Category Archives: Lectures, Talks & Sermons

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 

https://durhamuniversity.zoom.us/j/96071162238?pwd=SUpuWGpqc2dEVU1aOWc2bWIxZGdyUT09 

Meeting ID: 960 7116 2238 Password: 240987

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

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2020/may/17/new-evidence-rescues-tarnished-reputation-of-pierre-bonnard-sickly-wife-marthe?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

 

 

Let’s talk about value: how universities create value for students, staff and society

St Chad’s College Lunchtime Lecture, Wednesday 30th January, 12.30 – 1.30 p.m.

Carol Adams, Professor of Accounting in Durham University Business School, will consider the appropriateness of measures of university performance.  Her talk will be based upon her recent report: ‘Let’s Talk Value: How Universities create value for students, staff and society’.  In her lecture, Carol will ask what universities create for society and how that can be better communicated.

Professor  Adams is an expert in integrated reporting, social and environmental accounting, sustainability reporting and developing strategy to address sustainable development.  She is founding editor of the Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal and writes on her website at www.drcaroladams.net.

Carol has been involved in various global corporate reporting initiatives and is currently a member of the ACCA’s Global Forum on Sustainability, the ICAS Sustainability Panel, the Climate Disclosure Standards Board’s Technical Working Group and she is Chair of the Stakeholder Council of the Global Reporting Initiative.

She was a member of the Capitals Technical Collaboration Group for the International Integrated Reporting Council. She has also served as a Director and Council Member of AccountAbility and was involved in the development of the first AA1000 Framework.

Carol is an experienced non-executive director and consults to multinational corporations and other organisations on corporate reporting and integrating sustainability into business practices. She has led the development of internationally award winning management and governance processes and sustainability reports

PERSPECTIVES: Generation Snowflake?

 

The first in the series of ‘Perspectives’ talks at St Chad’s College took place on Monday 16th October at 6:30pm. The ‘Perspectives’ series which brings together a wide range of academics from Durham University is St Chad’s College’s very own pioneering interdisciplinary college module. For this first event, a panel of students and researchers came together to discuss the incredibly topical issue of millennials, the ‘snowflake’ generation, notoriously (and perhaps unjustifiably) known for their wayward ideals and expectations. The evening was introduced by College Principal, Dr Margaret Masson and Vice Principal, Dr Eleanor Spencer-Regan, who both emphasised the importance of inter-disciplinary and even inter-generational learning and scholarship at Durham. Encouraging students to make the most out of the resources at both St Chad’s and the wider university, they also introduced the notion of the ‘snowflake generation’, which has been recently defined as millennials who are generally more prone to taking offence and less resilient to difference in attitudes and ideas than previous generations.

First up to speak about this issue was Durham Students’ Union’s very own President, Megan Croll. Megan gave a personal insight into the issues and challenges that she faces and helps people with in her role as a student leader. These included issues such as the rise of social media in connecting individuals, as well as the ability of our ‘digital age’ to give us far more choice over who we engage and interact with, citing dating apps such as Tinder as positive ways to identify shared interests. Megan also outlined the heightened level of pressure that students are now being put under to achieve more than previous generations, and claimed that this might be responsible for fuelling the ambitions of students to go further than their predecessors.

Second to speak was Dr Benedict Anderson who is an Assistant Professor in the Law School. Dr Anderson defined a snowflake as a ‘unique item that melts under pressure’, and argued that this can apply to a wide range of people when faced with challenging situations. He also outlined the sketchy area between intention and offence, citing how it might be possible to unconsciously cause offence due to differences in outlook and ideology.

