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News for Durham University Staff & Students

Nov | Dec 2018


Avalanche making a deadly snowstorm


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Welcome to a new issue of Dialogue magazine. As always, there is lots going on, around the University – a lot to report and to be proud of. I am delighted that Durham has achieved its best ever result in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2018 – with 16 subjects in the World Top 100, nine of which were in the World Top 50. In the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject we were placed 30th for Arts and Humanities. A huge thank you to everyone for making these achievements possible.

Our academics continue to produce world-leading research. Professor Steve Lindsay’s (Biosciences) discovery that dogs could be trained to detect malaria attracted worldwide media coverage; Professor Simon Hackett (Sociology) gave expert evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse; Professor Jo Setchell’s (Anthropology) study found that Chimpanzees’ sense of smell is more sophisticated than we thought, showing that they use their noses to smell danger; and, on page 7, you can read an interview with Professor Jim McElwaine (Earth Sciences) about a unique experiment using explosives to trigger an avalanche in the Canadian Rockies. We welcomed the Secretary of State for Education to the University to hear about our work to support disadvantaged,


talented young people from the North East go to university. We used the occasion to formally announce our intention to develop the North East’s first Maths School, about which we hope to say more in the New Year. Celebrating Science, our annual familyfriendly science festival returned during the October school half-term holiday, giving more than 5,000 local schoolchildren and their families the chance to encounter some of the outstanding research and knowledge within the University. Finally, congratulations to both Durham Student Theatre, which performed eight productions at the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the summer, and to Student Community Action, which has been awarded £27,600 by Children in Need to fund their ‘Children Achieving through Student Support’ project. Our students, as well as our staff, do extraordinary things. Together, they inspire us all.





Tell your story.

With all best wishes

Professor Stuart Corbridge Vice-Chancellor and Warden

Please continue to send your contributions and feedback to News for Durham University Staff & Students


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Editor Ulrike Klaerig-Jackson Communications Co-ordinator Contributors Brian Elliott and Claire Warren, HR&OD; Yvonne Flynn, Greenspace; Daryl Dowding, Museums and Attractions; Claire Hall, Karen Frost, Emma Shearer, Nicky Sawicki, Mark Tallentire, Eugene Grant and Paul McQuaid, Marketing & Communications; Durham Student Theatre; Student Volunteering and Community Outreach; Laura Bielby, Gemma Messenger and Ashleigh Sharp, Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre; Music Durham; Danielle Westerhof, Library; Jordan Christie, CIS; Thom Brooks, Law School Cover image Credit: Oliwia Suchodolska


Nov | Dec 2018











Durham University and Durham University logo are registered Trade Marks of the University of Durham. Unless otherwise stated, all material in this publication is copyright of the University of Durham. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained here is accurate. Please note that the University’s website is the most up to date source of information and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.




Our favourite posts, tweets and videos over the past two months to show you what has been happening around the University!



Our students from Queen's Campus have now moved to their new homes in Durham City - Accounting and Finance student Seun explains how she found the transition and life so far in Durham. Read Seun's blog here: #DUmakeithappen #DUbeatthedrum

Cycling and swimming will not increase the density of your bones, but Zumba and squash will - Dr Karen Hind from @DUSportExSci explains more in this article on why we all need to be stronger https://

Big congrats to student @Sophie_ains on winning @ PointsofLight award, and getting a letter from Prime Minister @theresa_may! Sophie founded @raiiseuk #lupusawarenessmonth #DUmakeithappen @READEnglish WsNFFnkPPh

Joining Durham University means so much more than working at one of the world’s top universities. It means careerdefining opportunities in our small and beautiful city. Apply now: #DUrecruit #innovation pic.

Government minister @ DamianHinds visits Durham to hear about our initiatives to improve access for underrepresented students and the announcement of plans to develop North East England’s first Maths School for gifted youngsters.




Academic recruitment campaign – ever dreamed of making a difference? As this year’s academic staff recruitment campaign begins, find out more about who we’re looking to recruit:

#DURHAMDAYS A beautiful picture of Durham, taken by our #DurhamDays photo competition winner @kristinekivle https://www.






News for Durham University Staff & Students


‘The classic Ustinov atmosphere, in a brand new location’ It’s one year since Ustinov College relocated to a new home at Sheraton Park, Neville’s Cross. Tom Pitts, the GCR President, spoke to Dialogue about the move. Tell us a bit about Sheraton Park Sheraton Park is brand new – that’s what you notice first. The style that incorporates the old building (Neville House) and the new building (Sheraton House) is really nice. There are 400 people living in the College, from a whole range of nationalities, as we’re a postgraduate College. The classic Ustinov atmosphere has been relocated to a brand new location. How has Ustinov made Sheraton Park its own? When we moved last year there were teething issues to sort out. As the year went on, most College events were at Howlands. There’s now more people using the bar and café area at Sheraton Park and it feels like home. The atmosphere is completely different. Everything’s centred on Sheraton Park and it feels more like a community now.

