For my Research Secrets column this month I talk to Shahed Saleem about the in-depth research he did in the British mosque for his debut non-fiction book.
This book presents the first overview of Muslim architecture in Britain, from the earliest examples in the late 19th century, to mosques being built today. Key architectural stages are identified and explained alongside the social history of Muslim settlement and growth. The mosques Shahed has written about represent a cross-section of the diversity of the Muslim population in Britain, and the types of mosque buildings that exist.
“My core research methods for each mosque were building visits, oral histories, planning records and local history libraries.” Shahed Saleem
Gaining information from archive drawings was possible because of his background as an architect. Through planning records he could follow discussions and negotiation that took place around the design of the building. But his most informative primary source for researching was visiting each mosque and its surrounding area.
His research tip is to have a core research method you can use as a template for your particular project and then use more flexible methods around this which can be improvised depending on what you find out from that particular study.
To find out more about Shahed and his architecture practice take a look at www.makespace.co.uk
Or follow him on Twitter @makespace_