All posts by Victoria Brown

PERSPECTIVES: Britain after Brexit

On 23rd November 2020, Chadsians and friends gathered on Zoom for the second PERSPECTIVES event of the academic year, focussing on the questions raised by Britain’s imminent departure from the EU – with or without a deal.

We were privileged to be joined by four highly experienced and knowledgeable speakers: James Ramsbotham CBE, CEO of the North East England Chamber of Commerce; College Fellow Professor Bryan Morton CBE, Chairman of Aircraft Medical, ReNeuron, Glide and Oxford BioTherapeutics and Founder and CEO of two Pharma companies, Zeneus and EUSA; Dr Michael Nower, Lecturer in Economics in the Business School and investigator on the research project ‘Brexit: International Trade and Productivity’, assessing the impact of potential future trade agreements on the UK economy following UK’s exit from the European Union; and DUBS alumnus Dr Martin Kaspar, Head of Corporate Development at Frankische and expert in Investment Promotion Agencies and Foreign Direct Investment (IPAs & FDI).

Our College Fellow and Visiting Professor in Durham University Business School, Professor Bryan Morton CBE

Following the news that Nissan, one of the largest employers in the North East region, looks set to close its Sunderland plant, the future for business and manufacturing in the North East looks set to be badly impacted by a no-deal Brexit, explained James Ramsbotham, but Bryan Morton offered some hope as he spoke about the potential opportunities for the British pharma and biotech industries post-Brexit. Michael Nower helped participants to think about both short-term and long-term consequences of Brexit and Martin Kaspar provided the continental perspective talking about how Britain is now perceived by our near neighbours in the EU after several years of wrangling and internal conflict.

The discussion was lively and passionate, but, in the true spirit of our PERSPECTIVES series, always well-informed and civil.

Many thanks to our speakers who so generously shared their time and expertise with us. We look forward to more PERSPECTIVES sessions online next term, and perhaps even the tantalising possibility of face-to-face sessions in the Easter term…!

PERSPECTIVES X St Chad’s FemSoc collaboration

Boys will be boys? Lad culture, toxic masculinity, and how to balance freedom of speech with the need to keep our communities safe

On 19th October 2020, around 60 Chadsians from across the globe gathered together on Zoom for the first ever online PERSPECTIVES session (from as close as the third floor of Main College to as far afield as Malawi, where an epic thunderstorm threatened the internet connection!). It was also the first time that PERSPECTIVES has collaborated with our College’s Feminist Society (known as FemSoc).

PERSPECTIVES is the St Chad’s College inter-common room discussion forum. It aims to encourage members of St Chad’s College – whether JCR, MCR, or SCR – to develop their multi-disciplinary intellectual curiosity; their skills of critical and innovative thinking; and their self-identity as responsible, informed, and effective global citizens. PERSPECTIVES is not a debate or a public speaking competition, and there are no ‘right answers’ or winning sides – it’s more about exploring the important questions than providing the definitive answers!

We were joined by our expert speakers, Eliza Bechtold (Deputy Director of the Durham Law School Human Rights Centre) and Dr Stephen Burrell (Assistant Professor, Durham University School of Applied Social Sciences), as well as hearing an anonymous statement provided by Durham University Survivors, an online platform for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories anonymously. After hearing from our speakers, we adjourned into breakout rooms for smaller group discussion before returning to the main Zoom room for further conversation. Discussion included consideration of the potential for escalation from ‘banter’ and casual sexism to serious sexual violence, and the ways in which we can best challenge the cultural normalisation of misogyny in our communities. We were particularly interested to hear Eliza’s explanation of the distinction between what is merely offensive and what constitutes hate speech under UK law, and to hear about Stephen’s research on how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected conceptions of masculinity.

We were delighted with the good turn out, enthusiastic engagement with the speaker, and with how well the technology worked! We’re determined that the current Covid restrictions shouldn’t prevent our students from benefitting from our usual varied programme of scholarly and co-curricular activities, and we are already planning our next PERSPECTIVE session for November.

Many thanks to Eliza, Stephen, and to Durham Survivors for participating in what was a brilliant evening of learning and discussion.

Zoom Lectures – June 2020

We have put together a series of Chad’s mini Zoom lectures for the month of June on Wednesdays 6 – 7pm.  The format will be a 35/40 minute lecture followed by questions and conversation.  Here’s the schedule:

  • Wednesday June 3rd: J. R. Watson, Professor Emeritus, Durham University: The Voice of Philip Larkin.
  • Wednesday June 10th: Martin Ward, Temple Chevalier Professor of Astronomy at Durham: Are We Alone in the Universe?
  • Wednesday June 17th: Lucy Whelan, Art Historian and Visiting Fellow in the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture, Durham University: Seeing, hiding, and finding women in modern art: the case of Marthe Bonnard.
  • Wednesday June 24th: Dr Chris Sparks, Chief Risk Officer, Atom Bank (title to be agreed)

This week’s lecture is by SCR member Dr Lucy Whelan who will be talking on:

Seeing, hiding, and finding women in modern art: the case of Marthe Bonnard

This talk asks how women have appeared in the history of modern art, introducing topics like the “male gaze”. It focuses in particular on the case of the modern artist Pierre Bonnard and his wife and model Marthe, whose life story and reputation has been systematically distorted and overlooked until now.

