Musing on a Muse

An Image Encounter

  • Kim Knott Lancaster University


Engaging with a photograph of Ursula King and family at the Hindu temple in Leeds in 1976, I explore some aspects of Ursula’s early academic life and work at the University of Leeds. I ask whether the photograph can be used to frame and open up issues in the study of religions from the 1970s that might subsequently have borne fruit. This requires me to look beneath the visual surface of the photograph to the ritual event it depicts, to its participants, their position and interests, and to the wider historical, academic and local contexts to which it was intimately connected. As I do so, I consider my own relationship to the photograph, and its capacity to connect several aspects of my academic autobiography. In addition to reflecting on Ursula’s work, this ‘image encounter’ allows me to discuss the formation and work of the Community Religions Project with its focus on religion and diversity in the locality, engaged and collaborative research and its public impact, and novel research on religion and migration, specifically on British Hindus and Hinduism. Furthermore, this photograph, and its generation as part of an early exhibition on religious diversity in an English city, foreshadowed later developments in visual analysis and the study of religion.

How to Cite
KNOTT, Kim. Musing on a Muse. Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religion (JBASR), [S.l.], v. 19, p. 18-35, apr. 2018. ISSN 2516-6379. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 feb. 2024. doi: