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WOODWORDS The Collingwood College Alumni Magazine 2017-2018


Sophie Brown shares stories from her record breaking trek




Rafa Benítez formally opens Collingwood’s donor-funded sports pitch


WELCOME CONTENTS 02 04 06 08 11 14 16 18 22 25 26

Welcome The Toon Comes to The ‘Wood Feeding Bellies Not Bins A Life Changing Telephone Box Walking the Length and Breadth of Wales Dreams in The ‘Wood The Sara Pilkington Fund Undergraduate Research Internships The 1972 Club Student Opportunities Fund Dates for your Diary The 1972 Club

Since the last edition of Wood Words was published, we have been delighted to welcome many of you back to College. Often you have brought your children with you… and, in an increasing number of cases, you have left them with us for the next few years. Without fail, you have expressed your pleasure at being back in The ‘Wood, and have registered your surprise to see all the many changes that are occurring. Of course, things change… and Collingwood must change as well. Within the next year, and with grateful thanks to our alumni, our major College building should be completed. However, an even more fundamental change from the times that many of you will have experienced concerns our proactive focus upon maximising student development in its widest sense. Much of our energies are focused upon ensuring that we offer a range of experiences that will help our students fulfil their potential in whatever ways that are important to them. Of course, our students receive a magnificent academic education, but it is the wider student experience, much of it obtained via their college, that separates Durham from other leading universities. We seek to provide a transformational experience that will enable Woodsmen and women, irrespective of their financial means, to maximise their personal effectiveness, their intellectual curiosity, and their sense of belonging and responsibility to others, both close to home and further afield.

Front cover photo credit: Samuel Kirkman

In the pages of this magazine, you’ll read about some of the wonderful opportunities that you have helped our students to experience. As you will see, our increasing numbers of alumni supporters are helping


us in multiple ways; thank you so much for this. We hope that this growing level of support will continue to swell and ultimately reach a tipping point that will enable us to revolutionise student experience at Collingwood. As part of this significant cultural change, we are impressing upon our students the knowledge that previous generations of Woodsmen and women are helping them to be the best they can be and, before long, they will share a responsibility with us all to support those who follow them - to Pass It On. Plus ça change… The more things change, the more they stay the same. Yes, much is happening at Collingwood, but key elements must never change. The chemistry, the excitement, the camaraderie, the successes, the disappointments, and the joy that our students are experiencing this year will be much the same as they were last year; much the same as the year before; much the same as they were for me when I first arrived in Durham as an 18 year old. That is the essence of College life… and I give heartfelt thanks for this. Professor Joe Elliott Principal of Collingwood College

WELCOME Our new guardian of the sports pitch, Little Colin, carved skilfully out of a dead tree using only a chainsaw


THE TOON COMES TO THE ‘WOOD There are certain days at Collingwood that we will never forget. The 21st November 2017 is one of them. At 2.45pm an excitable group of students, staff and local journalists congregated in the foyer awaiting the arrival of a very special guest. Shortly after, Rafa Benítez, Manager of Newcastle United, arrived at The ‘Wood to formally open the Collingwood Sports Pitch. The pitch was informally opened when we hosted a special “VC’s All-Stars” match last academic year. By the end of the game (in which Collingwood students risked wiping out a significant number of the University’s senior leaders in one go…) the VC’s side were fielding around 15 players and two dogs, and there had been some suspicious fiddling with the new electronic scoreboard! This time, Rafa formally opened the facility, unveiling the donor recognition boards and marking the opening of the new bar conservatory and bar terracing, which overlook the pitch. After cutting the ribbon, Rafa posed for some photos with captains and members of CCAFC and CCWAFC. In an interview, he spoke about the importance of excellent facilities in encouraging people to stay active.

Photo credit: Samuel Kirkman

Rafa said: “I came to the college before and knew about the number of teams they have and the level of the teams. They told me about the possibility of the pitch and I liked it a lot. It is a good opportunity and hopefully they will enjoy it.”

Team Collingwood currently consists of 65 teams across 17 different sports, with many more students frequenting The Mark Hillery Gym. The existence of the pitch has enabled Collingwood teams to train regularly and avoid the substantial costs of hiring training space elsewhere. When not reserved for training sessions, it is often used by students who want to get in some kicking practice, or take a break from studying with friends. Come springtime, the bar terracing will be the perfect place to observe all the action on the pitch. The pitch has also kick-started some volunteering projects with a local school, who bring their girls’ football team to train alongside the Collingwood women’s squad. In turn, this has inspired more sports teams and societies to develop links with schools or community groups. Thanks to the generosity of a Collingwood alumnus, we are making plans for a countywide youth football tournament hosted on the pitch in summer 2018. You can check out the pitch and bar terrace for yourself on Saturday 9th June 2018, as we host the first ever alumni football tournament at The ‘Wood. See page 25 for details.



ONGOING DEVELOPMENT In true Collingwood spirit, our community has adapted well to the temporary relocation of some facilities during the £6 million donor-funded redevelopment project, turning the Penthouse into a relaxing JCR space and coffee shop, making full use of the temporary gym in the Weardale Suite, and finding creative ways to utilise space in the Dining Hall. By September 2018, the improvements to our physical estate will set the scene for many opportunities for student development. Our goal at Collingwood is to ensure our facilities provide opportunities for students to pursue a range of activities, as beginners, aspiring elites, or for just for fun and relaxation. The 200-seater performing arts centre will feature state-of-the-art technology, including a motorised lighting grid and special effects equipment to rival professional theatres. This paves the way for more students to learn how to set up shows and manage the technical aspects of a performance. The arts centre will provide a dedicated home for Woodplayers, who have always had to contend with 500 hungry students and the limitations of a Dining Hall space when putting on their shows. It will also widen the scope for student performance, and we hope to host a range of performances, including student band nights, musical evenings, comedy shows and more. Recently, many alumni have visited The ‘Wood, often with their family in tow, and marvelled at the building work, reminiscing about the days when the College consisted of just three accommodation blocks, or when the Penthouse didn’t exist. When the development is complete in September 2018, we hope you will join us at one of our planned events. See page 25 for details. Photo credit: Grant Slater Top right: New conservatory and bar terrace overlooking the sports pitch Bottom right: 200-seater performing arts centre design


FEEDING BELLIES NOT BINS NIKKI DRAVERS (NATURAL SCIENCES, COLLINGWOOD, 2009-12) ON WASTE, ENTREPRENEURSHIP, AND SOLVING THE WORLD’S PROBLEMS. I remember a phrase from my matriculation speech: “don’t let your degree get in the way of your education.” When I graduated three years later, I could safely say I heeded this advice. From rugby to the RAF, from “fresher repping” to musical directing, I was 100% keen on College and extra-curricular life; the number of times I nodded off in lectures proved it. Durham University was a “bubble” and Collingwood even more so: a bubble and a brilliant playground. However, it was during those dark “what are you going to do next?” days of final year, when everyone panic applies for grad schemes with companies they have never heard of, that I started breaking out of that “bubble”. I attended a local church, got to know local families, and realised that there is a lot more to the North East and Durham than I had got to know within the University square mile and short academic terms. So I committed to another year in Durham, a sort of ‘gap year’ to serve the community. After working breakfast shifts at the Marriott Hotel I had to throw away piles of uneaten bacon, sausages, eggs and gallons of freshly squeezed juice. I’d then wander a couple of hundred metres up the road to volunteer at the Salvation Army Café and serve up simple vegetable soup and cheese toasties, which would be the only proper meal of the day for

