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June 2023


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Team Durham’s journey to University Challenge finals

We are absolutely thrilled to report that Team Durham has triumphed in the series finals of University Challenge. Competing against the University of Bristol, Harry Scully, Bea Bennett, Alex Radcliffe, Chloe and Tom Haines-Matos excelled to win the title, Durham’s first win since 2000.

This latest series of University Challenge marks an end to iconic host Jeremy Paxman’s tenure, with successor Amol Rajan set to take over from Autumn 2023. It also represented the first final since the 2006-07 series that did not feature any Oxbridge teams.

Please join us in wishing huge congratulations to Harry, Bea, Alex, Chloe and Tom on their stellar performances throughout.

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Vice-Chancellor’s receptions in the USA

At the end of April, Vice-Chancellor Karen O’Brien, Professor Gordon Love (Professor of Physics & Computer Science) and Development & Alumni Relations Office staff travelled to the USA to host evening receptions in San Francisco, Seattle and New York. 

Professor O’Brien greeted alumni communities and introduced new Director of Development & Alumni Engagement Glen Whitehead. She also shared aspirations for Durham’s current and future plans, while Professor Love spoke of the latest developments in the Department of Computer Science.

Pictured (left to right): Professor Gordon Love, Louise Strong (Campaign Events Manager), Grace Norman (Senior Development Manager), Vice-Chancellor Professor Karen O’Brien, and Glen Whitehead (Director of Development & Alumni Engagement).

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Sir Harry Evans Global Summit

In May, internationally acclaimed journalists, publishers and political commentators gathered in London for the inaugural Sir Harry Evans Global Summit in Investigative Journalism.

This event was established from the Sir Harry Evans Memorial Fund, a landmark partnership between Sir Harry’s widow Tina Brown CBE and her family, Reuters, and Durham University. The extraordinary day was hosted by Tina Brown, Durham’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Karen O’Brien and Reuters editor-in-chief Alessandra Galloni (pictured, left to right).

Sir Harry was a University College alumni, studying Economics, graduating in 1952.

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Scientists unearth forgotten children of the past

Research led by Durham’s Professor Rebecca Gowland has unearthed a harrowing story of forgotten children of the past, providing the first direct evidence of the lives of early nineteenth century ‘pauper apprentices’. 

The collaboration between Durham, the University of York and volunteer researchers at Washburn Heritage centre near Harrogate examined human remains from a rural churchyard cemetery in Fewston, North Yorkshire.

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Encouraging swifts to nest in Durham Cathedral

Leading scientists from the Department of Biosciences and Mathematical Sciences are encouraging breeding swifts to nest by setting up high-powered speakers in Durham Cathedral’s iconic Belfry Tower. 

This pioneering project was designed and funded by Edward Twiddy, one of our Professors in Practice and a founder of Atom Bank, with whom Durham shares a strategic partnership. 

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Durham calling

From Saturday 10 June – Sunday 2 July, our team of student callers are reaching out again and they want to hear from you! The team is made up of students like Zsófi (pictured), a first-year Law student with a keen interest in international and constitutional law.

Zsófi is looking forward to speaking to members of our alumni community, as well as raising vital funds to support Durham students.

To find out more about the appeal and meet more team members, please use the button below.

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Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki

A moving exhibition produced with the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum on the devastation caused by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 will run from Wednesday 7 June – Sunday 10 September 2023 at the Oriental Museum. 

The dropping of the atomic bombs was one of the most significant moments in the Second World War. As well as conveying their devastating impact on everyday life, this exhibition ends with hope, highlighting how the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have risen from the ashes to spread messages of peace. 

Pictured: Urakami Cathedral. Photo by Shigeo Hayashi, courtesy of Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum.

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Upcoming alumni events

Ottawa Alumni Chapter Meet-up
Sunday 4 June 2023, 4-6pm
Join the Ottawa Alumni Chapter and fellow alumni in the beautiful ‘hidden garden’ at the National Gallery for an afternoon of catching up on all things Durham. Book your free space now.

Durham University Alumni Gathering in Accra
Monday 5 June 2023, 6-9pm
You are warmly invited to join fellow alumni and Dr Precious Brenni, Assistant Professor in Finance at the Business School for an informal networking event in one of the best restaurants in Accra. Places are free, but registration is required.

Bringing Together our Durham-US Community
Wednesday 14 June 2023, 1-3pm
We welcome all US staff and students to join Durham alumna and President of the North American Foundation for the University of Durham, Zoe Scheinman (Chinese, Trevelyan College,1984-88) for an exclusive event to bring together our Durham-US community. Attendance is free, but must be booked in advance.

