Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Entries Tagged as 'Amanda'

More Radio Talk.

May 8th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Yesterday, I was given the opportunity to go back to Future Radio and spend a little more time at the station.  After communicating with Tom Buckham again to try and reschedule after missing our original day (due to volcano ash) I was invited to come into Jasmine’s Friday morning “Community Chest” program from 10am-12pm.  Jasmine described the program as a venue for lots of listener feedback and conversation through online messaging as well as a show, typically packed of in-studio guests.  Being the morning after the general election I was excited to sit in on a show with what I anticipated would be very full and debate/discussion based.  But, when I arrived at the station everyone on staff was disappointed to discover that the internet was down, meaning that Jasmine’s show would be missing a huge part.  Additionally on this particular Friday, there was only one scheduled guest (two members (father and son) of a Brazilian band who are playing at Norwich’s “Shake Up”, the Norwich Pride warm up event, scheduled for next weekend.  It was great to hear the two drummers play (very loudly) in studio, it really woke me up, and now I’m thinking of going down to check out the event to see the full band as well as the other acts.  I was also fascinated to learn more about the 2nd Annual Norwich Pride event happening July 31, 2010.  Along with discussing “Shake Up” there were two pre-recorded pieces about the Norfolk & Norwich Festival.

Later in the show a local police officer came in (rather unexpectedly) to discuss the efforts the police department are making to prevent racial crimes in the Larkman area, near the radio station.  A brief segment, but it, along with the other guests really opened my eyes up to all of the events and activities that happen in Norwich that I don’t even know about.  It made me regret not taking more advantage of the activities this past year, but also made me excited about attending upcoming activites, especially some of NNF, during my final weeks in Norwich.

At the end of Jasmine’s show, Eamonn Burgess, the host of the next program “The Sight of Music” (a station aimed at playing music in film and television) came in and allowed me to sit in on his show as well.  During Eamonn’s show another presenter at Future Radio was waiting for the results of the North Norfolk election to be announced, so he called in and there was a “breaking news” feature with the live results of the elections.

It was fun to sit in and talk on-air with both Jasmine and Eamonn. I don’t know how many of you have sat in on 4 hours straight of radio (without actually being the one on-air, controlling the music, buttons, fade, etc) but it’s not as exciting as it sounds (and it’s not the first time I’ve done it).  Sitting and talking to people who volunteer at the station and live in the Norwich area was great, and helpful for my paper, however I look forward to my next extended time at a radio station being back in the states working on promotional events (a little more up my alley).