One year on from the move, how do you reflect upon it? We’re still in the early stages but I’m optimistic. We can’t recreate what we had at Howlands but we can create something new, to benefit all students at Ustinov. You successfully ran for GCR President. Why did you want to be involved in running Ustinov? We’ve moved to a new site and we need to make our mark. The vast majority of our students are only here for a year and we want them to have a fantastic experience. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do. I really enjoyed the first year and I really like the College system. I want other people to have that great experience. What advice do you have for other Colleges relocating, such as Stephenson and John Snow? Everything’s going to be new. Sometimes you have to let go of things that worked really well previously but don’t any more. The new facilities will allow you to do different things. A College move comes quite suddenly but people want to enjoy themselves, so get out and get people engaged and involved.

What’s it like to live and study at Sheraton Park? In a way, very similar to when we were at Howlands. It’s quiet during the day so it’s a good place to get some work done. Then, in the evenings, there are always people around, happy to chat and socialise. Ustinov hasn’t really changed in its defining characteristics – it’s just in a different space. What was your experience of moving to Sheraton Park? I spent a lot of time over the summer moving things, so that felt like hard labour! Now we’re seeing other facilities come online, like sports facilities and music rooms. It’s good to see people making use of them.

Nov | Dec 2018



Durham Book Festival delights literary fans The University opened its doors and welcomed book lovers from across the country as part of Durham Book Festival 2018. The popular annual literary event featured a huge range of inspiring talks, readings and performances from some of the UK’s most talented contemporary writers, artists and thinkers. The University once again sponsored the Festival Laureateship, and hosted numerous talks and exhibitions. Many of its researchers also spoke at the Festival, either about their own work or that of other authors and thinkers. In total, more than 10,000 visitors attended 72 events presented by 84 speakers over the course of the ten day festival. Professor Simon James, from the Department of English Studies, said: “The Festival gets bigger and better every year. It’s especially distinctive for its commissioning of new work, and the diversity of the voices that are heard. “I’m proud that my University puts its staff, venues and collections into the programme.” There were many highlights including Professor James's fascinating discussion with best-selling author Sarah Perry about her new novel, Melmoth; and Channel 4 broadcaster Cathy Newman’s session with Dr Eleanor Spencer-Regan about her book, Bloody Brilliant Women. Other headline guests this year included Sarah Waters, David Olusoga, Sarah Perry, Pat Barker, Alan Johnson, and returning former Festival Laureates Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage.

Inspiring the scientists of tomorrow More than 5,000 local schoolchildren and their families flocked to Palace Green during October half-term to Celebrate Science. Spread across three fun-packed days, the annual Durham University festival offered children the chance to conduct amazing experiments and create their very own inventions. Around 200 University volunteers were on hand to explain everything from fossils to physics. Dr Pete Edwards, Durham University’s Director of Science Outreach, said: “Our staff and students are passionate about science and we’re delighted to be able share to the University’s outstanding research and knowledge with the people of Durham.” The annual event sets out to educate and enthuse young people to learn about science, and judging by the countless curious and happy faces on display, the organisers certainly achieved their goal. As one young visitor said: “It was very, very, very, very good.”


News for Durham University Staff & Students


What kind of challenges did you face? The location, the equipment and the conditions! We were initially going to carry out the experiment at the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, but, despite record levels of snow and avalanches in the European Alps, there wasn’t enough snow in Norway. After waiting all winter an alternative location with the right conditions - a former ski resort in Calgary, Canada – was found in early March. The production team was keen for the experiment to be as scientific as possible, but also wanted a strong visual element. They came up with the idea of using a car to show the impact of an avalanche. This involved purchasing a small car and stripping it out so it was light enough to be transported by a helicopter and dropped into the path of the avalanche. Our radar system required two days of on-site testing but we weren’t allowed on the mountain until conditions were stable, which meant there wasn’t time to set this up. Luckily, we had been loaned a very expensive thermal camera, and also used infrasound arrays. Both technologies were originally developed for detecting nuclear explosions. The camera captured, with the best resolution ever, the temperature of snow in an avalanche. Why is this important?

Avalanche – making a deadly snowstorm In March 2018, Professor Jim McElwaine from Earth Sciences led an international team of scientists in a unique experiment for BBC2’s Horizon programme. Jim and the team were filmed as they used explosives to trigger an avalanche in a remote part of the Canadian Rockies. Their aim was to see into the middle of the avalanche in order to explain how it works. We caught up with Jim to find out more.

The properties of snow are very dependent on temperature – when it’s warmer it’s great for making snowmen but if it’s really cold you can’t make a snowball because it won’t stick together. Snow near the ground, that is deep in the snowpack, is warm and sticky and snow further down the mountain is also usually warmer and sticky. Once an avalanche gets going, if it picks up this warmer snow it will flow in a very different way than if it is purely cold snow -- imagine toothpaste instead of dry sand. The thermal camera captured the avalanche flow and you can see how it erodes down to deep layers of warmer snow. This is new data that has never been obtained before and we will use this information to make new models that are actually predictive. Existing models rely on historical records – where an avalanche has happened in the past – and this kind of data isn’t always available. So for places like Pakistan and India that have major avalanches but not a lot of data, this new model will be really useful.

How did you get involved and what was your role? The production company approached me directly as I am the only avalanche researcher in the UK! I advised on what would be interesting to measure on an avalanche, as well as identifying the equipment that would be required. I managed the experiment when we were on location and analysed the data once the experiment was complete.

