My research covers a broad spectrum of topics. The majority of my research to date has focused upon Islam in the UK, with my doctoral research at Goldsmiths, University of London, and post-doctoral work at the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship, University of Bristol, examining debates among British Muslims and their engagement with legal and governance processes. I have a particular interest in changes within Islamic institutions in Britain over the last three decades, and the implications of these changes for debates about liberalism, nationalism and multiculturalism. Alongside this, I have also worked on various areas of religion and public policy, cohesion and diversity policy (including policies relating to extremism), and higher education policy.
Some of the research projects I have been involved in, either as a researcher or in a managerial role, are detailed below.
Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum is a major three-year research project led by Newman University with York University, Toronto, and the British Library and funded by the Templeton Religion Trust. It investigates, using historical, sociological and psychological approaches, the public understanding of and debates about scientific theories and their relationship with personal belief. In total, sixteen researchers in the UK and Canada are involved in the project, who approach these questions from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives and using a variety of qualitative, quantitative and archival methods.
Public Spirit is an on-line forum for researchers, policymakers, politicians and practitioners from the voluntary and community sectors to debate recent developments in faith and public policy. It was funded by the AHRC in 2013 and is based at the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship, University of Bristol.
Muslim Participation in Contemporary Governance
The project Muslim Participation in Contemporary Governance ran from June 2010 to January 2013 at the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship, University of Bristol, and was funded through the AHRC/ESRC’s Religion and Society programme. It explored modes and practices of state-Muslim engagement from 1997 onwards, particularly in the fields of equalities, faith-sector governance and counter-terrorism, at national level and in three local areas: Birmingham, Leicester and Tower Hamlets.
Religious Literacy Leadership in Higher Education
The Religious Literacy Leadership Programme is a partnership between the Faiths and Civil Society Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London and the Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme at the University of Cambridge. It is funded by HEFCE and seeks to foster better engagement with religion in higher education.
Privately Funded Providers of Higher Education in the UK
In 2012 the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) commissioned CFE Research and the British Accreditation Council to provide a comprehensive picture of provision by privately funded institutions operating in the UK higher education (HE) sector. The research report was produced in 2013 and provides robust data on the number of providers operating and students studying privately.
Determining the Use and Impact of HEFCE Funding for Widening Participation
In 2012 HEFCE commissioned CFE Research and Edge Hill University to conduct research on how HEFCE’s widening participation (WP) funding is deployed within institutions and institutional perceptions of the impact the funding has had on WP outcomes. This research was commissioned to provide evidence for the HEFCE/OFFA national strategy for access and student success, published in 2013.
Understanding Successful Progression to HE for White Working Class and Minority Ethnic Groups
In 2014 the Department of Business Innovation and Skills commissioned CFE Research to carry out research with the aim of developing a better understanding of the reasons (beyond attainment) for the differential rates of participation in HE particularly amongst ethnic minority groups, white working class groups, and male students.
Link: Report due summer 2015
International Research on the Effectiveness of Widening Participation
HEFCE commissioned CFE Research and Edge Hill University in December 2012 to produce a report on effective approaches to widening participation in six case study countries: the Netherlands, the US, Australia, South Africa, Norway and Ireland. The review was commissioned to inform the national strategy for access and student success developed by HEFCE and the Office for Fair Access in 2013.
The image at the top of this page is of Masjid Umar in Leicester, where I conducted research between 2009 and 2011. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.