The following Review of Activities for Southlands Methodist Trust for September 2018 to August 2019 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.
In the past year, we have launched this website to share more about the breadth of our activities, to encourage further engagement with our work amongst our key partners, to extend our impact beyond those with whom we already work, and to support the delivery of our charitable objects. We have also produced printed materials which sit alongside this and which are available from the college offices.
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 provides a focus and strategic direction for the Trust in generating its scholarship, research and innovation. The SWF takes account of the need for public benefit as it plans its activities. Its events, many of which are open to all, serve a wide audience and aim to facilitate action and impact on practice. Its projects have relevance beyond the Methodist Church, and the SWF website and YouTube channel offer open access to its research and resources.
SWF’s areas of research 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. The responses to that consultation suggested that attention was needed to the practice, organisation and leadership of the Church and its churches. While many Methodist institutions already offered traditional theological education, the trustees saw Southlands and Roehampton as having a unique ability to offer into the Church a new type of scholarly centre focused on the more practical elements of church life. This would best enable the Church to learn from the unique resources of the college and the university, which contains academic departments well equipped to answer questions in this field.
The SWF came into existence in discussion with senior officers of the Connexional Team, 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, while meetings, partnerships and research involving ministers, lay workers, learning officers and others across the Methodist Church in Britain have helped to develop a deeper understanding of local contexts and highlighted the needs of grass-roots Methodism.
Our aims and approach
During 2018-19, the Foundation continued to provide opportunities for reflection and dialogue around the organisational and management issues facing the churches, running and contributing to symposia and conferences, setting up intentional conversations, producing resources, enabling exchange between academics and practitioners, commissioning research and responding to requests for funding for research projects. Participatory, interdisciplinary and systemic approaches are favoured; the methodologies used in the Foundation’s research projects and the ethos of its conferences and other activities reflected these values.
2018-19 saw a further expansion of SWF’s staff team. The Communications and Resources Officer, previously on a 0.4 contract, was employed 4 days a week, in order to develop further online content (both related to SWF, and to SMT more broadly), and to expand the Foundation’s capacity for producing learning resources, while the Research Officer was employed for 3 days, building on a previous 0.3 contract. The Deputy Director took on the role of Director and the former post was deleted. The Senior Research Officer (0.8fte), and Administrator (0.7fte) remained in place.
The building of a community of scholarship and enquiry continued to be part of SWF’s raison d’être; Honorary Research Fellows, Associates, grant recipients, Roehampton academics, and doctoral students contributed to the life of the Foundation and to its events, which attracted participants from a range of churches, roles and backgrounds, feeding into the conversations and the developing work.
Our website and online presence
The SWF Communications and Resources Officer has further developed the Foundation’s online presence and its website with a diversity of content, including an increase in subtitled video footage from its various events, and more engagement with the life of Southlands College, and the Trust’s various partners and associates. An online newsletter is emailed out quarterly to a growing number of subscribers.
2018-19 saw the continuation of research started in previous years, along with some new projects. Some examples are provided below:
The theological action research project with TARN, the Theological Action Research Network based at the University of Roehampton, continued to explore collaborative learning across the Methodist Connexion, adding new places and activities to its research loci. The process of carrying out the research helped to illuminate practice, for the benefit both of the overarching research, (which was led by a Reader from Roehampton’s Ministerial Theology team), and of participants in their local contexts.
A Senior Lecturer in the University of Roehampton’s School of Education continued research which grew out of a pilot project he conducted in 2017-18, exploring the perspectives of head teachers and school chaplains in Methodist schools in relation to their understanding and practice of leadership, and issues of equality, diversity and inclusion.
The project: ‘A Northern Gospel? What Good News is at the heart of a flourishing Church within their communities in the North of England’ (which began in January 2017 and continued into 2018-19) involved immersive research in various contexts. The findings, which provide some useful insights into questions of leadership, identity and diversity, will continue to be analysed in 2019-20.
The Foundation partnered with a Counselling Psychologist who completed her Professional Doctorate at the University of Roehampton and who has been conducting research in relation to clergy well-being in the Church of England. The researcher looked at various psychological frameworks and their application in the context of ministry in the Methodist Church. This enabled some input into connexional conversations around well-being in ministry. Some empirical research is being planned for 2019-20.
