The following Review of Activities for Southlands Methodist Trust for September 2019 to August 2020 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 a collegiate university, and its reach into the broader learning life of the Church all provide the opportunity for creative and innovative interventions which 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.
This website also shares 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 major challenges to our work caused by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic during 2019-20 led to some work being ended or paused, but it also presented an opportunity for innovation and new ways of working, and even the inspiration for new research topics. This report offers some indication of those changes. Not least amongst these has been the growing online presence of the Southlands Methodist Trust, and especially its Susanna Wesley Foundation.
Click the dropdown headings below to find out more about the activities of the Trust in the 2019-20 year. 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. The SWF provides direction and focus for the college’s own in-house activities, brokering projects and partnerships to generate its research, scholarship and innovation.
Our aims, values and approach
The Foundation’s quest for collaboration, participation and generative conversation continued in 2019-20, with a focus on research projects that enabled a range of voices to be heard and on activities that promoted dialogue and learning and helped to bring together faith and practice. The involvement of a range of disciplines, the use of participative methodologies, and the privileging of systemic approaches continued to be features of its work. Whilst the Foundation continued to seek out opportunities for research and reflection around the range of organisational and management issues facing churches and faith communities, its foremost emphasis became the processes involved in transformative change and in the building of flourishing communities.
The SWF community
The Susanna Wesley Foundation community extends beyond a small cadre of employees to include a group of Associates and Honorary Research Fellows, University of Roehampton academics from a range of disciplines, the doctoral students whom it sponsors, and grant recipients from various institutions, as well as those who subscribe to the Foundation’s quarterly newsletter, or who regularly participate in SWF events. In 2019-20 we drew on their experience and expertise to inform our thinking, and they helped us to be responsive to the needs of the churches and wider society and to shape our work accordingly.
The continuing sponsorship of students to enable them to undertake PhDs and professional doctorates not only extended our community but also amplified the exchange of knowledge and understandings between the University of Roehampton and the Methodist Church. In 2019-20 six doctoral students were in receipt of funding from the Foundation. Their areas of study included the following:
- Lay leadership and mission in the Methodist Church
- Disability theology, and embodied ways to know God
- Using theological action research to explore new contextual churches as potential catalysts for change in theology and practice
- The relationship between organisation theory and ecclesiology
- The work of lay employees within British Methodism and its relationship to vocation and calling
- Story-telling and culture change in local Methodist Churches
- Non-binary gender, the bible and Christian practice
The theme of flourishing
Our annual conference was planned for June 2020 with the title, ‘Flourishing: Christian practices and perspectives’. Whilst we were unable to go ahead because of lockdown restrictions, ‘flourishing’ became a theme for our work over the period of lockdown and we published a series of pieces, quotations and blogs on our website which were well-received. The period also saw the posting of a number of podcasts involving conversations between different members of our community, dealing with issues of inclusion and participation, and the implications of the changing landscape for the flourishing of churches and communities. Such recorded conversations are becoming central to our way of working and are attracting a significant amount of engagement. The flourishing of those in ordained ministry has been the subject of one of SWF’s projects in 2018-19 and 19-20. A resource for ministers, which draws on this SWF research by a counseling psychologist, is in draft form for anticipated publication in 2020-21.
Work around equality, diversity and inclusion
Our involvement in the quest of the Methodist Church to become an inclusive church has continued, with contributions to a strand of work around attitudinal, cultural and systemic change. Systemic change, in this context, is understood as a change that will enable the Church to embody – in all that it does – the characteristics of an inclusive Church. Drawing on its previous research around cultural diversity in the Church and around the processes of transformative change, SWF has contributed, in 2019-20, to the setting up of a work stream which will continue to operate in 2020-21, designing pathways for experimentation and action in local contexts around what it means to become an inclusive church, and harnessing learning in the deep contexts of place and practice which people inhabit. It is hoped that learning from this involvement can inform the search for truly inclusive communities in other contexts. Work in previous years around diversity monitoring culminated in acceptance of an article for publication in ‘International Perspectives on Equality and Diversity’. The article discusses the value of free-text demographic monitoring for organisation learning. The work has also provided the basis for a resource, to be issued in 20/21. The existing SWF resource around diversity, otherness and privilege continues to attract interest and to be of use in a range of contexts.