Nikki Dravers (right), Founder and Director of REfUSE

many. This was the same year in which demand for food banks in England increased dramatically. I could not live with witnessing this extravagant waste in such close proximity to real food poverty. I got involved with FoodCycle Durham, a hub of a national charity that aims to fight food poverty and social isolation by serving meals with food collected from local shops at the end of each day. For a couple of years I spent my spare time raising money for this charity, collecting food from a local supermarket and a couple of green grocers. However, I was learning more about food waste and the environmental impact it has. One third of the food grown for human consumption is wasted, and 28% of the world’s agricultural area and half of irrigation water is used to grow food that is later wasted. If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, after China and USA. The social impact of the Salvation Army Café was great, for 20-30 people. But I found myself asking what was


happening in larger supermarkets, wholesalers, and further up the supply chain? I didn’t want to thank supermarkets for what a great job they are doing wasting food, I wanted to make a song and dance about it, and stop it happening in the first place. I wanted to do something enterprising, but also something with common sense and compassion for communities of the North East. To do that, I had to commit to the North East and follow a very different career path to most of my fellow Woodspeople. I set up a Community Interest Company, REfUSE, in 2015. I got onto a programme with the School for Social Entrepreneurs, through a dragon’s den-style application. They gave me a bit of funding, mentoring and some training. When I first started REfUSE, I did it in my spare time alongside about four other jobs that added up to something of a salary. I did marketing and PR for a national children’s charity, drama workshops with another social enterprise, and I was a youth worker at a small village church. 


ABOUT REFUSE REfUSE began with monthly popup restaurant events, collecting food in my little car and filling our front room at home. These were incredible events where people from every background were welcomed and included. People were encouraged to pay for their meals with time, money or skills. Now we have grown such that I work full-time and have a team of three paid staff, about 200 volunteers, an office, warehouse, café and a van.

We are just about to open a Pay As You Feel café in Chester-le-Street, just North of Durham. It will be a creative, inclusive environment where people can eat, contribute and feel empowered as part of a bigger movement. We think food is “social glue”: people from every background are equal over a shared meal. Though we do support those who struggle to afford food, those who are out of work, homeless, or lonely, we believe other volunteers and visitors, including those from more affluent backgrounds, gain much from spending time with those who are different from them. This sense of community cohesion is mutually beneficial whatever background we come from.

REfUSE’s vision is to reveal value in things, places and people that others might overlook or see as waste. We divert food destined for bins and use it to create delicious, healthy meals, accessible to all, served on a ‘Pay As You Feel’ basis at pop-up events, community cafés, Pay As You Feel shops and market stalls, and in schools. We raise awareness about the criminal levels of food waste in the UK, campaign and work with retailers and consumers to put an end to this problem. We run a schools project, which educates primary school children about where their food came from, the resources required to get it to their plates, and we allow them to run a Pay As You Feel market stall every week.

Since our launch in 2015, we have saved almost 20 tonnes of food and drink from going to landfill, and served around 8,000 meals. I worked as a consultant for the Co-op on their national food waste strategy, helping prevent millions of tonnes of unnecessary waste. We have grown from collecting veg and bread from our local supermarket and baker, to collecting over a tonne of food in our van every week. We have a huge social media following, we’ve been featured on BBC national television twice and local media many times, and we catered four wedding banquets for 150 people. Looking back on that matriculation day advice, I may not be using my degree


specifically, but I am definitely using the education Durham provided me. Starting a social enterprise is an adventure that requires a lot of confidence, creativity, and a huge range of skills: from social media, to accounting and elevator pitching. I have learnt that the world’s problems will not be solved overnight; things take time, faith and commitment. I’m a fast-paced and driven person. It is a joy to be making a difference whilst doing something I am passionate about. Yet, in being an entrepreneur and starting REfUSE I have sacrificed some of life’s comforts that my peers have enjoyed by taking more conventional career paths. In the first three years after university, I shared a bunk bed with my best friend and my office was our busy kitchen table. I was never interested in a six-figure salary, but the security and glamour of a grad scheme in London did tempt me at times when things were less secure. It is a rollercoaster and I have often felt out of my depth. But I have learnt to listen to people who help, not be swayed from my vision, and ignore those who tell me to “leave it to the big guns”. Contact Details Nikki Dravers Founder and Director REfUSE C.I.C.  @refuse_cic

A LIFE CHANGING TELEPHONE BOX It’s often said that your time at University is the best three years of your life, and even though every year that follows is a gift, I look back at my time in Durham as the most defining, happy and important. I loved Durham and I loved Collingwood. The friends I made there and the opportunities I encountered, live with me to this day. And in fact, all the opportunities I’ve had since graduation in 1995, can be put down to an old red telephone box, just outside the English Department on Elvet Riverside. It’s not there anymore, but it was very important, because I made a call from it that changed my life completely.

Alex Macqueen (English Literature, Collingwood, 1992-95) on pursuing a profession you love, despite getting banished from The National Youth Theatre.

Now for this to make any sense, I need to give you some background. Anyone who wants to become an actor needs an agent. It is the agent that holds access to the projects, the casting directors and the producers that allow you to get work. And to get an agent, the traditional route is to go to drama school, perform in the end of year showcase and hope to get signed up that evening.


But it’s very expensive, so I tried an alternative route and attempted to join the National Youth Theatre (NYT). It’s a fantastic springboard and has launched many a star, so if you’re lucky enough to get in, it’s a massive opportunity. And luckily for me, after a number of attempts, I got in. Brilliant. But then I got the sack. Less brilliant. Here’s how. Just before I started Durham in 1992, I was offered a part in the NYT summer show, playing opposite Orlando Bloom and Chiwetel Ejiofor. We were doing Julius Caesar and I’d been offered a small part called Marullus - a small part but nevertheless, a part. Now when I say it was a small part, it was so small, that my entire contribution was over and done, four minutes into the first scene. I had nothing more to do. So I got bored. And one evening, standing back stage, I was beside the props table and could see the various items: the knife to kill Julius Caesar, the scroll for Marcus Brutus, a dish full of blood capsules and, crucially, a large brown leather folder.


So, bored and waiting, I opened the folder and found nothing more than lots of bits of paper. But as I looked more closely, I realised they weren’t just old bits of paper, they were actually copies of letters - letters sent to each and every one of the National Youth Theatre’s extremely prestigious, very high profile, and incredibly wealthy private donors. And crucially, each letter had been sent to their private, home address. Now I’d been thinking, that when I get to Durham, the first thing I wanted to do was be in a play and perform Macbeth but if I wanted that main part, I would have to produce it myself. Now obviously, that requires money, which I was going to need to raise. So, as I stood in the wings at the National Youth Theatre, bored out of my mind, looking down at these letters to the stars, I suddenly had an idea. Why don’t I take those letters, copy the addresses and write to them for money. So I did. As soon as I arrived at Collingwood, I set to work: Dear (VERY FAMOUS HOLLYWOOD ACTOR), As a fellow member of the National Youth