Nov | Dec 2018



Meet the interns The Marketing Team is excited to be working with six student interns this academic year. The interns will be sourcing content for our student blog site and student-run Instagram account @thedurhamstudent. Working four hours a week they will be our eyes and ears in the student community, sharing interesting stories and images. After a competitive recruitment process, which took place before the end of the last academic year, we are proud to introduce...

Alexander Hewitt

Emily Smith

Soumya Singh

I’m Alex, a third year English student at Grey College, originally from Bedfordshire. So far at Durham I’ve been involved with writing for Palatinate and The Bubble as well as volunteering with Student Community Action and helping to promote their fantastic projects. I’m also a keen runner and you’ll find me tackling Durham’s hills.

Hi, I’m Emily, as befits a third-year English student. I am Collingwood College’s student Librarian. You’ll usually find me, for either work or play, buried in archives researching the obscure, the niche, and the forgotten…and sometimes wrangling dragons.

Married to Computer Science; in a relationship with languages and badminton. Soon starting as a Software Engineer in London and currently teaching the world new languages as a Duolingo course creator. Connect with me on

Seun Onalaja

Lydia Edwards

Hi I’m Seun! I’m a second year Accounting & Finance student at Stephenson. I’m also an international student from Nigeria so I will be working on giving you an insight into life as an international student! When not in lectures or studying, you can find me helping out with SCA, playing college sport, or mostly working on my photography for my Instagram & website!

Hi, I’m Lydia Edwards, a postgraduate student in Management. I’m currently the President of Durham University Consulting Society and was previously the non-sabbatical JCR President of Trevelyan College. In my spare time, I play netball and rugby, whilst also having a keen interest in international development and current affairs.

Astrud Turner Hi, I’m Astrud - a third year Hild Bede Law student. I love spending my time volunteering, doing theatre (I don’t act - I’m a technical director) and travelling! The majority of my student loan is spent in cafes and on stationery, which is 100% money well spent. You can find me on Instagram astrudturner


News for Durham University Staff & Students


The University used the occasion of Mr Hinds’ visit to formally announce our intention to develop the North East’s first Maths School – providing specialist teaching that enables mathematically-gifted youngsters to excel. Establishing a Maths School will contribute to our outreach programme. Maths Schools usually undertake significant community work, including ‘masterclasses’ and one-to-one tuition for post-16 pupils. Trained postgraduate tutors and undergraduate mentors will work closely with pupils, who will be taught in small groups – only 60 each year – from a special University-designed curriculum, delivered by school teachers. There are only two other Maths Schools in the country – in London and Exeter – both of which were opened in 2014, but, currently, no such institution exists in the North East, yet.

Education Secretary heralds University’s outreach work At the start of the new term, the Secretary of State for Education, Rt. Hon Damian Hinds MP, visited to hear about our ‘widening participation’ activities – aimed at supporting disadvantaged, talented, local young people go to university and flourish. During his visit, the Education Secretary heard details of initiatives – such as our campusbased summer schools, our partnerships with local schools and academies, and our use of contextual offers – designed to attract students from under-represented backgrounds. Mr Hinds met with members of our Learning & Engagement Team, which is in charge of delivering our 4Schools educational programme and which uses the University’s collections as teaching resources. The Team has worked with 97 per cent of schools in County Durham – helping to promote access to the University for pupils across the region and to raise aspirations for children from a variety of backgrounds.

Nov | Dec 2018

No such institution exists in the North East, yet.

While the project is still in early stages of development, the intention is for the Durham Maths School to focus teaching on mathematics and further mathematics, and related subjects, and to have an extensive catchment area spanning three counties: Durham, Northumbria, and Cumbria. The broad catchment area proposed will provide opportunities for pupils who do not already have access to this level of education.

The Team has worked with 97 per cent of schools in County Durham – helping to promote access to the University for pupils across the region and to raise aspirations for children from a variety of backgrounds.

The Education Secretary is shown the remains of one of the Scottish Soldiers



Fantastic summer for Durham Student Theatre Durham Student Theatre (DST) enjoyed a fantastic summer, with eight productions at the internationally-recognised and incredibly popular Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2018. The Durham Revue - Zeitgeist KEITH - Kevin Fourth Wall - Zen Wrong Tree - Inferno Northern Lights - A Series of Unaccompanied Events Durham University Light Opera Group - Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens Lion Theatre Company - Marsistan Durham University with Collingwood Woodplayers - Crave Three theatre productions went on national tour and one group even travelled to the United States. Durham Opera Ensemble took their production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘HMS Pinafore’ to London. Lion Theatre Company and Fourth Wall toured around the south of England with ‘Boys’, a contemporary piece about young adults in the real world. Twelfth Night Castle Theatre Company’s annual summer Shakespeare on tour featured a fantastic UK production of ‘Twelfth Night’, and a visit to the US to continue its tradition of outdoor Shakespeare. Over the past few years, DST's productions and companies have increasingly gained recognition on national and international levels. After repeated successes at the National Student Drama Festival, and a continued presence at both the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the InterUniversity Drama Festival, Durham students continually showcase high levels of theatrical skill and talent.


Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens

Upcoming shows: Durham Student Theatre has an exciting programme of comedy, drama and musicals this term, in venues around the city of Durham.