The focus on transformational change continued in 2018-19 and will continue into 2019-20 with a set of research projects, partnerships, learning events and resources, while conversations around leadership in the context of church also featured, with potential for some further work in the Methodist Church in 2019-20.
Our sponsored students
The Foundation continued to sponsor several students to enable them to undertake PhDs and Professional Doctorates at Roehampton, in keeping with the objective of making the resources of the University available to the Church. Lay Methodist workers were among those who started their professional doctorates in 2018-19, and it is hoped that this will facilitate knowledge exchange between the University of Roehampton and the Methodist Church.
Our events, involvements and partnerships
SWF held its annual conference in June 2019, with a focus on disability: the title was ‘Creating Compassionate Communities of Inclusion: Enabling and Disabling Theology and Practice’. The keynote speaker was the Revd Prof Frances Young, and various agencies and charities were represented. One of SWF’s doctoral students contributed to a workshop, as did SWF’s Communications and Resources Officer, who trialled SWF’s newly developed resource around diversity and inclusion.
SWF’s new resource booklet, which was showcased at the annual conference, is entitled ‘Diversity, Otherness and Privilege’. It helps people to consider all kinds of diversity, and their own sense of otherness and privilege, both individually, and, most crucially, in community. It is accompanied by additional online resources and is informed by research carried out on behalf of the Foundation. It is designed to stimulate questions and discussion, and generate conversation, empathy and understanding as an ongoing practice. The booklet has been welcomed by leaders both within Methodism and in other faith communities.
The Foundation again planned and delivered a conference with MODEM (a national ecumenical Christian network), entitled ‘Transforming Communities: power and powerlessness’, addressing the theme of power and change in the Church and community, from the perspectives of mission and of community development. The conference thus built further on some of the strands of work which the Foundation has been pursuing through its projects over a couple of years.
A new initiative for 2018-19, ‘Church Consult’, grew out of the previous year’s colloquium ‘Facilitating the Faith Sector’, which brought together academics and practitioners to explore how different areas of academic study could contribute to understandings of practice and thus assist those involved in the management, leadership and organisation of the faith sector. Church Consult was the product of this exploration – a series of one-day events which offered a reflective and strategic space for leaders and practitioners across all traditions to consider Christian mission and engagement in a challenging, creative, diverse world. The initiative was well-received and further iterations are planned.
One of SWF’s staff was a prime mover in the planning and delivery of a residential symposium entitled ‘Racial Justice: What is our Calling?’ The symposium brought together over 70 people from across the Methodist Church in Britain, and involved them in a deeply participative process using the principles of ‘Theory U’, a methodology designed to bring about profound change. SWF also funded the time of one of the Foundation’s Honorary Research Fellows, who advised and applied her experience in using this methodology. The event brought much learning for organisers/facilitators and other participants, with a plan to take the learning further in 2019-20. SWF designed and delivered the annual Methodist Research Conference. Staff from the University of Roehampton contributed to the programme, alongside doctoral students and academics from various Methodist institutions. The Vice-President Designate of the Methodist Conference delivered the keynote, and also hosted a panel discussion about the place of research in the life of the Church.
Our plans for 2019-2020
Helping the Church to enhance its self-understanding and develop its practice through research, reflection and dialogue will continue to be at the heart of the work of the Susanna Wesley Foundation in 2019-20. Seminars, symposia and colloquia will provide opportunities for the Foundation to share its research findings and generate conversations around issues of critical interest to the Church and wider society. The practical implications of the findings of its various projects, along with lessons from employing particular methodologies and processes, will inform the development of resources for use in community settings.
In 2019-20, the Susanna Wesley Foundation will begin some new research alongside its existing projects. It will continue to take advantage of the expertise and resources available to it through the University and use these to the best advantage of the Methodist Church in Britain. Involving both academics and practitioners in its work, employing participatory methods in its research and events, bringing different disciplines into conversation with one another, and engaging with the Church at different ‘levels’ and in different contexts will continue to be features of its approach.