Tags: Amanda

Radio Investigation Continues A Walk Down the Street

May 8th, 2010 · 1 Comment

It’s been a while between paper writing, traveling the world, and getting caught by a volcano….but I finally found time over spring break to sit down and reflect on my conversation on March 16 with Tom Buckham, manager at Future Radio. (and now almost a month later am finding time to actually post it in the blog)
After having spent some time interviewing and shadowing people at BBC Radio Norfolk I was ready to do a little comparison and to learn more about Future Radio, other than what I had read about on their website. So on Tuesday March 16th I used Google Maps to location the station and figure out which bus I would need to take.  After double-checking with my Norwich A-Z (and confirming with my housekeeper, Tina) I discovered that the station was only a 20-minute walk down Earlham Green.  I was off, and finally ready to learn more about the station, beyond the website.  Winding down neighborhood streets I finally stumbled upon Norfolk Community Center in the middle of Motum Road. Taken aback a little by the size of the complex (not big by any means, but certainly a decent size for the location) I wandered around and found the entrance to Future Radio.  Future Radio is a community radio station as a part of Future Projects, an organization aimed to bring art, education, and media to students aged 13-16.
Community radio stations are required to get a license through Ofcom before being established.  Currently Future Radio is preparing to have their broadcast expanded from just West Norwich to the East and Southeastern parts of the city as well.  This expansion is a result of being the first community radio station to reapply for, and be accepted for this expansion and license extension.  Because of this re-launch, as well as the other day-to-day responsibility of being manager, Tom Buckham and I only had about 30 minutes to talk, but his information about the station was invaluable.
We initially discussed the basics of the station not covered on the website, such as: where their funding comes from, how program topics were determined, and what influences the station and their programs.  I learned that roughly 165 station volunteers choose what they are going to broadcast on, based on personal interest, and the varied cultural make-up of Norwich.  One of the aims of Future Radio is to be able to offer all members of the community at least one hour or so of radio that they want to tune into.
This goal allows an interest in Future Radio to build, however being a station aimed at targeting the greater Norwich community, it is challenging because they are in a category where they are ‘competing’ with stations similar in goal that have a lot more funding and are more recognizable by name, like BBC Radio Norfolk.  Tom and I discussed BBC Radio Norfolk further and he said that for them it’s not comparing themselves as stations (I guess that was just my competitive American mentality, forcing a comparison), but it really is more about providing the best stations with the best programs they can for the Norwich community.  He mentioned that over the past 2-3 years as Future Radio has been building as a station; BBC Radio Norfolk has been extremely supportive and helpful.  Buckham also told me more about the relationship Future Radio has with the Norwich Community Council as well as the current relationship they have with the Norfolk Broads.
It was great to talk with Tom and to learn first-hand more about Future Radio (because reading about it for the past few months has not been the same). Next week [when this blog was written it was supposed to be next week…. volcano disrupted these plans.] I’m going back to the station to spend a shadow day like I did at BBC Radio Norfolk and I hope talking with more people and spending a longer period of time at the station will give me an even better idea of what Future Radio is really like.

Tags: Amanda

“BBC Radio Nofolk, this is Amanda”

February 20th, 2010 · 1 Comment

On Wednesday morning I got up bright and early to ensure that I would beat all of the rush hour traffic because I needed to be at the BBC station in the Forum by 9am. Departing the UEA campus a little before 8am I made it to Norwich City Centre in record time, I was getting off the bus around 8:15 (shocker there wasn’t any traffic in Norwich on a typical workday morning..) So I sat in Starbucks reading and enjoying a chai tea latte before my “workday” started.

I arrived at BBC and waited for David Webster, the producer of the afternoon radio programme who I would be shadowing, to arrive. Eventually Stephen Bumfrey, the presenter of the programme came down and got me settled in at the desk and introduced me to some of the other BBC staff members. Dave arrived a few minutes later and brought me on another brief tour of the staion, this time to show me two of the most important rooms (the kitchen and the toilets).

After talking with Dave and Stephen about my research, my interest in radio, and what the program they work on entails, Dave decided that it would be valuable for me to sit in on some of Nick Conrad’s programme because it deals directly with community/station interaction. Nick presents a topic and the public calls in to discuss it. For the majority of the show I sat in with the producers of the show who take the calls and decided which callers will be allowed to talk on air with Nick. It was interesting to hear some of the calls, and to hear both on and off air reactions to them. One thing that I noticed was that even when Nick was disagreeing with a caller his responses were not that out of place. Speaking with the assistant producer he informed me that unlike in the US, UK disc jockeys never fall into the shock-jock category. The Brits uphold their typically mild-mannered behavior even when producing radio intended to get a rise out of people.

While I was sitting with the producers Nick invited me into the studio to show me how all the ‘button pushing’ worked. The topics of discussion while I was sitting in on the show were: jurors in the UK, overweight pets, and pension changes; a variety of topics, but all were clearly of interest to the general public because the phone was off the hook the entire time I was there. There were also two guests in the studio to discuss some of the topics with Nick from a more professional level rather than the opinion based level that the majority of the program was on.

