MBRN AGM, Sept 2015 – Minutes

Muslims in Britain Research Network Annual General Meeting

Wednesday 16th September 2015, Oxford

The AGM formed part of the MBRN event with Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, ‘Poverty and British Muslims: Identifying Problems and Proposing Solutions’.

Professor Sophie Gilliat-Ray (University of Cardiff), MBRN Chair
Mobeen Butt (AYA Foundation, Muslim Museum Initiative), MBRN Committee Member
Chris Moses (University of Cambridge), MBRN Committee Member

Dr Carl Morris (University of Central Lancashire), MBRN General Secretary

Others Present:
c. 40 attendees


Professor Sophie Gilliat-Ray opened the meeting by thanking OCIS for hosting and explained the MBRN’s objectives and activities to the audience, many of whom had not attended an MBRN event before.

Chris Moses, in the absence of Dr Carl Morris, laid out recent MBRN finances. These entailed the following points:
–       MBRN turnover is small (cf. other academic organisations)
–       Last MBRN event, which drew on the resources of UCLan, was cost-neutral
–       This is quite standard – MBRN events tend to tie in with a host organisation
–       Ahead of payment from eventbrite for Oxford event, MBRN has £60 in the bank
–       Main overhead is yearly charge for the website
–       Income from events, such as this one, goes towards paying expenses for main event participants, and sometimes subsidising postgraduate speakers speaking at MBRN events (as per event at UCLan)

Professor Gilliat-Ray discussed parts of the recent MBRN survey coordinated by Dr Carl Morris, which has been helpful in sounding out the interests and ideas of the MBRN audience. The MBRN Committee will look into the survey results in more detail and develop plans – e.g., involving more volunteers – in due course. To some extent, the MBRN is limited by the time constraints of its Committee.

General MBRN developments raised by the committee representatives included:
–       Turning the MBRN facebook page into a facebook group, to encourage more user involvement
–       Developing online resources, e.g. video/sound recordings of events
–       Fringe events around MBRN events, e.g. arts
–       Further MBRN panels, such as at BRAIS conferences
–       Developing an edited collection based on MBRN conference with large number of presentations

Comments from the audience members present included:
–       In the era of increased stress on impact in academia, bringing together academics and practitioners is important. Also conducive to social good.
–       Practitioners should also let academics know of their priorities for research.

Re: the MBRN mailing list: (i) not all present were on the mailing list but they would be added shortly, (ii) the Committee encouraged the audience to make use of the mailing list for research and networking purposes.

Professor Gilliat-Ray concluded the AGM, thanking OCIS for hosting this event, confirming that the next MBRN event will be held in Birmingham in April 2016 (thanks to Dr Chris Allen), and welcoming future offers of hosting MBRN events  (which also give the opportunity for those hosting to showcase some of their work).