EVERY BRILLIANT THING DATES: Thursday 6 December - Saturday 8 December, 7.30pm VENUE: Cafedral COMPANY: Hild Bede Theatre A play about celebrating all that life has to offer and the lengths we go to for those we love. Based on true and imagined stories, it is both hilarious and heart-wrenching. A New York Critics’ pick, this one-person show is filled to the brim with joy and life-affirming positivity.

I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE DATES: Thursday 6 December - Saturday 8 December VENUE: Ushaw College COMPANY: Tone Deaf Theatre Company A musical comedy showcasing the hilarious, emotional and relatable aspects of modern day relationships, exposing everything you have ever secretly thought about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, spouses and in-laws, but were afraid to admit. These are just a few of the student theatre productions taking place this term, and with over 100 productions performed annually, there is always theatre to enjoy. For more information, visit our website:

News for Durham University Staff & Students



NEPACS Award for Innovation

Student Community Action (SCA) Awarded £27,600 SCA has been awarded £27,600 by Children in Need to fund their Children Achieving through Student Support (CATSS) project over the next three years. CATSS organises day and residential trips for disadvantaged primary and secondaryaged children from County Durham. As well as providing lasting memories, these trips build children’s social skills and confidence through new activities; improve

Nov | Dec 2018

mental and physical health, wellbeing and resilience; and also promote positive behaviour through interaction with strong role models. The project is run by student volunteers who volunteered 4,111 hours of their time last year. This included taking the children to the beach for the first time, team games, banner making, wheelchair basketball, archery and an exotic animal experience.

Lynn Preston, Adult Outreach Manager for Team Durham Community Outreach, attended the NEPACS Awards afternoon at Lumley Castle on Monday, 24 September - on behalf of the ‘Running to Recovery’ project, which received an award for innovation. The project, which is run in conjunction with Durham Constabulary and Durham Probation Services, is an eight week progressive running programme for members of the local community who are on probation or who are in recovery for substance misuse.

Dog Show 16 December 2018 SCA’s annual Charity Dog Show is on the horizon again. It will be held on Sunday, 16 December at Maiden Castle Sports Centre. The aim is to raise funds for Stray Aid, a local rescue centre for dogs. From bake sales to face painting, this event will have something for everyone. The show is a lovely event for students and the local community alike. If you would like volunteer at this event, please email Don’t worry if you can’t be there for the whole time; just tell us when you would be available.



The new social space, inside the Jevons Building

New-look Jevons Building re-opens for Hatfield Students

A £5 million project to renovate the Jevons Building for our students in Hatfield College finished this summer. These fantastic refurbished facilities then re-opened for Hatfield residents to enjoy. The 12-month project resulted in 60 refurbished student rooms (58 of which are now ensuite) and a remodelled multi-purpose social space – including workspaces, a café, and a bar – accessible to wheelchair users.

One of the 58 refurbished ensuite student rooms, Hatfield

The Jevons building’s façade – specifically the arrow-slitlike windows – has been carefully preserved to maintain Hatfield College’s rich history, dating back to 1846. Some £30,000 of the £5 million spent on the project was kindly donated by the University’s Hatfield alumni, and we are extremely grateful for their generosity. The Jevons Building, Hatfield College


News for Durham University Staff & Students


Waste (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) Awareness Week During the University’s Waste Awareness Week at the end of October, all members of the University community were encouraged to reduce the volume of waste and to ensure everyone follows the correct recycling procedures. Biffa, the University’s waste contractor, came to talk about waste reduction and recycling and ran a ‘raffle style’ competition for staff and students. The aim was to place stickers on all recyclable items to be in with a chance of winning a prize. Members from Durham County Council’s Waste Team also ran several roadshows during the week. ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ also took place to encourage students to only take food they really needed at college and home. Colleges monitored their food waste and the college showing the biggest reduction per head won the John Turner Trophy. The full details are available at

Green Move Out Scheme The Green Move Out scheme enables departing students to donate unwanted items to local charities. The scheme is a partnership project involving the University, Durham County Council, Durham Constabulary and the County Durham Furniture Help Scheme (CDFHS). This year CDFHS once again hosted a second-hand goods sale for students, which raised £2,250. Other charities also benefited from the scheme including Durham Palestine Educational Trust, East Durham Trust and A Way Out – a charity that aims to prevent the exploitation of women and young people. Since its launch in 2005, students have donated more than 126 tonnes of re-usable items and raised over £14,000 for local charities. Furthermore in 2017, 2,650 Green Move Out bags were collected from students residing in colleges alone.

Old Mattresses helping to make nature! Did you know that over 77 per cent of all mattresses replaced in 2017 were recycled? Old recyclable mattresses are removed by Bishops Beds and 100 per cent of the mattress is recycled with no components going to landfill. When mattresses are collected from colleges they are stripped manually of the cover and all the fillings are then separated and compacted into bales. The bales get sent to various industries to be recycled into products like underlay, fuel filter, garden grow matts etc. The springs, if in good condition, get heat treated and get reused in domestic budget mattresses. Bishops Beds, as part of their Corporate Responsibility, is committed to achieve a sustainable chain involving all parties, thus showing commitment to integrate sustainable development within its sourcing operations.

