The following Review of Activities for Southlands Methodist Trust for September 2017 to August 2018 provides the same content as the downloadable pdf and printed versions of the SMT Review of Activities. In addition to the overview provided by this website as a whole, this report focuses on specific activities in the latest completed year.
The Trustees of the Southlands Methodist Trust (SMT) are excited by the opportunity to share the range of activities with which the SMT engages through Southlands College, the Methodist Church and the University of Roehampton, as well as the work which financial and other assistance from the Trust enables. The charitable purposes of the Trust, its position within the collegiate University, and its reach into the broader learning life of the Church all provide the opportunity for creative and innovative interventions which can have a real impact on learning and practice throughout those institutions and in wider society. Year on year we have achieved a broader reach and greater impact and this review will give you a helpful impression of that.
The activities of the Trust are described in the following pages under these headings. Thank you for taking an interest in the Southlands Methodist Trust. Please do contact the Trustees if you would like to work with us and help shape what we become in future years.
Objectives and Activities
The aims and purposes of the charity are:
- as part of the work carried out through the Discipleship and Ministries Learning Network, to support in association with the College and University the development of Christian, and specifically Methodist, scholarship, research and innovation, of local, national and global significance and to facilitate the public dissemination of such developments.
- to enable members of the Methodist community and wider public in Britain and internationally to benefit from the academic and other expertise and experience within the College and the University and the facilities available within them.
- to enrich the community life of the College and the work of its chaplaincy in ways that reflect its Methodist values and ethos.
- to maintain and develop the relationship between the Methodist Church, the College and the University in the context of developing the contribution made to the work carried out through the Discipleship and Ministries Learning Network.
- to further the wider charitable purposes of the Methodist Church through close working with the other persons and bodies responsible for the work carried out through the Discipleship and Ministries Learning Network.
The Susanna Wesley Foundation
The Susanna Wesley Foundation (SWF) is a community of scholarship, research and innovation based at Southlands College. Its staff and activities are sponsored primarily by the SMT, while some additional funding and resources (such as physical space, IT and technical support, health and safety, security, and other institutional services) are provided by the University of Roehampton, without cost to the Trust. The SWF forms the main activity of the SMT in the delivery of the first, second and fourth charitable purposes of the charity. It was developed over a number of years by the Trustees to provide a focus and strategic direction for the Trust in generating its scholarship, research and innovation.
The subject areas engaged with by the SWF were generated out of a Connexion-wide consultation run by the Methodist Church in Britain to discern the needs of the Church in scholarship, research and innovation. Out of the responses received in that consultation came an overwhelming view amongst Methodists that attention to the practice, organisation and leadership of the Church and its churches was needed. While many Methodist institutions already offered traditional theological education, the Trustees saw Southlands College and the University of Roehampton as having a unique ability to offer into the Church the context for a new type of scholarly centre focused on the more practical elements of church life. This centre would best enable the Church to learn from the resources of the College and the University, which contain academic departments well equipped to consider questions in this field.
In discussion with senior Connexional Team officers, the SWF came into existence and its way of working has been designed to ensure a portfolio of activities which can respond well to the changing needs of the Church. These needs are expressed to the Foundation formally, through planned conversations with those in leadership roles, but they are also expressed informally through the large number of conversations and partnerships which take place and develop between staff of the Foundation and people in local Methodist contexts experiencing grass-roots Methodism.
Our aims and approach
Reflecting on action, encouraging dialogue and informing practice continue to be key to the Foundation’s approach and identity. In 2017-2018, SWF engaged in practical theology and inter-disciplinary study. Issues around diversity, learning, and the processes of change within the churches were key themes, along with questions of leadership in church contexts. Its work was informed by a commitment to participation and conversation, reflected in the methodologies adopted for various research projects and in the planning and delivery of its conferences and other activities.
2017-18 saw a small expansion of SWF’s staff team, with the recruitment of another Research Officer (0.3 fte) and a Communications and Resources Officer (0.4 fte) to work on the development of online content and learning resources arising out of the research commissioned by the Foundation. The Director (0.5 fte), Deputy Director (1.0 fte), Senior Research Officer (0.8 fte), and Administrator (0.6 fte) remained in place alongside these additional staff. SWF continued to build its wider community by involving its Honorary Research Fellows and Associates (both practitioners and academics), and the doctoral students whom it sponsors, together with academics from within the University of Roehampton, in its conversations and events.