Milan Alumni Chapter Spring Gathering 
Wednesday 14 June 2023, 7-9pm
Get together with fellow alumni as part of the Milan Alumni Chapter’s spring gathering. Whether you’re based in Milan or just passing through, this event will provide the perfect opportunity to meet. Please register to reserve your place at this free gathering.

Jordan Alumni Chapter Re-launch 
Tuesday 20 June 2023, 6.30-8.30pm
Durham alumni and their family and friends are invited to join the Jordan Alumni Chapter, hosted by Rima Ali (MBA, Ustinov College, 2017-19), for a re-launch event. If you’re in Amman, come along to connect in an informal setting. Places are free, but registration is required.

Chicago Alumni Chapter Summer Kick-off 
Sunday 25 June 2023, 1-3pm
Join the Chicago Alumni Chapter for an afternoon at the Chicago Art Institute hosted by Chapter Lead Jumel Ola (MBA, Collingwood College, 2019-21). Why not meet up with fellow alumni in your area? The event is free to attend and register for, but an entrance fee for the Chicago Art Institute will be payable on entrance.

Durham University Delhi Alumni Chapter Cocktail Evening
Saturday 10 June 2023, 6-8pm
Durham alumni and their family and friends are invited to a cocktail evening in Delhi. Whether you are local or are simply passing through, the event will be a great chance to get together with fellow graduates in a relaxed and fun setting.

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Check our events pages regularly for all the upcoming alumni events across the world.
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Get Involved
Dunelm Days 2023: A global alumni celebration

Dunelm Days will return in November 2023 with a month-long series of events, hosted by alumni for alumni. Interested in finding out about plans for Dunelm Days 2023, and what is involved in hosting your own alumni event?

Join us online to find out more about Dunelm Days 2023, how you can host an event in your area, and put queries directly to the team:

6 July 12pm: Dunelm Days Online Information Session

6 July 5pm: Dunelm Days Online Information Session

Abu Dhabi Alumni Chapter

Durham alumni recently met in Abu Dhabi for an evening of networking and building new connections.  

“I was proud to host my second alumni event at The Fairmont Hotel overlooking the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Since attending my first alumni event hosted by the late Peter Booth in the 00s, I have been a proud supporter of the University and I look forward to continuing the Durham spirit in the Middle East.” 

- Alumni Chapter Lead Carl Hey (Economics, St John’s College, 2000-03).

Get Involved
National Volunteers’ Week 2023
Thursday 1 – Wednesday 7 June marks National Volunteers’ Week 2023 in the UK. This annual event showcases the contribution millions of people make through volunteering in their communities. As part of this, we are celebrating those in our amazing alumni community who generously give their time to volunteer, and highlight how you can get involved with Durham. Keep an eye on our social media as we shine a light on different volunteers.
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BFI Future Film Festival

Calling alumni trying to break into the film industry – the British Film Institute (BFI) Future Film Festival 2024 is now accepting submissions.

This festival targets emerging filmmakers and offers exposure at the BFI Southbank in London, prizes and industry mentoring opportunities. Films submitted can be any genre, but must have been made in the last two years. Additionally, entrants must have been aged between 16-25 when the film was made. For further information and entry criteria, use the button below.

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Class Notes

Chris Atkin (Combined Social Sciences, College of St Hild & St Bede, 2008-11) recently published non-fiction narrative ‘Escape to California: Misadventures in America’s Golden State’. He explores the history and incredible landscapes of western America after living there for almost two years.

Tony Auffret (Botany & Chemistry, Grey College, 1970-73) had his second novel ‘Unsavoury Business’, sequel to ‘The Death of a Smoker’, published in April. As one reviewer put: “The tension grows in a steady, almost tantalising pace as the puzzle pieces begin to join up and unfold into a complex and delicious caper!”.

Tom Price (Philosophy, Politics & Economics, Collingwood College, 2019-22) has made cricketing history by becoming the first player to score a century and take a hat-trick on the same day of a first-class match, playing for Gloucestershire.

Do you have any news you would like to share with the wider alumni community? Keep us up to date at the link below. 

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Josephine Butler College

Josephine Butler College is excited to host the art exhibition Radical Non-Resistance and the Art of Transgression: Indelicate, Ungenteel, Vulgar & Outrageous Women (IUVOW).  

An event in the College Bar on Thursday 8 June (4.30pm) will launch this celebration of women from the North East and beyond. Alumni are welcome – secure your place below. 

IUVOW will otherwise be open to the public from Monday 5 June – Thursday 6 July from 4-7pm weekdays only. 