Theatre, and as an aspiring actor, I’m hoping to put on a play of ‘Macbeth’ in January and would be delighted to credit you as a patron of the production, in return for a small donation of just £100. It would be extremely helpful to us and so I thank you in advance for your support. The first reply was very exciting and it came from the actor Sir John Gielgud, who sent us a cheque for £100... personally signed. This was a great start and hugely encouraging. £100 back in 1992 was going to go a long way. But the second reply was less exciting. This came from someone I hadn’t written to: the General Manager of the National Youth Theatre. It said: Dear Alex Macqueen, We have received a number of serious complaints from some of the patrons and donors to the National Youth Theatre, who claim that we have disclosed their home addresses to you. In light of this,


you should now consider yourself an exmember of the NYT. Disaster! I’d been expelled from a wonderful organisation and lost my only viable route into acting. But, fast forward, three years later. I thought to myself, I’m leaving Collingwood in two days and I really want to be a professional actor; I want to do it for a living. I shall try the NYT again and see if they’ll give me an audition. Now without a mobile, or even an email address, back in 1995, the only option was the red telephone box on Elvet. “Hello, National Youth Theatre” “Hi, I’m just calling in to see if there’s any auditions left for the summer show: I’ve heard you’re doing ‘Othello’? Complete silence. Then: “Is that you Alex?” “Yes, it’s me, Alex Macqueen”. “Oh great, says the voice, it’s Sarah, we did the summer course together. I’m covering in the office”. “Oh wonderful. Is there any chance of an

audition?” “Well, all the slots are now booked up but it would be great to see you, I’m sure they can tag you on at the end, I’ll put your name down”. Brilliant. I was back in. I put the phone down and walked back up to Collingwood. But there was a problem. Sitting in the office, two desks away from my friend Sarah, was Peter. And Peter was a senior manager. The senior manager who sacked me. He said, “If that was Alex Macqueen, he’s definitely not coming down on Saturday, he’s been expelled. Call him back and tell him not to come”. So poor Sarah sheepishly dialled me back. But she was dialling an empty red telephone box on Elvet Riverside in Durham - so no message got through. Oblivious to the sanction, I duly travelled down to London on the Saturday, where two things happened. Firstly, Peter the manager didn’t work on Saturdays, so wasn’t there to stand in my way. Secondly, I did a disastrous audition and completely forgot my lines. Worse still, during the second attempt, I lit my prop cigarette the wrong way round, in an act of total incompetence. But fortunately, total incompetence was precisely what they were looking for (in the part of Roderigo), so I was offered it there and then and all was forgiven. I was back at the NYT with a chance to follow my dream. But sadly, it led nowhere. At the end of the run, there was no agent calling, no offer to be taken on as an actor, no chance to make a living doing what I loved. It was a real disappointment. So, I decided to give up on the acting entirely and train to become a Barrister. I went back to University, did the CPE, went to Bar School and then did a pupillage. But for the entire period, I was in a state of terror. I never knew what I was talking about, the volume of material was completely overwhelming, and friends kept warning me, that if I didn’t have a passion for it, I would never really succeed. Eventually the anxiety caught up with me and it blew up at one of the twelve qualifying dinners every Barrister is required to do. They are a tradition at the Inns of Court, dating back to the Middle Ages, where students learnt the law from Barristers, over dinner.

They consist of four course meals, with port and cheese, with everyone dressed in academic gowns. At one of these, I was half way through the main course, when I realised I couldn’t swallow. I wasn’t choking - but the chicken and the rice wasn’t moving down. It was stuck in a ball just under my throat. So I stopped talking and tried to subtly remove what I could into a serviette but it was no use. I would have to go to the toilet and get rid of it there; yet even then it wouldn’t go and the more stressed I got, the more my throat clenched and the more it clenched, the more saliva it produced. It was a horror show. So, in full black tie, spewing saliva and in total panic, I jumped into a cab to St Thomas’ A&E, where relaxants eventually dislodged the food. However, before they let me go, they wanted to search for possible throat constrictions by using a barium meal. A barium meal is a radioactive porridge (that tastes and looks like cement) and as it travels through you, an X-ray follows it to see what might be wrong. Luckily it was all clear and with huge relief, I went back to stay with my parents. Naturally, about three hours later, I went to the toilet to ‘release’ the cement and then headed off to bed. However, even later that evening, my father went into the toilet and as he looked into the pan, he saw what looked like broken pieces of concrete sitting in the water. His immediate thought was,


the U-Bend is broken and these are detached pieces. So without a second thought, he put his bare hand into the water, attempted to fish out the debris, but instead found his fingers driving into a radioactive stool sample. Two lessons emerge. One, don’t put your bare hand into a U-Bend - ever. Two, when what you’re doing for work, what you’re doing for a living, causes you such stress and anxiety that you can barely swallow food you need to give it up and do what makes you happy. So that’s eventually what I did. I left the Barrister world and went back to what I loved. And again, it’s down to that red telephone box, because one of the best friends I made at the NYT had since become a successful casting director, and when I bumped into her in London, she asked me what I was doing and I said, “I’ve given up the law and I’m trying to become an actor”. She cast me in a film, that film got me an agent and that agent got me Neil’s Dad in The Inbetweeners! So, without Collingwood and the red telephone box, I would never have followed my chosen path and managed to do the thing I love most. So to Collingwood and the three years it gave me, I can’t thank it enough.


WALKING THE LENGTH AND BREADTH OF WALES ON APRIL 3RD 2017, SOPHIE BROWN WALKED OUT OF HER FRONT DOOR AND TURNED LEFT. THREE MONTHS AND 1,050 MILES LATER SHE WALKED BACK UP HER DRIVEWAY HAVING COME FULL CIRCLE, BECOMING THE YOUNGEST PERSON TO WALK THE PERIMETER OF WALES. I had never done a long distance walk, and I’ve never been ‘the outdoorsy one’. I like being warm and dry. I’m not very organized. I usually pack too much. I’m terrible at directions. Not to mention I’m a massive extrovert. If you had to imagine a person to spend two months walking solo in the wilderness with a backpack, it would not be me. But in the January during my year out from Durham, I found out that my lovely little country is the first in the world to have a walking path all the way around. This sounded like an invitation. The Sara Pilkington Fund turned my idea into a reality. A beautiful start made up for a rough and painful first week. By day three, my metabolism had clicked into overdrive. As I ate, energy rushed, but would vanish just as suddenly. Imagine a hoover when you’ve taken it too far from the plug socket; without warning it cuts out with a whimper. That was me, and I wish I was lying about the whimpering. One day the simple process of making porridge inexplicably reduced me to tears. But after eating I immediately felt great, and went on my way. I bumped into a lovely man called Ken, walking the whole coast of Britain. Just talking about the weather, I began to cry. I started to think I’d made a terrible mistake. I pulled off my boots, calling them several mean names. My relationship with my boots at this point was like that of a stroppy teenager with their parents. I shouted at them for being oppressive and restrictive when they

were only trying to protect and support me. I slumped at the side of the path, and pretty much shut down. Eventually something stirred me; I put lavender on my sore spots, put my boots back on, and as an afterthought, I had a snack. As I reflected on my day of severe highs and lows, I realised that all the high points had followed a snack. Because of the constant exercise, I never actually felt


hungry, so emotions were my body’s way of telling me I needed food. Thankfully I learned this lesson early on. I spent a lot of time going the wrong way; never in a really major way, but half a mile backtracking or a few loops of the wrong farmer’s field here and there added marathons onto the mile count. Some of my mistakes I accepted graciously; others, definitely not.

that friend. 700 miles was broken down into “20 miles to this person’s town”, and “30 miles to that person I’ve been meaning to catch up with”. I spent the day with Jean McKenna, who was also walking the whole Wales Coastal Path with everything on her back, wild camping as she goes. She turned 70 in October. I was so inspired by her fearless and youthful heart, and she couldn’t believe that I’d taken on such a massive challenge from my first walk. In her 20 years of long distance walking, she had never met another woman walking and wild camping alone. We parted just before the scramble over Holyhead Mountain and at 9pm, I reached a huge milestone at South Stack lighthouse: 500 miles into my 1000-mile trip. There wasn’t much of a sunset and the weather was uninspiringly grey, but it looked beautiful to me. I was really, really proud of myself. Two weeks and 180 miles in, it was amazing how much had become normal. My body was finally getting used to the bizarre routine and my relationship with my boots was much more congenial. Little did I know, the ‘real’ walking was just about to start.

gathered snow so I’d have enough water, made myself a hot water bottle, and in the morning, filtered it using my aeropress to make breakfast. It was an incredibly cold night and even the condensation inside my tent froze, but I couldn’t help but think “this is such a good story”.