Fulfilling the aim of the SMT to enrich the community life of Southlands College and of 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 was to sponsor the employment of a Chaplaincy Community Worker (CCW). The CCW role focuses on three areas of work:
- Strengthening our ecumenical relationships through supporting the establishment of an intentional Christian Student community house (Barat House) on campus, 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 supporting the nurturing of community across the Southlands cohort.
- Being an active member of the wider 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 has been in post since September 2018. Since the appointment, the CCW has assisted with and played an active role in developing our ecumenical chaplaincy community house on campus, contributed to the activities of the whole multi-faith team, and shared in the chaplaincy work of the College alongside the Methodist Chaplain. The CCW is being supported through a process of vocational exploration and from this has begun training as a Methodist Local Preacher and appointed a Spiritual Director. We look forward to continuing to work with the CCW throughout the coming year.
The chaplaincy hosts a range of events and runs student and staff engagement programmes across the university campus. During 2018-19, 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 student support fairs, volunteering fairs, freshers’ events, and Student Union campaigns and activities. All these activities bring together groups from within the university that might otherwise not meet, creating opportunities for pastoral encounters and support. They assist with the building of community, enable student engagement and also promote the chaplaincy and welfare services.
Also core to the chaplaincy activities are regular acts of worship and opportunities to explore faith. At the Southlands Chapel these include prayer breakfasts, mid-week worship, the development of a peer support group for Christian students experiencing depression, resourcing a quiet prayer room and occasional Sunday evening services. The chaplaincy also seeks to support the specific work of Southlands College through its contribution to the College Team (on which the Methodist Chaplain, Muslim Chaplain, and CCW sit). Through this we are able to contribute to the building of a student community and the creation of a supportive and flourishing environment that reflects the ethos of Southlands.
Ecumenical and multi-faith activity
In addition to the regular programme of events, the chaplaincy led a variety of ecumenical services and multi-faith 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. Through our developing social media strategy, we are able to mark and celebrate key faith events.
The chaplaincy seeks to support people of all faiths and none, and through this past year we have specifically supported the award-winning student society Co-Exist as they have sought to enable interfaith dialogue and model good relating on campus. Other activities included the marking of Holocaust Memorial Day, supporting the Hindu Society with celebrating the festival of Holi, and providing resources on Ramadan for staff and students as well as offering stations across campus where those observing Ramadan could break their fast.
In addition to supporting the work of the chaplaincy itself, the Trust continued to provide in 2018-19 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.
The SMT further supported the work of our Chaplaincy Community House (Barat House) by funding an ecumenical pilgrimage to Rome for its residents and leaders. This provided an invaluable opportunity for the community to explore themes of ecumenism through engagement with the ecumenical office in Rome; it provided opportunities for worship, conversation and interaction with their charitable projects such as Mediterranean Hope and the Sant’ Egidio Community. For those leaving the community at the end of the academic year it provided a meaningful way to process all they had experienced in the house and discern what from that experience they would carry with them as they embarked on the world of work or took the next step in their education. One of the intentions that emerged from the pilgrimage is to develop a sense of ‘dispersed community’ for those who have left the Community House, to which they can remain connected.
Diversity, inclusion and the arts
It is our intention to develop the Southlands Chapel as a centre for the arts on campus. In line with this intention, during the reporting year a new grand piano was placed in the chapel, allowing for its better use as the home for the university’s choir groups and as a concert space. However, this developing identity for the chapel is being shaped to support more than just high-quality community arts. Instead, we are aiming to use the arts to explore issues of significance to our community, the wider university, and the world around us.
During the reporting year the Southlands Methodist Trust provided a grant for Ric Stott, a Methodist Pioneer Minister and artist, to work as an Artist in Residence at Southlands. With staff of the college and Trust, a project was shaped which would, through a collaborative creative process, ask the question: “What happens when two people share a space, each offering something of themselves into that space?”
In practical terms, the project involved creating a series of life-sized portraits on paper, representing individuals invited by the chaplaincy to take part, which will hang around the chapel as a cloud of witnesses, exploring ‘createdness’ with the aim of transcending problematic language of diversity and inclusion.