The SWF website continues to be a window on to the work of the Foundation, providing accounts of the Foundation’s research activities, reports and papers from different projects, video footage of conferences and seminars, records of interviews with those involved in the Foundation’s work, and publicity for SWF events, courses and conferences. The appointment of the Communications and Resources Officer has helped the Foundation to enhance its online presence, including on Facebook and Twitter, and thereby to expand the reach of its work to new communities.
The year saw the continuation, and completion of some projects started in 2016-17 together with some new initiatives. Below are some examples of both continuing and new activities.
SWF continued its theological action research project with TARN, the Theological Action Research Network, based at the University of Roehampton. The project’s Principal Investigator is a Reader from Roehampton’s ministerial theology team but the project has also involved ministers and academics from a range of backgrounds, along with the Deputy Director. The focus is ‘collaborative learning communities for collaborative ministry and mission’ and the project has explored practice in various Methodist contexts. During 2017-18 the project team expanded to include a group from the Learning Network of the Methodist Church in Britain, and also some staff and students at the Queen’s Foundation. The project has begun to illuminate practice, and to uncover some key questions around both community learning within the Church and how it can be resourced to benefit the Church’s mission and ministry.
A pilot project in 2016-17 involving a Senior Lecturer in the University of Roehampton’s School of Education explored perspectives of head teachers and school chaplains in Methodist schools in relation to their understanding and practice of leadership, and of issues of equality, diversity and inclusion. A paper and facilitated conversation arose out of this project during 2017-18, resulting in the planning of an expanded project for 2018-19 which will involve a wider range of stakeholders.
A project entitled ‘A Northern Gospel? What Good News is at the heart of flourishing Church within their communities in the North of England’ began in January 2018. The project is seeking to explore whether mission in ‘the North’ has a particular approach. Flourishing community churches, Methodist and other, have been identified across the North of England to inform this research. The project continues into 2018-19, and it is anticipated that the findings will help to inform questions around identity, diversity, culture, and leadership, and have something to offer into SWF’s wider work around transforming communities.
A number of projects in 2017-18 examined different aspects of church leadership, a contested area academically, theologically, and in relation to practice. These projects link to a continuing focus on transformational change since an examination of how change happens within churches is inevitably intertwined with questions about the practice of leadership.
Our events, involvements and partnerships
SWF’s ‘Changing Church’ conference, held in September 2017, attracted over 70 attendees and involved both academics (from the University of Roehampton and elsewhere), and practitioners (from Methodist and other denominations, and from faith organisations). A series of case studies were used to unpick features of change processes and the issues involved. A paper on transformational change which grew out of a SWF colloquium held earlier in 2017 helped to shape some of the input and opened up debate. ‘Transforming communities’ emerged as an important theme for SWF.
The ‘Changing Church’ conference also provided material for an online course, also entitled ‘Changing Church’, which was run as a joint venture with the Catherine of Siena College (CSC), a provider of online education that is part of the University of Roehampton. Associates of the Susanna Wesley Foundation developed and delivered the programme, which will be run again in 2018-19. Meanwhile, a course run in collaboration with CSC previously, ‘Women, Leadership & Ministry’, was re-designed and offered again during 2017-18.
SWF again delivered a joint event with MODEM (a national, ecumenical, Christian network). A residential conference titled ‘What is the church for? Mobilising and organising beyond Sunday morning’ was held at Sarum College. The Deputy Director was one of the organisers and received proposals for a roundtable session, resulting in interesting conversations and contacts for potential future work and collaboration.
A colloquium ‘Facilitating the Faith Sector’, led by one of SWF’s Honorary Research Fellows, brought together academics and practitioners at Sarum College in November 2017. Papers on different fields of study were presented at the event, each considering how far the particular area of study might contribute to understandings of practice and assist in dealing with the issues faced by those involved in the management, leadership and organisation of the faith sector. A small group is taking forward the learning from the event with a view to planning some related activities in 2018-19.
A workshop on resilience in ministry, delivered in March 2018 in the London Methodist District as part of the continuing development in ministry programme, grew out of research carried out for SWF in 2016-17 by a Methodist chaplain.
The Foundation ran a second conference in the summer of 2018 entitled ‘Leaderful Church’. The programme enabled conversation and participation, encouraging people to think about how the emerging insights might have application in their own contexts. The author of a recently published book on church leadership was the keynote speaker, and a panel conversation involved two District Chairs, a SWF Honorary Research Fellow, and a theologian based at the University of Roehampton.
In 2018-19, seminars, symposia and colloquia will provide opportunities for the Foundation to share its research findings and to generate conversations around issues of interest to the Methodist Church and other churches. These will take place alongside continuing projects, new projects and work arising out of previous research, as follows:
- The TARN/SWF theological action research project will begin to draw together some of its findings from the various Methodist contexts which have been involved in the research.