At some point in his reign, an Anglo-Saxon king decided to build a mound of earth defining his kingdom, separating what we now know as England from what we now know as Wales. It’s a Hadrian’s Wall of the West; a symbol of division. As the path follows a man-made construction rather than a natural feature, you pass through an impressive array of different landscapes, including three areas of outstanding natural beauty (the Brecon Beacons, the Shropshire Hills and the Clwydian Mountains). It crosses the modern day border more than 20 times. As a result, I spent most of the two weeks not knowing what country I was in, and admiring views unsure as to which nation they belonged. I’d usually pick the prettiest and decide that was probably Wales.

There were sore muscles, aching feet, and times of low energy, but by far the biggest personal challenge was spending so much time by myself. I’m an extrovert and wired to be with people. But amid the loneliness, the hospitality of strangers warmed my soul. Once, when I ran out of water, I’d asked two older gentlemen sitting outside their garage if I could fill up from their tap. Before I knew it I was drinking coffee and hearing all the village gossip. I left with a bottle of Roy’s homemade cider and advice from his sonin-law to drink it slowly, and only when I was done with hills for the day. The night before it had snowed, June at Panpwnton Farm gave me a big woollen blanket. In Chester, I stayed with the parents of a university friend, talking for hours at their dining table. My dad and sister spent their bank holiday weekend trudging along beside me. In so many ways, people made me feel loved as I bounced in and out of their borders. I stopped looking at the path as a massive task to complete, but as a way of getting to this friend or

The trip took a turn for the worse when I got caught in a snowstorm on top of Llanfair Hill. Launching into a survival mode I didn’t know I had, I scanned for the nearest flat ground, put up my tent in record time and piled everything inside. I even


The west coast went quickly. Meirionnydd was soon succeeded by Ceredigion, but not before one of the most staggering displays of beauty and kindness of the trip. I walked into a pub with my enormous backpack, which inevitably started conversations. From my table I chatted with some men about my trip and what it was in aid of. I sat journaling and eating my dinner. The men left, saying goodbye and good luck as they went. After they had gone, the landlord handed me a pint glass of money the men had collected for me. I was so moved. Fundraising had not been my intention, but so many people asked which charity I was supporting. After working in the coffee business for over four years, I chose the Costa Foundation, which builds schools in developing coffee growing communities. Three people from Costa drove from Luton to take me for lunch whilst on my walk, just to say thank you. I’ve done voluntary work with charities that prize education as a breaker of the poverty cycle, but after those lunchtime discussions I discovered a new passion for the life changing power of quality education. I had a surreal moment later that night, sitting on a sofa with a blanket, stroking a cat, drinking prosecco while the rain poured, thinking “I’m supposed to be roughing it around Wales, how did this happen?” Another kind lady named Safiya has offered me a place to stay to avoid the rain.

STUDENT STORIES Pembrokeshire signified the beginning of the end. And what a way to finish. The path has national trail status in its own right, and in contrast to the rest of my walk, there seemed to be long distance walkers everywhere. I found myself walking in the hottest June since 1976. After the heat absolutely annihilated me and my chocolate raisins, family friends in Milford Haven let me spend a day in their home recovering from sunstroke. It was difficult to heed their advice and take a day off, so close to being home, but it was definitely the right thing to do. Kindness continued to define this trip for me, right up to the end. Despite an offer of a bed, on my last night I camped wild on the foreshore at Ferryside. Half a mile across the water was Llansteffan, where I’d started my 17 ½ mile walk that day. Some friends joined me at Ferryside, and I was glad of the company. A few hours of fields and roads got us to Kidwelly, where some more family friends joined us. It was good to be able to talk and share some stories.

I was left to do the few miles to Burry Port on my own. I’m not sure what emotion filled that time, but I was certainly full of it. The Gower could be seen so clearly, every detail brought out by the sun and reflecting off the sea. It looked so close, like I could touch the sand I’d walked on three months before. Everything was rendered in perfect detail in the evening light, all seeming so close; a whole country in walking distance. I knew I was meeting a few people at Burry Port, but I had not pictured the hero’s welcome I found awaiting me. We walked the final few miles together, which I felt was so appropriate, given their support and encouragement. We reached the familiar length of my running route and finally came to the spot just after the little footbridge, where I had stepped onto the Wales Coastal Path twelve weeks and one day before. I had come full circle, a thousand miles, to arrive back where I’d started. There aren’t many things that can give you a feeling like that. That’s when the tears started.


You’d expect an adventure like this to fundamentally change who you are. This trip didn’t do that for me. Rather, it expanded my capacity to be who I am in a daring, different, and adventurous way. The Sara Pilkington Fund made this all possible. Many times I would look over gorgeous scenery or feel proud of a day’s achievement, and I would hope that my legacy might be as positive as that of the wonderful girl I never met, but I’m sure I would get on with. It has been an honour to share Sara’s memory with so many as they have joined me on the journey. Many thanks for this amazing fund, and for your belief in me from the beginning. It was never once taken for granted.

DREAMS IN THE ‘WOOD ‘Dreams in The ‘Wood’ provides opportunities for Collingwood students to complete once-in-a-life time internships offered by our alumni and friends of the College. These internships give Collingwood students outstanding, first-hand, professional experience, not offered by traditional internship programmes. After a competitive application process, Louise Roe (English Literature, Collingwood, 2001-04) and her management company hosted Izzy and Luciana in Hollywood, and Ollie worked alongside Mark Gray (Russian, Collingwood, 1985-89) and Nick Holtby (Engineering and Management, Collingwood, 1985-88) in London and out in the Indian Ocean.


It’s no exaggeration to say that this summer was life changing. I was lucky enough to be chosen for the Dreams in The ‘Wood internship to spend three months working in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, with Louise Roe, a prominent author, journalist, blogger, TV presenter, and social media influencer. Louise has over 640,000 followers on Instagram and I worked with her and her close-knit team to run Louise’s social media channels, blog, online shop, and everything in between. But to say that I was her social media and editorial assistant seems to sell short the huge array of opportunities that working with Louise presented; no two days were the same. I travelled around LA for photoshoots with Louise and her husband, Mackenzie, observing how everything is conceptualised, designed, and then produced. We went to an Instagram-famous cafe in the Venice/ Santa Monica area to meet with a brand partner; it was fascinating to see more of the business side of Louise’s work. I produced content for Louise’s blogs, and monthly analytics reports. The whole experience

was immensely valuable to me, for many reasons, but mostly because I was able to submerge myself into this previously unfamiliar world and gain a vast range of knowledge and skills highly relevant to a wide range of careers.  I felt so incredibly lucky to not only have somehow landed myself in such an enjoyable and rewarding job, but with such wonderful people in a breath-taking place that I would never have ordinarily had the chance to live in. Louise is such a compassionate, enthusiastic and driven individual and working with her was truly inspiring. All of this made my time working and living in LA unforgettable and I’m itching to return. There are no words that could possibly do justice to how grateful I am to Louise and Collingwood alumni for offering and supporting me through this truly incredible opportunity - one that I’m certain will significantly shape my future. 

affectionate name for The Bill Bryson Library). I worked for a talent management company, Insanity, who are at the forefront when it comes to managing Instagram Influencers. The insight that I gained into the fashion and beauty industry was invaluable. I was lucky enough to be given a huge variety of tasks, so every day was different. I had the opportunity to write the plotline for season one of a new TV series, attend PR events with clients, organise New York Fashion Week schedules, create pitches for brands to sponsor our various TV and movie projects, and I loved each task that was thrown at me. I was even borrowed by a client to style a shoot for Target and to create some content for a new Chainsmokers’ music video, which was surreal!


