MBRN / Islam UK Centre conference
This all-day conference on 10 September 2014 was organised in conjunction with the Muslims in Britain Research Network and explored themes from a broad range of interdisciplinary perspectives.
“We’d noticed that the landscape of research with and about Muslims in Britain has been diversifying in recent years,” said conference co-organiser Riyaz Timol, PhD candidate at the Islam-UK Centre, “and we wanted to open this up for further discussion. Several researchers I’ve met since commencing my PhD have been grappling with issues of identity, biography and positionality in relation to their field experiences and so we thought a dedicated forum to discuss this with analytical depth and rigour would be welcomed.”
This certainly seemed to be the case as a large variety of academics, ranging from early-career postgraduate researchers to seasoned professors, came together to contribute to the day’s proceedings. Twelve papers were delivered over three panels, each followed by a lively question and answer session.
The day concluded with an engaging keynote lecture by Professor Ron Geaves on The ‘death’ pangs of the insider/outsider dichotomy in the study of religion.
“The intellectual vibe generated by the diversity of people present was palpable,” said Abdul-Azim Ahmed, fellow conference co-organiser and Islam-UK Centre PhD candidate. “Papers were delivered exploring the conference themes from black, Christian and Shia perspectives and one delegate even flew in to be with us on the day!”
The MBRN roundtable was held over lunch and conference participants enjoyed the opportunity to network and find out about each other’s research. “Events like this demonstrate the inherent synergy that can be generated when like-minded professionals come together to analyse a particular issue from a range of perspectives,” concluded Riyaz Timol. “I look forward to organising or participating in similar events in the future, insha Allah.”