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Exploring Contemporary Muslim Art, Culture and Heritage in Britain Conference 2017

Our next MBRN conference will be held in association with the Dept of Theology & Religion at the University of Birmingham on Thursday 14th September 2017.
The day’s theme is ‘Exploring Contemporary Muslim Art, Culture and Heritage in Britain’. This one-day  conference will create space for critical dialogue and community exchange by bringing aspiring and established Muslim artists and cultural producers together with eminent scholars and researchers, policymakers, entrepreneurs and arts funders. The conference will provide a space to discuss, inform, connect and engage through a program of lectures, presentations, panel discussions and workshops. Cultural experts will share insights into the key factors affecting Muslim arts and culture in Britain.

Exploring Contemporary Muslim Art, Culture and Heritage in Britain

Schedule of the day:
09.15-10.00 – Registration and Networking
10.00-10.15 – Welcome
Professor Alison Scott-Baumann (MBRN Chair/SOAS)
Dr Stephen Jones (MBRN General Secretary/Newman University)
Dr Katherine Brown (University of Birmingham)
10.15-11-15 – Opening Plenary
Muslim Art & Culture in Britain: the Challenges
Sara Choudhrey (Digital Islamic Art, PhD Candidate, University of Kent)
Dr Fatima Zahra Hassan (Educator & Artist)
Luqman Ali (Artistic Director, Khayaal Theatre)
Dr Carl Morris (University of Central Lancashire)
‘Muslim Art and Culture: the Challenge of Conceptualisation and Definition’
Chair: Mobeen Butt (MBRN/Muslim Museum)
11.30-12.45 – Parallel Session 1
Muslim Art, Identity & Activism
Dr William Barylo (Affiliate Researcher, EHESS (Paris))
‘Art as a Decolonial Narrative: Rumi’s Cave in London’
Shahnaz Akhter (PhD Candidate, Warwick University)
‘Englistan, The New British’
Isa Sulaiman Noorudeen (Co-Founder, Developing Our Traditions)
‘Art in Our Times: The Battle with a Community to which Art is Alien’
Shaheen Kasmani (Freelance artist)
‘Decolonising Islamic Art’
Faisal Hussain (Director, True Form Projects)
‘Suspect Objects, Suspect Subjects’
Chair: Mohammed Ali MBE (Soul City Arts)
Muslim Heritage & Exhibitions
Dr Nazneen Ahmed (Research Associate – UCL)
‘“A Special Space for Sisters”: Tracing the Creative Making of Muslim Women’s Space Using Creative Research Methods’
Dr Irfan Malik (Independent Researcher)
‘The First World War contribution of Dulmial Village, Pakistan’
Haroon Ravat (Director, Xtra Mile West Midlands)
‘Connected Histories: Muslims in the WWI’
Izzy Mohammed (Project Manager, Soul City Arts)
‘Knights of the Raj Heritage Project’
Neelam Hussain (Curator, Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham)
‘Heritage, Arts and Islamic Manuscripts’
Chair: Dr Jamil Sherif (East London Mosque Archives)
12.45-13.45 – Lunch / Prayers (Zohar 1.03pm) / Networking
13.45-14.45 – Performance or Tour
Sufi Music & the BEAST
Dome Rehearsal Room, Bramall Music Building
Tas Bashir & Dr Scott Wilson (University of Birmingham)
Qawwali Research Unit & Demonstration of Sufi music using B.E.A.S.T.
