About us

Find out who is involved in the project and how our research is conducted.

The Storying Relationships project logo

This project asks how young British Muslims, particularly those with Pakistani heritage, talk and think about their personal relationships. Particular attention is given to relationships issues that are specific to these groups and linked to culture or religion.

The research explores the role of stories and storytelling in this, focussing on relationship stories that are told in everyday life (with friends, for example) and also media such as fiction, films and radio. It investigates existing stories and also involves participants in making and sharing new stories through creative methods and writing.

Who is involved?

The study reflects some of the diversity of British Pakistani Muslims and takes place in three areas: Yorkshire, Glasgow, and Tyne and Wear. Visit our research team page for more details.

We work with individuals conducting one-to-one interviews and work closely in partnership with grassroots organisations who support young British Pakistani Muslim men and women in their personal lives and relationships, such as libraries, youth groups, helplines, introduction agencies, and marriage counselling and advice services. The project also actively encourages young Muslims to write and share their experiences and thoughts on relationships through various mediums of creative writing such as animation, film, fiction, blogging and playwriting. 

How is the research conducted?

Storying Relationships is a three-year project involving a number of different individuals and organisations who are involved in the project at particular stages and times.

Year 1

The research team conducted short interviews with community organisations and recorded individual interviews with young British Pakistani Muslim men and women to explore ways in which relationship experiences often reflect cultural and religious expectations and norms. These interviews also explored the stories which young people felt could be told but aren’t; what difficult issues could be tackled explored in this way; what positive practices and experiences could be told and shared; and what may be best left unsaid.

Year 2

We introduced young Muslims across Yorkshire, Glasgow and Tyne & Wear to Creative Writing Workshops. Creative workshops include fiction, playwriting and blogging workshops around the theme of personal and intimate relationships. In this stage, we have worked closely with the Glasgow Women's Library, who were been nominated for Museum of the Year 2018.

We are also working closely with published authors, playwrights and bloggers who include John Siddique, Bradford workshops; Talat Yaqoob founder of Campaign 50:50; Blogger Faiza Yousaf; Safina Mazhar author and Sara Shaarawi playwright. Other creative workshops include an animation workshop with Stacy Bias, animator and illustrator and a men's screenwriting and film workshop in partnership with Empowering Minds.

Year 3

We are actively disseminating project outputs through books, conferences and workshops and sharing the creative writing pieces created by our project participants through short-films and publications. This includes a Storying Relationships Roadshow where the project will share a series of short films created during the creative writing workshops. We encourage academics, researchers, individuals and organisations to use the films for training and research purposes, but also for them to share these films.

A selection of films can be found on the Storying Relationships YouTube Channel. The project will also be disseminating two books from the project, which includes Storying Relationships: Young British Muslims Speak and Write about Sex and Love (Zed books) and A Match Made in Heaven: British Muslim Women write about love and desire (Hope Road).

Confidentiality and consent

For many people, relationship issues are sensitive or private, and we understand that there are issues individuals may not wish to share. Therefore, participation in this research and study is voluntary and participants are free to withdraw at any time without giving any reason. Furthermore, we don’t push individuals to answer any questions they are not comfortable with and all information is treated as strictly confidential. Respondents also have the right to anonymity, to request access to information, and request the destruction of that information if they withdraw from the research. Data obtained during this research is used for research purposes only (including publications and reports) and data we collect is stored securely and anonymously where requested.

Project report

Read the Storying Relationships interim report on the project's research and findings.