Work around change
A project of the Foundation in 2019-20 has drawn together existing theory and understandings of change, (including available models for managing change in churches and in secular contexts), with observations about the current context for Methodist churches. It has looked at the relation between theology and management ideas and practice, as well as the methodological implications of theological understandings. The resultant papers have been circulated in a number of Methodist contexts, with some joint work emerging as a result.
Work around learning
The Foundation continues to work with the Theological Action Research Network based at the university. Its project exploring collaborative learning in the Methodist Church has yielded some rich data and some generative conversations, with early discussions about a book around the theme of learning in the churches. Themes around relationships in learning will be developed and will offer something for application in broader contexts.
Publication: ‘Mapping Faith: Theologies of Migration and Community’
‘Mapping Faith’ was published in June 2020. The book was edited by Lia Shimada, in her role as Senior Research Officer at the Susanna Wesley Foundation, and published by Jessica Kingsley. It is intended for general readers with an interest in practical theology, and explores theologies and practices of migration across Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Contributors include practitioners and scholars from a wide range of religious and cultural backgrounds. Poetry, maps and photography are interspersed alongside essays and prose chapters, on the themes of faith encounters, re-reading sacred text, and diaspora.
Conference in partnership with MODEM: ‘Losing Control: Enabling Withness’
The joint 2019 MODEM/SWF conference was held at Sarum College, with Sam Wells, vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields and Visiting Professor of Christian Ethics at King’s College, London, alongside Paul Hibbert, Professor of Management at the University of St Andrews. The conference explored ideas which emerge from Sam Wells’ writing in ‘A Nazareth Manifesto: Being with God’ (2015), ‘Incarnational Ministry: Being with the Church’ (2017) and ‘Incarnational Mission: Being with the World’ (2018), and how these can relate to ideas from organisation studies about emergence and non-imperialistic forms of organising and non-control. The conference offered the multidisciplinary space and the conversation between academics and practitioners which SWF welcomes in its work.
‘Most significant change’ chaplaincy project
The Foundation has embarked on a project with the chaplaincy team at the University of Roehampton. The purpose of the ‘Most Significant Change’ project is to explore the contribution which chaplaincy makes to the life of the university and to find ways of capturing that contribution. The ‘Most Significant Change’ methodology grew out of attempts to identify the impact of social change interventions and has been adopted by a number of development programmes across the world. It involves a structured process for identifying different purposes and domains of change, for gathering stories by those involved in the work, for reflecting on those stories, and for involving various stakeholders in that reflection. The project continues into 2020-21.
Planning for 2020-21
A number of initiatives from 2019-20 will continue in 2020-21; among them, work with the Methodist Church around inclusion, change, and learning, along with the ‘Most Significant Change’ chaplaincy project in Roehampton. It is intended, too, to publish various resources, including guidance around demographic monitoring, and a workbook for flourishing in ministry, both of which draw on earlier work. Various events will publicise ‘Mapping Faith’, bringing the SWF and its offerings to wider audiences, while fostering dialogue between diverse partners. The Foundation will continue to sponsor a number of students undertaking doctoral studies at the University of Roehampton, and to draw on the university community for conversation partners and fellow researchers. Online events, and podcasts of generative conversations, will encourage further exploration around issues of importance to Church and Society.
Fulfilling the aim of the SMT to enrich the community life of Southlands College and of its chaplaincy, the trustees have continued to sponsor 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 Trust directly funds one post in the Chaplaincy team, offers financing for some chaplaincy activities led by the Methodist Chaplain to the university, and also sponsors projects run across the wider multi-faith chaplaincy team which align with its charitable objects.