Ayesha Khan (PhD Candidate, Cardiff University)
‘Contemporary Sufi Expression amongst Young British Muslims’
Chair: Prof Alison Scott-Baumann (MBRN/SOAS)
Tour of the Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern Manuscripts (max. capacity 20)
Cadbury Research Library, Muirhead Tower
Neelam Hussain (Curator, Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham)
15.00-16.00 – Parallel Session 2
Islam and Music: Rap, Choirs & Song
Mirina Paananen (Student, University of Oxford)
‘The Mosque Choir: Engaging with Muslim Choral Heritage’
Anna Nayyar (Research Director, Vivacity – Peterborough Museum)
‘The Quivering Scale: Tradition and Fusion Over 3 Generations of Muslim Women’s Song’
Ismael Lea South (Project Manager, Black Muslims in British History)
‘A Brief Overview of the History and Influence of Black British Urban Artistic Expression of Islamic Urban Rap & Poetry’
Dr Abdul-Azim Ahmed (Cardiff University)
‘Grime and Islam’
Chair: Dr Sadek Hamid (MBRN)
Traditional, Minimalistic & Digital: Islamic Art & Calligraphy
Dr Fatima Zahra Hassan (Educator & Artist)
‘Art of the Book’
Razwan Baig (Calligrapher & Collector of Islamic Art)
‘The evolution of Islamic Calligraphy’
Razwan Ul-Haq (Artist & Author)
‘Is There Such a Thing as “Islamic” Art? A Practical Exposition’
Ladan Razeghi (Graphic Designer & Independent Filmmaker)
‘Islamic Art in a Digital Era’
Chair: Dr Stephen Jones (MBRN / Newman University)
Funding Muslim Culture
Arts Council England – Abid Hussain (Director of Diversity)
Amal / Said Foundation – Catherine Roe (Trustee and Chair of the Amal Committee)
National Zakat Foundation – Iqbal Nasim (Chief Executive)
Aziz Foundation – Hassan Mahamdalie (Project Manager, My Troc)
Heritage Lottery Fund – TBC
Chair: Mobeen Butt (MBRN / Muslim Museum Initiative)
16.15-17.15 – Parallel Session 3
Writing Muslims
Dr Rula M. Al-Abdulrazak (Senior Lecturer, University of East London)
Zain Dada (co-Founder, Khidr Collective)
Adrian Banting (PhD Candidate, University of East London)
Hassan Mahamdalie (Playwright & co-Editor of Critical Muslim)
Professor Peter Morey (University of Birmingham)
Chair: Dr Amina Yaqin (SOAS)
Reconnecting Muslims to the Arts: Weapons of Beauty, Rumi’s Circle
Saimma Dyer (Director, Chickpea Press)
Fatimah Ashrif (Founder, Rumi’s Circle)
Mohammed Nazam (Founder, Berakah Arts)
Developing Muslim Heritage in Britain (roundtable)
Dr Jamil Sherif (East London Mosque Archive)
Sadiya Ahmed (Founder, Everyday Muslim Heritage and Archive Initiative)
Izzy Mohammed (PhD Candidate, ‘Representation in Public Archives’, University of Birmingham)
Haroon Ravat (Connected Histories: Muslims in WWI)
Neelam Hussain (Curator, Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham)
AbdulMaalik Tailor (Director, Muslim History Tours)
Facilitator: Mobeen Butt (Director, Muslim Museum Initiative)
17.30-18.45 – Closing Plenary – Practitioner Panel Discussion
Artists in Conversation: the Opportunities
Mohammed Ali MBE (Founder, Soul City Arts)
Saba Khan (CEO, ArtEase)
Teakster (Digital & Graphic Artist)
Salma Zulfiqar (Humanitarian Artist)
Hassan Vawda (Community Arts Programmer)
Chair/Reflection: Abid Hussain (Director, Arts Council England)
18.45-18.55 – Closing Summary – Prof Alison Scott-Baumann (MBRN Chair)
Art and culture provide a means of communication, an alternative platform to share stories, celebrate contributions to society and challenge misconceptions and stereotypes. In Britain, Muslim art and culture are in transition as we see interchange between artists inspired by the traditional Islamic arts and those who are finding new ways of weaving together their British and Muslim identities. A rising generation is using artistic forms such as music, film, literature, photography, poetry and comedy to express themselves. As well as celebrating the diversity of British Muslim identity, these artists and cultural producers explore difficult issues and help bridge divides between communities.
This new world creates exciting opportunities but also uneasy tensions as to where these practices can fit in the traditional canons of visual and performing arts, the heritage and museum sectors, in literature and even popular culture in Britain. British Muslims often find it difficult to present their work in mainstream arts and cultural establishments such as theatres, galleries and museums. Many upcoming Muslim artists work alone and often struggle to fund their work. Furthermore, the persistence of stereotypical representations of Muslims in popular media and cultural industries makes it harder for Muslims in the arts and cultural sectors to reach a wide audience.