(ENGLISH LITERATURE) My summer in LA was worlds apart from ordinary life in Durham; it almost feels like it didn’t happen now I’m sitting in the Billy B (the


Louise Roe

I was lucky enough to work for Louise Roe’s team, alongside Luciana, one day a week, which was


a great way to see how bloggers run their businesses, as well as learning how to manage an Influencer. I helped maintain the blog, think of creative content, update social media platforms, vlog behind the scenes content for subscribers, and help on shoots. Luciana and I were also taken backstage on the set of Access Hollywood Live, which was definitely a “pinch-me” moment! I am immensely grateful that I was chosen for this internship and that it was made possible by Collingwood. The experience I gained, the friends I made, and the fact I was offered a job at the end of my internship, all made this the most incredible summer. I am so looking forward to going back to LA in the future and I would encourage anyone thinking of applying for an internship to just go for it, because you never know where it might lead.


(INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS) Prior to interning with MNG Maritime, I knew this would not be a typical internship. I spent the first few weeks in the London office, getting to know the company and their

systems and assisting the operations team, who plan the operations of the company’s two floating platforms in the Red Sea and Gulf of Oman. Midway through the internship I was given the opportunity to travel to the Gulf of Oman to see how the operation is executed. I was probably the first intern ever to set foot onto a floating platform! Their main purpose is to facilitate the embarkation and disembarkation of security teams and military kit of vessels entering and exiting the Indian Ocean High-Risk Area. This is done by launching rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs) from the platform, drawing up alongside the client vessel (typically an oil tanker or container ship) from which the RHIB team would then either embark or disembark equipment and personnel via ladders and ropes. While there I saw and assisted with various components of the operation, including the transfers themselves. It seemed slightly surreal that I was just a summer intern and yet was climbing into a RHIB at 3am in the humidity of the Gulf night, about to off-load kit to a waiting team of former US Navy Seals! With this experience behind me, things back in the office seemed more real; I knew what each office task would mean for the team


out on the ships. The original plan for the internship was for me to assist in preparations for an upcoming ISO inspection. However, as the company runs a live 24:7 operation, anything can happen at any time, and assisting the operations team became my priority for the remaining five weeks. As someone looking to go into the security and risk sector after graduation, it is hard to stress just how rare opportunities like this are in the industry. Working with MNG gave me so much more than a generic internship would have: practical experience and firsthand insight into the sector. My thanks go to Collingwood for arranging this opportunity and to MNG Maritime for welcoming me into their environment.


THE SARA PILKINGTON FUND Sara Pilkington was a student at Collingwood who sadly passed away in 2012. Her parents always encouraged her to make the most of every opportunity, so in Sara’s name, they generously established a fund to support students who wish to undertake rewarding projects which they otherwise might not to be able to afford. There were seven recipients of the fund this year, and here is a selection of their exciting projects.


(SPORT, EXERCISE AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY) travelled with Durham University Rugby Club following the British and Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand. This summer, Durham University Rugby Club set off on a tour following the British and Irish Lions whilst playing against some very tough teams ourselves. Our first stop was Singapore, visiting the mesmerising Gardens by the Bay and playing the Singapore national rugby union team. This was a trial game for the national team so lots of players wanted to prove themselves to their coaches, and we knew that a tough eighty minutes were ahead. After a long hard-fought game, Durham came out on top with a very convincing score of 33-6. Next, we moved on to Christchurch, New Zealand. The first thing I noticed was that there was a real buzz around town; everyone who I met was talking about the Lions, and this only heightened my excitement. We had three matches that day: two against Canterbury University and one against Lincoln University. We won all three games convincingly and I was awarded Man of the Match. That evening, we watched the Lions beat the Crusaders 12-3. It was a surreal moment being sat in the Crusaders’ stadium, as four years ago I could never have imagined being on the other side of the world watching a Lions game. The following day, we left Christchurch to visit Queenstown for sightseeing, and I bumped into New Zealand All Blacks legend Keven Mealamu. I was extremely fortunate to have a conversation with him and to get a picture.

The next stop was Tauranga, starting with training at 9am and then participating in a record-breaking haka with 7000+ people. Following this, we watched the Lions play against the Maori All Blacks. The Lions won the game 32-10. The next day, DURFC played Waikato University resulting in another victory for us. Post-game we headed to Hamilton to watch the Lions play against the Chiefs; this again was another win for the Lions, defeating the Chiefs 34-6. Finally, we travelled to Auckland, only a few days away from the first test match; everywhere you looked there was something associated with either the Lions or the All Blacks. The following day we had a match against Otahuhu RFC which is one of the


poorer clubs in New Zealand. This was the toughest game of the tour, but we managed to scrape a 19-17 victory and have a meal with the team afterwards. It was then time to watch the first test match against the All Blacks before flying home. Unfortunately, the Lions lost the first test to the All Blacks 30-15, but everyone was still in high spirits as it was a great experience watching the live game with thousands of people. As with all great things the tour had to come to an end, but I want to thank all those involved in The Sara Pilkington Fund for making this truly once-in-a-lifetime experience po­ssible. It has further fuelled my passion for rugby and desire to pursue a career in the sport.


(BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES) volunteered in a Croatian hospital through GapMedics. It is my ambition to pursue a career in medicine after graduation from Durham, but it is extremely difficult to gain work experience in the medical field within the UK. However, it is essential for me to understand the life of a medic prior to embarking on that journey myself. GapMedics is an international organisation through which students can volunteer and gain hospital work experience in a foreign country. Croatia has an NHS-like system providing healthcare to all who live there. The short-staffing issue seen within the UK was not mirrored in Croatia. From what I saw, there were always plenty of staff around to cater to the patients’ needs in the ear, nose and throat department in which I was placed. Plus all medics are paid the same no matter whether newly qualified or an expert. However, the equipment was outdated, and they weren’t strict with hygiene rules like we are in the UK. By going to Croatia, I hoped to benefit both myself, through first-hand experience of life in a hospital, and the wider community, through helping to deliver healthcare. I was excited to see lots of patients with a whole range of health issues. My favourite procedure to watch was a tracheotomy. It was performed on a comatose patient after a very serious motorbike accident. The junior doctor performed this procedure under the watchful eye of the head consultant. It was her first time doing the procedure alone from start to finish, and it was interesting to think that could be me in years to come. I learnt so much on this trip, both about a career in medicine and about myself. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Sara Pilkington Personal Development Fund for the help you have given to fund my trip. Without your generosity, this dream would have been nothing but that.


I was mainly based in a laboratory, but arguably the most important (and without doubt the most exciting) times were during field trips to collect data. This would typically occur multiple times a week and involved activities like monitoring SO2 and thermal imagery data, sample collection for geochemical analysis, lichen growth analysis for lava flow mapping, and over-crater flights for thermal imagery and photographs.

(GEOPHYSICS WITH GEOLOGY) volunteered to help monitor and model the Colima Volcano in Mexico. Back in January, I first caught a glimpse of a chance to volunteer with the science faculty of the University of Colima. I barely thought there was a hope; after all, this place was 5750 miles away and I’d have to cross the Atlantic Ocean to get there. Eleven months later and I returned from the trip of a lifetime, all thanks to the Sara Pilkington Personal Development Fund.

The experience I have had over 12 weeks of this summer has been truly unique, and helped my development academically and personally more than I can express. It was encouraging to see exactly where the work I had been doing in lectures could come in useful in the real world. Moving forward I have no doubt this experience will aid with many of my third-year modules, especially volcanology and magmatism, and I am now considering a Masters in Volcanology.

I worked on a number of projects during my time in Colima, but I was personally responsible for collecting and analysing the SO2 flux data of the Volcan de Colima. This involved monitoring the SO2 levels within plumes from the summit of the volcano, which is vital for giving indications of increased activity. The results I produced were published in a weekly bulletin which is used by the observatory to determine the threat level of the volcano.

I will carry the memories I made and the things I have learnt into the future for a long time to come, for which I will be forever grateful. My aim now is to pass on this generosity, by using this experience as a springboard to help as many people as possible avoid the impacts of natural disasters around the world in years to come. By propagating kindness, the world will become a better place, and the Pilkingtons have surely showed me what that means.


UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH INTERNSHIPS Since 2013, our unique Undergraduate Research Internship Programme, initially established thanks to the generosity of an alumni donor, has grown significantly. This scheme enables Collingwood students to work alongside world-class researchers of Durham University on cutting-edge, live research projects over the summer vacation. Donor support provides a fair wage throughout their internship period, and Collingwood College offer accommodation free of charge, to ensure that undergraduates can make the most of this opportunity without worrying about their finances. In 2017, 15 students took part, and in 2018, with donor support, we are hoping to increase the intake even further.




(MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICS) interned at Durham University’s Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring, researching children’s attainment in relation to a range of background factors. Upon arrival, we were presented with a huge data set on over 580,000 people from England and Scotland. The data included their gender, school, home postcode, average GCSE score (on the new 1 to 9 scale), ALIS test CABT scores and A-level scores. However, their A-level results spanned over more than 980 variables due to inconsistent data and multiple qualifications that we weren’t interested in (for example, fish husbandry). This meant our first task was rationalising the data into

a realistically accessible set, and we chose the 15 most common A-levels and their corresponding AS-levels. Following this, we each focused on individual research. Will investigated a new method of forming predictions for different A-level qualifications, as well as the effect of gender on attainment; Chris looked at forming a new regression line using other considerations such as school type; Matt looked at the effect of a range of background factors, including home and school location, on attainment of pupils in both A-Levels and ALIS tests. We all


produced extremely interesting results which we are proud to say will be used by CEM in the future for new research, and therefore can’t be disclosed at this time. Throughout the internship, we developed skills in statistical analysis, communication, and presentation on top of gaining a thorough insight into what CEM is and the services it provides. We got to know the warm and welcoming staff and made many friends along the way, and we are very grateful for this opportunity.

STUDENT STORIES ALISHA ESSHAKI (INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS) investigated how MPs explain their policy positions to their constituents.

The main objective of my project was to improve our understanding of the relationship between MPs and their constituents, by systematically examining MP correspondence. The participants of the studies agreed that letters would be sent on their behalf to their MPs, asking their MPs’ stance on Brexit. My job was to quantitatively assess the participant information and the replies we received from the MPs. Firstly, I learned how to code the participant data in R and how to use the program Rstudio. I then prepared a report on the participants, analysing several factors including their gender, age, vote choices in elections, as well as the distribution of ‘Brexiters’ and ‘Remainers’. This was useful in determining the characteristics of the participants of the study, strategies for recruitment, and for informing us about political issues which could be the focus of future studies. I also wrote a codebook so the letters could be analysed based on their content and tone, to find relationships between MP/Constituency code characteristics and letter characteristics. What I learned was diverse. Firstly, the basics of coding in R language and how to use the program RStudio. In writing a codebook and applying it to text, I learned how to analyse text quantitatively and how to write a codebook that was explicit without being overcomplicated, so that others could replicate my coding and use it for future research. Overall, this internship has done all I hoped: it served a dual purpose, extending my academic strengths as a political scientist as well as providing me with a special insight into the realities of academic research.

AMIE ROBSON (GEOGRAPHY) researched how

nature-based solutions can be used in response to climate change and to enable growth, security and social wellbeing. My internship with Durham’s Naturvation team involved studying urban parks to assess the social, economic and environmental benefits they offer urban areas. I visited Nuns Moor Park in Newcastle Upon Tyne, aiming to uncover the benefits of the park on the local community. I participated in community activities, such as litter picking and community gardening. I also made a questionnaire, asking participants what they valued in the park, why they visited and what they thought defined a park. I set up an interview with Greening Wingrove, an organisation who look after the park, and the CHAT Trust, a charity who run regular youth groups in the park. This research was what I enjoyed most in the internship because it allowed me to interact with people directly. This internship has given me so many new skills, but most importantly it has improved my confidence. I got to work alongside a team of professional researchers and I learned so much from them about how carry out excellent research. I carry these skills forward to my dissertation. Working closely with professional researchers allowed me to improve my data collection skills, my analytical skills and my interviewing and transcribing skills. I believe my participation also benefitted the Naturvation team. Not only did I represent the team at the Northumbrian Water Innovation Festival, but also my analysis of the social, economic and environmental aspects of Nuns Moor Park will be used in the project long after I have left. A summary of my work will be used as an appendix in the Naturvation report on Newcastle, crediting me as the author. This has been the highlight of my university experience so far. I really believe that I will use the knowledge in my career to make a positive impact in the cities I am working in, and I am so grateful for this opportunity.


nature of ultra-luminous x-ray sources.

The nature of ultra-luminous X-ray sources (ULXs) has been debated since their discovery in the 1980s. What makes them exceptional is how incredibly bright they are in the X-ray band of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. It is possible that their unusual brightness results from several different physical processes in different types of objects. We expect periods of quiescence from some of these objects changing to periods of explosively increasing luminosity, and the spectral properties of most of these objects are expected to change as their luminosity changes. I analysed the data from the Swift mission, a NASA-led satellite that has been designed to discover gamma-ray bursts, for three objects. By tracking the behaviour of the three objects over the last few years, we hoped to find out how much their brightness is expected to fluctuate over time, so that if, for example, we are to make a proposal for a very detailed observation of an outburst in the x-ray band, we would know what “jump” in the brightness indicates that an outburst is what is being observed. The ultimate goal was to derive light curves for the three objects to understand how their luminosity has changed in the last few years. This internship was an ambitious but natural continuation of my academic development, and has given me the confidence to thrive in a fastpaced research environment. I have finished it with renewed determination to explore the field in as many ways as possible, and it has proven to me that I can be part of, and contribute to, a real, ongoing research project with an exciting outcome.



conducted research alongside Professor Bennet Zon for his upcoming book ‘Music, Theology, Science: An Interdisciplinary History’. My supervisor’s book is designed as an interrogation of the salient debates between science and religion throughout history, using the intellectual paradigm of music. My role was to design and fill a research database to cross reference the appearance of the term ‘sympathy’ in the literature of nineteenth-century science, religion, music and political Liberalism. Initially, I taught myself the basics of HTML, CSS3 and Javascript to create a functioning database to hold the text research in a dynamic way. Then came the research, which I was certainly much more at home with! The initially straightforward task of searching for resources in the field of Liberalism expanded as the complex interweaving of Liberalism, the political movements, and liberalism, the ideals, became apparent. I reached a broad conclusion: the rise of Liberal politics in this period is accredited to a complex assembly of factors, chief among which was the economic (and thus cultural) independence, and political enfranchisement of a new class of powerful persons thanks to the modern industrial age – the middle class. A group who respected, and expected, self-motivation and self-help from the population, as well as wanting to signal a departure from their aristocratic forbears in the realm of state organisation. Thus, ‘sympathy’ arrived as a political force; social engagement with the situation of others, the understanding that the conditions of life are fluid (greatly aided by the rise of evolutionary theories), and that one’s fortunes are transient. I began this project sure that academia was for me, and I leave it considerably more doubtful. It has shown me how a zeal for academic discourse does not mean a skill in participating in it, and has allowed me to analyse my priorities in pursuing my subject. For this, I am more than grateful, since time to reflect, and gain excellent experience under the stewardship of a wise and experienced academic, is extraordinarily rare.