- Research around leadership in Methodist schools will be developed further, involving a wider range of participants.
- Work on questions of diversity and inclusion will continue, building on the 2016-17 project ‘Cultural Diversity in Ministry’ and other earlier work around different dimensions of diversity.
- SWF will continue to sponsor doctoral students, and will draw on the work and knowledge of those students whose studies have reached a more advanced stage.
- Activities arising out of the colloquium ‘Facilitating the Faith Sector’ will be planned and delivered in 2018-19.
- SWF will continue to work with the Catherine of Siena College to identify areas of interest and to produce, deliver and tutor online courses.
- Leadership will continue to be a theme in a number of the Foundation’s research projects – ‘Leadership & Methodism’, ‘Leadership in the World Parish’, ‘Clergy Well-being and Healthy Leadership’.
- The theme of change and transformation – and the notion of ‘transforming communities’ – will continue to feature in SWF’s work.
- ‘Compassionate organisations’ will be the subject of a small-scale project
- An edited book ‘Migration and Faith Communities’, arising out of SWF’s 2016 conference, is expected to be published in 2019. The Foundation will also begin to plan other publications.
- The SWF will hold its annual conference in June 2019.
The Susanna Wesley Foundation will continue to take advantage of the resources available to it through the University, to use these to the best advantage of the Methodist Church in Britain, to involve both academics and practitioners in its work, and to engage with the Church at different ‘levels’ and in different contexts. Its core purpose will continue to be to help the Church to enhance its self-understanding and develop its practice through research, reflection and dialogue.
Fulfilling the aim of the SMT to enrich the community life of Southlands College and its chaplaincy, the Trustees have continued to sponsor a range of activities within both the College’s Methodist chapel and through its Methodist chaplaincy, and also to encourage and support the wider provision of multi-faith chaplaincy work for the whole of the University community.
The major contribution of the Trust in this area in 2017-18 was to sponsor the employment of a Chaplaincy Community Worker (CCW). This is a new role that evolved from the pre-existing Chaplaincy Assistant role. The CCW role focuses on three areas of work:
- Strengthening our ecumenical relationships through supporting the establishment of an intentional Christian Student community house on campus (Barat House, overseen by the Digby Stuart College and Southlands College chaplains), and performing a continuing leadership role within this community.
- Supporting the work of Southlands Chapel and the Southlands College Team in the nurturing of community across Southlands College.
- Being an active member of the University’s wider multi-faith chaplaincy team.
The CCW role is intended to provide the opportunity for someone to work for two or three years in a faith context to explore their own vocation, to develop their working skills, and to help boost the work of the chaplaincy. The appointed CCW held the role for six months and during this time he assisted with the establishment of an ecumenical student community house on campus, contributed to the activities of the whole multi-faith team, and shared in the chaplaincy work of Southlands College alongside the Southlands College Chaplain. During this time the CCW was supported in vocational exploration which included completing his Theology degree at Roehampton University. With the CCW role vacant from March 2018 the decision was made to reappoint in time for the next academic year.
The chaplaincy hosts a range of events and runs student and staff engagement programmes across the University campus. During 2017-18 this included weekly community lunches, regular well-being tea parties, Sunday evening socials, craft-based activities and music events. The chaplaincy also supported wider University activities such as the Winter Wonderland fair, volunteering fair and Freshers’ events. These activities bring together groups from within the University that might otherwise not meet, creating opportunities for pastoral encounters and support. They enable student engagement and also promote the chaplaincy and welfare services, as well as supplementing the wider activities of the University and Roehampton Students’ Union.
Also core to the chaplaincy activities are regular acts of worship. At the Southlands Chapel these include morning prayer, mid-week worship and occasional Sunday evening service. A number of events were organised with the specific purpose of enriching the community within Southlands College. These included a Music and Mocktails evenings, and a celebration of the appointment of our new College flat reps.
In addition to the regular programme of events, the chaplaincy led a variety of ecumenical services and activities. These include coffee mornings, lunches and activities throughout Freshers’ Week, a Remembrance Day service, a Transgender Remembrance service, the University carol service, and opportunities to celebrate Shrove Tuesday, Lent and Easter.
The chaplaincy also ran a series of events celebrating the different faiths on campus and providing opportunities for education. This was accompanied by the development of a chaplaincy social media strategy that marked key faith events. Events included the marking of Holocaust Memorial Day, supporting the Hindu Society with celebrating the festival of Holi, and celebrating with our Islamic Societies their charity and fundraising work.