Participants were invited to talk with the artist, who worked within the chapel space. They were invited to express their story and sense of identity on the paper in any way they felt they would like to. The paper was treated as the shared space and Ric spent time drawing on the same piece of paper. In this way the paper became a sacrament of the meeting between two individuals.
The project itself is as much about the co-creation between subject and artist as it is about a final exhibition. However, opportunities to view the art in the chapel began in the early summer of 2019, at the Susanna Wesley Foundation’s conference, “Creating Compassionate Communities of Inclusion: enabling and disabling theology”. Such opportunities will continue into 2020. They will be shaped to help contribute to the ways in which we can explore theologically the conference theme and support and enhance the work of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work of the university.
Next year the SMT will continue to sponsor the CCW post and to resource the ecumenical student pilgrimage. We hope to develop further the chapel’s role as a centre for the arts on campus and, as part of this, to release the potential for the diversity and inclusion project to extend its reach beyond the chapel. The Chaplain, the artist and members of the SMT staff team will seek to develop resources to facilitate its reach into the wider community and the Church. We will continue to support the Southlands chaplaincy to have a positive voice as a centre for positive ecumenical and inter-faith relationships.
Enriching the 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 2018-19, work to achieve this aim included the following areas.
The Southlands Venture
The Southlands Venture encourages students to campaign, volunteer and work in the local community on projects which emerge from the student body. It does this by offering seed-funding to resource good ideas, and mentoring to enable students to receive the advice and guidance they need to lead their projects successfully. The project is coordinated by the college’s staff team and financed by the Southlands Methodist Trust.
Projects completed in 2018-19 included a student-led fundraising event for Islamic Relief, and the extended project, ‘Creating an improved space for chickens, students, staff and community’. This second project emerged from the Student Union’s ‘Growhampton’ community of students and staff. Support was sought for a project to build a new roof for the chicken house on campus, providing a significant improvement to the space so that our educational and pastoral work focused on the chickens could be better achieved. The project offered the chance to engage our student community in the work of improving the facilities, bringing together a community of volunteers to learn both about the chickens and the construction process. It also offered focused opportunities for education about the natural world more generally, addressing battery farming and other ethical issues relating to our environment and relationship with God’s creation.
In June 2019, a special series of Venture projects were launched by the college team with the college’s incoming ‘Flat Rep’ cohort. These were focused on environmental action and will be delivered in 2019-20.
The biggest challenge to the Southlands Venture in previous years has been exposure to, and take up by, students. In order to increase future engagement this year, the college team spent time and money on resources to improve the visibility of the project, with the goal of encouraging much greater take up in the coming year.
A new brand was created for the Venture, and banners were produced, located in a number of places around Southlands College, along with other branded items, including mugs, pens and idea notepads. To increase awareness, the Southlands Venture was featured in the new Southlands College handbook, and a Launch Week was planned for early in the academic year 2019-20.
The college team also worked with Business School academics in the summer term to plan specifically how the Venture could be better shaped for engagement by commuting and postgraduate students. Based on those conversations, we have emphasised in the new materials for the Venture the potential for projects to incorporate up-to-date technology and include digital components.
Future plans for the Southlands Venture
Applications received for projects in 2019-20 include a project by a student who has a disability which cannot be seen. The project aims to increase awareness and knowledge through flyers, posters, and badges. Another project seeks to provide members of the community who are in need with hampers filled with donations from students. A third application seeks to link elderly members of the community with Virtual Reality technology to offer them a chance to travel to parts of the world they have never visited, places they have been but would like to see how they have changed, or places that do not exist but can be created by the technology. The aim is to offer those in our society who are less mobile the chance to see the world.
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 December 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 2019-20.
A number of small alumni reunions were facilitated by the college for groups who wished to meet here. The college, in collaboration with the Alumni and Development Office, offers administrative and resource support to enable these smaller occasions to be a success and for past members of the college to feel they are a valued part of our community.