worked alongside ‘Team Pigment’ of the Chemistry and History departments using the non-invasive technique of mass spectrometry to analyse various materials. Since 2013, Team Pigment has been using spectroscopic techniques to study the inks and pigments used in medieval manuscripts. This important work has led to new discoveries about the materials and technologies available to the monks and scribes responsible for producing the manuscripts. I worked on a variety of spectroscopic projects, but one of the highlights involved using Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy to take diffuse reflectance spectra of a variety of lapis lazuli and ultramarine pigments; the two pigments have the same chemical composition and are therefore difficult to distinguish. The initial aim was to characterise a strong peak that was appearing in the nearinfrared spectrum of lapis lazuli, and we assigned this peak to water molecules trapped in its porous, cavity filled structure. However, once I had collected and collated the spectra of all the pigments, I noticed that this peak was present almost exclusively in the lapis lazuli spectra. Current identification methods involve taking a sample from the artwork and are therefore not viable for the medieval manuscripts studied by Team Pigment, so the discovery of this peak potentially specific to lapis lazuli could prove to be a useful replacement technique. The skills I developed during my internship ranged from practical chemistry skills, such as operating spectrometers and analysing data, to more general skills related to working in a research group, such as communication and teamwork. As my aspirations beyond university involve working in research, these are the kinds of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable, so I would like to thank the variety of people who made this fantastic opportunity possible for me.



worked with the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience (IHRR) on communications for their 10-year anniversary. The work of IHRR centres on understanding and being prepared for risks, from geohazards such as earthquakes to socio-economic catastrophe such as financial crises, as well as developing efficient responses to them for the future. Not only does this include physical resilience, such as emergency service responses, but also studies the impact of disasters on communities and how they are collectively perceived. The breadth of this work means it is interdisciplinary, and draws on experts in fields ranging from geography to social sciences and the arts. As the institute is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, a special edition of its magazine is being published, commemorating and reflecting on the achievements of its various research projects. Our role was to help produce some of these articles and communications. This included summaries and spreads of projects, A5 information cards and PowerPoints that can be played in the background of conferences. To create this material, we had to research the projects in depth, and become immersed in fields of knowledge well beyond our usual parameters of study. We both felt that we had minimal abilities in producing materials such as articles and extensive presentations, however this internship has allowed us to both discover new techniques and develop our confidence in this area. Our time at IHRR has enhanced our interest in their work and we are now both considering pursuing the Risk Masters programme at IHRR!


helped prepare for the Palace Green Library exhibition ‘Hell, Heaven, Hope: A Journey into Life and the Afterlife with Dante’. The exhibition programme focuses on disseminating academic research, facilitating access to the University’s collections and services, and enabling formal and informal learning opportunities. Drawing primarily from Dante’s best-known work, the Divine Comedy, the principle message of the research presented in the exhibition explores Dante’s reflection on the human experience. I carried out research to complete datasheets for the objects and manuscripts arriving for the exhibition. This involved compiling detailed information about various rare manuscript copies of Dante’s works, and translating Italian catalogues about the objects to provide information for the text writers. I also researched several areas of Dante and his works for the information provided at the exhibition. The bulk of my research focused on Dante’s legacy; one aim of the exhibition is to show how Dante has been represented in contemporary culture and to demonstrate his relevance in our society today. My research focused on two main areas: how Dante’s literary legacy has impacted literary tradition, and how his works have inspired visual culture up until modern day. This opportunity allowed me to utilise the research skills acquired in my undergraduate degree, and develop them to a level that will prepare me for postgraduate research. I have made a meaningful individual contribution to the exhibition, helped promote the importance of Dante in modern day society and increased the accessibility of Dante to the modern-day reader.

The exhibition will run at Palace Green Library from 2nd December 2017 – 18th March 2018.




STUDENT OPPORTUNITIES FUND The 1972 Club Student Opportunities Fund (SOF) provides financial assistance for undergraduates and postgraduates to complete activities or projects outside of their studies, which contribute to their personal, social and academic development. Here is a selection of reports from 2017 recipients.


AND MANAGEMENT) travelled to Kyoto University, Japan, to present his paper, ‘The Relationship between Corporate Governance and Risk Management in Islamic Banks: An Empirical Study’. When I applied to Kyoto University, a leading research university in Japan, I was not expecting to be one of the three Durham University Masters students chosen to present papers. After being selected, my struggle was to find funding for my trip to Japan. Being a recipient of The 1972 Club SOF, I managed to go to Japan, present my paper which may be considered for publication in the Journal of Asian Studies, and get to know the unique and diverse Japanese culture. The visit contributed to my academic and professional development as it opened a door for me to further explore academic literature, identify the gaps in the body of knowledge, and develop new research that could benefit the community through the ethical business practices. The renowned academics I met during my business trip shared their valuable research recommendations, developments, skills, and motivations, inspiring me to develop myself and my research.


volunteered at a Bed and Breakfast in south-west France for a month with the aim of improving his French language skills.

I had always felt ignorant not knowing another language when 43% of the world’s population know two. I was desperate to immerse myself in the French culture, and to challenge my linguistic abilities. I wasn’t fluent - far from it - but I could just about manage a broken conversation. After lots of online digging, I came across an opportunity that would allow me to live with a family in the south-west of France for a month. Upon arrival, I felt disarmed and frustrated, knowing in my head what I wanted to say, but not having the tools with which to express it. The day to day routine became relatively set: we were chefs, cooking for the guests who would come to the farmhouse for week long courses in either creative writing or singing. At meal times we would sit down to eat with the guests and chat, which was the perfect opportunity to develop my French. By the end of my month, my French had undoubtedly improved, and my confidence was at another level, but I’m still a long way off where I’d like to be, so I plan to stick at it.




(ENGLISH LITERATURE) travelled around the UK performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream and running Shakespeare workshops for young people. For nearly two decades, the Castle Theatre Company (CTC) Shakespeare Tour enables Durham student actors to take a Shakespeare performance to a unique collection of churches, abbeys and country houses in Co. Durham and the South of England, attracting nightly audiences in the hundreds. The CTC Tour became an ambition of mine, firstly due to the whisperings of how special it was from former members, and secondly because never before have I toured a show in so many different locations in such rapid succession. Being in a play can be tiring enough, but driving the cast, camping, organising group meals and day trips and reserving enough energy to deliver a good show was a challenge I needed to experience. It wasn’t cheap, and I would have struggled without the help of the very generous 1972 Club SOF. The experience has yet again encouraged me to extend this moreish hobby of performing beyond a mere midsummer night’s dream to something more serious when I leave the cushioned walls of Durham for the wider world.


(MODERN LANGUAGES AND CULTURE) travelled to Madaba, Jordan, to teach English at a summer school for children. This July, I was extremely fortunate in being able to travel to Jordan to partake in a volunteering teaching program, and it would be no exaggeration to say that it was one of the best months of my life. The Summer Enrichment Program (SEP) at King’s Academy, Madaba, involves 170 of the brightest 6th, 7th and 8th Grade students from government schools across the Kingdom, who come to enjoy a summer camp unlike anything they have experienced before. Their day involves six hours of English instruction, as well as Art, IT and ‘Ideas on the Wall’ sessions, all designed to make them think outside of their normal educational parameters. This was the second time teaching at the program for me, but it was unique to be given a group of such bright students to steer through the program. From reading James and the Giant Peach, to solving the mysteries of the silent ‘j’ in ‘hallelujah’, to creating their own picture books, they were an exceptional group who all blossomed over the two weeks. This trip was particularly special for me as I met some extremely inspiring people, including a 21 year old Syrian man who fled to Jordan to rebuild his life after being kidnapped on two separate occasions in Syria. I am extremely grateful to The 1972 Club SOF for allowing me this incredible opportunity.



(GEOGRAPHY) spent a fortnight in Cambodia carrying out research for her dissertation on the Khmer Rouge Genocide of 1975-1979. During the summer of my first year at University, I volunteered in Cambodia, teaching with a DUCK expedition. Whilst there, I became fascinated by the country’s turbulent and tragic history of the Khmer Rouge Genocide of 1975-1979, in which 3 million Cambodians were killed. I decided to do my dissertation on this topic. This summer, thanks to the support of The 1972 Club SOF, I returned to Cambodia to undertake ethnographic research and interviews for the primary research for my dissertation. This took place in five of the country’s spaces of memorialisation: Wat Thmei, Mrs Bun Roung’s House, the Landmine Museum, Phnom Sampeau and the Siem Reap War Museum. Being able to fully immerse myself in the culture will change my positionality as a researcher in a way that I would have been unable to achieve researching from Durham. Therefore, I would like to say huge thanks again to The 1972 Club for supporting my academic and personal development.


