The Team at Ritual Reconstructed
The project is a collaboration between three major UK universities and a faith-based community organisation: Liberal Judaism/ Rainbow Jews; the Institute for Diversity Research, Inclusivity, Communities and Society (IDRICS) at Buckinghamshire New University; the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University; and the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of Portsmouth.
We work together and consult with a variety of important stakeholders including academics, theologians, community leaders, LGBTQI+ activists, storytellers and media/IT professionals.
Margaret Greenfields is a practising Liberal Jew, a socialist and ‘green’ social policy practitioner/academic and former community lawyer. She has identified as an LGBTQI ally for as long as she can remember. In ‘previous incarnations’ Margaret has been a Lesbian Parenting and Sexual Violence Policy officer for the Legal Charity ‘Rights of Women’ as well as working at the Family Rights Group with families involved in care proceedings. She has also worked as a researcher for the Universities of London, Bath and Manchester. Margaret has at various points in her personal history been very active in co-operative housing schemes and community theatre, left-wing and radical feminist politics, ‘intentional communities’ and has a long history of involvement in collaborative research with ‘marginalised’ communities including Gypsies, Travellers and Roma, refugees and asylum seekers, homeless people and those at the margins of society. She is passionate about the value of arts practice and music – particularly community singing (although has limited free time now to be active in this field); has academic qualifications in/studied theatre and literature, theology; inter-ethnic/faith relations and community development practice.
Margaret has published widely in the fields of social and health inclusion, including producing evaluations and research reports for Government agencies and NGOs. She regularly lectures/ delivers training in collaborative research practice in the UK and Europe/South Africa. She is currently a Research Fellow at IDRA (the Institute of Dispute Resolution, Africa located in the College of Law, UNISA) and Professor of Social Policy and Community Engagement and founder Director of the Institute for Diversity Research http://bucks.ac.uk/research/research_institutes/idrics/about-idrics/ at Buckinghamshire New University. From Margaret’s point of view this project involves a ‘coming home’ to working with her own community as well as creating an important (and joyful) opportunity to explore faith, identity and sexual orientation through the prism of arts, social sciences and humanities practices.
Surat-Shaan Rathgeber Knan works for the Liberal Jewish movement UK and is a campaigner for faith related LGBTQI issues. Surat-Shaan is the founder and manager of the landmark Lottery Heritage funded projects Rainbow Jews and Twilight People. He has an M.A. degree in Psychology (Gender Studies), Journalism and Theatre, and has worked for over two decades as educator and project coordinator with numerous international organisations including Sydney Western University.
Surat-Shaan is currently involved in the AHRC funded project Ritual Reconstructed: Challenges to disconnection, division and exclusion in the Jewish LGBTQI Community in collaboration with Buckinghamshire New University, Portsmouth University, and Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University. Surat-Shaan is an out & proud transgender Jew and blogs for Jewish News UK. He is a high-profile public speaker and has presented at numerous international conferences including ILGA World ; AIDS 2014 Melbourne, Global Interfaith Network, Johannesburg 2014, and WOGA Outgames, Antwerp 2013.
EJ Milne is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University. Her work focuses on issues of social justice, working with communities to research neglected narratives and uses film and other creative methods as a means for dialogue and research.
EJ was brought up in the Middle East and has always been interested in how our cultures, identities, and beliefs shape us and people’s perceptions of us. EJ studied Arab and Islamic Studies at University before working as a Religious Studies Teacher. EJ then decided to study for a Masters and PhD where she undertook video and photography projects to explore how young men construct and perform their masculinity and how local communities and the government respond to and regulate against it.
During the Rituals Reconstructed project EJ will be more involved in looking at documents and articles related to the project so the team can use this to inform our focus groups, discussions with Rabbis and Philosophers and in the conversations with people who are interested in learning from our project. If anyone has any articles, reports or information they want to share with us, you are welcome to send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Searle Kochberg is a maker and writer on cinema and other performing arts. He is currently pursuing a practical PhD at the University of Portsmouth in Auto-ethnographic Film and Jewish London. He teaches at the same institution. His areas of research are film studies, directing and script (fiction and nonfiction).
Apart from filming the Rainbow Jews interviews and producing its TV shows (2013), Searle has produced a significant body of film work dealing with other Jewish stories, including the documentaries Irene Runge: My Way (2002), Leaving the Table (2007) and L’Esprit de l’Escalier (2010). His most recent film production is a narrative experiment in animation and live action with a non-fiction “tone”, Dream Life of Debris (2014).
Jackie McPeak is PRINCE2 trained and an experience project Administrator. She has expertise in project support and the administration linked to project management. With strong IT skills she previously developed and delivered Open Access Portals for international projects. Good inter-personal / communication skills, she also has experience in co-ordinating administration across University complex international projects, being the focus for communication between partners. She has worked successfully in the past with Professor Margaret Greenfields to publish, administer, and maintain project papers/outputs, administer and organise conferences in the UK maintaining budget and project management information under her lead.