All posts by Christopher Greenough

Fieldwork in Religion: Going Out and Finding Out

This last week has been very busy for our undergraduate students, who have benefitted from meeting and engaging with local faith communities.

Year 2 Ethnography students are currently engaged in their own fieldwork projects, exploring a range of topics including witchcraft, perspectives on the after life in a care home, life in a convent, challenges and controversies in contemporary religion, digital ethnography, as well as engaging with Paganism, Christianity, Sikhism and Islam. The principle of the module is to allow students to go out and find out more about how living religion is experienced as part of every day life.

Year 2 Judaism students and their module tutor, Dr Chris Greenough, visited Southport and District Reform Synagogue on Wednesday 7th November. They received a very warm welcome from the team there, especially Selwyn and Anne who gave an informative talk about the Jewish way of life and particularly the differences between the Orthodox and Reform movements. On Tuesday 13th November, the same group of students visited Southport Orthodox synagogue, where they were able to consolidate their subject knowledge about Jewish worship practices and the design of a synagogue.

Year 3 students, with Maggie Webster, were welcomed by Swaminarayan Hindu temple in Preston to mark the celebration of Diwali and new year.


Year 2 Visit to Manchester Synagogue and Schul

David Arnold explaining the tallit and tefillin, used during prayer service.

On 20th March, Year 2 students enjoyed a visit to the Manchester Synagogue and Schul, led by David Arnold. The visit was part of the fieldwork for the module on Judaism. David Arnold is an ambassador for the Jewish community, working with schools and universities. During the morning, David gave a talk on the Jewish ‘way of life’, explaining how being Jewish is more than religion. Lunch was enjoyed at a local kosher restaurant, and students visited the local Jewish bookstore. The afternoon session with David offered plenty of opportunity for questions before heading home to complete their assignments!

Year 1 Visit Gujarat Temple in Preston

After successfully completing a module on Hindu Dharma, on 12th March, Year 1 students received a warm welcome at the Gujarat Temple in Preston. Students were greeted by receiving a tilaka. This is part of the Hindu ritual of marking someone’s forehead with a fragrant paste, as a welcome and expression of honour when they arrive. During the guided tour of the temple, students were able to see the visual richness of the dharmic tradition by looking at the statues and images of the Hindu deities, as well as observe puja worship from individuals visiting the temple. Students also experienced a guided meditation, yoga style.