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. During this academic year, the Head of College visited Bill Hart, former Principal of Southlands, and Marjorie Hodnett, the most senior alumna of the College. He also met with Peter Briggs, former Principal, and represented the College at the memorial service for Sr Dorothy Bell, former Principal of Digby Stuart College. The Head of College also presented Vera Schaufeld MBE, former student of Southlands, for an honorary doctorate of the university at its graduation ceremony in July 2019. Vera was given the award for her contributions to language support for refugee children in schools and to the development of holocaust education.
The SMT’s Archivist continues to give 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.
Awards, prizes and hardship/access grants
In 2018-19, 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.
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 International Association of Methodist-related Schools, Colleges and Universities (IAMSCU) network and the work of the Head of College as a Director of the Board of that Association. Similarly, the trustees continued to support the college’s involvement in Methodist Theological Schools in Europe (MTSE) and its participation in MTSE activities.
In the reporting year, this activity involved visits to several Methodist institutions in North America, among them American University, Duke University and Emory University. The major meeting at Emory saw the IAMSCU meet with its American sister association, the National Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities of the United Methodist Church (NASCUMC). The meeting provided the opportunity for a presentation about Southlands College and the University of Roehampton to leaders of Methodist universities across the globe. This in turn led to the planning of a meeting at Southlands of senior staff from the college, university and General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) of the United Methodist Church.
Recognising the potential of this work for the future of the college and its role within Methodist education more widely, the trustees appointed a part time Partnerships Officer specifically to support the work of the SMT, the Head of College and the wider university in this area.
The coming year will see Southlands represented at a number of IAMSCU and MTSE meetings, including the major Higher Education Night at the UMC’s General Conference 2020 and participation in the “Courageous Conversations” event: a gathering of Methodist HE leaders engaging in issues relating to the Church’s positions on human sexuality and the impact of these on the Methodist Education sector.
Southlands will welcome senior staff from the GBHEM to plan an intended visit of Presidents from overseas Methodist universities, to introduce them to the college and the university, and to promote partnership opportunities between our institutions.
Work was done during 2018-19 on a range of initiatives, of which we hope to see the fruit in 2019-20 and future years. This includes possible summer school and study abroad programmes at Roehampton for students of Methodist colleges overseas and the creation of a Susanna Wesley Fellowship – an opportunity for academics in Methodist institutions overseas to travel to Southlands and be in residence at the college for a short research sabbatical.
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 SMT provided a major grant to the Methodist Academies and Schools Trust (MAST) to support their staffing infrastructure, aiming both to improve provision for Methodist schools and also to develop the link between those schools and Southlands College. The Head of Southlands College continued in his role for the SMT as a charity Director for MAST, offering further opportunities for closer associations between Southlands and the Church’s wider educational programme, and took up a position on the Methodist Schools Committee, which has responsibility for crafting the future strategy for education in the Methodist Church. The SMT also sponsored an education event at Methodist Conference – the Church’s main governing body – in Birmingham in June 2019, providing the chance for college and Trust staff to introduce Southlands College and the University of Roehampton to a new audience.
The Head of Southlands College will continue to act as a member of the Methodist Schools Committee and Director for MAST. The SMT will support his involvement in this, which will include taking a role in the appointment of a new Chair of MAST. Plans for the development of a closer association with Methodist schools will be worked on in detail, with the intention of creating PGCE placement opportunities in MAST schools, grants for Methodist teachers to access postgraduate education through Roehampton’s Education department, and participation in the planning of major Methodist Education conferences in 2021-23.
Developing our Historic Archives
The SMT continues to manage the historic archives of Southlands College. The archive contains historic documents and artefacts relating to the history of the college, including a large array of student work from throughout the college’s establishment.
During the reporting year, the Trust continued to employ a part-time Archivist to maintain, develop and facilitate use of the college archive. It is made accessible to the wider public through the Archivist’s work in answering individual requests and developing an online database of materials.
The Trust also continued 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.
The SMT also continued to fund the development of the archive’s oral history and engagement with our most senior alumni, from whom two major donations of documents and artefacts to the archive were received in the reporting year.
During 2019-20, the trustees will review the success of the part-time staffing of the archive and establish future arrangements for that provision.
The SMT will continue to support the development of the college’s oral history, the acquisition of new materials, and the provision of resources for the preservation and display of historic documents, pictures and objects to protect and preserve them and to facilitate their wider access.