Watson Building is R15; Arts Building is R16; Muirhead Tower (for Cadbury Research Library tour) is R21; Bramall Music Building (for Sufi Music performance) is R12; St Francis Hall (for Prayers) is O2 on this map: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/Documents/university/edgbaston-campus-map.pdf
Conference Organisers:
Professor Jørgen Nielsen (University of Birmingham)
Professor Alison Scott-Baumann (MBRN/SOAS)
Dr Stephen Jones (MBRN/Newman University)
Dr Sadek Hamid (MBRN/University of Oxford)
Dr Katherine Brown (University of Birmingham)
Ayesha Khan (MBRN/Cardiff University)
Mobeen Butt (MBRN/Muslim Museum Initiative)
For any queries or further information, please contact the conference organisers at muslimsinbritainrn@gmail.com
Strongly recommended for:
Arts, culture and heritage practitioners, professionals and policy makers
Academics and professionals researching Muslims in Britain
Organisations working with Muslim communities in the UK
Equality and diversity professionals
Speakers Biographies:
Professor Alison Scott-Baumann (MBRN Chair/SOAS)
Alison is Professor of Society and Belief at the Centre of Islamic Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Recent publication include the book Islamic Education in Britain: new pluralist paradigms, with Dr Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor. Alison is also Principal Investigator for the AHRC grant 2015-18 ‘Re/presenting Islam on campus’. She is the Chair of the Muslims in Britain Research Network (MBRN).
Dr Stephen H. Jones (MBRN General Secretary/Newman University)
Stephen is a Research Fellow at Newman University, Birmingham, and Associate Director of the Centre for Science, Knowledge and Belief in Society. He is a sociologist specialising in Islam in the UK, with research interests in religion and social change, faith-based political participation, religion and education and the impact of public policy on religious organisations. He is General Secretary of the Muslims in Britain Research Network (MBRN).
Sara Choudhrey (Digital Islamic Art, PhD Candidate, University of Kent)
Sara Choudhrey is a practice-based researcher currently completing her PhD at University of Kent, on the topic of digital Islamic art in the UK. Sara combines traditional pattern-making using geometry and floral motifs with digital techniques to create hybrid art-forms, exploring themes of space, place, border and order.
Dr Fatima Zahra Hassan (Visual Artist & Independent Scholar)
‘Zahra’ was educated at the National College of Art, Lahore and Royal College of Art, London where she received her MA. She went on to do a PhD in Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts from the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts. She has taught extensively on Indian, Mughal & Persian miniature painting and drawing, decorative arts of the Muslim World. Her work is in private and corporate collections including HRH The Prince of Wales.
Luqman Ali (Artistic Director, Khayaal Theatre)
Luqman initially trained in the sciences of Islam and the languages (Arabic, Persian and Urdu), literature and cultures of the Middle East and the Indian Sub-continent. He then spent a decade working as a linguist, writer and translator before serving for 3 years as programmes manager for a London-based humanitarian NGO. In 1997, Luqman co-founded Khayaal, the first professional theatre company dedicated to the exploration of classic Muslim literature through contemporary stagecraft as a means of fostering greater intercultural and interfaith engagement and understanding. Luqman was commissioned by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 2015 to provide consultancy on conflict-resolution and peace-building in Sudan. He is currently working to nurture an inclusive humanitarian discourse of story and dream in Muslim communities and between those communities and wider society through Khayaal’s national on-demand theatre-without-walls programme while also developing the company’s next medium scale production exploring the intersection of Britain and Islam in the story of coffee.
Dr Carl Morris (University of Central Lancashire)
Dr Carl Morris is a lecturer in Religion, Culture and Society. His primary research interests relate to Muslims in Britain, sociology of religion, music, spirituality and popular culture. He is currently engaged in an ongoing project looking at other forms of cultural production by Muslims in Britain (e.g., television, comedy, film etc). Dr Morris was General Secretary of the Muslims in Britain Research Network between 2014-17.
Mobeen Butt (MBRN/Muslim Museum)
Mobeen is the Founder of the Muslim Museum Initiative, which explore the 1,400 year relationship between Britain and Islam, and celebrates the arts, heritage and culture of Muslims in Britain. He leads the AYA Foundation developing and delivering culturally specific projects. He is a Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, and a Fellow of the Ariane de Rothschild: Social Entrepreneurship and Cross Cultural Network. He is an Executive Committee Member of the Muslims in Britain Research Network.
Dr William Barylo (Affiliate Researcher, EHESS (Paris))
Will is researching the articulations between diasporic cultures, religions and hyper-modernity from a decolonial and restorative perspective. He is a film-maker having directed the documentary ‘Polish Muslims: an unexpected meeting.’ He is also a blogger for the Huffington Post UK and author of the book ‘Young Muslim Change-Makers.’