Supporting ecumenical community life
A 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.
During the major lockdown in the spring of 2020, the CCW, with their counterpart appointed by the Society of the Sacred Heart, has continued to work within the Chaplaincy Community at Barat House by supporting the students through the practical and emotional challenges of the time, nurturing the community through the necessary responses required by the Covid-19 crisis, and continuing a rhythm of life even though some of the community became dispersed (returning to their family homes). A ‘sending out’ service was shared via zoom with the whole community, marking the end of the academic year and celebrating those who have been part of the community this year. The CCWs also led Barat House community members in offering their time charitably, supporting the local age-concern network and, for example, singing ‘happy birthday’ outside the homes of people isolated on their birthdays.
Worship and reflection in our Methodist Chapel and beyond
Core to the chaplaincy’s activities at Roehampton are regular acts of worship and opportunities to explore faith. At the Southlands Chapel these included student prayer and bible-study breakfasts, mid-week worship, the development of intentional reflective spaces, a weekly Tea & Toast student group, an All Soul’s installation, the creation of space for those bereaved to name and remember those for whom they mourn, a reflective watch night service at New Year, and occasional Sunday evening services. The Chapel also offers a daily space for staff and students to relax and receive refreshment as well as offering opportunities to explore and engage in the arts.
The Southlands chaplaincy led and supported a variety of ecumenical services and multi-faith worship activities. These included coffee mornings, lunches and activities throughout Freshers’ Week and the Orientation period; a Remembrance Day service; a Transgender Remembrance service and ‘More T Vicar’ discussion event; the university carol service; and a programme of activities to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. The Coexist Café has become an intentionally thought-provoking weekly drop in for people of all faiths to discuss issues relating to social justice, moral development, and cultural intelligence, as well as for learning a new skill.
For students and staff of the Islamic faith, there are Jummu’ah prayers supported by the Muslim Chaplain and led in collaboration with student societies. Southlands remains home to two prayer rooms in the Islamic tradition and the Muslim Chaplain works closely with the Southlands Community as part of the college staff team.
The Methodist Chaplain and CCW support the work of Southlands College through its contribution to the college team (on which the Methodist Chaplain and the Chaplaincy Community Worker sit). Through this they are able to contribute to the building of a student community and the creation of a supportive and flourishing environment that reflects the Methodist ethos of Southlands.
The chaplaincy hosts a range of events and runs student and staff engagement programmes, both at Southlands and across the university campus. These activities bring together groups from within the university that might otherwise not meet, creating opportunities for pastoral encounters and support, building up the college and university.
To support the development of a whole-campus learning community, the chaplaincy team aims to work with a range of academic and support departments across the university. It also seeks to expand our community’s reach into our local context by developing relationships with faith networks off campus, including the local Methodist circuit. Working with others is an essential part of our activity enabling us to develop our community of staff and students, to offer appropriate support consistent with the aims of the university community and to establish a place of welcome and inclusion.
Chaplaincy in lockdown
From March 2020, the Covid-19 crisis dominated chaplaincy activities. The chaplaincy team focused its work on the provision of care and support through the means available to us during lockdown. New social media groups were established, regular ‘virtual’ gatherings and spaces for conversation were formed, and bereavement support was especially extended. Online worship continued, and a number of festivals were celebrated as a community online.
The Trust will continue to offer its support to the college and university chaplaincy team in a variety of ways, including grants for small projects which encourage the Methodist ethos of the college and for building up the community life of the Southlands chapel. The community of Barat House will be sustained into 2020-21. During the reporting period the recruitment process for places in the house was run and prayer books for the coming year were completed and distributed. The Trust intends to continue supporting the appointment of the CCW during 2020-21 and the Methodist Chaplain will manage a discernment and recruitment process for the appointment of a new CCW to begin in the Autumn of 2021. The chaplains intend to produce resources about Barat House to engage the wider church in its work and disseminate the learning gained from the experiences of establishing this ecumenical venture.