The SMT regards music-making as a building block of any community, and has continued to support music at Southlands College and across the university. The funding it provided for student music scholarships in 2018-19 ensured that individuals in financial difficulty could pursue the development of their musical talents, and that community cohesion could be enhanced within the college. A number of small awards helped students with mental health concerns grow in confidence, contribute to the community, and be able to progress with their studies.
The majority of students who arrive at Roehampton are unable to read music, so greater emphasis is placed on providing opportunities for students to participate regardless of musical or educational background. A significant shift has been a move away from the use of written notation in the community choir, of an increased role of improvisation in performance, and an emphasis on learning by ear. This has achieved good results, with student retention higher than in previous years.
The university’s recent ‘enabling strategies’ have also highlighted the benefits which come from projects which are co-created, placing the initiative on student choices and providing scaffolding from staff to enable student leadership, rather than relying on a top-down approach.
A significant part of this has been the purchase of drums from sub-Saharan Africa. Through the generosity of the SMT, the university is now in possession of a set of Dunduns, a celebration drum, 2 Djembe, 2 pairs of rattles, one talking drum and a Bakisimba set of 6 drums with covers (2 Namunjoloba (small), 1 ngalabi (long), 1 mpunyi (bass), 1 medium and 1 nankasa). Up to 20 players at a time are now able to perform, and the drums are used not only by students as part of our community music focus; they are also used by the staff and students of the Dance department when working on culturally specific dances from Uganda and Ghana, and by those on the international Choreomundus programme.
Although the University Carol Service and Music Gala were again highlights in the musical year, we also marked the anniversary of the end of World War 1, and the impact of the Great War on the Roehampton community. At the annual Remembrance Service, the Roehampton Violets performed Elgar’s Nimrod at the War Memorial, The Last Post was played by solo trumpet, and bagpipes led us to refreshments and an exhibition in the university library.
The Director of Music also collaborated with the History department and departing Vice Chancellor, Prof Paul O’Prey, to stage a performance reflecting on and commemorating the experiences and contributions of women and men from across the Commonwealth in the war. Using Prof O’Prey’ s Mary Borden Collection and other poetry and readings as a starting point, undergraduate historians and others joined in songs from the period. These reflected some of the breadth of the reactions to the war at the time and included songs of nationalist celebration, songs of protest, feminist songs, and songs about the longing for home.
Whilst there is no music department at the university, music continues to be a popular aspect of life at Roehampton, and students continue to leave with a sense of its importance both as a community-making activity and as a source of joy and wellbeing.
The SMT will continue to encourage musical activities at Southlands and across the University of Roehampton as a core aspect of community building and human flourishing. This will include the provision of grants for music scholarships and resources, and support for events and activities which incorporate music into the daily life of our staff and students.
Supporting Innovative Research
During the reporting year, the SMT continued to provide grants for research in addition to areas addressed by the Susanna Wesley Foundation, on subjects which fulfil the charitable objectives of the SMT in ways that benefit the wider public.
One area of continuing activity reflected the Trust’s commitment to ecumenical activity. During the reporting year, the SMT provided a grant to the university’s Ministerial Theology department for the pursuit of a major Theological Action Research project exploring Methodist-Roman Catholic ecumenical social action projects across the country. The Trust also supported the Head of College’s participation in the launch of the latest Catholic Women Speak book (edited by the University’s Professor of Catholic Studies), offering an ecumenical reflection on the Roman Catholic Church’s position in relation to the leadership of women. It also provided resources for the development of a research project and resulting booklet about the ecumenical commitments surrounding the founding of Southlands College. Alongside its support for the Barat House chaplaincy community on campus, this represents a significant body of work on the Trust’s part in the study and development of innovative, practical ecumenism.
Another area of activity was shaped around a project called Divine Designs, which will continue into 2019-20. This research takes Southlands as a case study to examine how organisations can reflect their values in architecture, place and space, and encourage ways of living and working which live out those values in practice.
In 2018-19, the SMT also provided grants for a wide range of projects, sponsored through its annual applications process. During this time, most of the projects approved in 2016-17 and 2017-18 were completed. In June 2019, the trustees invited applications for grants to support projects to be completed in 2019-20.