Final to speak was Becca Dean, a youth worker and PhD researcher in the School of Applied Social Sciences. Becca introduced three broad ideas that attempt to explain the effects of the current generation’s excessive use of social media. Firstly, Becca introduced the concept of ‘Elkind’s Personal Fable’, which attempts to explain how self-curation is often imagined as a social act, where our appearance becomes a symbolic representation of who we are. Secondly, Becca unpacked Erikson’s Stages of Development, explaining how our sense of ‘self’ coordinates and changes the way in which we relate with others, creating communities that systematically include and exclude others. Finally, Becca used the research of Caitlin Moran to explain how the internet, still in its relative infancy, is like a teenager; a “new-founded liberal city that failed to install a sheriff” and was consequently a little wayward in its behaviour.

The first Perspectives event was standing room only or bring your own chair!

The audience were very receptive to these ideas, taking the opportunity after the introductory speeches to break into small clusters and explore the issues at stake. This was followed by a more informal networking opportunity to find out more about the experiences, insights and research of the speakers. The next talk in the series takes place on Monday, 30th October at 18.30, where the topic will be the very relevant issue of the future of meat and the ethical issues that surround its consumption.

Sermon by Dr Masson at the installation of The Revd David Rushton as College Chaplain

Licensing of David Rushton as our New Chad’s Chaplain

11th October, 2017

Sermon by Margaret Masson, Principal

Readings: Job 28: 12 – 28; Ephesians 3: 14 – 21

David, you are well and truly installed – Chad’s/C of E doesn’t do these things by halves!

Thank you, Bishop David for being with us to do the licensing.

David, hope you also feel well and truly welcome – great joy to celebrate with you as you begin your ministry amongst us.

Already, you feel very much a part of our community – we’re very happy to have you.  A warm welcome also to your parents, friends, members of our college community – everyone here this evening

I’d also like to thank Ashley – not only for putting this service together,  but for all you have given  us during your eight years )plus one acting) as chaplain. Thank you!

Already, this is quite a long service; so I plan to speak fairly briefly; but I do want to take this chance to reflect on what we’re doing here tonight.

Why are we installing a chaplain?  In these times when religion is often such a contested, problematic space, why does it matter to us to have a chaplain?  What are we hoping for from David’s ministry amongst us?

Whole books have been devoted to role of chaplaincy, but tonight, I want to suggest three things that I think, hope, pray that this chaplain will bring to this community.

  1. Job 28 – a reading suggested by David – is all about Wisdom. It’s a wonderful passage.

It aims to awaken our imaginations (it’s pure poetry) to the beauty and importance of wisdom:

  • “it cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire, its price is above pearls, it cannot be compared with the topaz of Ethiopia…”

It’s very very precious

Wisdom is also portrayed here as very elusive…where do you find it? Often hidden, concealed, not obvious: wisdom is not just common sense

In these verses, wisdom demands a certain humility as we seek it out:  an awareness of our own human limitedness, our fundamental dependence on God – who is characterised here as the source of all wisdom.

 

I hope here at St Chad’s, Wisdom – however we conceive it – is part of what all of us are here to learn.

It’s part of what a chaplain is here to nurture, even provoke us towards.

 

So, David, we look to you to help us in our search for Wisdom (no pressure), and to do this, you will need to listen to us, to be catalyst for reflection, to bring us perspective when we most need it, to be a person of integrity, someone who will do your best to speak truth to us – even when we may not want to hear it!  As individuals, as a college, we hope that amidst all the busyness, the sometimes conflicting, confusing experiences of our lives, that you will challenge us to search for, even help us to find, wisdom.

 

  1. Our second reading this evening is about an even more fundamental human longing – Love – and again, it’s a wonderful, poetic, lyrical text which is tumbling over itself as it strains to express the sheer riches and abundance of the Love that is ours in God. It talks about being rooted and grounded in love, having the power to comprehend the breadth, the length, the height, the depth of God’s love, of knowing the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, of being filled with all the fullness of God… In these short verses, there are so many images of abundance, overflowing; these are words alive with the sense of the power and possibility of that love.

