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Read, Watch and Listen

Stacey with artist Yinka Shonibare CBE.

Although the focus of her research is on women, it is crucial that Stacey situates her study in the context of the wider art world. Artists such as Mr Shonibare, who have achieved such phenomenal global success, are a key part of the art world which Stacey is studying.

How to make an award winning film

Steve Evanson, Research in Film Awards judge and co-creator of the global TV brand Coast, offers his advice for how to make a successful film.

Drawing of Ardashir I's investiture relief at Naqsh-e Rostam in southern Iran (224-242 AD), from R. Ker Porter (1821) Travels in Georgia, Persia, Armenia, Ancient Babylonia... 1817-1820 vol. I, pl.23; Longman & Co., London

The rise of the Sasanians in southern Iran brought the Parthian Empire to an end in 224 AD. On this rock relief, the royal crown is passed from the supreme Zoroastrian deity Ahura Mazda (right) to the new king Ardashir I (left). While the God’s horse treads on Ahriman (the embodiment of Evil), Ardashir’s tramples his defeated Parthian opponent. The horses touch poignantly. The relief establishes which king has been granted the khvarnah and is favoured by the divine world.

Longing for Sacred Homelands

Hajj is a religious duty but Muslim culture also sustains a longing for Islam’s sacred homelands which are at once absent and present in everyday life. In these paintings, a London-based fine artist personalises the formal views of Makkah and Madinah which typically grace British-Muslim front rooms. At the centre of Makkah’s Great Mosque is the Ka’ba, the House of God and the direction of daily prayers. The green dome of the Madinah Mosque marks the beloved Prophet’s burial place.

© Kamel Baksh, 2015. Creative Commons licence - “CC-BY-NC-ND”

The UK Hajj Industry

Until the 2000's Hajj-going in the UK was typically organised independently in small, informal groups. However, as part of increased regulation in response to pilgrim numbers, the Saudi authorities made it compulsory to travel with approved travel agents. There are now around 79 such agents in the UK. Of these, El-Sawy Travel, was perhaps the first to organise a formal Hajj ‘package’ during the early 1980s. The Egyptian-born owner is pictured outside his premises near Regent's Park Mosque, North-West London.

© Seán McLoughlin, 2014. Creative Commons licence - “CC-BY”

Making Preparations

In an online survey of nearly 200 British-Muslims conducted 2011-12, Islamic books were rated as the most important source of information about Hajj. This guide to performing the pilgrimage is especially novel and has proven to be a bestseller. Published in Birmingham by Al-Hidayaah (‘guidance’), an Islamic business which combines a bookstore with a travel agency, Hajj & Umrah made easy can conveniently be worn around the neck. A copy is photographed here at the Salafi Bookstore in Bradford.

© Seán McLoughlin, 2015. Creative Commons licence - “CC-BY”