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.
Southlands Venture is a programme that encourages students to explore how they can use their interests and skills to make the world a better place.
The Venture supports initiatives by offering seed-funding to resource ideas, as well as offering mentoring to enable students to receive the advice and guidance they need to lead campaigning, volunteering and charitable work successfully. Students are at liberty to bring their own ideas to life or work on a project that emerges from the needs or desires of the student community. The programme is coordinated by the college’s staff team and financed by the Southlands Methodist Trust. Student projects can take the form of campaigning, volunteering, outreach or charitable work, either within or without the university community. They always focus on issues of social concern and demonstrate positive interaction with the world in which we live.
Projects completed in the year 2019-20 included support for a Christmas hamper service to a soup kitchen in Hackney and supporting our Esports Society to purchase a Virtual Reality headset to be used in care homes for the elderly, in order to take the less mobile residents out for trips using VR. Development work was also done on projects which will take place in the following year, having paused because of the pandemic. These include supporting the efforts of the Roehampton Players Society to take a show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the holding of a charity ball by the Water Aid society, to raise awareness about the work of Great Ormond Street Hospital, WaterAid, Amnesty International, and STAR (student action for refugees).
At Southlands, Venture also funded an environmental awareness campaign under the banner of Venture V. The Southlands College chaplain, with the support of our student leaders, hosted weekly gatherings to create Eco bricks and discuss environmental concerns.
New branding for Venture that was brought in during 2019-20 worked to improve the exposure of Southlands Venture. Materials produced to promote it were sustainably sourced, including pens and idea pads. All Southlands residential flats and classrooms were equipped with Southlands Venture posters and application forms.
The Trust intends to continue its support for the Venture into 2020-21, during which time the college’s chaplaincy team will take a leadership role in diversifying further the ways in which students can engage in Venture projects. Alongside student ideas and ongoing themed projects, the leaders of Venture will create planned opportunities for volunteering time in the college community, in which students can take part at short notice. This will include in particular opportunities to invest time improving the environment of the college.
Nurturing alumni relationships
Important to the development of a meaningful college community is the work done at Southlands to sustain relationships with past staff and students. Along with the college and the Southlands Methodist Trust, the university’s alumni and development staff teams dedicate resources to programmes and events with this in mind. Through and alongside these, the college focuses its energies on sustaining links with the dispersed Southlands community, which still extends to those who attended the college in the 1930s, in ways which celebrate and nurture the nature and quality of the community itself.
In January 2020, with the support of the Southlands Methodist Trust, the college published the fifth of its newly imagined alumni magazines, The Southlander. This is sent to past students, staff and Fellows, and provides a way for the college to connect with those groups, inform them about life at Southlands today, and encourage them to continue to support us in any way they can.
A number of small alumni reunions were planned and were due to be facilitated by the college for groups who wished to meet here. Sadly, none could in fact meet because of the nationwide lockdown. However, members of these groups remain in contact with us and we hope to support their plans for a time when this will once again be possible.
During the height of the pandemic, the Head of College and the university’s History and Heritage Adviser maintained close contact with some of our oldest and most vulnerable alumni and former staff, including past Principals and Fellows. Letters, telephone calls, birthday cards, and emails were exchanged in order to sustain the links that these special former members have with Southlands.
During the year, initial plans were made for the 150th anniversary of the founding of the college, which will be celebrated in the summer of 2022. Ideas include alumni reunion events, academic conferences, exhibitions, dinners, and other collaborative ventures. This will be a focus of our work in 2020-21 and will be led by a working group which brings together members of the Trust with staff from the university. The group will in particular explore a development project for Southlands College, which will seek to raise funds for its main academic building to be transformed in ways which encourage a far greater engagement with the community outside of the college walls. We hope that in 2020-21 our regular work in welcoming our alumni can begin again, and the Trust is committed to supporting that work, along with its continued provision of resources for The Southlander in 2021.
