Category Archives: Uncategorised

Robert Swan – Antarctic Activist

Robert Swan OBE FRGS, Chad’s Alumnus (1976-1979) and Honorary Fellow, is an outspoken advocate for the protection of the Antarctic and proponent of renewable energy. He founded 2041, a company dedicated to the preservation of the Antarctic and is the first person to have walked to both Poles.

Help him reach 1million views on his 2014 TED talk “Let’s save the last pristine continent”, and learn more about what could happen in 2041, the year the Antarctic Treaty runs out.


Shirin Gerami – Iranian Iron-Woman


Shirin Gerami (St Chad’s 2008-2011) made history as Iran’s first female triathelete when she competed at the International Triathlon Union World Championships in London in 2013. This weekend she has once again made history when she represented her country in the 2016 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.

Gerami has helped to design her own sportswear to allow her to compete whilst also respecting the rules and regulations of Iran. She has also been active in encouraging women into sport in Iran, as well as co-creating the “Be Like Water” campaign to help women into surfing.

Image from Getty Images.

Research Forum 27/10/2016

The first research forum of the academic year 2016–17 took place on 27 October 2016. The papers presented were Barbora Bartosova’s ‘Search for Tradition in Modern Art’ and James Turner’s ‘Illegitimacy and Power: Anglo-Norman and Angevin Illegitimate Royal Children within Twelfth Century Aristocratic Society’.

Babora’s paper started from Walter Benjamin’s obligation that modernity can be defined as the continued loss of tradition. Thus, the paper asked: what does tradition mean in modern art? Drawing together different artistic movements such as the Italian futurists, the expressionists, post-expressionists and situationalists, Barbora’s paper detailed the ways in which modern artistic traditions have formed themselves around conscious ruptures with the past and engagement with American capitalist culture.

James’ paper was a whistle-stop tour through various royal bastards in the Anglo-Norman and Angevin middle ages. Following the changes in religious attitudes to marriage the royal bastard emerged as a distinct political occupation or persona. James detailed the ways in which royal illegitimate children could be used to solidify royal and aristocratic power—either by way of marriage or promotion to ecclesiastical office.

It was a great evening and a wonderful start to this year’s series, and we will see many more fascinating postgraduate talks throughout the year!

Young people and skills in Tees Valley

A seminar run by the Institute for Local Governance, Friday 22nd May 2015, Redcar and Cleveland College, Redcar

Producing a strategy to match the skills and needs of employers in Tees Valley with the skills and aspirations of young people is not a straight-forward issue. Much of the locally-owned institutional support for such an initiative has been eroded with the loss of once generously funded organisations such as Connexions Tees Valley, The Tees Valley Learning and Skills Council and Business Link Tees Valley.

The willingness of Tees Valley to tackle skills issues for young people is, arguably, stronger than ever through the work of its Local Enterprise Partnership, Tees Valley Unlimited, local authorities and the promise of the establishment of a Tees Valley Combined Authority to integrate effort across the areas five unitary local authorities.

This seminar aims to explore the complexities surrounding ‘supply’ and ‘demand’ issues operating in and around the Tees Valley region. Speakers have been brought together to open debate on: projected employer labour demand over the next few years; how employers’ skills needs can be met through local schools, colleges and universities; and, how the potential of young people (especially those from less advantaged backgrounds) can be harnessed.

Marshalling the aspirations and developing the employability of young people (aged 15 – 29) who have experienced significant periods of time not in employment, education or training (NEET) is a controversial and challenging area of discussion. Even when money is available to tackle the issue, solutions are often difficult to produce.  Being positive about the prospects of these young people is, nevertheless, vital for the area economically and socially.

This is reflected in the Government’s recent launch of its first calls for Tees Valley projects under the 2014-2020 European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF). Projects are being sought to maximise SME job creation, but central to the concerns of this seminar is the Youth Employment Initiative for ESF across Tees Valley.

Shorter term initiatives, however valuable, only provide part of the solution – this seminar also aims to debate the roles of private sector, education sector and third sector organisations in tackling more widely skills challenges in Tees Valley over the next few years. The seminar will seek to engage the views and experiences of participants during the course of the event.

Speakers include: Professor Robert MacDonald, Social Futures Institute, Teesside University; Carl Ditchburn, Community Campus ‘87; John Lowther, Chair of Strategic Planning for the Board of Governors, Redcar and Cleveland College; Kate Roe, Principal, Darlington College; and, Sue Hannan, Employment and Skills Manager, Tees Valley Unlimited.  The Seminar will be chaired by Professor Alan Townsend, Durham University

The seminar is free to attend. Please register your attendance via: Janet Atkinson, Institute for Local Governance, Durham University. The Institute for Local Governance is a North East Research and Knowledge Exchange Partnership established in 2009 comprising the regions Universities, Local Authorities, Police and Fire and Rescue Services.