Shahnaz Akhter (PhD Candidate, Warwick University)
Shahnaz is a part time PhD student at the Department of Politics and International Studies at Warwick University, where her focus is the Public Discourse of British Muslims and how the term moderate Muslim is constructed.
Isa Sulaiman Noorudeen (Co-Founder, DOT)
Isa is a University of the Arts graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Digital Media Production. He is the Assistant Producer and Presenter of the British Muslim TV show, Artizen, which focuses on Art, Culture and Spirituality. After seeing a gap in support for Muslim Artists in the UK, Isa co-founded DOT- Documenting Our Tradition-  a guild to support creative Muslims. Isa hails from Colombia and uses his mixed heritage to inspire his art.
Shaheen Kasmani (Freelance Artist)
Shaheen is a surface pattern and textile designer. Her background is in language, literature and education and graduated from the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in London, completing her MA in Visual Islamic Traditional Arts.  Her specialism is in principally using traditional patterns and motifs, in both conventional and contemporary contexts. Shaheen’s work is about history, heritage, culture and conversation, and learning and education.
Faisal Hussain (Director, True Form Projects)
Faisal creates works that undermine lazy stereotypes and highlight missing histories and overlooked facts. Whether in music, on a T–shirt or a sign outside a kebab shop, the work is often presented in different environments to get closer to all audiences. Using humour and elements of memory, his work questions perceptions about identity, duality and difference.
Mohammed Ali MBE (Founder, Soul City Arts)
Mohammed has been a pioneer in the street-art movement, fusing street art with Islamic script and patterns, delivering powerful and moving messages. His ethos of “taking art to the people” has evolved to combine street art with live performances, installations, digital projections and moving soundscapes. He has worked in the US, Malaysia, Australia, Dubai, Netherlands and many other places including the Vatican.
Dr Nazneen Ahmed (Research Associate – UCL)
Nazneen is a creative writer and Research Associate on the AHRC funded research project “Making Suburban Faith: Design, material culture and popular creativity”. She is based in the geography department at University College London. From 2011-2014 Nazneen was Research Assistant in COMPAS and the History department at Oxford, working on the Leverhulme funded Oxford Diasporas project “Religious Faith, Space and Diasporic Communities in the East End, 1880-present” , focusing on Muslim settlement in East London.
Dr Irfan Malik (Independent Researcher)
Irfan has been a GP in Nottingham for over 20 years. Over the past three years he has developed a keen interest in undivided India’s role in the First World War and the contribution of Muslim soldiers.
Haroon Ravat (Director, Xtra Mile West Midlands)
Haroon Ravat is Director of Xtra Mile West Midlands, a community interest company that specialises in delivering arts and educational initiatives in deprived, inner city areas. Activist in Asian Arts and currently employed as Community Cohesion Officer at Walsall Council, Haroon has a wealth of experience in the development and support of arts programmes.
Izzy Mohammed (University of Birmingham)
Izzy is a cultural sector practitioner. He has an MA in Museums Studies and has worked in Museums and Archives since 2000. Over the past 12 years, he has worked with over 450 community groups and organisations, assisting over 200 cultural projects in the process. He continues this work as a project manager for HLF funded projects, including Connected Histories: Muslims in the First World War and the highly anticipated Knights of the Raj. He is a trustee of Groups for Education in Museums (GEM), and Committee Member for HLF West Midlands. He is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Birmingham. He is co-founder of Future Seed CIC, a not for profit organisation working in the cultural and community sectors, seeking to improve representation and engagement of disadvantaged and disempowered groups.
Neelam Hussain (Curator, Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham)
Neelam is the curator of the Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern Manuscripts at the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham with an interest in Islamic book arts and developments in Islamic literature and thought. She is also a PhD candidate and Co-Ordinator of The Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies (TIMES) Post-Graduate Forum.
Dr Jamil Sherif (East London Mosque Archives)
Jamil Sherif is author of a well-received biography on Abdullah Yusuf Ali, translator and interpreter of the Qur’an. His current interests are in Muslim institutional archives and also the history of London-based Muslim social and political activism. He was founding chair of the Muslim Council of Britain’s Research & Documentation Committee and continues to be a member.