Awards, prizes and hardship/access grants
In 2019-20, 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 Fund for Southlands students entering postgraduate study, the Aldridge Fund for supporting music in the college chapel and the Southlands Fund for supporting student activities) and others are from the main Trust funds. The Trustees intend to continue sponsoring these activities in future years.
Nurturing Methodist educational partnerships
Southlands College places the University of Roehampton at the heart of the Methodist Church’s national and international educational networks. Important to the work of the Trust is to nurture new and generative projects and workstreams, which bring benefit to the college, the university and to the wider Church. Southlands is a key member of both the Methodist-related Theological Schools in Europe (MTSE) and the International Association of Methodist-related Schools, Colleges and Universities (IAMSCU). These involvements provide the college and our university with access into a family of institutions from which mutual support and collaborative ventures emerge. In the UK, Southlands College works closely with a range of educational partners, and especially the British Methodist Schools groups, which include Methodist Academies and Schools Trust (MAST), Methodist Independent Schools Trust (MIST), the Methodist Schools Committee (MSC) and the Methodist Education Round Table.
Britain and Ireland
Emerging from the latest MTSE Forum in Bulgaria has been the decision to establish a network to connect Methodist-related Higher Education providers across the UK and Ireland. Working in partnership with the Ministries and Vocation Team at Methodist Church House and the Board of Ministry, Learning and Development of the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Head of College and Partnerships Officer (a role sponsored by the Trust) established broad terms of reference for the group and the trustees of the SMT committed to seed funding for it. We hope to be able to gather the key institutions together at least annually for consultation and communication, with the prospect of greater collaboration, commencing in 2021. Revd Dr Tim Macquiban, Chair of the Southlands Methodist Trustees, has agreed to Chair the new network, and Southlands will be its base.
The Head of College remains a trustee of MAST and member of the MSC, and the Chair of the Southlands Methodist Trust is a member of the Education Round Table. Within the primary and secondary education sector, our closest work during 2019-20 was with MAST and its schools, significant funding for which is provided by the Southlands Methodist Trust. One result of this collaboration has seen colleagues from the Trust, in the university’s School of Education, Methodist Schools and the Catherine of Siena Centre working together to launch our first modules in Methodist Vocational Studies, planned for 2021, with associated plans to begin hosting block seminars for international partners soon after.
Support for the appointment of the Head of Service for MAST from the SMT ensured that the work of the schools charity could continue to develop. In the first half of the year from September 2019 to March 2020, MAST’s work developed in a dynamic pattern. Relationships built over the first few months of working were extended by the appointment by the Head of Service of seven headteachers of Methodist schools as local ‘Regional Leaders in Education’ (RLEs), supporting new heads, developing local groups and organising rapid training programmes. The introduction of ‘local weeks’ strengthened this further, in which the Head of Service offered a range of school visits and training events for week-long periods in particular areas. The annual chaplaincy event for 2019-20 was titled, ‘So you’re a school chaplain’, following on from last year’s ‘So you’re becoming a school chaplain’ – the 2021 event, in planning, will be, ‘So you’d like to be a school chaplain’, marking the development of a three-year cycle.
Following March 2020, the context for schools work was drastically altered. Nonetheless, this was a rich period for MAST, led by the Head of Service. Alongside the provision of pastoral care for teachers and head teachers, the development of fellowship initiatives for schools leaders and chaplains, the strengthening of the Methodist Church’s role as a support structure for Methodist schools, and the creation of RE resources on racism, of particular note amongst the activities of MAST has been the creation by the Head of Service of a series of seminars over the lockdown period. Two of these were ‘guided get-togethers’ with structured discussion about aspects of schools reopening. The others involved high-quality speakers on key issues on the education agenda, including: quality of the curriculum; child mental health in the Covid context; safeguarding; post-Covid catch-up curriculum. One of the merits of online working is that it is not bound by the usual limits of capacity and location. This means that all MAST events were inclusive of staff and students from the School of Education at Roehampton.