Impact of the Changing Funding Environment on the Voluntary and Community Sector

Professor Tony Chapman

Tony Chapman led a study, funded by Government Office North East to support the work of the Voluntary and Community Sector Task Force in 2006.

The study involved a survey of third sector organisations across North East England and informed the work of the task force which was attempting to assess the potential impact of a predicted loss of up to £50m in resources following the European Union regional development and social funding.

A final report was published in 2006. Subsequently an academic article developed the analysis and was published in Policy Studies.

Researching the Impact of Major Skills Issues in the Tees Valley

Professor Tony Chapman

This was a wide-ranging study, funded by the European Social Fund for the Learning and Skills Council to explore changing skills needs across Tees Valley.

The results demonstrated that Tees Valley faces significant challenges over the next 10 years and made specific proposals for developments at a sub-regional and industrial sector strategic levels.

A final report was published in 2006. Subsequently, the theoretical implications of the work were published in Urban Studies:

Japanese Inward Investment Journeys to North East England: is North East England ready to make a new journey too?

A seminar jointly organised by the Institute for Local Governance and Council for Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) will take place at Teikyo University, Durham, Friday 10th July, 2015, 9.30 – 1.00.


Details of the seminar can be found here.

In 2013, construction of a major new manufacturing plant began in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, giving an immediate initial boost to the local labour market. The new train manufacturing plant will be handed over to Hitachi in September, and in the months that follow 700 new jobs will come to the area.

Hitachi’s arrival represents just one amongst many welcome journeys that Japanese companies have made to North East England, including Nissan, Nifco, Komatsu and NSK Bearings, amongst many others. These companies, alongside the supply chains they have built with UK companies, play a major role in providing an economic boost to the region.

Undoubtedly, the North East wants Japanese companies to stay here and would welcome more if they choose to come our way. But what, precisely, do we have on offer to encourage this to happen? Has the North East gone the extra mile fully to welcome such investment? But perhaps most importantly of all, what are we learning from the companies that have come to the region and how well is the region responding to the massive economic contribution they make in business terms?

This seminar looks at the contribution Japanese business has made to the enterprise culture in North East England. But the debate should not be an historical one. What we need to ask is what can be done to build stronger links with existing and new companies? The conference also aims to think about ways to increase levels of enterprising activity in the region in the localities where major new Japanese firms are operating and identify reasons why such opportunities might be grasped, missed or stifled.

This conference provides an opportunity to tackle such questions in a constructive way from many different standpoints in order to inform policy makers and industrialists in the region about the contribution of Japanese inward investment to the local economy. The conference will be opened by Professor Ray Hudson, Vice Chancellor of Durham University and will be closed by Professor Masao Imaseki, Principal of Teikyo University, Durham.

To lead the debate, a number of speakers have agreed to present their ideas and talk about their experiences.

  • Phil Wilson, Member of Parliament for Sedgefield, County Durham
  • David Coppock & Tasleem Baqir, North East Region, UKTI
  • Simon Goon, Managing Director, Business Durham
  • Kazuya Shima, Director, Japan Local Government Centre (CLAIR London)
  • Andrew Stevens, Chief Researcher, Japan Local Government Centre (CLAIR London)
  • Professor Tony Chapman, St Chad’s College, Durham University

The seminar will also provide an opportunity to network with industrialists in key Japanese firms in the region, including the new Hitachi plant in Newton Aycliffe.

The seminar is free to attend. Please register your attendance via: Janet Atkinson, Institute for Local Governance, Durham University Please note that we have limited places for this seminar so allocation will be made on a first-come first-served basis.

The Institute for Local Governance is a North East Research and Knowledge Exchange Partnership established in 2009 comprising the regions Universities, Local Authorities, Police and Fire and Rescue Services. Further information about the content of the event can be obtained by contacting:-


Assets or liabilities: the transfer of assets to community organisations in County Durham

fredrobinsonAssets or Liabilities DCC paper (FINAL 15 May 2015)Local councils, especially in the North East, are having a tough time. Funding from central government has been cut—and there are more cuts to come—and demand for services keeps rising. As a result, they have had to find ways to keep services going by being creative and doing things differently.

Over the past three years we’ve been working closely with Durham County Council on theAssets or Liabilities DCC paper (FINAL 15 May 2015ir asset transfer programme. The council has many community buildings, such as community centres, that it has been struggling to maintain. The council felt that the only way to ensure that they have a long term future is to encourage local groups to take on full responsibility for repairs and maintenance as well as management. These groups are able to access funding that the council can’t—and they are best placed to respond to local needs. But it is asking a lot of them.

