Ritual Reconstructed Participant Information Sheet

What is the project about?
Ritual Reconstructed is a collaborative project which involves working with London-based Jewish Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) communities to explore faith rituals which combine both Jewish and LGBTQI identities. We will be working with film, performance, installation and storytelling to look at the ways  in which Jewish people who identify as LGBTQI engage in religious and community life. We are really interested in finding out how being LGBTQI has influenced, shaped or changed Jewish faith rituals and how our Jewish selves have influenced LGBTQI rituals. The project is running from October 2014 to September 2015.

Who is organising this?
The project is a collaboration between Surat Shaan Knan at Liberal Judaism/ Rainbow Jews; Margaret Greenfields at the Institute for Diversity Research, Inclusivity, Communities and Society (IDRICS) at Buckinghamshire New University; EJ Milne at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University and Searle Kochberg a filmmaker and academic at the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of Portsmouth. The funding has been awarded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Who can take part?
Anyone who is over 18, lives (or is available to be filmed) in or near to London or Portsmouth and identifies as Jewish and LGBTQI can get involved. Allies who are actively engaged in the UK’s LGBTQI and/or Jewish community can also participate.

What will it involve?
This project involves two different elements:

  • a) a series of short films will be made which will be used to increase knowledge and share information about LGBTQI Jewish ritual life. These films will involve filming or recording activities throughout the ritual year.
  • b) participants will be invited to undertake the curation of individual, personally meaningful ritual objects (e.g a kippot or tallit; photographs; discussions about how items such as a kiddush cup or candlesticks or even objects not ‘obviously’ Jewishly meaningful) are incorporated into personal ritual which combines LGBTQI and Jewish identity. You will have the opportunity to work with a narrative story-teller to explore how these items came into your life and ritual world; with material (images, oral testimony and written materials) which emerge from this element of the project being uploaded onto a web-portal at a later stage to allow viewers to consider the nature of personal ritual meaning and how LGBTQI faith community members can recreate ‘new’ meaningful rituals.

You will also be offered the chance to take part in a final seminar in which you present your personal story of ritual and the ritual/important objects collated above, for an audience of LGBTQI (and allies) from Jewish and other faith communities.  You can opt to take part in one or other element of the project although we’d obviously be delighted if you participated in both parts.
For part,

  • a) you will be filmed or have your voice recorded re-enacting or talking about a ritual which has meaning for you and is important in your life. For example it might be use of tefillot, how you perform kavod shabbat in a way which honours your multiple identities, the creation of ritual pertaining to a same-sex Chuppah, going to Pride or taking part in or another Jewish or LGBTQI ritual. Any group or individual can take part. Filming will take place at an appropriate location e.g. in your home or a community space (for example, with permission at a community havurah). The film crew will be led by Searle Kochberg (a filmmaker and academic) and will include carefully selected, and experienced student camera and sound people from the University of Portsmouth.

The length of the filming session will be flexible and will take between 2 to 4 hours. There will be a period of 30 minutes before and after the recording when the crew will need to set up or pack up and to film any necessary “pickups” or “cutaways”.

What happens if I no longer wish to be involved?
Don’t worry! If you decide that the project isn’t for you all you need to do is tell us. We will respect your wishes. You only need to let us know if you are happy for us to use the materials you have already created or if you wish them to be removed from the archive.

Will people be able to identify me?
In an ideal world we would like people to identify their LGBTQI Jewish selves on camera and acclaim their rituals to the wider community. However, we are happy to accommodate those who wish to remain anonymous. The University of Portsmouth post-production team are trained in using special effects software and this can be applied to the visuals and recorded sound if you wish, in order to anonymise your contribution.

Will I get paid for my contribution?
Unfortunately we are not able to pay people for their participation however we can cover reasonable travel expenses. Please chat to us first just to make sure there is money in the budget.

Who will see the films and materials?
The aim is to create a series of films and educational materials for the wider public to use so that they can learn about Jewish LGBTQI rituals and faith. We are hoping to screen the clips at film and Human Rights festivals, LGBTQI events and at Universities in the UK and overseas. These will also be available on our project website for people to download. Anonymity will be preserved in all available materials unless you give permission for name to be used or wish to self-identity.

What will happen to the films, recordings and material at the end of the project?
Everyone involved in the project will be invited to a final event where we will screen the films. We will  also give each person the choice of bringing along an object and telling a story to the group about our Jewish LGBTQI selves. Taking part in this is optional. As this is a publicly funded research project all materials created by the project will be stored in the UK data archive. This is so that future researchers can learn from the project. If you wish to have your contribution anonymised, or not shared, just let us know.

How do I get involved?
If you would like to find out more or get involved contact Surat Shaan Knan at Liberal Judaism: The Montagu Centre, Contact us through the website: 21 Maple Street, London W1T 4BE. or ring or txt us on 020 7580 1663 Mob: 07908 185 872.

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