Tas Bashir (University of Birmingham)
Tas has produced over a 100 arts projects, covering many creative fields including film production and exhibition, music research and production, architecture research and design, data visualisation, creative writing, photography, graphic design, sound art and installation based conceptual art, as well as, artist mentoring and professional career development. He is driven by a strong belief that art can transform lives and help create a more compassionate world. He has an avid interest in ‘Sufis’, more particularly, mystics originally from India, who combine poetry, music, and sacred sounds to transport their listeners. He is undertaking a PhD at the University of Birmingham looking at the cultural history of qawwali music in Birmingham from 1978 to 1984.
Dr Scott Wilson (University of Birmingham)
Scott is a Reader in the Music Department of the Universoty of Birmingham, where he teaches composition and works with the Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre (BEAST).
Ayesha Khan (PhD Candidate, Cardiff University)
Ayesha is a PhD student at the Islam-UK Centre in Cardiff University and a member of the MBRN committee. She has previously completed her undergraduate and masters degree in Religion and Theology. She is currently researching contemporary Sufism amongst young British Muslims. She is an Executive Committee Member of the Muslims in Britain Research Network.
Mirina Paananen (Student, University of Oxford)
Mirina is a postgraduate student at the University of Oxford, researching the recited Qur’an and the Islamic musical tradition. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Cambridge, before studying traditional Islamic Sciences in Egypt, Jordan and the UK, obtaining traditional authorisations in Qur’anic recitation and instruction. Having also been classically musically trained, she enjoys teaching music and conducts a Muslim children’s choir.
Anna Nayyar (Research Director, Vivacity – Peterborough Museum & Art Gallery)
Anita is a Poet, Senior Researcher and Creative Director. She runs a cultural events Collective in Peterborough called Soulfood Productions which aims to bring communities together through the arts. Soulfood have recently hosted a Moroccan craftsman for a leather bookbinding & embossing workshop and a Hip Hop Open Mic event headlined by London artists Poetic Pilgrimage. In research Anita has been lead researcher for National Theatre play ‘Another World- Losing our Children to ISIS’ and has recently researched and curated an exhibition and performance piece for Peterborough Museum on the history of Muslim song in the city.
Ismael Lea South (Project Manager, Black Muslims in British History)
Ismael is the Director of The Salam Project, a BME youth and community initiative. He is also the co – founder of the ‘UK African & African Caribbean Muslim Association’ which is a non-sectarian umbrella organisation of UK-based African & African Caribbean Muslim organisations in the UK. Fed up of the lack of diversity of so called British Muslims print media and the lack of acknowledgement of Black Muslims in Black British print media he co-founded – The Black Muslim Times (with Halimat Shode) an online magazine that promotes positive images of Black British Muslims in the UK.
Dr Abdul-Azim Ahmed (On Religion Magazine)
Abdul-Azim has completed a doctorate researching the role and function of mosques in Britain at Cardiff University. He is currently working as a researcher for an equality charity in Wales and working towards the publication of a book on British mosques. He is Editor of On Religion Magazine.
Dr Sadek Hamid (MBRN)
Sadek has written widely about British Muslims, young people, religious activism and radicalisation. He is author of Sufis, Salafis and Islamists: The Contested Ground of British Islamic Activism (I. B. Tauris, 2016), is editor of Young British Muslims: Between Rhetoric and Realities (Routledge, 2016) and co-editor of Youth Work and Islam: a Leap of Faith for Young People (2011).
Razwan Baig (Calligrapher & Collector of Islamic Art)
Razwan is a collector, philanthropist and calligrapher. He has a keen research interest in Islamic manuscripts. He has amassed a significant collection of Islamic artefacts includes Qurans, metalwork, ceramics, jewellery, lacquer, coins, seals, textiles, and his pieces have contributed to more than 20 international exhibitions worldwide.
Razwan Ul-Haq (Artist & Author)
Razwan is a UMIST graduate and after completing postgraduate studies at the University of Manchester, experienced Headship at a comparatively young age. He left to pursue a career in Art and writing. His Art has been widely exhibited, and he regularly gives talks about his books.
Ladan Razeghi (Graphic Designer & Independent Filmmaker)
Ladan has been working on documentaries and TV shows for the past 8 years as editor, graphic designer and director. Highly skilled in editing, graphic design and documentary film, her real love is for mixing fields of creativity, art, technology and politics which expands her knowledge and understanding of current social/political events.