Europe and worldwide
The Head of College, who is a Director of IAMSCU, and the Partnerships Officer, who is on the coordinating group for MTSE, attended a number of gatherings (in person and online) designed to further the potential for collaborative ventures between Methodist institutions.
We were pleased to announce the creation of the Susanna Wesley International Visiting Fellowship in the summer of 2019. This enables scholars and experienced practitioners from the wider Wesleyan family to visit the Roehampton campus for an extended period of time to undertake research, study and encounter, and to contribute their expertise to the wider Connexion. While restrictions on international travel prevented the first appointment of a Fellow in 2019-20, during 2020-21 we hope to be able to welcome colleagues from other IAMSCU member institutions, post-pandemic, to join us in this way and share their insights with us.
IAMSCU, the global Methodist education group, is committed to deepening the bonds between its members and fostering closer ties across the globe. The pandemic created some space for IAMSCU to review its work and especially the Methodist International Student Exchange Network (MISEN). The Partnerships Officer, on behalf of the college, is representing the European region on the international working group seeking to rethink the nature of exchange and cross-cultural education in a post-Covid world and we hope to see some newly-imagined exchange programmes develop in 2020-21.
Managing our college archives
The Southlands Methodist Trust retains ownership of the historical archives of Southlands College, which are housed in the college. The archive contains historical 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 historical 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 2019-20, formal arrangements were made for the transfer to Southlands of the personal archive of Leslie Griffiths, Lord Griffiths of Burry Port, a former Chair of Governors and Fellow of the college. The archive will arrive at the college during the following academic year, at which point work will begin on cataloguing and digitising some of the materials.
The SMT regards music-making as a building block of any community, and has continued to support Southlands College as the hub for community music across the university, providing space and funding in the knowledge that, through participation and the shared experience of music, community life can flourish. Resources and scholarships have helped students to play and perform, and the community has joined together in celebrating the results.
2019-20 was alive with tradition, innovation, and improvisation. In 2018-19, the SMT purchased sub-Saharan African drums from different cultural and musical traditions, allowing groups of up to 18 to meet each time and make music together. During 2019-20 these groups met regularly. The physicality of playing cross and polyrhythms, of hearing the differences in pitches and timbres, and of learning music aurally has been engrossing, and this year our sessions have been full.
Our small Gospel Choir made great headway. Student leaders, supported by the Director of Music, led rehearsals and chose repertoire. Many of our musicians come from black-majority Pentecostal and Gospel churches and have been keen to share their knowledge and experience, discovering that through music they also found a community with which to socialise and worship. Their rehearsals were hosted in The Well at Southlands and they joined the Carol Service in December.
The university Carol Service – a joint venture of Southlands and Digby Stuart Colleges – continues to fuse tradition and innovation. This year featured Gospel song, carols and music from our Community Choir, Enesco’s Cantabile et Presto for flute and piano for the journey, JS Bach’s In dulci jubilo (BWV 729) on the organ, and then the Roehampton Jazz Band with refreshments in the Convent Parlour to celebrate Christmas and mark the end of term. Groups from different musical cultures are able to share their gifts in this liturgy and to experience otherness.
Southlands hosted the university’s Music Gala in December, filling the college’s Chapman Hall. The SMT provided a number of music scholarships in 2018-19 and this was an opportunity for our music scholars to showcase their work, alongside our ensembles and bands. Three beneficiaries of music scholarships opened the concert: Jessica Dalton (studying for the DTh) sang ‘How Beautiful are the Feet’ from Messiah, Alice Pollock offered the ‘Agnus Dei’ from Mozart’s Coronation Mass, and Mark Lockhart gave ‘Out there’ from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Mark has been supported by Southlands Methodist Trust during his study and successfully auditioned for the Royal Academy of Music for 2020-21. Music at the Gala spanned genres. There was glam rock from Jesse River Dylan Murray, jazz and Christmas medleys from the Roehampton Ensemble and Jazz Band, chamber music from the Roehampton Violets (our all-female string ensemble), solo bagpipes, and music by Malcolm Archer from our Community Choir. It also marked the final gala performance by Andrew Davies, a music scholar studying education who has been using his scholarship to work with a local children’s choir. Andrew was this year’s recipient of the Southlands College Charles Wesley Award for contributions to community music, sponsored by the SMT.