Projects pursued during 2018-19
Click here to read about the projects pursued during 2018-19 in the dropdown menu.
Projects approved for completion in 2019 – 20
The application process for grants to support projects to commence in the academic year 2019-20 was carried out in June 2019. Fifteen applications were received and assessed by the trustees and eight will receive grants.
Lifelong reading: New Stories
This project will investigate a new, creative form of life review for older adults living with early-stage dementia. The project recognises the significance of early reading and childhood books and will explore how far such stories, and shifting memories of them, might act as a starting point for rethinking narratives of ageing identity. A creative research team will work with individuals in a care setting to co-create bespoke ‘fictional life-review books’ based on meaningful childhood stories interwoven with autobiographical fragments. These artefacts will be used by participants, their families, and carers, and will represent rich data sources for understanding aspects of ageing identity via narrative and memory.
Makerspaces: Supporting digital inclusiveness in urban communities
This project will investigate the extent to which Makerspaces can assist urban communities which are currently excluded from the benefits of digital technologies by providing access to modern digital fabrication equipment (and the training to support its use), and through support offered by Makerspaces for nascent entrepreneurs.
Dhaka – on climate change and urbanisation in Bangladesh
This project is an extension of the documentary project carried out with SMT grant funding from 2018-19 and will combine photography and video to show the effects of urbanization and climate change on Dhaka and Bangladesh.
Religion and Spirituality in the therapeutic space: exploring how trainee and newly qualified counsellors and psychotherapists who identify as religious or spiritual, experience undertaking therapeutic training in the UK
This project will use a national survey to explore how trainee or newly qualified counsellors/psychotherapists, who identify as religious or spiritual, experience undertaking therapeutic training in the UK. The research will examine four specific domains: how open trainees felt with regard to speaking about their religion/spirituality during their training; any conflict or synergies they experienced between their religion/spirituality and their therapeutic modality; the extent of training they received around religion/spirituality on their programmes; and whether they feel competent to work with clients presenting with religious or spiritual concerns.
Narratives of masculinity: visual accounts of young men’s experience of fatherhood
This project aims to address the worrying rise of mental illness and suicide in young men between 18 and 35 in the UK. Greater understanding of the vulnerability of men is required to promote better adaptive strategies, expressiveness and help seeking behaviour in this population group, as well as foster enhanced understanding in health professionals and the public at large. As such, this project innovatively examines an important developmental period in the formation of masculinity: when young men become fathers. It uses participatory methods, consultation and creative outputs towards achieving this objective.
Visioning the Future of the City Together: Group relations in urban community neighbourhood planning
The intention of this project is to explore the role of ‘vision’ and ‘visioning’ within urban neighbourhood planning processes in the wake of the turn to digital networks and social media. The project will work directly with a citizen-led community planning group based in the area of Norwood in South London, which has been given authority to prepare a local land-use plan by local government. This project will directly support the planning assembly at a critical moment just as consultations are under way. By using a psychoanalytically underpinned consultancy approach, the intention is to directly intervene within the planning process and by doing so enable planners to better understand the different competing emotional investments that are at play in community participation and representation as plans are laid.
Thinking Place – Five Philosopher’s Huts
Thinking Place – Five Philosopher’s Huts will be an exhibition of artworks and research material at the Oxford House Gallery in September 2019. The Thinking Place project will investigate the relationship between architectural space, isolated geographical location, and the production of thought.
Student and staff perceptions on race and racism at the University of Roehampton
This project will investigate the experiences of and perspectives on race and racism at the University of Roehampton. Despite its ethnically diverse student body and sincere commitment to social justice, race and racism are sources of tension at Roehampton and can impede the mission of the university in providing excellent education for all students. The university is actively seeking to address these issues, including by its ‘decolonise the curriculum’ programme and RAFA2 project, yet communication about and action on these issues remains difficult.
Rev Margaret Jones (Chair)
Rev Stan Brown
Rev Dr Joanne Cox-Darling
Mr John Logan
Rev Tim Macquiban
Dr Clive Norris
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