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Religious Diversity in London: Engaging with the past to inform the future

Date: 17/01/2013

‚ÄčExploring the religious interactions of the past can inform our understanding of contemporary issues argues new research presented at the Religious Diversity in London: Engaging with the past to inform the present conference. At the event hosted by The Open University the project team will report on the outcomes of The Building on History Project: What have we learnt so far? Project funded by the AHRC.

We found that it is very valuable for religious groups to learn from each other’s earlier history, such as the parallels between historic anti-Catholicism and contemporary Islamophobia, said Professor Wolffe. This allows religious groups to gain new perspective on their past experience giving greater confidence, clearer sense of identity, and practical ideas from the past that may well have present and future relevance.

The event is the result of a partnership between various projects which focus on different historic and contemporary issues. Professor John Wolffe (The Open University in London), Professor of Religious History, and his colleague Professor John Maiden, Lecturer in Religious Studies, will report on the outcomes of the range of activities and workshops they have organised for six different religious groups in attendance. These activities form part of ‘The Building on History Project: What have we learnt so far?’ Activities include exploring and preserving history workshops for Muslims and Black Majority Churches; public seminars for six religious traditions and two religious diversity seminars.

The project used public engagement, to allow knowledge exchange between the academies and religious practitioners. The aim is that by examining the ‘long view’ of the history of London's religious diversity, it may change the current perspectives in a way that may enhance social inclusion and increase a sense of community.

Additionally, the attending academics will be able to gain insight on what truly matters to a broad range of practitioners informing future research. This partnership is set to provide all interested parties with a vast amount of unique information, which would be far too time consuming to collect individually.

The programme will also include ‘Making Sense of Islamophobia in Post-9/11 Britain’ by Professor Humayun Ansari (Department of History, Royal Holloway, University of London) and ‘Religious Place-Making and migrations across a Global City: Responding to Mobility in London’ by Professor John Eade (Department of Social Science, University of Roehampton). The diverse programmes will allow attendees will find something personally relevant to them and may shatter misconceptions while enhancing social cohesion.

For further information about The Building on History Project: What we have learnt so far? Visit the Open University website.

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