Spring saw engagement from across the university with a project in conjunction with the Cathedrals’ Group, the association of 16 universities and university colleges with Church foundations. Staff and students prepared the choral parts of Will Todd’s Mass in Blue, to take to Carlisle Cathedral for the Cathedrals Group Choir Festival. The performance was to have been on 28th March, just as the lockdown came into play, but we enjoyed learning the music and plans are underway with the Cathedrals’ Group for a virtual experience in 2021.
These circumstances also affected a tour of ‘Judgement Day’, a musical written by university students and starring current members and alumni. Work happened on campus but the intended run at the Edinburgh Fringe, supported by the Southlands Venture, could not come to fruition this year. The enthusiasm for ‘Judgment Day’, however, shows that Music Theatre remains popular, and in 2019-20 we put on two showcases for staff and two for students. Working with Jonathan Wilson from the Department of Drama, theatre, and Performance, we performed in Southlands, Froebel, and Digby Stuart Colleges, the latter with a full lighting rig and tiered seating for the audience. Singers from these performances also entertained at the Southlands Christmas and Celebration dinners.
The Trust remains committed to the central role of music in forming community and as a marker of the Methodism of Southlands. It will continue to support the work of the Director of Music and to provide funding for resources, scholarships and music events in 2020-21.
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. This included the second year of funding of a major grant to the university’s Ministerial Theology department for the pursuit of two Theological Action Research projects. One explores Methodist-Roman Catholic ecumenical social action projects across the country. The other looked at learning in the Church, focusing particularly on Methodist communities.
Another area of activity was shaped around the Divine Designs project, which began in 2018-19. 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. 2019-20 saw the production of a number of outputs from that work, including a new Finding Your Place resource, which acts both as a guide to the college and also a reflection on the values and the theology which lie behind its architecture. Over 20 pages, Finding Your Place offers practical information with an added layer of depth, explaining how the college’s faith heritage has helped to shape both the buildings and the ethos of the community. The booklet can be downloaded from the Southlands Methodist Trust website (www.southlandsmethodisttrust.org.uk/news). Hard copies were distributed across college and at some key academic events through the year.
Each year the Head of Southlands College works with the trustees of the Southlands Methodist Trust to manage and administer a grants-awarding scheme for research work that supports both the research profile of the university and the charitable purposes of the Trust. In 2019-20 a number of projects took place across Roehampton’s departments, and a further series of grants were awarded for the following academic year. Some projects were put on pause part way through the year because of the barriers to empirical research under lockdown. Each of those will continue in the year 2020-21.
Projects pursued during 2019-20
Click here to read more about the projects pursued during 2019-20 and those approved to begin in 2020-21, and the researchers carrying them out.
Projects commenced during 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 investigates 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 explores how far such stories, and shifting memories of them, might act as a starting point for rethinking narratives of ageing identity.
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 uses 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.
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, examining an important developmental period in the formation of masculinity, when young men become fathers. It uses participatory methods, consultation and creative outputs to achieve 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. 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. Despite its ethnically diverse student body and sincere commitment to social justice, race and racism are sources of tension that can impede the mission of the university in providing excellent education for all students.
Projects approved during the year, for completion in 2020-21
The effect of COVID-19 Lockdown on the learning journey of commuter students.
As a result of the Lockdown imposed by COVID-19, the Roehampton Business School has had to transition rapidly to more home and digitally based teaching and learning. The research proposed in this application will explore the effect of the changes on the learning journey of commuter students who are the majority in the Business School.