As the programme was coming to an end, I met back up with Dave and Stephen to discuss what was on schedule for their afternoon programme, before heading to the daily 11am meeting. At the meeting Dave and Stephen filled everyone else in on the schedule of the show and then left to get back to finalizing song playlists, etc. They left me with the news editors who talked about the important issues of the day locally/regionally that should be included in the afternoon broadcasts as well as for the following morning’s Breakfast Show. When the meeting was over I sat with Rita, one of the News Editors and talked about all aspects of radio, both in the US and in the UK, comparing and contrasting the similarities and differences to commercial radio, and the advantages and disadvantages to the different formats. Rita was also immensely helpful in suggesting other people whom I may be intrerested in talking with/interviewing.

After a brief break for lunch I moved into the stdio with Dave for Stephen’s show. The first hour of the show revolved around a contest called War of the Workforce, followed by interviews and other topics of entertainment. I spent the three hours of the programme answering calls from listeners, talking on-air about Reader’s Digest (and blimps..), and speaking with the guest on Wednesday’s show, 14-year-old Josh Worley. Josh started his own radio station South Norfolk Youth Action (SYNA Radio) about a year and a half ago and just recently won a local youth achievement award.

Overall another productive and informative day at BBC Radio Norfolk. All of the staffers are so friendly and helpful and told me I was welcome back for a shadow-day anytime, or for anything else I may need for my research. I still need to connect with someone at Future Radio, and I’m hoping I will be as lucky with talking with them as I have been working with BBC Radio Norfolk.

Hours: 7 hours

Total: 8 hours

Tags: Amanda

Local Radio: The investigation begins

February 2nd, 2010 · 3 Comments

Today I had the opportunity to visit BBC Norfolk at the Forum in Norwich city center and spoke with BBC Norfolk Radio’s editor David Clayton. Mr. Clayton walked me around the BBC and showed me the broadcast booths, and introduced me to a few of the people planning the topics for upcoming programs. He also brought me into the television studio where Look East is filmed for the regional television station. After my tour Mr. Clayton and I sat down and discussed the radio station itself.

David Clayton has been the editor at BBC Norfolk for the past eleven years. As editor he manages everything surrounding the station from program topics, to what goes on the website, to finding out where BBC Norfolk falls in terms of listeners compared to other stations (in fact he was quite nervous because the results for the past three months are being delivered by RAJAR tomorrow). RAJAR is hired by BBC and other commercial radio station to take a poll over the course of three months by a cross-section of people living in the area and they are asked to note what radio they are listening to and for how long they are listening and then RAJAR tallies it all up and submits the data to the radio stations. Mr. Clayton told me that as a station they look at three major figures, the first is the reach, which figures out how many people are listening to BBC Norfolk for at least ten consecutive minutes, the second figure is to see how long cumulatively a person listens to BBC Norfolk over the course of three months, and the final is the share, which is what percentage of all people listening to all the radio stations are listening to BBC Norfolk, and typically BBC Norfolk falls in the 20-30% range, which is relatively high for this area.

BBC Norfolk is not considered a regional radio station as I thought it was, but rather it is a local radio station. Mr. Clayton has encouraged me to speak with commercial radio in the community as a comparison to see the role that they play on the local community. He suggested that I try and speak with someone at Future Radio and also UEA’s Livewire radio station. BBC Norfolk plays an extremely important role in providing information for Norwich’s 40-50 and older demographic, but perhaps Future Radio provides more for a different demographic and I hope that I am able to find someone as helpful as David Clayton at these other organizations and to hear their point of view on the importance of local/community radio.

Additionally Mr. Clayton has offered to allow me to spend a day at the station sitting in on the broadcasts and just taking it all in so that I can fully see what BBC Norfolk offers, and I am definitely planning on taking him up on that offer. At the end of our conversation regarding BBC David Clayton told me it was my turn to get questions asked and so we discussed my experience with radio in the United States, my career goals, what I’m studying..all the normal questions. However this conversation was different; for once it wasn’t my flatmates asking me what I call the trunk of a car (although we did briefly discuss the ‘language barrier’), or one of my professors asking me about my courses back at Dickinson, it was a conversation between two people both of whom have an interest in radio discussing just that. We compared US radio to UK radio, we talked about common trends in rankings, we discussed our personal opinions about the pros and cons of talk radio compared to all music stations…we talked about something we both cared about, and we were both able to provide our own insights both from an age perspective and from a national perspective. It was a surprisingly refreshing conversation, something I didn’t realize I had been missing until now, and a conversation I hope to continue as this process continues.