This is not the kind of cotton wool candyfloss love that bears fruit in entitlement or narcissism or the brittle fragility of self-delusion that shrinks from difficulty or challenge. It’s the kind of love that sees us – and helps us to see ourselves – as we are, warts and all, and loves us – unconditionally, overwhelmingly, anyway.

 

One of the things that I think characterises the Chad’s community – when it is being its best self – is the way in which it gives each of us a sense of being valued, being loved in this kind of honest, unflinching, uncompromising, wonderful and usually costly way.

Non vestra sed vos – not for what you have, not for how intelligent or beautiful or rich you happen to be – but for you yourself, just as you are.

 

David, part of your role as chaplain is to nurture this love – and I know you will – as you are present with us – in the dining room, the kitchens, our common rooms, the bar, the sports field, here in chapel…reminding us not just in your words, but in your presence with us, of this sometimes troubling but ultimately redeeming truth: we are loved, infinitely precious. And so is everyone else in this college, this University, this City – this planet.

 

  1. Which leads me on to the third thing I’d like to say this evening.

As well as searching for Wisdom, as well as grasping that we are loved, David, we’d also like you to help us be a generous community of inclusion, place of radical hospitality.

A chaplain is for everyone – and I know David believes this very deeply –

not just for those who come to chapel – not just for students of this college, but

for each and every member – Porter or Principal, for the newest fresher and the oldest alumnus, for each staff member, tutor, SCR member, for each and every student whatever their faith or belief.

This is not just my vision; it’s not just the vision of this chaplain or this college, but it’s deeply in the DNA of the Anglican faith which inspired the founding of St Chad’s College.  It’s what inspires our commitment to social justice, the way we value community.

 

And a key part of this vision is that it does not stop with us:

David is Chaplain and Outreach officer – we were reminded again at the Engaged and Inspired lecture in the Cathedral on Thursday that this College was founded so that people who could not afford it on their own would not miss out on being able to fulfil their vocation. In those days, it was vocation to the priesthood; today, it is about the vocation to study the whole range of academic subjects.

 

So our challenge is: how do we as Chad’s today live out this commitment to inclusion, to justice?  This is for each of us to work out personally, as well as for us as a College to respond to in each new generation.

David, we want you to encourage us in this, whether it’s in how we treat each other day by day, or through our volunteering, our admissions work, our Widening participation with schools, our Research, our choir outreach, our prayers, or in countless other ways.

 

David, we’re so happy to have you with us as our chaplain.  As you minister amongst us in the years that we hope are to come,  help us to share whatever wisdom, whatever love, whatever sense of possibility and hospitality we learn here – not just amongst ourselves, but also far beyond this place and long after this time.

 

In the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit Amen.

St Chad’s hosts termly Question Time

St Chad’s College hosted its termly ‘Question Time’ evening on Thursday, 24th November.

Styled on the BBC’s Question Time programme, Conor Fegan took over David Dimbleby’s role as chairperson. Conor introduced each panellist, a cross-representation of the common rooms. These included the SCR’s Baroness Maeve Sherlock, and the JCR’s Michael Aspin, Dom Birch, Jess Frieze, and Josh Barker.

Throughout the evening, panellists were quizzed on a range of issues. The provision of port and cream-crackers got the audience’s creative juices flowing!

On a second EU referendum, the panel argued in favour of popular sovereignty, although there was also an acknowledgement that it’s going to take more than two years to negotiate Brexit.

Addressing whether the election of Donald Trump in America signals that we are living in a post-factual age, Josh urged the audience to “debate” views which seemed to be different from theirs. Baroness Sherlock argued that we must have “mechanism to distinguish” between fact and fiction, whilst Michael defended pluralism and democracy. Dom spoke about the emotions involved in politics and Jess said it’s wrong to simply shout back.

On the issue of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the panel agreed that a healthy democracy requires an effective opposition.

The evening provided a thoughtful, intellectual, and dynamic dialogue. We wait to see what next term’s event holds in store.

Perspectives 28/11: Is Democracy working?