In addition to supporting the work of the chaplaincy itself in 2017-18, the Trust also continued to provide small grants to students involved in the life of the College chapel, encouraging participation and engagement, and issuing small scholarships to nurture musical and leadership talent within the context of chapel activities.
Moving into 2018-19, the Trust will continue to sponsor the Southlands College chaplaincy in the main ways it has in 2017-18, including meeting small costs associated with chaplaincy work at Southlands which enrich the College community and develop its Methodist ethos.
The SMT-funded CCW role will continue to enhance the student experience and create opportunities for developing and celebrating the community, including the support of the Barat House intentional community and the promotion and oversight of the Southlands Venture.
Enriching the College Community
An important part of the work of the SMT is to enrich the community life of Southlands College, specifically in ways that reflect its Methodist values and ethos, and, through this, to maintain and develop the relationship between the Methodist Church, the College and the University of Roehampton. During 2017-18 work to achieve this aim included the following areas.
The Southlands Venture
Coordinated by the Southlands College Chaplaincy Community Worker, the Southlands Venture is a project designed to encourage students to engage with the local community through development, volunteering and campaigning projects focused on issues of importance to the Methodist Church. This project is entirely sponsored by the SMT.
2017-18 saw the continuation of the Venture under a model established in 2014-15, providing small grants to students for projects they wished to lead, thus ensuring a strong level of commitment, participation and sustainability.
The Trustees remain committed to the Southlands Venture and wish to see it continue into future years. They hope to broaden the reach of the Venture to a wider range of students by including wider representation from the chaplaincy team amongst its leadership.
Nurturing alumni relationships
Important to the development of a meaningful College community is the work done at Southlands in sustaining proper relationships with past staff and students. The University’s alumni and development staff teams dedicate resources to a range of programmes and events. Through these events and in other ways, the College focuses its energies on sustaining links with the dispersed Southlands community, which extends back to those who attended in the 1930s, in ways which celebrate and nurture the community itself.
As such, the SMT supported the publication of a high-quality alumni magazine, which was sent to past students in January 2018. This magazine – The Southlander – is much more than a newsletter. It provides space for the Southlands College chaplaincy, the Susanna Wesley Foundation, the Southlands Venture and other specifically Methodist-focused activities of the Trust to be discussed and presented to a wide community of alumni. Support for The Southlander will continue in 2018-19.
The SMT also provided resources for the Head of Southlands College to visit a number of significant Alumni, both in order to present honorary awards and also to develop the archive’s growing record of recorded interviews with our oldest living former students.
2017-18 marked the 20th anniversary of the opening of the new Southlands College buildings on Roehampton Lane. A major alumni reunion was organised in November 2017, bringing former College members together with present staff and students to celebrate the life of the College in the modern era. Members of the SMT’s staff team contributed to the management of the event, and the SMT provided funding for the restoration of plaques retained from the former College buildings and their mounting on the walls of the present College, alongside the printing and display of photos commemorating the creation of those historic buildings. The SMT’s Archivist helped to arrange a display of historic artefacts from the College archive to coincide with the celebration.
The Archivist offered similar support to smaller alumni reunions in the College during the reporting year, at which the Head of College is ordinarily present. A number of these take place annually.
During 2018-19 the Trustees will continue to support aspects of the College’s alumni engagement which fulfil the charity’s objects, including the development of the alumni magazine and the provision of archive displays for alumni reunion events.
From time to time, the Trustees support events in the College which help either to deliver their charitable objectives directly or to promote the work of the Trust and the College to bring it to a wider audience and extend its impact.
One example of this in the reporting year was a research discussion supper, intended to encourage a conversation about and generate interest in a research project examining leadership in Methodist schools. This dinner brought together a number of academics studying Education, both within Roehampton and elsewhere, and individuals involved in the leadership of schools and of the Church’s schools oversight bodies (MIST – Methodist Independent Schools Trust, and MAST – Methodist Academies and Schools Trust). It was an evening which proved engaging and from which a number of ideas for further work emerged.
Awards, prizes and hardship/access grants
In 2017-18, the SMT continued to sponsor a range of prizes and awards for staff and students, encouraging a culture of excellence in academic achievement across the College. Of particular value to the Trust is the awarding of prizes which celebrate the history and ethos of the College, and which honour individuals and their work that promotes the Methodist identity of Southlands College. Examples of these include:
- The Susanna Wesley Award – given to a female staff member who promotes a values-focused approach, for an outstanding role in educational leadership in the College
- The Charles Wesley Award – given to a student or staff member who has contributed exceptionally to the development of community music at Southlands
- The John Wesley Award – given to a student who has contributed particularly notably to the student chapel community
- Postgraduate Award – for a postgraduate business studies student presenting a display about their work which shows special capacity for engagement with the community
In addition to these awards, the Trust, through the Head of College, offers small bursaries to students in positions of particular financial need. Some of these are attached to particular funds (the Smith, Aldridge and Southlands funds) and others are from the main Trust funds.