The effects of the coronavirus lockdown on children’s psychosocial and educational adjustment during school transition
What are the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown on pupils’ outcomes, especially for those who undergo school transition simultaneously? This question can only be asked because we have a single historical event impacting people’s lives at the same time. The aim of this study is to explore the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown on children’s psychosocial and educational adjustment during school transition.
An investigation into social control by neglect
The project is an investigation into social control by neglect. That is to say, the absence of institutional control and social support in the lives of certain groups. It is intended that a number of case studies will illustrate the conceptual parameters of this theory.
Latin American professional women and men in the UK
This research project examines the workplace experiences, career trajectories and professional identity of Latin American professionals in London – an understudied immigrant group in the UK.
Once More with Feeling: A reinvention of Hysteria using photography, performance and writing
This project consists of an art exhibition and a series of corresponding satellite events. Over the year, events and exhibitions will be held both at Roehampton and external institutions such as The Freud Museum (London) and the Royal College of Art (RCA). The project aims to generate public engagement concerning societal frameworks, historical and contemporary, of the repression of women
Public Engagement: Challenging myths of empire
In an age of decolonizing research and the curriculum (at all levels) it is important to question the increasing glorification of empire in recent years. Using public engagement tools, the Australian ‘working man’s paradise’ narrative and the continuing belief that convicts transported to Australia in the nineteenth century were ‘better off’, can be challenged. This will be done through the creation of bi-monthly life-narratives of convicts who were transported to Australia and died as paupers.
This project seeks to capture and assess the philosophy and impact of Phiroz Mehta (1902-1994), an Indian spiritual teacher in 1970s-1990s Britain, whose impact remains undocumented outside of his close circle and has not been analysed in an academic context.
New creation project
Amid a welter of negative headlines about environmental destruction, a new project at Southlands, sponsored by the Southlands Methodist Trust, is seeking to offer positive ways in which we can connect to and celebrate the natural world
An ancient tree in Winchelsea, East Sussex, which once sheltered John Wesley, has become the star of a short film produced at Southlands in 2020. Under its leafy canopy in October 1790 the great Methodist leader and preacher sat and gave what was to be the last of thousands of sermons delivered in the open air. Although the original specimen has long since died, a replacement grown from the original tree now marks the spot of this historic occasion. It is as good a place as any to consider the power of Christianity to enhance our relationship with the natural world.
The presenter of the film is Dr Nick Mayhew-Smith, Honorary Fellow of the university, whose work has been featured on a number of popular media platforms. Nick has been commissioned by the Southlands Methodist Trust and the Susanna Wesley Foundation to look at ways in which the church can help people engage with environmental issues in positive and creative ways. His research has been labelled the New Creation Project in recognition of the central role that creativity has in restoring and reviving natural ecosystems of every kind. Simply planting and renewing a tree, as the church has done at Winchelsea, can be one such symbolic act, helping to create a sense of community around a landmark natural site. As Nick’s video demonstrates, trees have a long and noble history in Christian tradition, from the Tree of Life in Genesis through the ancient churchyard yews much loved in the British landscape.
The project is already bearing fruit, and has led to a contract with Canterbury Press to produce a book that celebrates the ways in which Christians through the ages have gone through periods of outdoor worship. Titled Landscape Liturgies, the book will be a compilation of church rituals, blessings and services that have been conducted outside church buildings, including many which are directed towards the natural world itself. River blessings, tree-planting Eucharist services, holy well rituals, pilgrim prayers and field and agricultural blessings are among many such nature-focused activities being gathered for the book, which is due for publication in autumn 2021. Readers will be able to pick up the book and conduct such services themselves, rooted in tradition but with a fresh relevance at a time of environmental destruction. Nick introduces the project in this short video:
Rev Dr Tim Macquiban (Chair)
Rev Dr Stan Brown
Rev Dr Joanne Cox-Darling
Mr Alan Davies (appointed October 2020)
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