Join Chad’s Zoom Lecture

Wednesday 178th June 6 – 7pm 

Meeting ID: 960 7116 2238 Password: 240987

You may also be interested to read about Dr Whelan’s work in this recent article:



‘A Way Out’ Charity Talk

On Tuesday 10th March, St. Chad’s was lucky enough to host a talk by the general manager of the charity ‘A Way Out’. ‘A Way Out’ is based in Stockton and Middlesbrough, helping to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable women and young people. The talk focused on the fantastic work the charity does in the areas of substance misuse, survival sex work, homelessness and abuse.

This year, ‘A Way Out’ has been one of St. Chad’s charities of the year, alongside ‘Mind’. Our total fundraising so far this year has totalled over £2000 per charity. We hope to continue to raise funds for these vital charities during the rest of the year.


On the 7th March, St. Chad’s hosted the annual TEDxDurhamUniversity conference. The theme this year was “Make Your Mark” and featured a series of inspirational speakers and fantastic performances.

TEDxDurhamUniversity is a student run society which bring together bright minds in order to give and listen to “ideas worth spreading”. The aim of this year’s conference was to inspire students at Durham University to bring new ideas and innovations to all areas of their lives.

The speakers of this year’s event were a mixture of students and international figures: Sarah Mardini; Matt Unerman; Malin Anderson; Sarah De Carvalho; Gladys Kyotungire; Ediri Omonoseh and Adrian Bradshaw. Between them their experiences range from work in international development, humanitarian campaigns, climate change activism, the military and more. Each speaker brought their personal experiences to the TEDx stage in order to share advice, motivate and inspire students to follow in their footsteps, making their mark on the communities and world around them. The conference also featured a number of performances, including music, poetry and magic.

A number of St. Chad’s students were able to attend the event and we hope that all the students from St. Chad’s and the wider university community enjoyed the day and feel inspired to make their mark. If you were unable to attend the event, the talks will soon be uploaded to the TEDx YouTube page for everyone to watch.

Chad’s Day 2020

What better way to start the day than to parade around Durham, dressed in vibrant green? The 29th of February saw to the greatest, most widely anticipated event of the year – St Chad’s Day.  Despite being in the midst of summative season where stress is at an all-time high, this was a day where coursework ceased to exist for the weekend, and Chadsians could finally close their notebooks and shut their laptop lids.

On any other day of the year, it would be highly unusual to see people in the Quad at seven in the morning. However, on Chad’s Day you should expect nothing less than a sea of green and the sound of pots and pans, whistles, and chanting. Kicking off the day with a champagne reception and groovy tunes, it was not long until everyone was ready for the North Bailey’s wake up call.

As is tradition, the first order of business is to make as much noise as possible. For those living on the Bailey, there is no such thing as sleeping in on Chad’s Day. The parade made its way around Hatfield, Castle, John’s, and Cuth’s, where our JCR President Lucie Goddard competed with other presidents in the traditional JCR Presidents’ competition. Spectacular results were produced, with three victories under her belt. If St Chad’s is known for only one thing, it would be for our enthusiasm. This clearly showed as the noise did not die down until our group photo was taken in front of the Cathedral and we were ushered back inside.

Once everyone had filled themselves with a green-coloured breakfast, the College gathered in the Cathedral for the St Chad’s Day Service. We were fortunate enough to have the Archbishop of York deliver a speech, and for students from St Chad’s Primary­­­­ School of Witton Park to perform their own ‘We will praise you’, based on the music by Brian May. Items reflective of College life were placed on the altar, which included a frisbee, a shovel, a stuffed penguin toy, and a beer keg.

At the first chime of 12, Chadsians began their conquest for the title of Keeper of the Goat. Alexander Royce emerged victorious. He now has the honour of dressing as the College mascot – the goat – next year.

The quiet afternoon often gives people a chance to take a quick nap or grab a bite to eat. But this was soon disrupted with the powder paint party filling the garden with neon green, a chance to bask in the sun which had miraculously appeared after days of miserable, rainy weather.

The evening festivities entailed Family Fortunes, Take Me Out, and Mr & Mrs Chad’s all taking place in the Quad. Congratulations to Harry Scott and Hala Heenan for taking the title of Mr and Mrs Chad’s 2020! The rest of the night was filled with inflatables, pizza, and a silent disco. Rolling into the early hours of the morning, it was unsurprising to see a low turnout at college brunch the next day.

Volunteering in the Community

At St. Chad’s College we have a wide variety of outreach opportunities. These range from our work with Age UK to re-painting sheltered accommodation on behalf of a local homelessness charity, DASH.

This week a group of Chad’s students went to Chester-le-Street to visit a Syrian family. They came to England as refugees and Chad’s students have been volunteering with them since 2018. The bi-weekly volunteering sessions involve English tutoring, conversation practice and general cultural exchange. It also regularly includes delicious meals, such as awamat, a type of Lebanese doughnut, which were enjoyed this week.

We look forward to upcoming volunteering events this term, including the termly Age UK tea party held at St. Chad’s, our joint programme with St. John’s College at Finchale Primary School, further volunteering in Chester-le-Street and volunteering at Age UK coffee mornings.

Candlemas 63

Last night, St Chad’s celebrated the biggest night of the year Candlemas 63, as organised by the wonderful committee. This years theme was “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” with decorations being prepared all week celebrating different movies and pop culture related to Hollywood.

The evening begun with the meal, with ents opening around college later in the evening ranging from a casino room, ball pit, silent disco, karaoke to a movie room alongside the bar and a food stand.

Thank you to the Candlemas Committee for all their hard work organising a wonderful evening enjoyed by all and, to all college staff whom helped on the evening and before and after. Additionally, the St John’s College Welfare team and St Johns Ambulance for being present and ready to provide assistance if necessary.