Our job has been to work with council officers and other agencies to strengthen these local groups, help them think through what asset transfer would mean, and find ways of generating more income. Actually, our role has been to serve as go-betweens, building trust between these organisations and the council.

It’s been fascinating and it’s worked well. We’ve done a report on the whole experience—that’s available here. We came to the conclusion that asset transfer has really been about relationships, not just buildings. Building confidence and capacity takes a lot of time and careful negotiation. But we got there and we are hopeful that these centres will now have a long term future as a key local resource.

Durham County Council is now developing this approach further. Local communities are being asked to take on the running of other services in order to keep them going. We are working with the council on that, and will be evaluating the process and the results over the next two years. A Briefing paper on the process can be found here: Assets or Liabilities DCC paper (FINAL 15 May 2015)

Keeping things simple: Improving working arrangements between local authorities and the third sector in a tightening budgetary environment

keepingthingssimpleIn recent decades financial pressures on local authorities (LAs) has resulted in significant changes in the ways their services are provided through, for example, contracting out services, co-production, asset transfer, volunteering and establishing new types of organisation (such as social enterprises and mutuals).

Such developments have presented internal and external organisational, cultural and operational challenges for LAs when forging new relationships between commissioner, producer, and customer/citizen. Building on evidence-based hypotheses from previous academic and action research, this project will help LAs produce new solutions to increase the impact of social policy interventions.

The new two-year project, beginning in September 2015, will work with six local authorities in North East England to do this work, including: Darlington Borough Council, Durham County Council, Gateshead Council,, Northumberland County Council, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and Sunderland City Council.

The project, jointly funded by the ESRC and Institute for Local Governance will be undertaken by Professors John Mawson (ILG), Tony Chapman and Fred Robinson of St Chad’s College, Durham University.

The aim of the proposed programme of work is to assist LAs in navigating change in a complex political, social and economic environment which may demand fundamental change in the way that service delivery is conceptualised and effected.

To do this, LAs need to consider and embed new ‘ways of thinking’ about their working relationships with external organisations. Their ultimate purpose is to reduce the costs and improve the quality of services through new approaches to delivery whilst at the same time engaging more directly community organisations and citizens in the process.

The work will address six areas of policy and service delivery where impact can be achieved by 2019:

  • Transfer of community assets (achieving impact by increasing the number and quality of asset transfers of community centres, libraries, leisure centres, etc. so maintaining the continuity of service and facility in communities).
  • Commissioning and procurement (achieving impact by working with local government in designing processes which are more responsive to innovative delivery solutions thereby increasing the quality and outcomes arising from out sourcing decisions and thereby producing stronger social impact and best value for money investment in service delivery).
  • Mutualisation of council services (facilitating effective approaches to mutualisation by shared knowledge and experience amongst local authority participants and access to professional advice; impact to be measured by the number and economic value of ventures established and sustained).
  • Employee supported volunteering (raising awareness of the potential of ESVs for achieving community objectives in each LA; through co-production and collaborative working increasing levels and quality of ESV activity; and, exploring joint LA ventures in this domain. Impact can be measured by growth in ESV activity and proxy measures for economic value of such activity).
  • Assessing the impact of interventions (making good decisions on where measures of impact assessment should be employed: increasing the quality of economic and service quality impact assessment where needed and adopting other mechanisms to make good judgements on the social value of less measurable small-scale interventions)
  • Partnership working between LAs (impact to be assessed by showing where LAs have developed effective joint-working models as a result of the programme; co-produced economical shared innovation on service delivery and appraisal; where shared learning developed as a part of the programme has been implemented in practice).

The complete report and summary reports can be found here: Keeping it Simple (Summary Report) October 2014;

Building connections with Teikyo University in Durham and Tokyo

teikyoProfessor Tony Chapman and Dr Margaret Masson, Vice Principal of St Chad’s College, met up with Dr Itsuki Kitani who is visiting Durham’s Teikyo University campus this month.   Dr Kitani, an alumni of St Chad’s College and now a lecturer in the Department of Education and Culture, is helping to build links with academics in the University’s Department of Economics which is based in central Tokyo.

Professor Chapman will be making a return visit to Tokyo and Yamagata in March to continue research on social enterprise which has been running for several years with colleagues from Tohuko and Sanno Universities. A second purpose of the trip is to explore patterns of investment in the UK from Japan and consequent return investment of British firms in Japan. This will include meetings with academics at Teikyo University and with senior officials at the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan and the UKTI team at the British Embassy in Tokyo.

A seminar for the Institute for Local Governance on inward investment of Japanese firms in North East England, which will be held at Teikyo University here in Durham in July, will be informed by the study visit together with a scoping study in North East England with local authorities, Japanese and UK businesses.