Abid Hussain (Director of Diversity, Arts Council England)
Abid Hussain is Director, Diversity at Arts Council England. He has over a decade of experience working in the arts and cultural sector with a particular interest in leadership, talent development and philanthropic giving. He is an alumnus of the International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) and a member of the John Adams Society, which promotes cultural, social and educational collaboration between the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Abid has served in an advisory role for the British Council, the Institute for Community Cohesion, Eton College and currently sits on the BBC’s Audience Council in the Midlands.
Catherine Roe (Amal / Said Foundation)
Catherine has over 20 years’ experience of creating, developing and leading foundations and advising philanthropists and not-for-profits. For 12 years, Catherine was Director of the Said Foundation, working to effect lasting change in the lives of disadvantaged children and high potential young people in the Middle East.  As Director of the Said Business School Foundation, Catherine helped to create and develop Oxford University’s Said Business School.  Catherine began her career as a British diplomat, specialising in multilateral negotiation.  She has a Masters in History from Oxford University, an MBA from London Business School and a Masters in Middle East Studies from SOAS.
Iqbal Nasim (Chief Executive, National Zakat Foundation)
Iqbal is the CEO of the National Zakat Foundation. Prior to joining NZF, Iqbal worked in the finance sector for 5 years. He holds an MSc in Voluntary Sector Management from Cass Business School and an MA in Economics and Management from Cambridge University.
Hassan Mahamdalie (Project Manager, Aziz Foundation & Writer)
Hassan is a playwright, writer, journalist and specialist in diversity in the arts. A senior arts policy maker, he authored Arts Council England’s unique approach: The Creative Case for Diversity. He was until recently Director of the Muslim Institute, and helps edit its journal Critical Muslim, for which he is also its roving reporter. He is the founder of theatre company Dervish Productions. His latest play The Crows Plucked Your Sinews, about Somalis in Britain and Britain in Somalia, has just finished its second tour. His next play is in development with the Royal Court theatre in London. Published books include a biography of Victorian artist/activist William Morris and a history of Black British Radicals. He has just been appointed by the Aziz Foundation to develop and open a new Muslim-centred arts complex in central London, as part of the major redevelopment of the Trocadero site in Piccadilly.
Dr Rula M. Al-Abdulrazak (Senior Lecturer, University of East London)
Rula is Branding and Global Marketing specialist with diverse experience in oil industry, consultancy & higher education. She obtained her MBA, and PhD ‘Branded Nation: a comparative review with reference to Syria and the UAE’ from University of London. She researches in cultural branding and trust.
Zain Dada (co-Founder, Khidr Collective)
Zain is an artist, writer & organiser based in North London. Zain co-founded Decolonising Our Minds, a group which aims to deconstruct legacies of colonialism. He recently co-founded Khidr Collective, a group of Muslim artists and organisers facilitating more spaces for Muslim youth. Their current project, a bi-annual magazine was funded by Amal & crowd funded by donors in communities and internationally.
Adrian Banting (University of East London)
Adrian is a researcher with an interest in the politics of love, race and religion. He recently submitted his PhD at the University of East London, entitled ‘Muslims and the Politics of Love in Contemporary British Fiction’. His thesis seeks to explore the relationship between literature and multicultural politics in Britain. Adrian has also worked as Research Fellow on the AHRC-funded project, ‘Digital Technology and Human Vulnerability: Towards an Ethical Praxis’ at the University of Birmingham, and as a Teaching Fellow at SOAS, University of London on their English programme.
Dr Amina Yaqin (SOAS)
Amina is Senior Lecturer in Urdu and Postcolonial Studies, English, School of Arts, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, SOAS. Her research interests include colonial and postcolonial literary and cultural studies. She is co-author (with Peter Morey) of Framing Muslims: stereotyping and representation after 9/11 (Harvard University Press) and co-editor of Culture, Diaspora and Modernity in Muslim Writing (Routledge). She has served as the Director of the Centre for the Study of Pakistan and co-Director of the Centre for Gender Studies. She was Co-Director of the AHRC funded International Research Network Framing Muslims from 2007-2010 and for ‘Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue’ a research project funded by the Research Councils UK. She is currently working on two co-edited volumes, Contesting Islamophobia and Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue: New Directions and her monograph.