Christmas E-Card Did you know that over 2,700 e-cards were sent from the Greenspace website during December 2017? Sending a Christmas e-card saves both the production and travel associated with sending paper cards. Why not send an e-card this Christmas? Take a look at

Nov | Dec 2018

Students are also recognised for their commitment and contribution to the scheme through awards available to the colleges. The University and its partners are passionate about this project and the benefits it brings. We are constantly looking to improve the Green Move Out scheme and engage more students each time. If you would like to learn more about the scheme and see the full results please visit

Cyclists – Be Seen, Be Safe! With a little preparation, cycling in the winter can be as enjoyable as in the summer. However, winter often means you may be cycling to and from the University in the dark. It is therefore important that you are seen by others, especially motorists. Remember, lights are required by law when cycling at night. Lights not only help you see in the dark but they also help you to be seen. Make sure your pedals have reflectors, and keep them clean. When you are pedalling their movement can be highly visible to motorists. Also consider wearing bright or reflective clothing at night and in bad weather, and ride in a position where you can see and be seen. Further details can be found on the Greenspace Cycling website

Every small step leads to big change 13


Meet the Faculty Placement Officers

L to R, Gemma Messenger, Laura Bielby and Ashleigh Sharp

Three new Faculty Placement Officers have recently joined the University's Careers and Enterprise Centre. Their role involves working with a wide range of work placement providers to develop opportunities for our students. They are responsible for all aspects of placement support and provision within their faculties with a focus on year-long placements both within the UK and internationally. Dialogue asked them about their objectives, challenges and ambitions for their roles.


News for Durham University Staff & Students

FACULTY Gemma Messenger Faculty of Arts and Humanities I want to make it easy for students to access and complete placements as part of their degree, and to help make Durham University students the most employable students out there in the very busy and full graduate market. Companies across the UK are reshaping the way they recruit talent and last year, 59 per cent of graduate hires for the top undergraduate employers comprised of previous placement students and interns. Placement opportunities not only look great on a CV but also offer the student the opportunity to test-drive their future career, earn money, explore a new city or country and increase their academic prospects The role so far has been fascinating and I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about how the University operates and where my role fits into the wider organisation and strategy. I am new to Durham and to Higher Education, so it has been a very steep learning curve but I have to say I haven’t hit any major obstacles so far and everyone has been extremely supportive. My ambition is to create some amazing placement experiences exclusively for our students. Being originally from the North East, and very passionate about the area, I would also love to establish some fantastic local opportunities to help showcase what a great region this is and hopefully encourage more students to consider staying here upon completing their degree. Tell us a bit about yourself… I was born in Newcastle but grew up in the North West and I returned to the region to study. I have a BSc Honours degree in Domesticated Animal Science from Newcastle University and what I don’t know about cows, pigs and sheep is not worth knowing! I now live in rural Durham with my husband, two boys and a German wirehaired ‘Pointer’. Prior to this role I was Senior Programme Director for a large international, not-forprofit leadership development organisation. I was responsible for designing and delivering experiential programmes that brought leaders together to tackle complex social problems, to understand collaborative working and to develop their ability to ‘Lead beyond Authority’.

Nov/Dec 2018

Laura Bielby

Ashleigh Sharp

Faculty of Social Sciences

Faculty of Sciences

My main objective is to encourage as many undergraduate students as possible to undertake a placement year. Due to a range of factors, we are seeing a reduction in the number of graduate roles being created by employers. Many businesses are choosing to only recruit directly from early identification hires (internships and placement years) or expect a large proportion of hires to come through this avenue.

My main objective is to increase the number of placement opportunities for our students, and within this contribute to their skills development and employability. This matters because the graduate labour market is becoming more and more competitive every year. I am lucky to not have faced any challenges. Staff and students alike have been very receptive and I look forward to working through any challenges as they arise in future.

I’m lucky to say that at the moment there haven’t been too many challenges. The three Faculty Placement Officer posts are new to the University (as am I), and everyone we have met so far has been incredibly helpful and encouraging. My ambition is to support students who are interested in sectors which have less established placement years, such as the third sector, culture, arts and heritage. We are committed to creating opportunities in the local area so students can understand what Durham and the wider region has to offer. Tell us a bit about yourself… I have recently relocated from Leeds to Durham and now enjoy exploring the sights and sounds of County Durham on a weekend. I am a Durham alumna and studied Anthropology and Sociology so it is lovely being back in the Faculty I studied in, revisiting all of those hidden parts of the campus which I had forgotten about.

We are committed to creating opportunities in the local area.

We already do great things within the Science Faculty and I would love to create placement opportunities within organisations specifically for our talented students. I would like to expand upon the number of local and international placement opportunities so that we are offering a vast range of roles for our students. Tell us a bit about yourself… I have just moved into my first house and recently welcomed my first niece into the world, so I feel very lucky at the moment. I am consumed by interior décor and baby clothes and would not have it any other way.

We already do great things within the Science Faculty and I would love to create placement opportunities within organisations specifically for our talented students.



Colleges get a summer makeover

A busy summer of work on the University’s Colleges estate helped ensure a smooth move-in for students as the new academic year got under way. Colleagues from the Estates and Buildings Operations Team used the opportunity of students being away from Durham over the summer months to deliver repairs and refurbishment work on the Colleges estate totalling around £5 million. The highest value project was at the College of St Hild and St Bede, where student accommodation at the Christopher and Thorp buildings was substantially refurbished. This included new electrics, doors, carpets and lights, as well as improvements to bathrooms and fire detection systems. To help ensure any teething problems were addressed, contractors stayed on site as students returned, so they could respond quickly to any issues. There was also an extensive programme of work at St Aidan’s, where much of the roof was renewed, with new insulation. Across at Trevelyan, the distinctive roof of the atrium was remodelled to allow extra light into what is a popular student meeting point.