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Perspectives last week was on a really interesting and vitally relevant topic. We all know the famous Churchill quote, ‘democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried’; to be honest, I think our political system is something we tend to take for granted. All the more relevant as the final Perspectives event of the term, considering recent events – it is too easy to simply assume this system is the norm and is faultless because it is the only one we have ever been exposed to.

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Professor Fred Robinson

Chad’s hosted Professor Fred Robinson (Professorial Fellow of St Chad’s College), Dr Anna Rowlands (Theology and Religion), and Lily Botrous (Alexandria School of Theology, Egypt), who put forward their very interesting views on the question of democracy – Prof. Robinson and Dr. Rowlands focussed mainly on Brexit, while Ms. Botrous talked about the Arab Spring. In classic form, after their thought-provoking talks, we broke off into small groups, with discussions ranging from the virtues and vices of political correctness to the problem with modern voting systems to how politics is all too often boiled down to basic ideas and ideologies. Some really stimulating discussion, which certainly left us with a lot to think about.

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Lily Botrous

All in all, a very successful evening, and a great relief from the summative stress which tends to drown students in the last few weeks of term. I hope that next term’s lectures are as thought-provoking as the fantastic schedule put together already this year.

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Dr Anna Rowlands addresses attendees

Perspectives – Can we trust our Technology?

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The third in our College Series: Perspectives was held on Monday night. Despite the inset of summative season the session was well attended, by a range of individuals from both JCR and MCR.

Following an introduction by Dr Eleanor Spencer-Regan the three speakers each laid out their point of view on the question of how far we can trust technology. First up was Dr Toby Breckon (Engineering and Computing Sciences), who argued that we could trust technology because it can only do that which it is taught or programmed to do by human designers. He also emphasized the power of consumers to pressure manufacturers to make trustworthy technology, by voting with their wallets.

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Dr Toby Breckon speaking to MCR and JCR members in the quad

Next was James Page (School of Government and International Affairs) who talked about the ethics and practicalities of drone warfare, and suggested that they are more accurate than human operated aircrafts.

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Dr James Page

Finally Dr Ladan Cockshut (School of Computing, Teesside University) talked about the increase in interest in AI, humanoid robotics, transhumanism in the mainstream media (movies, TV) over the past few decades, and about how our use of social media might change the ways in which we view ourselves, and our relationships with others.

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Dr Lagan Cockshut

 

Attendees then formed groups for discussion before returning to a final overall summary of the thoughts from the evening. One particularly interesting outcome the following day was the discovery of one student that her experiment of leaving Facebook open (with microphone access permissions) on her phone throughout the discussion might well have influenced the advertising she received the following day, with recommendations for AI films appearing on her Facebook.

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Perspectives: Are we living in a post-gender age?

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This Monday’s Perspectives evening kicked off with a fantastic turnout once again, with a diverse range of academics and researchers at the ready to speak about their disciplinary or personal take on whether we are living in a post gender age.

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An introduction to the evening from Dr Masson began proceedings

 

The first speaker, Dr Gillian Campling, kicked off the evening talking about biological sex, posing the question that if we could achieve a post-gender society, could we ignore human genetic make-up?

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Dr Gillian Campling

The next speaker was one of our very own postgrad students, Hannah Earnshaw. They gave an eye opening account of their personal experience about coming out as agender, which challenged the audience to think beyond the binary. This account stimulated open discussions within small groups about current societal positions towards gender.

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PhD student Hannah Earnshaw

The final speaker, Professor Robert Song, talked about the traditional view of man and woman in the Bible, adding to the diversity of the evening. This was followed by a short, but thought-triggering discussion session, aided by cheese and wine.

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Professor Robert Song

The talk was particularly relevant in college as at the JCR meeting the day before, the constitution was changed to recognise students of all gender and none. All in all, it was a really engaging evening, throwing new light on an incredibly relevant issue for today’s students.

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