(ENGLISH LITERATURE) climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for the charity COCO. In August 2017, I visited Tanzania for three weeks as part of the DUCK (Durham University Charites Kommittee) Kilimanjaro expedition, raising £1000 for the charity COCO. We first visited the project that our fundraising had gone towards to see the impact it had on the community. It was incredible to see the difference between the old nursery, which was a run down, filthy mud hut, and the COCO project, a clean, safe, large building with sanitary toilets. We then went on a 7-day expedition to climb Kilimanjaro, which was the most surreal and phenomenal experience, but also incredibly tough! My favourite part was the scenery, which changed every day: the first day we were walking through jungle, the second was over rocks and heather, but by the fifth day there were glaciers all around us. The expedition allowed me to challenge myself physically and mentally, especially on the summit night in which we walked from midnight for seven hours to reach the summit in pitch black and temperatures of -15C. As the deputy-leader of the trip, the expedition gave me the opportunity to improve my organisation skills, from booking hotels and transport to looking after people who fell ill, and it is an experience I will cherish forever.


(PHILOSOPHY AND POLITICS) attended Kosovo International Summer Academy (KSA), focusing on “Peace building in post-conflict areas – Diplomacy, Leadership and Negotiations”. This July, I was honoured to be one of the 55 students from 27 countries attending KSA 2017, representing Collingwood College and Durham University at a prestigious international event. The Academy had a special focus on “Peace building in post-conflict areas – Diplomacy, Leadership and Negotiations”, a topic for which Kosovo represents an excellent case-study and a fertile ground for debate and analysis. The program featured an intense but engaging schedule; the interactive style of learning allowed for direct exchange and debates with guests, leading to novel interpretations of current trends to be brought forward, whilst also challenging our diplomatic and negotiating skills. Aside from the outstanding intellectual and cultural value of the program, possibly the best aspect of the experience was to meet so many like-minded, curious, dynamic and passionate colleagues. I arrived knowing that I was interested in Post-Conflict Security and Peacebuilding, and that I wanted to pursue further studies in the field, but hearing about the different career paths undertaken by my colleagues broadened my perspective and I am now open to new opportunities and possibilities.



(PHILOSOPHY) participated in a volunteering placement with the International Service in Rwanda to help marginalised people access their human rights. My team worked on a business and enterprise project with a coffee-cooperative in the Western district of Rwanda, focusing on improving its business practices and social impact. Our biggest task was visiting over 300 households to conduct a poverty base-line survey to assess the impact the co-operative had on the community. It was a humbling experience to be invited so warmly into the houses of complete strangers, and really opened my eyes to the level of poverty that some families live in. Our findings showed future targets include raising awareness of government health care loans, educating the community on gender equality and providing basic business training to all cooperative farmers. We also carried out a full diagnostic of the coffee-cooperative to see how the business could improve. We produced a full list of recommendations that we presented to the director, and the next group of volunteers will work in partnership with the co-operative to help achieve these recommendations. During the 10 weeks, I developed new business skills, improved my public speaking ability, plus I made friends for life. I would like to thank The 1972 Club SOF for making this opportunity possible.

ALUMNI EVENTS ALUMNI FOOTBALL COMPETITION Saturday 9th June 2018 Which Collingwood team will be crowned the ‘Greatest of All Time’? Gather your Collingwood friends and come back to The ‘Wood to compete in an 8-a-side tournament on our very own sports pitch. Followed by dinner and an evening in The Stag’s Head.


Stick around to watch our current Collingwood football teams play each other in the annual Wagon Cup on Sunday 10th June. Women’s and men’s teams of all abilities welcome. 8 players on the pitch at any one time, but the longer it has been since your graduation, the more substitutes we will allow on your team! Sign up now: email

GALA EVENINGS Saturday 10th November 2018 and Saturday 1st December 2018 To celebrate the opening of our 200-seater performing arts centre, we will host two gala evenings in 2018, with performances from our student and alumni bodies. Saturday 10th November 2018 will feature classical music, including choirs, the orchestra and more. Saturday 1st December 2018 will feature more contemporary music and performance. Invitations will follow by email, but save the dates.

DONOR RECEPTION IN LONDON Friday 23rd March 2018 All Collingwood donors, Members, Partners, and Patrons of The 1972 Club, are invited to join us in London to celebrate the impact of philanthropy. The venue will be confirmed in the New Year. For now, please express your interest and availability by emailing Invitations to follow by email.




Photo above: The brand new logo for The 1972 Club was designed by Collingwood student Imogen Sharpe.

As you have seen in these pages, philanthropy can change students’ lives. Each year, another cohort leaves The ‘Wood, having travelled their unique Collingwood paths. Collingwood is a place of transformation, where students have unlimited opportunity to express themselves, get involved, try new activities, develop skills, and importantly, build friendships that last a lifetime.

Every Collingwood student, present and former, has benefited in some way from the generosity and support of alumni who have gone before them, perhaps in the form of financial support, careers advice, or simply by virtue of inheriting traditions and structures established by the hard work and creativity of former year groups.

Reflecting the philosophy of our motto, Love the Best, our focus at Collingwood is providing students with access to outstanding opportunities to develop personally, socially, academically, and morally, in whatever it is they wish to pursue. Most importantly, we ensure that these opportunities for development are accessible to every student, irrespective of their personal financial background.

Each year, The 1972 Club Student Opportunities Fund supports a range of volunteering, research, internships, meaningful travel, community initiatives, skills and activities for personal development.


In recognition of everything that Collingwood gave to you, we invite you to ‘pass it on’ to the next generation by joining The 1972 Club.

THE 1972 CLUB MAKE A GIFT The collective impact of The 1972 Club is significant. In a crowd, each person has only to make a small contribution to effect massive change. With ambitions to support even more students with outstanding opportunities and projects in 2018, we ask you to consider supporting Collingwood students by making a gift.

Give £19.72 per year

Give £19.72 per quarter

Give £19.72 per month

The 1972 Club Member

The 1972 Club Partner

The 1972 Club Patron

Fill out the enclosed donation form and return it to Collingwood in the freepost envelope. Alternatively, you can make a gift online at Thank you for your continued support of Collingwood students.

Support the Undergraduate Research Internship Programme

With your help, we want to support up to 30 students on our unique Undergraduate Research Internship Programme in the summer of 2018.

A GIFT OF £1972 will fund one 8-week research internship. To match this generosity, Collingwood College will provide free accommodation throughout the internship period. To support UGRI over a number of years and establish a set of named Undergraduate Research Internships or internships linked to a specific department, please contact Emma Brownlow, Vice Principal at or on 0191 334 5024.


Collingwood College South Road Durham DH1 3LT Collingwood College Collingwood College 0191 334 5000 South Road South Road Durham Durham Professor Joe Elliott Principal: DH1 DH1 3LT 3LT Email: 0191 0191 334 334 5000 5000 Vice Principal: Emma Brownlow Principal: Professor Principal: Professor Joe Joe Elliott Elliott Email: Email: Email: Assistant Principal: Grant Slater Assistant Principal: Assistant Principal: Grant Grant Slater Slater Email: Email: Email: Alumni and Development Officer: Jessica Hughes Alumni and and Development Development Officer: Officer: Jessica Hughes Email: Email: Email:334 0191 5172 0191 0191 334 334 5172 5172 CollingwoodCollegeDU Collingwood College College Alumni Alumni Collingwood @Cwood_alumni

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Wood Words Magazine 17-18  
Wood Words Magazine 17-18  

The magazine for alumni and friends of Collingwood College