The Trustees intend to continue sponsoring these scholarships and bursaries in future years. They hope to develop their grant-giving in this area by engaging in projects with the College’s academic departments. In particular, the Head of College is working with the Head of the Media, Culture and Languages departments to develop a film festival of student work in the College.
IAMSCU and MTSE
The Trustees of the SMT are enthusiastic about extending the impact of the charity’s work as broadly as possible and hope to do this through working in partnership with organisations and networks associated with both the University and the wider Methodist Church.
During the reporting year, the Trustees therefore continued to support the participation of Southlands College in the IAMSCU (International Association of Methodist-related Schools, Colleges and Universities) network and the work of the Head of College as a Director of the Board of the Association. Similarly, the Trustees continued to support the College’s involvement in MTSE (Methodist Theological Schools in Europe) and its participation in MTSE activities.
In August 2018, the SMT supported the College, through the provision of funds and the time of its staff, as it hosted special meetings of both IAMSCU and MTSE at Southlands College and across the University of Roehampton. Following detailed planning meetings with the United Methodist Church’s GBHEM (General Board of Higher Education and Ministry), the Head of College hosted a meeting of the Board of Directors of IAMSCU, which coincided with a meeting of representatives of the member institutions of MTSE. These were high-profile events which helped to establish the role of Southlands College as a significant presence in Methodist Education internationally and as a hub within the UK for overseas Methodist institutions. As well as working sessions, the event included a special lunch hosted by the President of the (British) Methodist Conference, a gala dinner, and participation in the celebrations marking the 50-year anniversary of the Concordat with the United Methodist Church.
Following planning meetings with the GBHEM, the Head of College has proposed a range of possible joint working opportunities between programmes in the United Methodist Church and the SWF or Southlands communities. These include chaplaincy involvement in a programme around Wellbeing in Higher Education campuses, the development of a hub or network of institutions for the exploration of Leadership in the Church, the development of a statement of purpose for Methodists in education internationally, and the provision of teaching through United Methodist online platforms. The potential for these to be developed into meaningful collaborations will be explored in 2018-19 and in future years.
In addition to this, an outcome of the IAMSCU meeting in August was a decision to explore a collaboration between Southlands College and Union College, Kentucky, USA, to develop a teaching programme around Methodism and social action for young people. Initial work to establish the viability of this will be supported in 2018-19.
Further meetings of IAMSCU and between members of its board and working groups will take place during 2018-19.
Southlands College has a strong historic association with Methodist schools and, as one of the country’s leading providers of teacher education through the University of Roehampton, continues its work in this field. During the reporting year the Chair of Trustees and the Head of College worked in a number of forums to consider opportunities for a re-imagination of the College’s association with specifically Methodist schools and their charitable oversight bodies.
Resulting from this work, and in collaboration with associated charities and the Church’s Connexional Team, the Trustees developed and approved a proposal to offer a grant to MAST (Methodist Academies and Schools Trust). This grant will enable the charity to employ a Head of Schools, who will lead the staff team of MAST. As well as developing Methodist schools work across the country, this post holder will support the closer association of Southlands College and Methodist education across Britain.
During the reporting year, the Head of Southlands College was also appointed as a charity Director for MAST, offering further opportunities for closer associations between Southlands and the Church’s wider educational programme.
The Head of College will continue to act as Director for MAST and the SMT will support his involvement in this. That work will include recruitment of the Head of Schools and the creation of a role for them within the College and the University.
In addition to this, the SMT has also recruited a part-time Partnerships Officer. Their work will include driving forward a wide range of activities to explore and extend the College’s partnership activities, including (but not limited to) the development of the College’s involvement in Methodist education. The broad purpose of this portfolio of work will be to help reaffirm the identity of Southlands College as the Methodist Church’s University College.
The reporting year saw Southlands College engaging in a range of work with ecumenical partners, focused especially on a lived, practical ecumenism and exploring the contributions which church communities can make to one another and to society more broadly when they work, learn and think together, overstepping the limitations of rigid denominational segregation.
