In sleepy Durham nothing much has changed but our graduates have moved on into the big wide world. But for one weekend they had the chance to journey back to Durham for two days of nostalgia, northern chills and necking reasonably priced drinks in the bar.
The bop of Friday saw Chadsians relive their adolescent days with the returners bop theme being childhood TV and film characters. I imagine the Cassidy Quad looked very similar to the CBBC production floor in the late 1990s and early 2000s as we were graced with the likes of Neil Buchanan from Art Attack, The Chuckle Brothers and all four Teletubbies!
Saturday was steak night for the returners’ on formal before they headed to the Princey B one last time! Apart from one attempt to dive into the river the night went swimmingly and the weekend, as a whole, was thoroughly enjoyed by all!
On Tuesday evening, in the context of the Postgraduate Formal dinner, our newest College Fellow, Professor Bryan Morton CBE, was presented with his (very green) St Chad’s Foundation Fellow’s hood.
Before presenting Bryan with his hood, Dr Masson said: “We are honouring with our College’s highest award, our College Foundation Fellowship, someone who has made a significant contribution to Chad’s over a number of years. It is our way of saying thank you, because actually, when someone accepts a fellowship, the real honour is ours. It’s a way of saying: “this is someone we admire, and who is making a very distinguished contribution in a number of areas that we think are very important – someone in whose glory we want to bask, just a little”.
Dr Masson highlighted three reasons for St Chad’s decision to honour Bryan Morton in this way: first for his outstanding success as an entrepreneur and for his commitment to sharing his experience with Durham University and students of St Chad’s; second for his work in the healthcare industry, developing drugs to treat a range of terrible diseases and alleviate suffering all over the world; and finally St Chad’s is hugely grateful for Bryan’s generosity in supporting the College’s Joe Cassidy Scholarship Fund which helps to help ensure that no student with the talent is excluded from a Chad’s education because they cannot afford it.
Special guests at the dinner included the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Stuart Corbridge, the Dean of Durham Business School, Professor Susan Hart, President of the North East Chamber of Commerce, John McCabe, and a number of other North East business leaders and champions of enterprise.
It was a wonderful evening abounding in good conversation, great food, and new friendships. Not only was our newest College Fellow hooded and welcomed, but St Chad’s relationship with the University and with the North East was toasted and celebrated.
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 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.
On the weekend of 21st-22nd October, several of the St Chad’s College Choir Scholars joined the St Chad’s Alumni Choir for a weekend of singing at the prestigious Leicester Cathedral. Although the Scholars were very generously treated to a four-star hotel and a lovely meal, the weekend was no jolly and lots of hard work was achieved!
Having left Durham at 7am in a minibus for Leicester, upon the arrival of the Durham cohort, rehearsals started straight away led by Philip Drew. The repertoire for this weekend was a treat, featuring some great British choral classic such has Howell’s Collegium Regale and Stanford’s Beati Quorum Via. The choir sang two services: Choral Evensong on Saturday and a Eucharist Service on Sunday morning. Both services were a success, especially considering the short rehearsal time that all the members had together. Notably, the choir did very well to get to grips with pesky Psalm from Saturday’s evensong which was extremely long with difficult moments!
The choir felt very welcome at Leicester Cathedral by the staff and by the people of the parish. The whole weekend was highly enjoyable, and I would like to thank the Alumni for asking the scholar’s to join them at their reunion and also thank them for their extreme generosity!
Third year, Music, Choral Scholar
Thanks to Philip Drew for directing, to Peter Swift for playing the organ, and to everyone who came and sang, or supported us!
Our new Chaplain Fr David Rushton (St Chad’s 1993-96) has been running marathons for good causes for a number of years and this Autumn we have been delighted that he chose to run the Richmond Half Marathon, Great North Run, Berlin Marathon and Chicago Marathon in support of the Cassidy Scholarships Fundraising Appeal.
On Wednesday 11th October we were able to officially welcome him with a service of installation, presided over by Rt Revd David Stancliffe, on behalf of the Bishop of Durham. It was a lovely service, with a sermon from Dr Margaret Masson and music from St Chad’s College Chapel choir.
Below are photos of both David’s running achievements and his installation.
Just a few weeks ago we held an indoor-garden-party, featuring Giant Jenga, wine and excellent food, to say goodbye to many of our postgraduates. Now we’re just days away from welcoming our new students to into the College, both into the Middle Common Room and Junior Common Room.
Photos from the MCR Goodbye Party below. With thanks for everything that they have contributed to College over the last 12 months. You will be missed- do come back and visit and keep in touch!
A couple of weeks ago a slightly depleted Chapel Choir took a weekend trip to Jersey. Though they generally tour for longer this year various commitments meant that tour time was reduced, making the relative proximity of Jersey the ideal choice.
It would be fair to say that there were doubts in the choir about what the tour would be like, having become accustomed to more exciting sounding locations, but the doubters were soon proved wrong; Jersey turned out to have plenty to do, excellent weather and some of the best audiences the choir has had.