Catriona Robertson

journeys at home and abroad

La rentrée

Wow!  Work has exploded this week.  Everyone in London seems to be back at their desks, full of zest and ideas from their summer break – and writing me emails.

But last night I squeezed in a rendez-vous with Angela and Nina from Switzerland, who are over in London for few days and who put together the conference on multi-cultural Europe recently.  We got together with a couple of other Londoners who had attended the CEJI training to combat religious discrimination in Brussels last year.

Minaret at Brick Lane Jamme Musjid. Photo from

We couldn’t resist taking our Swiss friends to see the *new* minaret in Brick Lane, which has been built next to the mosque – once a synagogue and before that a Huguenot chapel.

I now have a couple of leads on linking grassroots religious and multifaith groups across Europe – just to exchange experiences and ideas and to learn from each other.  If you’re interested in how other European countries are getting on and would like to know more, just leave a comment.

This week I’m working with WCEN on a conference on Hinduism and mental wellbeing, with a particular focus on the Tamil community in London and the impact of the Sri Lankan conflict.  I’m liaising with wonderful people and it will be great to bring community folk together with mental health professionals.  The keynote speaker is an expert in collective trauma – whereas much of our mental health support in London is geared to individuals.  We hope it will be an ideal opportunity for everyone to share experiences and explore different ways of supporting a community which has had a lot to deal with.

My son and I took part in the Shree Ghanapathy Temple’s Ther chariot festival recently – although he took part rather more actively than I did, helping to smash 1008 coconuts against the rocks at the start of the procession.  Geetha Maheshwaran, Coordinator of the Temple (which is where the conference is taking place), contributes to the Pause for Thought slot in the middle of the night on Radio 2, and kindly mentioned him in her latest piece.  It was totally unexpected – a gift, really, which he accepted very graciously.


This entry was posted on 8 September 2010 by in London and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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