Staff Showcase: Rachel Cohen
21 / 12 / 20
21 / 12 / 20
Your name and job title: Anna Lockley-Scott, leading on F&BF’s new community dialogue project funded by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with responsibility for Birmingham.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I live in Birmingham. I grew up in a Christian household in York but with some personal struggle I found I could not share those beliefs and therefore now regard myself as non–religious.
What made you initially interested in interfaith work?
I have been interested in working with different communities and faith groups for a long time. After two degrees in Theology learning about different religious views, I became an RE teacher and worked in very multicultural classrooms discussing religions from different pupils’ perspectives.
What motivates you now, and why do you feel interfaith work is still required?
My motivation has not changed. It is still about cultivating conversation amongst people and developing dialogue. More importantly, it is about people having opportunities to have their voice heard and explore ideas together. I recently completely a PhD on Muslim pupils’ experiences in the context of the Prevent strategy. One of the most important aspects of this work, was giving the pupils opportunity to speak and explore their thoughts and feelings around faith and culture. This desire to hear people speak, tell their stories and explore ideas continues to motivate me.
How did you first hear about F&BF?
I used to be a RE Head of Department in a school that F&BF worked with. We did the Encountering Faith and Belief workshops and my pupils worked with F&BF on the What Women Believe project in 2016.
What parts of your role are you most excited about?
I am most excited about the diversity of the groups we will work with in Birmingham and the conversations that will come out of linking different communities together. I am also excited about the possible legacy this project will leave with communities who may well go on to cultivate stronger relationships with each other after the project has finished for us.
What do you feel are the most common misconceptions about faith work in society today? And what are the truths?
Perhaps a misconception is about people not being open. Actually, when given the opportunity to be open to others, they take that opportunity. The problem is that people mostly lack the opportunity to encounter others and therefore the encounters do not take place. The most important thing is to provide the opportunity for people and that is what Faith and Belief Forum does.
What are the three main issues relating to faith you feel need addressing on a societal level?
And finally…What floats your boat outside of work? (hobbies, other interests, etc)
Beyond work, I do a lot of yoga, walking and cycling. I spend most of my weekends out in the countryside of Worcestershire, Shropshire, Warwickshire or Staffordshire discovering all sorts of places of beauty.