What is Belonging?

The idea of belonging is discussed in this episode, and several hidden interrelated themes are identified and discussed.

This discussion features contributions from Dr Arinola Adefila, David Adeola, Mabel Alkali, Farhana Lunat, Emmanuel Johnson and Andi Rusyaidi.

See links below to listen/download.

Part one



Part two



Being a PhD Student – My Experience 5 Months In

I’m a PhD student at Coventry University Centre for Global Learning: Education and Attainment, exploring Identity and Belonging, and the role of Faith in International Students’ Study. My experience at the start entailed developing better time-management, and familiarising myself with a higher standard of writing and knowledge expected at PhD level.

From a social viewpoint, the journey has been quite isolating. Socially, the University campus no longer looks like it did in the past. I find this experience new because, although I’m on a campus I am very familiar with, my focus has shifted onto a phase much higher than ever. For the first time academically, I have no ‘classmates’. This of course typifies the nature and essence of independent study. I have often compared my PhD to the idea of a marriage, and I would say to myself: ‘I’m married to my PhD and I’m more than willing to make it work!’. This, unexpectedly has boosted my motivation and drive to push on with a stronger sense of fervency and urgency.

I am currently writing my literature review. Sometimes I feel completely blank mentally; falter in will and struggle to maintain focus or generate ideas. At those times, I step out of my office and head to Holy Trinity Church which is nearby. As I’m a religious man, I sit down to pray, meditate and contemplate on matters close to my heart. Or, I take a walk around the University campus, take a seat; observe and pay close attention to my surroundings. This helps me greatly and refreshes my mind for the work ahead!

I try to achieve balance. I have discovered the need for it, whilst going through tons of readings very frequently. I participate in non-academic activities like social hangouts with friends, walks to the park, film watching and consumption, and involvement in social events.

I am glad to be here and cannot imagine doing anything else. That’s it for now, I have to get back to my literature review!

Madness or the surreal grandeur of love

I finally made it out the madness outside; 
with a hot cup of tea in my hand,
I take a seat, I get comfortable.
I look away from my book,
what do I see?
A man and woman in love.
He contemplates, then says to her: 
when you think of me,
I wish that
you shall see me
for all I tried and failed to be.
She says to him:
on these streets cemented
with memories of us
shall I walk with you day by day.
I take a sip and say to myself:
I finally made it to the madness inside.

By Emmanuel Johnson

When the lights fade

You are the best thing to ever happen to me. 
The springs of my life shoot
with everlasting meaning
and encouragement for whatever
tomorrow shall bring. 
Today, tomorrow, 
now, forever, 
happiness, sadness, 
wisdom, folly
are all meaningless without you.
My life was incomplete without you, 
before you came by.
You complete my life, thank you for that. 
I rejoice,
I bless the day,
I felt your touch.
The day I was reunited with your love. 
The day I was reunited with your love.

By Emmanuel Johnson

Closing nights

As long as you are with me, 
I am happy
I am safe
I am complete.
Take me with you.
Wherever you go I go.
Wherever you dwell I dwell.
Whatever you hate I hate.
Whatever you are,
I shall be.
As the performers get ready to perform, 
and the watchers get ready to watch;
in this grand hall filled with many colours, 
right here shall I sit,
writing on the ground,
uttering words unlawful to be heard.

By Emmanuel Johnson

Dying Daily

Those who came before us 
lived and made choices which 
eventually led us where we are. 
Some of them were good,
but others bad.
Without them, we wouldn't be 
who or where we are,
and that is a bitter truth
of life.
Therefore, banish
anxiety from your heart
and humbly accept this truth, 
and strive, with all your might, 
to live out
the best of everything
that has gone into you,
for the sake of
those who shall come after us.

By Emmanuel Johnson

Lost but found

Where lies your glory? 
What makes you shine? 
You and me
exploring youth and vigor, 
while we still got it.
We gotta make the most of it.
I say to you and you say to me. 
You and me.
The most exquisite of delights, 
eyes narrow open, wide shut. 
Wandering wanders, only, 
until we find the light
to lead us somewhere safe, 
you and me,
in this together.

By Emmanuel Johnson

Dreamy Cinema

There is a buddy in cinema
that gives a pass to other worlds 
which do not really exist.

They exist to bring to life things which do not exist. 
The feelings are the same but not the same;
Same but extended, intensified.
Everyday is laid bare on screen;
most times taunted, other times flaunted. 
The flaunting of the everyday,
coming to bear with life as we know it,
or maybe not.

I know a buddy
who situates the self,
and draws it nearer to the world. 
The world that it lives in.

By Emmanuel Johnson

Reach you to reach me

Where are you?
I wish to get to you.
My friend from the days.
The days our paths were straight. 
Friend but not friends,
you but not you;
me but not me.
Sometimes I wonder,
I ought to care more?
Other times I ponder,
I have my life to live,
and so do you.
But the truth remains the truth, 
and a lie remains a lie,
and no matter what we do,
the day will speak for you and I.

By Emmanuel Johnson

Haven of newness

In the haven of newness
I see, my source of hope.
This newness; it’s His; now mine.
My newness.
I am safe in this newness.
His newness; my newness.
Nothing matters in this newness. 
Everything is alright in this newness. 
I am sheltered; I am reborn.
I am overwhelmed.
I feel, but differently.
I live, I die, in this newness.

By Emmanuel Johnson