Our Garden – Sacred Spaces of Balsall Heath is a Creative City Project generously funded by Birmingham City Council programmed by the Birmingham 2022 Festival.


The community-led project is a joint initiative between Christians and Muslims in Balsall Heath, from the United Church of St Paul’s, Mary Street; the Bahu Trust, Ombersley Road and the Al-Abbas Islamic Centre, Clifton Road.


The people leading the project are all connected to Balsall Heath in some way – either because they live here, have worked here or belong to a Balsall Heath community. Here we are, with our roles in Our Garden.


Shaheen Ahmed

Workshop leader and artist

Shaheen is an award-winning artist with a particular empathy for those who flee their homes because of the climate crisis. Much of her art involves re-working maps. Find out more about Shaheen Ahmed.


Rachel Pilkington

Workshop leader and artist

Rachel is an artist who has spent time exploring the River Rea. She is interested in the interconnections between nature, art, psychological well-being and the environment. Find out more about Rachel Pilkington.


Dave Gray

Artist and compositor

Dave is an award-winning designer and illustrator, who is rather fond of maps. Find out more about Dave Gray.


Jo Ind

Writer and producer

Jo is a writer and producer. She is a member of the United Church of St Paul’s, Balsall Heath.  Find out more about Jo Ind.


Abbas Shah

Project manager

Abbas is from an architectural background with a special interest in sustainability.  He is active in the inter-faith network and part of the chaplaincy volunteer team at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.


Kamran Shezad

Steering group member

Kamran is sustainability lead for the Bahu Trust and the climate change advisor to the Mosque and Imam National Advisory Board. He is a chartered environmentalist and a full member of the Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment.


Abdullah Rehman

Steering group member

Abdullah is a long-standing community developer in Balsall Heath and the community engagement lead for the Bahu Trust. Find out more about Abdullah: Spotlight On… Abdullah Rehman and the Bahu Trust.


Sheikh Nuru Mohammed

Steering group member

Sheikh Nuru is a Ghanian Islamic scholar and the imam at the Al-Abbas Islamic Centre.  He won the British Beacon Mosque Award 2021 for the UK’s most impactful imam. He is an elected CitizensUk trustee and Co-Chair of CitizensUK in the West Midlands. He is a member of West Midlands combined authority faith strategic partnership group. Find out more about Sheikh Nuru Mohammed.


Shenaz Sajan

Steering group member

Shenaz works at St Mary’s Hospice, Selly Oak, Birmingham. She is a leader in inter-faith work and a Sunday School teacher at Al-Abbas Islamic Centre.


John Christophers

Steering group member

John is an award-winning architect specialising in green design.  He designed the ground-breaking zero carbon house in Balsall Heath and is a member of the United Church of St Paul’s. Find out more about John Christophers.