My name’s Matt and I’m a recent Sociology graduate, with a particular interest in the sociological study of religions and of education.  For my final year dissertation, I conducted an ethnographic study of a Quaker school, which is due to be published in the academic journal Quaker Studies in 2018.  I found the 3FF Schools Team Internship due to pure luck.  When I saw that it drew together my interests of religion, education and charity sector work, I knew it was for me.

Last week was an eventful one!  Over my three days of work I experienced three exciting excursions into the work that 3FF does on the ground.

On Monday I visited a primary school to observe a workshop.  The Year 5s were introduced to the concept of identity, with the masterful facilitator encouraging them to recognise the differences between what we can see from looking at someone and what we can learn by talking with them.  The class was beautifully behaved and I enjoyed listening to them discuss questions about their own identities.

On Tuesday the interns agreed that for our fundraising task we’ll be screening the documentary Tashi and the Monk.  We’ll also be selling art we’ve created in response to the documentary, holding a raffle, and giving people a chance to create their own artistic responses.  The event will be on Monday 4 December – please visit the Facebook event page for more information.

Participating in training to develop my personal faith story challenged me to condense my personal faith story as a Quaker into five minutes.  As always, the facilitator and participants cultivated a safe and emboldening environment.  I chose to focus on the theme of belonging and community; I reflected on the sense of homeliness I feel in Quaker spaces compared to sometimes feeling adrift, having lived in four different towns and cities in as many years.  This was the same training undertaken by the volunteers who speak in Encountering Faiths and Beliefs workshops – I would encourage you to check out the volunteer opportunity to share your faith or belief story in schools!

An intern’s blog post would not be complete without a nod to the fantastic food that Kentish Town has to offer.  My firm favourite is The Fields Beneath, a vegan café right under Kentish Town West station.  After the bustle of a busy week (and in preparation for my Thursday afternoon) I ate my burger alone and read my book.

My last excursion of the week was to a college where 3FF has been piloting new programme called Amplify.  A group of 6th formers have been exploring identity, faith, belonging, social trends, current affairs and more.  They have been critically investigating these topics, creatively expressing their positions and considering how they can access platforms to make their voices heard.  They’ve created a manifesto for a better world using spoken word and film, which they will launch at the Interfaith Summit on Thursday 16th November.  In last week’s session I was supporting the group to plan the session they will be facilitating at the summit, which is bound to be stirring and stimulating.

I feel privileged to have had so many enriching experiences since starting my internship in September, and I am looking forward to seeing the events unfold over the next month.