Since the project started in 2021, the team’s main activities have been to collect data from different participants using different research methods.

We have also organised and participated in activities where we have shared emerging themes from the research with different audiences.

Data collection

Context interviews

We interviewed people involved in environmental governance and service delivery in Manchester to develop an understanding of the policy and socio-cultural context in which we are researching with immigrant participants.

Most of these people have a role in local government (as officers and councillors) and others are involved in non-governmental organisations and grassroots community groups.

Surveys about environmental concerns and practices

We conducted a detailed survey to collect data on Manchester residents’ environmental concerns about global and local environmental issues, on the extent to which they engage in household practices that are typically considered to be environmentally friendly, and where they get trusted information about environmental issues.

We also gathered socio-demographic data about survey respondents (e.g., gender, income, age, length of time living in the UK). We have a sample size of 500 survey participants, with approximately 200 Pakistani immigrants, 200 Somali immigrants, and 100 who were born in the UK.

Interviews with Somali and Pakistani-origin participants

After the survey stage of the research was complete, we started on follow-up interviews with Somali and Pakistani-origin participants to discuss in greater depth some of the key issues we asked about in the survey.

The interviews will be ongoing during the winter months of 2022-23.

Webinars, talks and community events

Mangoes, meat and motors: Confronting the climate on Manchester’s Curry Mile

Zarina Ahmad and Sherilyn MacGregor organised the highly successful event ‘Mangoes, meat and motors: confronting the climate on Manchester’s Curry Mile’ as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science.

The purpose of the event held at the Whitworth Art Gallery on Tuesday, 8 November 2022 was to have a community-facing, friendly and generative discussion about how to make the Curry Mile a place that serves people and the environment better.

About 50 people attended, joining first to view an exhibition of 24 photos submitted by local people over food and drink.

After the exhibition came some introductory remarks by Dr Safina Islam (Head of the AIURRRC) and Zahid Hussain (writer and Manchester City Councillor for Levenshulme).

Attendees participated in a ‘World Café’ facilitated by Zarina, guided by the question: how does life, work and play on the Curry Mile help and/or hurt the environment? From the answers generated by the small group discussion, the team will produce a short report that combines TIES research with insights and photos from a diversity of local people.

In addition to residents, the event was attended by businesspeople, grassroots activists, and ten councillors and officers of MCC.

The photos were scored by three independent judges, Jenna Ashton, Zahid Hussain and Qaisra Shahraz MBE.

The event received funding from the UoM ESRC Festival team and the SCI. Donations were received from two long-established businesses on the Curry Mile: £300 worth of gift vouchers as prizes for the top three photos from My Lahore and of enough assorted Mithai to feed tables from Sanam Restaurant and Sweet Centre.

Zero-carbon: Taking people on the journey

Nafesa Ali gave a talk at the MCC Neighbourhoods Annual Conference in March 2022.

Time for change: Muslims and the environment

Nafhesa Ali gave a talk at an event organised by Muslim Engagement And Development (MEND) on Thursday, 11 November 2021.

The complexity of environmental engagement

On Monday, 18 October 2021 the fourth Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) Green Summit took place at The Lowry in Salford.

The Summit, themed around communities and ‘Taking people on the journey’, invited talks and presentations from individuals, the community, and voluntary sector, and businesses.

Nafhesa Ali was invited to give a lightning talk in the session ‘The complexity of environmental engagement’. Her talk included the following key messages:

  1. The importance of building bridges between professionals within the environment sector and individuals, communities, and grassroots organisations living and working in Greater Manchester.
  2. There is an understanding that communities and individuals do want to engage and talk and that it is time to move away from terms that suggest engagement is ‘complex’. How we can do this:
    • Training on ‘how to engage communities and individuals’ by people who already do this well, which may include, but is not limited to, training by grassroots organisations, individuals who are happy to represent minority communities, and/or individuals/other professionals who work with engaging people daily;
    • Reduce consultation fatigue by reciprocal engagement;
    • Ensure an inclusive consultation process by including a diverse range of individuals and communities involved in the consultation process.
  3. Actions need to be accessible and doable for people on the ground. It is important to acknowledge and recognise that social inequalities can hinder involvement with the environmental agenda, but if actions are ‘doable’ and realistic this will support and increase engagement from the residents of Greater Manchester.

The session was chaired by Zamzam Ibrahim, Vice President of the European Students Union, and also included lightning talks from Emma Gardner, Diocese of Salford; Caroline Kennedy, M6 Theatre Rochdale and Clare Fallon, Growth Company.

How Muslims in Britain engage with and understand, environmental sustainability

On Monday, 27 September 2021 we held an online webinar in collaboration with the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and the Muslims of Britain Research Network (MBRN).

Led by Nafhesa Ali, the webinar aimed to bring together a unique mix of voices and perspectives to showcase and discuss the diverse ways in which British Muslims engage with, and understand, environmental sustainability.

We started from the understanding that Muslims in the United Kingdom (UK) have faced both socio-economic and socio-cultural marginalisation due to ethno-religious identities and migratory backgrounds.

Alongside experiences of structural inequality, British Muslim experiences are framed by religious practices and beliefs, and strong ethno-religious community ties that tend to homogenise the population.

The webinar enabled interactive discussions for innovative ways in which social inclusion and environmental sustainability can co-exist.

Academics, researchers, authors, activists, organisations, religious leaders, and many others came together to explore practical ways in which, often marginalised, Muslim voices can be included in wider debates around the environment, climate change, and the green policy agenda. The following themes emerged from the dialogue.

  • There are many ways in which Muslims engage in positive environmental practices.
  • Faith in Islam plays a key role in motivating Muslims to care for the environment in their practices, behaviours, and lifestyles.
  • More attention is needed to how Muslims can meaningfully and purposefully be engaged in wider debates around issues of sustainability, inclusion, and the implementation and design of policy.

Guest speakers included:

  • Zara Mohammed, Secretary-General, Muslim Council of Britain (MCB);
  • Dr. Safina Islam, Head of the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah RACE Centre (AIURC);
  • Rianne C. ten Veen, Environmental Author of 199 Ways to Please God;
  • Shafali Kapoor, Head of Neighbourhoods, Manchester City Council (MCC);
  • Alessandra Palange, Muslims Declare;
  • Dr. Lutfi Radwan, Willowbrook Farm, Oxford;
  • Kamran Shezad, Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES).

In conversation with TIES

This event took place in March 2021.

Where we live next: How can policy help to shape sustainable places?

Sherilyn MacGregor gave a talk about the TIES research at a policy insight workshop at the People’s History Museum hosted by the British Academy on Friday, September 29 2023.

Academic presentations

  • Presentation at Earth Systems Governance conference, Toronto.
  • Presentation at European Sociological Association conference, Oslo.
  • Roundtable at the Royal Geographical Society conference, Newcastle.
  • Paper at the Nordic Environmental Social Science conference, Gothenburg.
  • Departmental lecture, Sustainability Research Institute, Leeds.
  • Departmental seminar, Sociology Department, Manchester Towards Inclusive Environmental Sustainability (TIES): Why are we still taking about inclusion?’ Sociology Department.
  • Departmental seminar, Sustainable Consumption Institute, SCI.
  • Roundtable, with three presentations, at Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI) international conference, Wageningen, Netherlands.