Improving energy efficiency was the priority at Van Mildert, where new insulation was installed in the roof and new windows were installed overlooking the lake. Finally, timber windows at St Mary’s were renewed, allowing the College to retain its traditional appearance while also ensuring the wood lasts as long as possible. This year was the third of the programme to try to address as many minor issues around the Colleges estate over the summer break, to minimise disruption. The initiative has worked well, with over half of problems reported over the past year being addressed during the summer. This summer, over 5,000 faults across the Colleges estate were fixed, all in good time for the students to move in. The hard work has been much appreciated by the Colleges, and is a key part of developing our estate and delivering the world-class Durham student experience.

News for Durham University Staff & Students


New book reveals more about former University Chancellor Politician and diplomat Malcolm MacDonald’s career took him around the world from the 1920s to the 1970s. MacDonald was a passionate collector, interested in everything from European furniture and Canadian paintings to Asian antiquities. Collecting was not just MacDonald’s private hobby but often played a role in his sometimes unconventional diplomacy. His Chinese ceramics are one of the most important collections now housed at the Oriental Museum. Through his links to the Museum, MacDonald fell in love with Durham, serving as University Chancellor from 1971 to 1980 and leaving his extensive archive to Palace Green Library. In December, Pleasures and Pains of Collecting, MacDonald’s story of his passion for collecting will be published for the first time with the support of the Friends of the Oriental Museum. This story of antique dealers, indigenous craftsmen, royalty, statesmen, diplomats and head-hunters will be on sale at the Oriental Museum from 7 December.

Tunstall Gallery refurbishment The Tunstall Gallery, one of Durham Castle’s most significant historic spaces, has reopened following extensive refurbishments. New showcases and conservation measures have been funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport/Wolfson Museums & Galleries Improvement Fund. This work has enabled the display of a wider range of objects relating to the history of the Castle and University. Museum curator, Gemma Lewis, said: “The Tunstall Gallery has, for nearly 500 years, been a main area of focus for people who visit Durham Castle. With the funding and the redisplay, we have been able to highlight some of the hidden stories and bring them to life, showcasing everything from an 18th century drum which belonged to one of the Prince Bishops, through to photographs from the 1940s. We hope that both visitors and resident students enjoy the result.” Campus card holders can visit the Tunstall Gallery for free as part of Durham Castle guided tours.

Nov | Dec 2018



The 2018/19 academic year is set to be an exciting one for music. With more than 20 societies, the popularity of Music Durham has reached and all-time high - thanks in part to the addition of new groups such as ‘Foot Notes a cappella’ and the ‘Chamber Music Society’. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in music. For more information, and to see the full concert programme, please visit STAFF CHOIR Run by students, for university staff, the staff choir is back. Founded last Easter Term, this relaxed and informal group sings in a variety of styles and is open to anyone. Singing in a group is known to boost mental health and personal well-being, so if you love to sing, or want to try out a new hobby, email music.coordinator@ for more information.

BAND CHRISTMAS Durham University Brass Band and Durham University Concert Band are once again set to join forces for their Christmas concert. In the beautiful Durham Town Hall, both bands will perform a range of tunes from their own repertoire, as well as joint items, including some famous Christmas tunes. Complete with refreshments, this is an evening not to be missed. WHEN: Wednesday, 12 December, 7.30pm WHERE: Durham Town Hall Tickets are available for purchase from the Music Durham website.

COLLABORATIVE CHRISTMAS CONCERT LUNCHTIME CONCERT SERIES Music Durham lunchtime concerts showcase the talent of individual students and groups in an informal setting, and make for a perfect mid-week musical break. This term’s programme features solos from freshers and finalists as well as vocal and instrumental performances from a range of ensembles.

Join DUOS, Chamber Choir and Northern Lights for their Christmas concert at Elvet Methodist Church. The concert includes Arnold and Ralph Vaughan Williams and lots of traditional carols and festive favourites. Featuring many of the University’s most talented musicians, this concert promises to be perfect for getting into the Christmas spirit. WHEN: Monday, 10 December, 7.30pm

WHEN: every Wednesday, 1.15pm

WHERE: Elvet Methodist Church

WHERE: Music Department Concert Room

Tickets are available for purchase from the Music Durham website.

These concerts are free, no ticket required.


News for Durham University Staff & Students


A UNIVERSITY ROOTED IN OUR LOCAL COMMUNITIES – COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ROUND UP As a University, we do lots of great work to support our local communities. You can keep up to date with all the latest community news at, where you can also sign up to receive our monthly Community Newsletter. Here are a couple of stories from recent weeks.

Charities share nearly £30,000 raised through the University’s Community Fund Thirteen charities have received a total of nearly £30,000 through a supported giving initiative. The money represents the first payouts from the Durham University Community Fund, which was launched in October 2017, supported by County Durham Community Foundation, to provide grants to charities and non-profit organisations that staff and students already support through volunteering. The good causes to benefit were chosen by a vote of participating University staff. Each received £2,171.60, an equal share of the £28,230.84 total raised, and were invited to a celebration event hosted by the University at Durham Castle.