Activity on campus
With the appointment of the new Chaplaincy Community Worker at the beginning of the academic year, funded by the SMT, our Roman Catholic and Methodist-led ecumenical, intentional student community house – Barat House – was brought fully into being. The initial residents of the house focused on four areas of community living: prayer, social action, sharing in social time, and spiritual development. This exciting new venture is an expression of the ecumenical commitment made through Southlands and Digby Stuart Colleges. Feedback from residents at the end of the year was overwhelmingly positive:
I have really thrived from the community’s sense of purpose and spiritual engagement…as an individual I felt much more reflective, happy and mindful.”
Having been a member of this community since September I have found my personal and spiritual growth has been incredible.”
The creation of the Barat House community occurred largely in response to the desire of the College and of the Trustees of the SMT to realise more fully the ecumenical partnership signalled by the building of the new Southlands College on land provided by the Society of the Sacred Heart in the late 1990s. Celebrations of the 20th anniversary of those buildings took place in the reporting year and during that event speakers from both Colleges and from the founding bodies of both described the purposes and hopes of the people involved when making the decision to move Southlands College to its present site. The current Heads of both Colleges spoke about the renewed desire in the present day to develop a strong and meaningful partnership between the Colleges, not only in the way they work with current students of the University, but also in marking a place for the Colleges as a centre for exploring the value and purpose of Methodist–Roman Catholic ecumenism.
In Holy Week of 2018 the Trustees supported the Heads of Digby Stuart and Southlands Colleges to visit Rome to talk with leaders in ecumenism about the potential for this work. Meeting with the Director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office, the Treasurer General of the Society of the Sacred Heart (and former Vice-Chancellor of the University) and a senior officer of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, plans were made for a range of projects, not least a future pilgrimage for the Barat House community to Rome to reflect on ecumenical community living, explore the lived ecumenism of communities in that city, and potentially to experience a Papal Audience.
Research and teaching
Recognising the significance of the ecumenical commitments made when Southlands was built on its present site, research was commissioned to create a written piece specifically exploring the intentions, hopes and experiences of those directly involved in that project, both from within the Colleges and from their providing bodies. This written piece will be developed into a printed resource in the coming academic year and will be used to help frame and shape the College’s continuing involvement in ecumenical activity.
Continuing the specific focus on Methodist-Roman Catholic ecumenism, the College, through the Southlands Methodist Trust, commissioned a project to assess the scope for a major research initiative to explore social action work done by the two denominations together. This scoping work was sufficiently successful that the Trustees gave approval for a major grant to the Humanities department of the University for the completion of this study over the following two academic years. Using Theological Action Research, the project aims to examine the unique contributions and synergies of Methodists and Roman Catholics in leading social action work and to offer advice and support for those hoping to engage in similar work in the future.
Alongside this, the SMT continues to sponsor, through the Susanna Wesley Foundation, a partnership with the Catherine of Siena College (CSC), which is a Roman Catholic-led charity that offers learning opportunities online across a range of subjects. The Foundation worked with CSC leaders to develop topics relevant to its research interests, and to shape its curriculum in ways which consciously reflect on a range of denominations.
Again within the Susanna Wesley Foundation, specific projects were pursued with a focus on ecumenical collaboration, greater detail about which is available on the Foundation’s website. These ranged from the practically-focused Church Consult initiative through to more research-led activities such as a PhD exploring disability theology in conversation with Edith Stein and Susanna Wesley.
It is a developing hope that Southlands can become a hub for activity around practical ecumenism, and in particular around the ecumenical relationships between Methodist and Roman Catholic communities. Moving into the academic year 2018-19, research projects will begin or continue and sit alongside the developing Barat House community on campus and the College’s involvement in wider ecumenical ventures and partnerships, including the Catherine of Siena College and the Catholic Women Speak movement. Together these activities will demonstrate a growing body of learning and activity focused on lived ecumenism.
Developing our Historic Archives
The SMT retains ownership of the historic archives of Southlands College. During the reporting year, the Trust continued to employ a full-time Archivist, until January 2018, to improve the archive facilities, create a comprehensive and accessible catalogue of the materials, and to develop better access to those materials through a variety of means. The SMT funded this post and also the purchase of preservation and conservation materials, as well as funding some restoration work on items within the archive.
Following this work, the Head of College, the Archives Historian and the University’s History and Heritage Adviser dedicated time to a considerable improvement of the archive room, making it far more accessible to users. The Trustees believe that this project will ensure the archive plays a valuable role within the learning life of the University, the Methodist Church and more broadly for students of the history of education.