My conversation today has my wheels spinning about the role of radio in society as well as other media outlets in comparison. I went into my meeting with a general idea as to where I was hoping this project was going to lead me, but I now feel that I need to take some time to reconsider the direction I plan on going with this topic. Hopefully observing BBC Norfolk for a day as well as future conversations will concentrate my idea more solidly.

Tags: Amanda


September 25th, 2009 · No Comments

**Like Andrew Russell I have had this post lying around since my last day in London, but I had no internet so was unable to post. I’m not sure if anyone will read this but I wanted to post it anyway.**
We have now been in London for 27 days. Why then in the last week were we all struggling to rush around and make sure we had written 14 blog posts? It wasn’t for lack of things to write about. We explored the city high and low during these 27 days, visiting museums, churches, parks, and theaters (and a few other things along the way). We were even given prompts of sorts for the majority of the blogs we needed to write. However we all find ourselves locked up in the Arran House during our remaining days and evenings here.

As a note, this post is not intended to simply complain about the blog, but it is to look at why we all find ourselves frustrated with it as this moment.

When I think about my time here I remember the initial fear and excitement I felt.  I was walking around a foreign country, by myself, and seeing sights that I secretly thought were only in movies and could not possibly exist in real life.  As the weeks moved on I was finding that I enjoyed spending time by myself—wandering around a museum, going over to Watch this Space to see a performance, even going for a run down towards SoHo and ending up in Camden—I loved it all. When I would arrive back at my home sweet home, Room 27, I would discuss my day with my peers.  We would argue, debate, and discuss things that we had seen throughout the day and I must be honest, some of the discussions I had were more valuable and educational than actually visiting some of the sights during our visit.  After discussion we would figure out how we were going to spend our evenings, sometimes at a pub, a club, or just staying in to cook—but we were always doing something. They have been long days, but always full of something to share.  So why have we all been struggling with these posts?

I think it is because we were constantly trying to make the most of our time in London we packed our days full with things to do, barely taking a break to eat sometimes.  The best time for us to post blogs would have been in the evening after we finished our activities for the day (and sometimes that’s exactly what we did). But seeing London during the day is one thing, and experiencing it at night is a completely different thing, and we did not want to miss out on this education.  As a result blogging was postponed.  As we all went through our checklist to make sure we had all of the required posts completed, and began reading our classmates blogs we began to run into a problem—because we had previously discussed these topics with each other someone beat me to writing about that! Nobody wanted to repeat what someone else had said, and so we would then sit around trying to come up a new spin on the same topic.  We ended up with some amazing blogs and great reads because of it, so in the end it is really hard to complain, but the process leading to the final masterpiece was sometimes quite the journey.

I think the concept of blog posting is excellent (I have my own personal blog because of it) however, even that blog was not updated as regularly as I thought it would be.  I thought that everyday I would go online write a quick update for my family and friends back home and be set.  Instead I would jot a few lines in my journal by my bed “Good day went to the V&A”, “Explored Southwark some more”, and then crash out of pure exhaustion.  I think that we were all able to take advantage of everything the city had to offer, and as a result some of our posting was delayed.  But now we can all look back at our blog and remember the amazing month we spent living in London.

Tags: Amanda

Appreciation as an Audience Member

September 15th, 2009 · No Comments

Going to watch a live performance is a passion of mine.  Music, dance, theater, to me it doesn’t matter, and it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen it done before, I think it is incredible to watch something take place in front of your eyes that has never happened that way before.  The performers may have rehearsed a piece a thousand times prior to the time I get to see it, but knowing that I am the among the only people who get to see this particular version (unless of course it is being taped) is a real thrill to me.  Sometimes things run exactly as they are planned, and other times because of circumstances, things change on stage.  These changes could be when an actor trips on stage (luckily this did not happen in any of the performances we saw in London) and watching as they improve through the scenario, other on stage changes happen when actors react to their surroundings.  For example when we saw “As You Like It” at the Globe Theater two of the actors in the cast in particular took note of individual audience members. I specifically remember when Jaques commented about schoolboys and made a motion to the students in their uniforms sitting on the side of the stage.