Boxing clever – how the University is helping adults in recovery The Active Steps to Recovery initiative involves adults who are recovering from addiction, have served a prison sentence, have been homeless or who have experienced mental health issues, being supported in their recovery through organised physical exercise, including boxing. The programme is part of Team Durham Community’s Adult Outreach programme and is supported by Durham Constabulary and Changing Lives, a charity which provides specialist support for vulnerable people and their families.

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It is expected that the implementation across all PS departments will be completed by December 2019.

Job Families

The Organisational Development Team is also working on a development framework for PS staff which underpins the Job Families framework and the Realising Your Potential Approach in order that additional resources and opportunities can be launched from January. The Job Families framework is available at along with guidance and FAQs.

Following successful pilots earlier this year, we are pleased to announce that UEC has approved the Job Families framework implementation for Professional Services (PS) staff. The benefits of introducing a Job Families framework include: • Provision of transparent and logical career paths allowing staff to clearly see what is expected at each level. • Improved ability to identify skills gaps and plan training and development requirements. • Standardisation of job templates and titles. UEC also agreed to endorse the recommendation of 21 hours (pro rata) per year of professional development time for PS staff. Examples of what this time could be used for include attending training courses and workshops, both in-house and externally, accessing literature or our online resources for professional development, learning from colleagues or professional bodies, and via our mentoring and coaching schemes. Heads of Professional Services have nominated Job Families Leads and identified a preferred timescale for the implementation in their departments. The nominated leads are currently undergoing training. Their role will be to support staff and departments through the implementation of the framework.


Introducing new online resources for professional development HR Organisation Development has partnered with Bookboon, the world’s largest publisher of business and soft skills eBooks for professionals, to bring you an e-library with over 700 free eBooks. Here you can download short and precise eBooks on various soft skills topics. Learn how to present correctly and convincingly, master the art of negotiation or simply improve your time management and communication skills. You can download eBooks directly as PDF. You can find it on the Organisation Development webpages at Don’t forget to bookmark it for easy access.

News for Durham University Staff & Students


Fig. 1: The imposing structure of Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland. The library was originally on the second floor of the Keep. Photo credit: Michael Hanselmann under a CC BY-SA 3.0 licence via Wikimedia Commons.

Explore the Bamburgh Library Over the past year, significant work has been undertaken to make part of the Bamburgh Library more accessible via the University’s online library catalogue. Dialogue uncovers this fascinating collection. The University’s Palace Green Library contains over 70,000 books printed before 1850, over 100 medieval manuscripts, 3,400 metres of archives and artefacts, 30,000 maps and prints and 100,000 photographs. One of its treasures is the Bamburgh Library, which contains about 8,500 titles dating from the late 15th to the 19th Century. This makes it the third largest collection cared for at Palace Green Library. It is still owned by the Lord Crewe’s Charity, which was established under the terms of the will of Nathaniel Lord Crewe, a Bishop of Durham in the 17th and 18th Centuries, to distribute the income from his estates in North East England for the benefit of clergy in the Diocese of Durham. Brought together by several generations of the Sharp family (one of whom was the anti-slavery campaigner Granville Sharp), the Bamburgh Library has its origins in the mid-17th Century when John Sharp (16451714), a future Archbishop of York and adviser to Queen Anne, was a student at Cambridge. We know that he acquired books and pamphlets on the main religious and political debates of the time, but also that he was interested in pastoral care, ancient British history, numismatics, gardening and science (fig. 3). Among the volumes we suspect belonged to Archbishop Sharp are a number of early printed

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Fig. 2: Entrance to the Bamburgh Library in the Exchequer Building on Palace Green, which is currently closed for conservation work. We hope it will reopen in the course of 2019.

books, which had started to receive the interest of gentleman-scholars. For example, there is a copy of William Caxton’s English-French dictionary, printed in Westminster in 1480, which contains useful translations and snippets of dialogue to help the English traveller abroad. It also gives a fascinating insight into late medieval customs and social interactions. Archbishop Sharp’s sons and grandsons continued to add to the collection, giving a unique insight into the interests of an 18th Century family of Anglican clergymen. As part of his extensive philanthropic works, Dr John Sharp (1723-1792), Archdeacon of Northumberland and a trustee of the charity, instructed his fellow trustees to make the family library available to the public after his death. Although no longer housed in Bamburgh Castle, having been deposited at Palace Green Library in 1958, the Bamburgh Library remains a powerful monument to the Sharp family, their political and religious life, and their philanthropic works.

For more information, visit: information/bamburgh/

Fig. 3: John Wilkins, An essay towards a real character, and a philosophical language (1668). Wilkins attempted to create a universal language, based on epistemology and pictorial semiotics, influenced by Chinese pictograms. Reproduced with permission from the Lord Crewe’s Charity.



Did you know there are over 40,000 devices registered on DU Student, the University's Wi-Fi network for students? Looking after such a well-used and crucial service is a big task for CIS and the start of a new academic year sees the team supporting new and returning students o connect their devices and get their IT up and running. We know that one of the first things students want to do when they arrive at University is get connected to Wi-Fi, so we work closely with Colleges to help everyone get online as quickly as possible. This year we provided Colleges with clear and concise information for students in the form of our ‘Eat, Sleep, Wi-Fi’ campaign, as well as training over 150 freshers’ reps to help with basic troubleshooting during Induction week. We also trained six undergraduate students to work alongside CIS staff at Get Online surgeries at the Bill Bryson Library, assisting those who needed more technical help.

