayal of Muslims and Islam in the media, his work within the industry and the emergence of alternative media platforms for British Muslim voices.
Dr Mohammed Seddon
Britain’s Oldest Muslim Community: A Brief History
Dr. Seddon is a lecturer in Islamic and Religious Studies and Associate Director of the Centre for Faiths and Public Policy at the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Chester. His presentation entitled Britain’s Oldest Muslim Community: A Brief History charts the history of the Yemeni Muslims who arrived in Britain as sailors and later as migrant labourers establishing Britain’s first Muslim communities.
Stephen Terence Welsh
An Image of Islam: Islamic Art and Objects in Manchester
Stephen is a curator of Living Cultures at Manchester Museum. Prior to this he was Project Curator at the National Museum of Liverpool. In his presentation An Image of Islam: Islamic Art and Objects in Manchester Stephen discusses the aims of the project of the same title that seeks to redress the misconceptions pervading society with regards to Islam through a multi-venue festival of art, history, culture and music.
Dr Ian Parker Heath
A question of access: Muslims, Museums and Heritage
Dr Heath is an independent research archaeologist and is currently working on the relevance of museums and history among Muslim communities. He was awarded his PhD by the University of Manchester for his research into the representation of Islam in British museums in 2004. His paper entitled A question of access: Muslims, Museums and Heritage looks at how Muslims in Britain today access and consume what they consider to be their heritage.