Another performance that I attended that included a large amount of audience interaction was when I saw the dance group StopGap performing at Watch This Space.  Especially recently I have seen a lot of contemporary/modern dance performances that involve audience participation/interaction.  StopGap did not look for participation, however they improved several times throughout the show.  They would randomly pick out members of the crowd and imitate their poses.  The dancers also randomly sat next to audience members, trying to get a reaction.  When I see pieces like this it makes you realize how much work goes into a performance. Not only are the dancers/actors/performers required to react to what is on stage and what they rehearsed, but additionally to their surroundings.

The other performances we saw primarily stuck to the script, mainly because it was not in the nature of “Arcadia” or the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to improvise or react to the audience during performance.  But even still, we were fortunate enough to see all different styles of performances in an array of venues.  For me I think the venue of the performance can completely change everything.  StopGap performing inside the National Theater would not have had the same feeling, nor would the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performing at the Watch This Space.  The large orchestra in the enormous and beautiful Royal Albert Hall really set a grand scene, something that very few halls could have done.

I briefly mentioned this in my previous post, but the Theater and Performing Arts Exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum included an entire segment on sets and venues.  It shows how important this aspect is to a performance, and sometimes one that I feel is overlooked. With the exception of StopGap (and I guess some might argue Shakespeare’s performances at the Globe) we saw very few site-specific pieces.  I think site-specific performances are extremely interesting, and although I enjoyed visiting the beautiful theaters across the city, I am also glad for Watch This Space, where I was able to see performances that were specifically designed for that area.

I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to see so many incredible (and sometimes not so incredible) performances, and I am already planning return trips into the city to see more performances, theaters, and site-specific performances.

Tags: Amanda

Picking Favorites

September 14th, 2009 · 2 Comments

I visited all of the required museums while in London: The National Gallery, The British Museum, The Sir John Salone, the Winston Churchill and Cabinet War Rooms, and the Victoria & Albert.  I have not discussed all of these museums in detail on the blog yet, but I want to solely dedicate this blog to the Victoria & Albert Museum.  From the moment I walked into the V&A I realized that there was something different, something that I would not get bored with (which is something I couldn’t say about all of the other museums I visited).


Upon my first visit to the V&A I took the Circle line, which has an underground tunnel that leads directly to the museum entrance at the sculptures section.  An entire room full of Roman structured sculptures that led into the Fashion exhibit.  Now I would not consider myself a fashionista by any means, however I was completely taken aback.  I wandered through this exhibit for almost an hour.  The transformation of clothing through the ages, the detail required to make a garment, and the creativity to create something previously unseen– these are the things that I was taking in as I appreciated the artistry that went into every item of clothing on display in that exhibit.  The aspect that astounded me the most though was the central portion, a place set up specifically to display the work of current fashion students at the Royal College of Art.  It is incredible that these students are able to design a collection on paper and then transform it into clothing that can be worn and then displayed in a world-class museum.

Once I finally made it through the Fashion Exhibit I discovered that there was a Theater and Performing Arts Exhibit and swiftly went upstairs to try and find it.  After an hour of searching and wandering through the other exhibits I finally found the exhibit and realized that I was supposed to be meeting the people I had gone with and so I had turn right around.  I had wandered through the Sacred Objects exhibit, Prints of Beautrix Potter, and Rod Iron structures, but had not made it to the one exhibit that I wanted to see.