Book here
Collingwood College 
Collingwood College will have a presence at Durham Regatta (Saturday 10 – Sunday 11 June). If you are attending the Regatta, please visit our 50 Years of Collingwood marquee on the main racecourse. This will be a gathering place for Collingwood alumni and students, staff and rowers. Our 50 Years of Collingwood celebration brochure will also be available to pick up. Please note, tickets will be required to access the racecourse enclosure. Let us know if you’re planning to come!
Book here
St Cuthbert’s Society

St Cuthbert’s invites you to celebrate the life and work of former Principal, Professor Roy Boyne, who passed away in 2020. A special event will take place on Friday 9 June, 6pm at the Tom Percival Annexe, Brooks House, Parsons Field, Durham, DH1 3JP. The dress code is smart casual.  

Roy's friends, colleagues, and family will be talking about Roy the Principal, Roy the Sociologist, and Roy the man. A drinks reception will follow. If you would like to attend in person or via Zoom, RSVP below by 5pm, Monday 5 June. 

RSVP here
St John’s College

St John’s is delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Jolyon Mitchell as new Principal. Revd Professor David Wilkinson will step down in August after 17 years as Principal, with Professor Mitchell joining the College on 1 September.

Professor Mitchell specialises in religion, violence and peacebuilding in his current role at the University of Edinburgh and is also Director of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues. Having trained at Cranmer Hall, he is ordained in the Scottish Episcopal Church.

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Van Mildert College 
Electronic music sensation and Van Mildert alumnus John B (Cell Biology, 1995-97) returns to play an exclusive set for 2023’s Mildert music festival Jam by the Lake. Since graduating, John B has become a global drum and bass innovator, transporting audiences with anthemic beats and euphoric dance mixes. Van Mildert is delighted to welcome him home! He’ll be joined on Tuesday 20 June by student bands and DJs, as well as special guests Transition from Taiwan. 
Departments and Societies
Department of Classics and Ancient History: Classical Association Prize

Professor Edith Hall from the Department of Classics & Ancient History has been awarded the prestigious Classical Association Prize in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the promotion of Classics in the UK. 

As well as her own research and publications, Professor Hall has nurtured the careers of many classicists from within our global alumni community, often going above and beyond with her support. 

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Department of History: Final Ukrainian Talk Series event 
Alumni are invited to attend the final Ukrainian Talk Series event, Geo-security dimensions of the war in Ukraine on Thursday 8 June at the Gala Theatre in Durham. Dr Markian Prokopovych and international panel members join for a closing public debate focusing on geo-security considerations that have arisen due to the war in Ukraine. The event can be attended in-person or virtually, and places can be booked via the link below. 
Book here
Durham University Business School: Environmental policy options workshop 
Alumni are invited to a free two-day open workshop; Environmental Policy Options: Uncertainty, Adaptation and Flexible Decisions at the Business School on Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 July 2023. Featuring 20 speakers from around the globe, two expert panel discussions, roundtable discussions and networking, this is an opportunity to learn about uncertainty and climate change adaptations; and to interact with international thought leaders.
Book here
Durham Law School: Summer Course on International Arbitration 

Durham Law School invites you to its Summer Course on International Arbitration 2023.  

If you’re a professional or student looking to expand your skill set or discover a new field of practice, gain expertise in international arbitration, or are seeking exposure to international dispute resolution, book your place on this exclusive course boasting personal teaching and valuable networking experiences.

From Monday 10 – Saturday 15 July, join renowned speakers Charles T Kotuby Jr, FCIArb, Wendy Miles KC, John Fellas, Christian Leathley and esteemed guests.

Book here
Institute for Medical Humanities: Postgraduate taster sessions 
We invite you to join us for online academic taster sessions for Medical Humanities taught postgraduate programmes on Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 June. Each session includes a short lecture and Q&A with researchers and lecturers, and you can find out more about our new Masters, Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma programmes. Book through the button below by clicking ‘Sign up for sessions’, and searching for ‘medical humanities’.
Book here
International Centre for Moral Injury: Robbins Lecture 2023 
On Wednesday 14 June, the International Centre for Moral Injury welcomes noted theologian Revd Dr Rita Brock, who will talk about the place of ritual in helping those who work in high stakes situations recover from morally challenging experiences. This event will be held in person in Durham and online. Tickets are free and alumni are invited to attend this cross-discipline lecture. 
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Find out what our students have been up to
Explore the blog to read about student life in their own words.
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Gifts from Durham University Retail Office  
Here at the Retail Office we strive to provide staff, students and alumni with the best possible merchandise, to commemorate their time here at Durham. With stock ranging from stationery and jewellery to clothing and glassware, there is sure to be something that will take your fancy.
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Newswire is compiled and produced by Lucian Hudson, Tristan Alltimes, Debbie Mayne, Jo Coombs, and Hamish Lehan, along with colleagues across the University and our alumni community.
Please feel free to contact us with ideas, feedback, and content submissions.
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