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Durham University

Art Collection

Past Events

Norman Cornish: The Sketchbooks

16th November 2019 to 23rd February 2020
Dennyson Stoddart Gallery, Palace Green Library

For the renowned north-eastern artist Norman Cornish MBE (1919-2014), sketching was second nature and an inherent part of his everyday life. This exhibition of little seen sketchbooks will present a new dimension to the artist’s practice, focusing on his observations of life, landscapes, and family, revealing the inner artistic processes behind some of his most iconic works.

This exhibition is supported by funding from Durham County Council and Arts Council England.

Ticket Prices:

Adults: £2

Children (5 - 16) and concessions*: £1

Infants (under 5): Free

Carers: Free

Durham University staff and students: Free

Groups of 9 or more: £1 per person

* The concessionary rate is for those below the age of 16 and over 60. This rate also applies to members of the following: Non-Durham University students; International Congress of Museums (ICOM); Museums Association (MA)

Contact for more information about this event.

Summer in the City Festival (SITC)

June 2019

Summer in the City Festival is taking over Durham this June, celebrating the best of the city’s theatre, music and art. Throughout June, Durham will be packed full of creative events for everyone to enjoy. Durham University, Durham County Council and regional artists bring you a dynamic programme of events to celebrate the cultural life of Durham and showcases the best theatre, musical concerts and art projects Durham has on offer.


Durham is packed with theatre this June with everything from Shakespeare to New writing, Musicals to Opera, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Our highlights include:

  • The Tempest (26th June) in the Gala Theatre
  • The Spare Room (18th - 20th June) hosting productions from the Durham theatre community, as well as some Durham Student Theatre works.
  • Love Labour's Lost (22nd - 2rd June) outside summer Shakespeare in Durham Castle grounds.
  • Iolanthe (22nd - 23rd June) Gilbert and Sullivan’s whimsical outdoor opera.


  • Music events are taking place across the city in venues ranging from Durham Cathedral to the Old Cinema Launderette, there are so many things to look forward to.
  • From Jazz ( 7- 9, 13, 20 June), to Orchestral Performances (8, 10, 14, 16, 21 and 22 June) and many Choral events too (8 , 10, 15). If you like film music, then there are two concerts to particularly look out for, Stage and Screen Act 1 in the Cathedral (8 June) and Act 2in the Gala Theatre (10 June).


Summer in the City’s art programme is a platform for visual arts across the city in June, taking place in the city’s museums, public spaces, community spaces and colleges. The programme comprises exhibitions, tours, film screenings, workshops and talks for all ages, featuring international, national and regional artists. The majority of the arts programme is free to attend. Highlights include;

Chris Younger, The Clearing, pop up exhibition.

Art Durham

4 – 24 June 2018

A new visual arts festival for Durham City, and a collaborative project created by Durham County Council (DCC) and Durham University (DU). The festival will feature a wide range of visual arts activity appealing to a variety of audiences from families to students and arts professionals. In 2018 the programme featured The Bailey Gallery art tours, new exhibitions, student exhibitions, artist workshops and an art market.

In Art Durham 2018 we:

  • Worked with, or exhibited, over 80 artists
  • Had over 3000 visitors
  • Held events in 14 venues
  • Facilitated 13 artist events
  • Curated 6 new exhibitions, 3 featuring Durham University collections
  • Worked with 20 student volunteers
  • Worked with 5 student curators

Draw Durham

26 & 27 August 2017

Taking place at locations across the city, Draw Durham presented a family-friendly interactive trail of drawing activities led by artists to inspire creativity, whilst visitors explored the city. ‘Drawing Stations’ were set up at 6 locations (Oriental Museum, Palace Green, Wharton Park, Market Place, Prince Bishops shopping centre and the old Tourist Information Centre at the Gala), each hosting an artist run workshop. Visitors travelled between stations with the help of a free map, commissioned from locally based artist, Morsky.

Fay Pomerance, The Sphere of Redemption series, 1949-1965, Courtesy the artist's estate

Fay Pomerance: Redemption

4 August – 24 September 2017

Ushaw College

An exhibition of work from Durham University’s art collections, by British Jewish artist Fay Pomerance (1912-2001). Pomerance stood apart from the mainstream of post-war British art. Throughout her life the artist experienced spiritual visions, which informed her dreamlike iconography and complex narratives. Building on the work of nineteenth-century visionaries such as William Blake, her unique style foreshadowed the flowing imagery of 1960s psychedelia. Pomerance’s mystical faith was a central to her work, and this exhibition explores her response to questions of evil and redemption.

The Bailey Gallery

5 – 16 June 2017

Led by a student guide, The Bailey Gallery presents a unique opportunity to experience the University’s art collections by visiting four of Durham’s oldest Colleges, Hatfield, St Chad’s, St John’s and St Cuthbert’s Society while providing a behind-the-scenes insight into College buildings and traditions.

Stephen Gill, Infra-Ordinaire series, Copyright the artist, Courtesy of the artist and mima.

Stephen Gill

Infra ordinaire

1 June – 14 July 2017

On display at Department of Geography, Durham University
Lower Mountjoy, South Rd, Durham DH1 3LE. Pick up further information on reception.

This display in Durham University’s Geography Department is part of a long-term project by photographer Stephen Gill documenting a specific space in Port Clarence, an area of disused land on the north bank of the River Tees in Middlesbrough. By revisiting the site on a regular basis Gill’s approach to picture making investigates ideas of Georges Perec’s ‘infra ordinaire’ to describe an everyday that is neither ordinary nor extraordinary, neither banal nor exotic.

The project has been supported by Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima) and the Impact Support Fund, Department of Geography, Durham University.

Eric Gill, Calvary, Five Stalks of Leaves, and Ship 1915

Opening the Door: Discovering Durham University’s Western Art Collection

30 September – 6 November 2016

Oriental Museum

This exhibition featured prints by artists such as Picasso, Andy Warhol, Elizabeth Frink, Eric Gill and Paula Rego. Durham University is home to a significant collection of twentieth and twenty first century western art. With no permanent gallery space, a new series of exhibitions and events are being planned to increase access to and engage with the collection across the university. The exhibition was part of the International Print Biennale taking place at venues across the region and will investigate different printing methods