Professor Peter Morey (University of Birmingham)
Peter Morey is Chair in 20th Century English Literature at the University of Birmingham. He specialises in colonial and postcolonial literature, culture and theory, with a particular interest in issues of race, nation and diaspora in South Asian writing. He is co-author (with Amina Yaqin) of Framing Muslims: Stereotype and Representation after 9/11 (Harvard University Press, 2011): and joint editor of a collection of essays entitled Culture, Identity and Diaspora in Muslim Writing (Routledge, 2012). Between 2012 and 2015 he was an RCUK Global Uncertainties Leadership Fellow heading the Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue project. Prior to that, from 2007 to 2010 he was Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded Framing Muslims international research network. His latest book,  Islamophobia and the Novel is being publiched by Columbia University Press in early 2018 and two other co-edited books are forthcoming: Muslims, Trust and Multiculturalism (Palgrave), and Contesting Islamophobia (IB Tauris).
Saimma Dyer (Director, Chickpea Press)
Saimma is the co-founder and managing director of Chickpea Press, a multifaith children’s publishing house which produces books and workshops on spiritual themes. She is also a trustee and events manager for Threshold Society UK, a non-profit educational foundation based on the teachings of Mevlana Rumi with the purpose of facilitating the experience of Divine Unity, Love, and Truth in the world; and a member of Rumi’s Circle, a non-profit interfaith community initiative promoting spiritual dialogue through music and poetry. She writes about faith and feminism, among other things, for The Living Tradition channel on Patheos Muslim blog.
Fatimah Ashrif (Founder, Rumi’s Circle)
Rumi’s Circle is a group of people inspired by their love of Mevlana Rumi to come together to share and understand his wisdom. They hold national poetry and music events, coffee shop poetry reflections, talks and workshops about Mevlana Rumi and his work, and introductory whirling workshops explaining and demonstrating the whirling dervish tradition.
Mohammed Nazam (Founder, Berakah Arts & Guitarist, Composer, Teacher)
Mo started playing the guitar at age 15 and since has gone on to play with some of the most talented musicians and bands in the UK, including The Pasadenas, BBMak, Percy Sledge, The Jazz Warriors, legendary lyricist for Cream Pete Brown and pop song writing team Stock, Aitken and Waterman. Mo enjoys teaching and specialises in all modern styles including Blues, Rock, Jazz and Funk. In 2005 Mohammed founded The Berakah Project, a multi-faith ensemble featuring musicians from Jewish, Christian and Muslim backgrounds. Berakah is an innovative organisation dedicated to crossing boundaries of race, religion and culture through the arts. Their core aim is to build bridges, promote dialogue and increase understanding between people of different faiths. Music can often build bridges that other methods cannot, especially if there is a powerful and positive message in the music itself.
Sadiya Ahmed (Founder, Everyday Muslim Heritage and Archive Initiative)
Sadiya is Director and Founder of Khizra Foundation, established in 2010 to tackle the lack of representation of the Muslim community across the heritage sector. Subsequently, the Everyday Muslim Heritage and Archive Initiative was established in 2013, as an umbrella project that has formally begun to archive of British Muslim life in the UK.
AbdulMaalik Tailor (Director, Muslim History Tours)
AbdulMaalik is Director of Muslim History Tours and Britain’s first professionally qualified Muslim tour guide. He has a keen interest in developing halal tourism in the UK.
Saba Khan (CEO, ArtEase)
Saba makes powerful, dynamic art exploring random, surreal moments in our sensual, emotional, spiritual and geopolitical lives.  Concerned with constructed truths, advantages, disadvantages of branded society, she examines unknown and unseen moments in the everyday choices people make.  Saba is CEO of ArtEase that provides creative workshops to explore work and life.
Teakster (Digital & Graphic Artist)
Teakster is an award-winning artist whose artistic style is a fusion of Islamic artistic traditions and modern techniques inspired by his British upbringing. His work has been featured in publications and exhibitions for over a decade. He has exhibited his work to a diverse range of audience’s, including various world leaders and Middle Eastern royalty.
Salma Zulfiqar (Humanitarian Artist)
Salma is an abstract artist and  her work has been inspired by her humanitarian work for the United Nations. For Salma, art is a vehicle to raise awareness of the humanitarian scenes she has witness over the past 15 years in many countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, Chad, Yemen, Egypt and Turkey.
Hassan Vawda (Community Arts Programmer)
Hassan is a visual artist, poet and community arts advocate. He is involved in many community art programmes, both grass root initiatives and programmes in larger institutions such as TATE. He has recently been awarded a scholarship at Goldsmiths to start in September 2017, to research and develop methods of nurturing creative expression to British Muslim communities.