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UCP News University Centre Peterborough and ISLAH Host Community & Social Research Conference

University Centre Peterborough and ISLAH Host Community & Social Research Conference

University Centre Peterborough (UCP), part of Inspire Education Group, in conjunction with the Institute for Social Policy, Leadership and Advancement of Humanity (ISLAH), hosted a Community & Social Research Conference last week, which offered insight into the current and future direction of community and social research being undertaken in the Peterborough area.

The independent research institute, ISLAH, was established in 2022, to research local issues pertaining to the Muslim and wider communities of Peterborough. Some of its key purposes are to increase Muslim and grassroots voices and visibility in research, to disseminate research findings in an accessible and easily understood format, and to support Muslim and wider communities to access and learn research skills.

As a Higher Education provider and research hub, University Centre Peterborough was the ideal location for hosting the conference. The event commenced with an opportunity to network and enjoy refreshments, before Claire Swales, HE Manager of the Arts, Social Science & Student Support at UCP, and Sameena Aziz, Founder and Director of ISLAH and co-organiser of the event, welcomed visitors. Before long, Keynote speeches were underway, from Professor Sir Les Ebdon, UCP Chair of Governors, and Professor Ben Rogaly, Professor of Human Geography in the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex, whose research activity takes a large focus on the city of Peterborough.

After a call for papers earlier in the month, guests then had the opportunity to attend a variety of 10-minute panels, to discover what projects are being undertaken by communities and researchers within the Peterborough area. The presentations explored the likes of the impact of research on the community, how research improves social outcomes and access to opportunities in the city, and the challenges of undertaking research in the field. As explained by Claire Swales, “UCP has a history of working directly with our community, so it was an absolute privilege to host this conference and give a platform to so many organisations and individuals to share their research. The speeches demonstrated that there is a huge amount of effort being made to support and integrate the Peterborough community, and this event represented an important opportunity to network and identify future direction.”

The successful event closed with an evaluation from Claire Bowes, Curriculum Leader for HE Psychology, and Sameena Aziz. Sameena shared, “I am absolutely amazed by the overwhelming response from the Peterborough grassroots community; the public, private and voluntary sectors, the charities, education and faith communities, to name a few, all wanted to share some aspects of the amazing work they are doing. It has been wonderful working in collaboration with Claire Swales and Claire Bowes of University Centre Peterborough, and this conference has demonstrated how collaborative working is the new smart way of working, pooling resources to maximise outcome. Peterborough has demonstrated that it is ready and waiting for its voice to be included in shaping its future”.

Thank you to ISLAH, and all those that attended the event.

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