Mapping Religion in Leeds

Mapping Work in Progress Presentation

Members of the 2014 Mapping Group at the UGRE

Religious Mapping of Leeds is a final year module for undergraduate students, and offers the opportunity to undertake detailed study of a specific area of Leeds.  Dating back to the earliest days of the Community Religions Project, religious mapping of Leeds has provided a unique insight into religious life in Leeds.   A selection of recent reports can be found by clicking links through from the table below.

Each year students present their research back to the community they have been researching.  Additionally they are invited to make a work-in-progress presentation to the Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Research Experience (UGRE) event. Presentations from the most recent Mapping projects can be see alongside their final report (see below).

Education and Religion in Leeds2018Final Report (pdf)
Fairtrade in Leeds2015Final Report (pdf)
Community Presentation (Pdf)
Kirkstall2015Final Report
Community Presentation (Pdf)
Chapeltown2014 Final Report & Directory (pdf)
Work in Progress Poster Presentation (Prezi)
Community Presentation (Powerpoint)
Meanwood2013Final Report & Directory (pdf)

Student Experience

Please find below a collection of feedback from students who undertook the Religious Mapping module:

Elspeth Alexander

Mapping was the course I enjoyed the most at university and also the most useful in terms of helping to gain future employment. The practical skills I developed on the module have been invaluable in my work life and I still reference the module in interviews. I loved the opportunity to engage with communities and religious ceremonies I would never have come across unless I had taken part in the course and also to work as part of a close knit team. It was a brilliant experience and one that I am very grateful to the TRS department for allowing me to take part in.

Leah Rhodes-Valery

I completed the Religious Mapping module in the third year of my undergraduate year. Our project group comprised of about 6 of us. The initial stage of the project comprised of research. This meant researching the area of Leeds we had been allocated (Meanwood) and carrying out some interviews with significant figures in the area.

Once we had decided on the focus of our project, we were able to conduct fieldwork and narrow our research. Our project looked at religion in relation to Big Society and the age of austerity. We attempted to understand the challenges faced by religious groups in such a time, as well as their important role in society.

The fieldwork comprised of interviews and observations of services. We were able to gain first- hand experience of Pentecostal services and Jehovah’s Witness services, giving our project real variety. We divided these equally amongst the group, as well as the writing of the 10,000 report. Mid-way through our research, we were also given the opportunity to give a presentation to the local community, which enabled us to present initial ideas and gain feedback.

The best thing about the project was the ‘hands-on’ element. As researchers, we were able to go out into the communities in Leeds and meet with individuals and groups who were making real differences in their religious groups, as well as the wider communities. It brought the previous years of studying Theology and Religious Studies to life, and made me appreciate why I had chosen to study TRS at Leeds in the first place.

It also gave me key skills that I subsequently used in job interviews such as; working in a team, chairing meetings, interviewing individuals, and editing a 10,000 word report. We had a great group of people who each bought something to the team, and were really well supported by our tutor. I would highly recommend it to third year students!

Jo Henderson-Merrygold

Religious Mapping of Leeds was a stand-out module for me. I loved it – even the difficult bits which inevitably come from a group of people learning to work together effectively. Our group undertook a fascinating investigation into the religious dynamics of Chapeltown, an area which had been mapped a few years previously. In the first report a small number of places of worship had been identified, and within no time we had found several times that number.

Had the area changed? We couldn’t definitively tell, but what we could show was that in a very multinational part of the city there were clear patterns of diaspora groups playing out across the geographic area we mapped. Groups that had been there for tens and hundreds of years were sharing buildings with new arrivals, and the diversity we identified highlighted the need for further research in the area. Was this multiplicity of religious groups and organisations a response to the marketization of religion in line with some secularisation models? Was there any correlation between the total number of religious practitioners and the sizeable number of groups? How was generational change represented amongst the different religious communities, and how did this relate (or not) with ethnic and national heritage? Our work identified far more questions than we were able to provide answers to, but that in itself was an exciting outcome to a project that indicated significant change across the area in just a few years. It would be well worth revisiting in another few years to see if these trends have continued or changed yet again?