About two weeks later I finally made it back to the V&A and went straight upstairs through the jewelry exhibit and to the Theater and Performing Arts Exhibit.  I had heard that the exhibit was full of costumes, but that was only a small section of the room.  When you first walked into the room there was a short video playing about ‘What is a Performance? The video touched on music, dance, and theater however I think performance is so much more than that, and the remainder of the exhibit touched on all of the other things that make up a performance: the planning, the staging, the scenery, the promotion.  Nothing was left out.  I thought that this exhibit was a really good introduction to theater and performing arts.

I’m very glad that I made the journey back out the V&A because I would have been very disappointed if I had not experienced as many of the exhibits as possible.  I think part of the reason I enjoyed the V&A so much was because a lot of the exhibits were not stereotypical ‘art’ exhibits.  I felt that the Sacred Objects, the Fashion, the Jewelry and even the Theater and Performing Arts exhibits all offered a variety of things to look at and for me just another perspective of what I would considered ‘art’.

Tags: Amanda

Going back in thought about wide open spaces..

September 14th, 2009 · No Comments

Sitting in the middle of this park in Bath I feel completely at peace.  The beauty and simplicity of this place is hard to explain. In some ways it reminds me of a George Winston song—a solo pianist with an air of solitude and joy.  In other ways it’s like Kenny Chesney song— just simple, upbeat happiness…I really want to dance in this park.  So much open space.  People, joy, a little bit of music; it’s all I need. If I had more confidence maybe I would just get up and dance right here. Maybe.

I found this journal entry when looking through my notes and remembered this day in the park at Bath, but those sentiments were not ones I got solely in that park.  There is something different about the parks in London, about the open green space that is different from parks back at home.  Instead of feeling like you’re in a vast open area in the middle of a big crowded city at the parks here I feel like I’m stepping into my own private garden.  There are not that many parks in Boston where I feel like I am in solitude like I am in these London parks.  I have spent significant amounts of time in past summers in Copley Square Park, the green space by the Hatchshell, and even the Boston Commons and Garden.  Even though parks everywhere are intended used for running, playing, and enjoying the outdoors in Boston Parks I never feel like I am completely separate from the chaos of the city; I still here cars, and horns, and yelling, which I have never felt surrounded by in UK parks.

I remember my feeling when I first ran into Regent’s Park.  I had been jogging down Euston Road dodging men and women in business suits until I finally found the opening to the park and it was like stepping into a movie.  The sun was up, the air crisp, a few other joggers in the park and when I came to the Avenue filled with blossoming flowers and running fountains I seriously felt like the female lead in the newest upcoming blockbuster. I went to St. James Park later that week and had very similar sentiments.  Only a few yards away from a main road, and yet it was a place of peace and quiet.


These places make me feel like a child again.  All I want to do is run around, play, and to dance.  But then again, when don’t I want to run around, play, and to dance.

Tags: Amanda

The Moon Under Water—Certainly My Favorite Pub

September 11th, 2009 · No Comments

Reading George Orwell’s “The Moon Under Water” I was almost getting giddy at the prospect of such a pub existing.  Now I have not spent much time in the pubs here in London not being a huge fan of pub food, excessive drinking, and loud music—however I have made an effort to visit a few pubs and have specifically noted their “atmosphere” to use Orwell’s term.

To be completely frank I had no real interest in discussing this topic until I met up with friends a couple of nights ago at The Sports Café off of Piccadilly Circus.  Prior to this experience I had felt most of the pubs I ventured into were fairly similar. The food offerings were all about the same: pies, jacket potatoes, a burger, the crowd was similar: middle aged men in suits at lunch and after work, with a handful of older gentlemen creeping in the corners, and the music was undistinguishable pop music in every locale.  Depending on how close the pub was to London proper I found there were more men in work clothes.  At the pubs closer to a college I tended to find a mixed clientele of young college students and middle-aged men.  However, in every pub almost all of the pub-goers were British. That was until I went to The Sports Café.