39% of devices connected to DU Student are iPhones 65% of devices connected to DU Student are Apple devices For the first time in two years there are more Windows laptops than MacBooks connected to DU Student


Once connected, everyone should make sure they are always using the correct network. This protects the Wi-Fi service for all users and ensures best performance at all times. Which network should I use? Students

DU Student


DU Wireless

Visiting from a different university?


All other guests and visitors


Students can also help to keep the Wi-Fi signal strong by disabling the wireless function on their wireless printers and connecting their device using a USB cable instead. This is because wireless printers can’t connect to DU Student as they aren’t capable of going through the online registration process. Some printers transmit their own network. However the signal from the printer will affect the performance of DU Student. That's why students should connect to their printer using a USB cable instead of wireless, to help keep the signal strong for everyone.

Good Wi-Fi is a basic expectation so if you have any problems with your Wi-Fi signal, report it to CIS at

News for Durham University Staff & Students


NAME: Thom Brooks JOB TITLE: Dean of Durham Law School

What’s your favourite place in the world? I have many, but the Houses of Parliament and the Inn of Court Inner Temple are very special to me – also Fenway Park in Boston. What was the first record you bought? Kiss, Animalize. I’m still a big fan. What achievement are you most proud of?

What are you reading at the moment? A soon-to-be published book manuscript by the brilliant Lord Bhikhu Parekh. In my view he is the greatest political theorist alive in Britain, and he is a huge influence on me. It’s a terrific new work on ethnocentrism, multiculturalism and political theory. We’re lucky to have such talent in the House of Lords. What would you like you epitaph to be? “Philosophy never sleeps.” Effort is underappreciated. Good ideas by themselves are rarely sufficient. Which historical figure would you most like to be? I’m happy enough with who I am, but I would have enjoyed meeting Socrates to see how well Plato portrayed him, or have a chat with Hegel along the Philosophers’ Walk in Heidelberg.

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I am very fortunate to have launched a new journal, finished my PhD, written my first book, become Dean, join the Inner Temple as an Academic Bencher and have the opportunity to advise the Labour Party – these were each hugely important steps in my professional development. However I am especially proud to work with so many inspiring colleagues.

What luxury item would you take to a desert island? My Ibanez electric guitar (even if there was no electricity). Otherwise, I’d settle for Plato’s Complete Works.

What did you want to be when you were a child? Either the lead guitarist in a band like Kiss or a professional baseball player. I never planned on a career in academia, advising politicians or living in the UK. What’s your favourite film? Back to School starring Rodney Dangerfield. I laugh every time I watch it. Corny, but clever. What’s the worst job you’ve ever done? The most difficult job was my summer job for four years: delivering refrigerators and other appliances. It was exhausting. Tell me a secret: My first degree was in Music and Political Science – not a combination you find too often.

What’s your greatest vice? I absolutely love heavy metal music. 23

what’s on at the University







‘CATCH YOUR BREATH’ EXHIBITION VENUE: Palace Green library DATES: 24 November – 17 March 2019 TIME: 10am – 5pm Catch Your Breath is a new temporary exhibition exploring the Life of Breath research project, jointly led by Durham University and the University of Bristol. It brings together medical history, philosophy, art, literature and music, combining new artist commissions with objects from the University collections and beyond.

Music Durham and Durham Student Theatre have a packed programme of concerts and performances throughout December, taking place at venues across the city to celebrate the festive season. Visit for details and bookings


MUSIC DURHAM LUNCHTIME CONCERTS VENUE: Music Concert Room, Palace Green DATES: Wednesday 28 November and every subsequent Wednesday during term time TIME: 1.15pm Come along and enjoy a musical treat from some of Durham’s finest student singers and musicians at these free lunchtime concerts.

DURHAM CITY’S TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL 2018 VENUE: Durham City DATES: Friday 30 November, Saturday 1 December and Sunday 2 December TIME: 10am – 5pm Durham’s award-winning Traditional Christmas Festival returns for three days, with a wide range of festive entertainment for all the family in and around the World Heritage Site of the Cathedral and the Castle and throughout the City Centre.

DATES: 1 December - 21 December 2018 and 2 January – 31 January 2019 The Botanic Garden is beautiful at any time of year, so why not get wrapped up and pick up a spotter sheet from the Visitor Centre to see what you can discover in the garden?

DEMENTIA FRIENDLY TOUCH TOURS –THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME VENUE: Oriental Museum DATES: Saturday 8 December TIME: 1pm – 3pm A special sensory touch tour event for visitors with dementia and their caregivers.

january DULOG PRESENT ‘SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN’ VENUE: Gala Durham DATES: 14 January – 20 January 2019 TIME: 7pm (plus 2.30pm matinees on Wednesday and Saturday) DULOG return to the Gala with a performance adapted from the beloved film hailed the “Greatest Movie Musical of All Time”. Singin’ in the Rain has everything you could want from a musical: singing, dancing, romance, comedy, and onstage rain!

For more information on University events go to

Dialogue 60  
Dialogue 60