Alongside this major project, the Trust continues to support small grants through the Head of College to acquire relevant additions to the archive (such as images and books concerning the historic life of the College) and to protect and display a range of pictures and artefacts from the archive. These will illustrate the history of the College and bring it alive for those staff and students who currently occupy it. This work will continue in the coming year.
During the reporting year, the SMT also continued to fund the development of the Archive’s oral history, securing a detailed interview with the College’s oldest surviving alumna, Marjorie Hodnett (aged 103).
During 2017-18 the Trustees agreed to fund a part-time Archivist, who was recruited in August 2017 and will begin his work in September 2018. This role will allow for the continuing development of the archive catalogue and the preservation of accessions, as well as ensuring those wishing to use the archive or access information from it are able to do so.
The SMT will continue to support the development of the College’s oral history, the collection of new objects, and the provision of materials for the preservation and display of historic documents, pictures and objects.
Music making is a central part of Southlands College identity, enabling individuals to develop their talents and their confidence, and providing a structured way to relate to each other as a community. The SMT supports work which brings students and staff together to participate in musical activities, and it provides scholarships for gifted students to advance their technical and practical music skills.
Over the course of 2017-18, the music programme supported a range of ensembles in which students can participate. Groups which meet weekly include a small orchestra, a jazz band, a choir, a gospel choir, a string ensemble, and the steel pans. These activities also provide socialising opportunities for students, which in turn have led on to further fruitful collaborations.
The ensembles have been increasingly visible at College and University events. The string ensemble (Roehampton Violets) performed alongside the University choir at the College Christmas Dinner, as well as contributing at the University’s special service marking the Armistice. The Jazz Band, now a regular feature after the Carol Service, was invited onto the main stage at the Student Union’s Summer Ball in August, providing the opportunity to perform in a line-up which included Professor Green, Lethal Bizzle, Kelli Leigh, and Ella Eyre.
Aside from the main ensembles, in 2017-18 there was a termly Music Theatre Review, which showcases vocal talent in ensembles, duets and solos from historical and contemporary music theatre. Once again, the Chapman Hall was also packed with students and staff for the Southlands Christmas Gala, and this celebrated a range of music from our ensembles as well as classical flute, contemporary Christian worship songs, bagpiping, and jazz saxophone.
The use of music in non-conventional settings is part of the Methodist practice which places community building at the centre of its ethos. Amongst some of the smaller projects, four students and the Director of Music visited and performed at HMP Belmarsh (prison) as part of an initiative pioneered by the University’s Criminology Department, and the Director of Music continued to work with Wellbeing and Chaplaincy in using music to enable students to understand their sense of self.
Support from the SMT is essential to this programme, sustaining its growth through the provision of grants and resources for events, programmes and student scholarships. This support has enabled the College to buy new lighting and sound equipment, and allowed individuals and groups to explore and develop their musical talents, enriching University life through performance and learning. Eight students were provided with music scholarships directly funded by the SMT in 2017-18. As a result of the generosity of the SMT, a number of students are now auditioning for music colleges for post-Roehampton study.
The SMT will continue to provide funds for musical activities and resources which enrich the College community and will support the provision of music scholarships for students of the College. In addition, they intend to support the work of the Music Director and College Chaplain to develop the Southlands College Chapel as a centre for the arts on campus, having committed a grant for the purchase of a performance-quality piano for that space.
Supporting Innovative Research
Following a successful year of grant-giving in 2016-17, the Trustees decided to continue to provide small grants to academics across the University’s academic departments, supporting projects which would explore areas of work that fulfil the charitable objectives of the SMT. During 2017-18 work was done to complete those projects approved in 2016-17 and to invite applications for grants to support projects to be completed in 2018-19.
2017 – 18 projects
The projects listed below were carried out throughout the reporting year and progress reports were provided to the Trustees:
The Roehampton Journal
This project provided funding for the launch of a new magazine (re-titled ‘Sleuth’) that reported on the activities of Southlands College, covered events across the University community and highlighted stories from the local area. The publication consisted of contributions from students on the MA in Journalism and focused on the University community, established partnership networks, and University of Roehampton alumni.
The development of Christianity in China in the past thirty years
This project studied the development and impact of Christianity in China. The study tried to shed light on Christianity in China by examining the significant effect of Christianism in interacting with traditional Chinese culture and aims to estimate the impact of Christianism in the locality. It paid special attention to Methodist churches in China.
Slavery, abolition and resistance: St Patrick’s Day and 250 years of Methodism on Montserrat
This project used archival research – predominantly in the (Wesleyan) Methodist Missionary Society Archive (MMS) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) library – to examine the influence of Methodism on the British Overseas Territory Montserrat.