I wasn’t even halfway into the door when I found myself surrounded by young college aged (or younger) people and (get ready for it..) American accents! It was so loud I could barely hear myself thinking, a combination of the music volume and the stereotypical loud American voices.  I never even saw a food menu, I’m not sure if this was because they didn’t serve food or because food had stopped serving by this hour, but either way I would assume that a place like this would serve chicken fingers, burgers, pizza, and fries (not even chips).  I recognized almost every song that came on the blaring stereo, and additionally recognized half a dozen people at the bar (most of whom I had never met before, but also happened to be Dickinson students).

Now I don’t think George Orwell was looking for the first pub I described, but I also don’t think he would have imagined a place like the later that I visited.  I have come to realize that pub life is a huge part of the British culture, and I am trying to appreciate it for what it is, but none of the places I have visited have been a place where I would want to spend extended periods of time, or return to.  But, if I ever find The Moon Under Water where the atmosphere is just right with good food, no music (okay well my perfect pub would have some music), families in the back garden, and a friendly staff I could certainly spend some time there. But I’m still looking.

Tags: Amanda

My thoughts for now..

September 8th, 2009 · 1 Comment

My high school was a very small all girls, Catholic, private school in the outskirts of Boston.  When most people hear this they imagine a few things: uniforms (which we didn’t have), nuns roaming around the halls (which we didn’t have), and very strict Catholic religion classes (which we also didn’t have).  It is the last of those things that I am most proud of, at my school I was fortunate to study all different religions during my time and my senior year I was exposed briefly to Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism. This being said, I had previously visited a Hindu temple and experienced the lives of those Hindus living and adapting to life in Central Massachusetts. I assumed that my visits to the Hindu temple and the Sikh gurdwara would be easy, peaceful, and educational as other locations that I had visited, however I was surprised when both of these visits took a different turn for me.

We visited the Sikh gurdwara first, before our journey I investigated the BBC religion site to learn some of the basics of the Sikh religion.  Learning that Sikhism was a practice where its worshipers were completely and totally devote to one God.  They believe everyone is equal to one God, and dedication to ones community is of the utmost importance.  The man who took us around the temple was just a local from the community rather than a trained tour guide.  For me this was a valuable experience because instead of just learning about Sikhism from a book we were getting an inside perspective of the religion.  His opinions, feelings, fears, and love of this one belief.  He discussed his community, and the special place the Sikh temple holds in the community. They were very open and receptive to us coming in and appreciated our interest.  There aren’t many Sikh gurdwaras outside of India, and so making a place outside of India will take some time, and open minds.

Going to the Hindu temple I expected a similar experience to visiting the Sikh gurdwara or the Hindu temple I visited three years ago in Massachusetts, however I was shocked by what I saw instead.  Walking through the London neighborhood not knowing exaclty what to expect I almost stopped short when I saw the enormous temple rising above eyesight.  We put our bags in security, walked through a metal detector, and then met up with an official temple tour guide.  There were so many people in the area, old and young, Hindus and visitors– it was a strange discovery.  And then walking around and listening to the guide talk about all of the large Hindu temples around the world and seeing all of the famous visitors I realized that Hinduism is really beginning to be a major player in worldwide religions, especially in London.  I felt that the Hindu temple I visited before was in a place where they were struggling to find their place.  I did not feel like it was as much as an issue here.  I don’t mean to sound cynical, but with so much funding and exposure to me this community is widely accepted in London society.  Some may argue with me, that the Sikh temple we visited also received large sums of money, but from my own personal eye I felt that this community was not as acclimated to society as the Hindus.

Both are religions that initially came from India.  Sikhism is more surrounded around communal prayer, and Hinduism around individual prayer.  Although similar , they are also very different, and I think these differences may play a factor in how they fit in with London society. Both religions came to London relatively around the same time, Hinduism may have more followers which is why I feel it fits in with society better, but I don’t think I’ll ever truly know.  I’m also fairly certain my opinion on this matter could change from day to day as I am exposed more to these two religions, but this is what I thinking/feeling now after much contemplation and a little research on the BBC website.

Tags: Amanda · Uncategorized