Promoting understanding of the work of multi-professional teams in children’s centres: the role of developmental research in tackling ‘disparate discourses’
This project used an interventionist research method to develop learning opportunities for multi-professional teams in children’s centres with the aim of developing the activity of the integrated care of young children. Using developmental work research (DWR) workshops, the study aimed to illustrate how critical enquiry and debate in the work of multi-professional teams can be promoted in order to improve the experiences and learning opportunities of young children.
Signs of wonder: iconography and aesthetic practices of New Black Majority Churches (nBMCs) in the London borough of Southwark
This project investigated the theology embedded in visual expressions, including both iconography and also other important nBMC aesthetic practices such as architecture, websites and media products. A sample of nBMC pastors in the London Borough of Southwark were interviewed regarding their iconography and aesthetic practices, to discern their significance for nBMC ecclesiology and missiology. These insights informed a more nuanced understanding of nBMCs and their congregants for a range of audiences, including other Christian denominations, thus also fostering ecumenical relationships
Encounters with otherness
This project involved speaking at a symposium in May 2017 on Media, Communication, and Film Studies Programs at Liberal Arts Colleges at Colby College, in Maine, USA. This led to further transatlantic dialogue about how the teaching methods developed in the Guerrilla Filmmaking module that has been running at the University of Roehampton since 2011 might be put to use in an American liberal arts context.
2018 – 19 projects
The application process for grants to support projects to commence in the academic year 2018-19 was carried out in June 2018. Six applications were received and assessed by the Trustees and will receive grants.
Service Operations Management applications in churches
The target of Operations Management (OM) is to increase productivity to achieve the best output with respect to the available input. This project will provide a comprehensive literature review to find out how OM might be used to reflect on church activities how OM systems have been applied by faith communities, especially churches.
Women imams in the “present”
This project consists of data collection, research and editing of the final chapter of the recipient’s book “Women as Imams”, contracted by publisher IB Tauris. This is a highly original work based on primary (mainly Arabic) and secondary sources from various media, including interviews and questionnaires. It is multidisciplinary, applying theological, historical and sociological approaches. The book has a very specific focus on expressions of female ritual leadership in Islam and their link to social contexts. It critically examines the uses of the past to legitimize claims in favour of or against female leadership in Muslim communities.
Free schools and the moral purpose of education
This research project, which is designed as four case studies, will evaluate the impact of Single Academy Trust free schools in socio-economically deprived and ethnically diverse communities in meeting the needs of their students, their communities and fulfilling the moral purpose of education. The case studies will provide a broad base for understanding how free schools with a faith ethos can navigate community and national policy needs, how they address the educational issues within socio-economically deprived communities and how they are challenged within this milieu. This will add to the existing research, providing another lens to understand the complexities of free schools in these settings.
Gospel teaching and personal finance
This project will interrogate University of Roehampton students about their personal financial plans and structure. By reflecting on Bible scriptures, the project is innovative as it incorporates Christian gospel into this topic and uncovers the role that Christianity plays in the balance between personal satisfaction and financial stability. The project aims to shed light on future areas of improvement in financial education and inform business lecturers about how they could make their content more applicable to students’ lives.
This is a documentary project, to produce a body of work, still photographs and short films, documenting the problems faced by climate refugees in Dhaka, and to disseminate these findings internationally in the form of exhibition, online presentation, and publications.
Exploring the effects of a musical play intervention on young children’s self-regulation
This project explores whether introducing musical play as an intervention in schools could have beneficial effects on children’s self-regulation. It will be based on a quasi-experimental, pre-test and post-test control-group design. Children in the experimental group will participate in a year-long intervention consisting of weekly musical play sessions run by their music teachers. It is hoped the outcomes can inform current literature and future research, but also influence practice in schools, where play is currently side-lined from the curriculum.
Rev Margaret Jones (Chair)
Rev Stan Brown
Rev Dr Joanne Cox-Darling
Mr John Logan
Rev Tim Macquiban (appointed October 2018)
Dr Clive Norris
Mr Richard Reeves (resigned March 2018)
Rev Colin Smith
Rev Michaela Youngson
Southlands College, 80 Roehampton Lane, London, SW15 5SL
haysmacintyre, Chartered Accountants, 10 Queen Street Place, London, EC4R 1AG
Methodist Central Finance Board, 9 Bonhill Street, London EC2A 4PE
HSBC, West End Corporate Banking Centre, 70 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5EZ
Pothecary Witham Weld, 70 St George’s Square, London SW1V 3RD