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Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Faculty News

School of Modern Languages and Cultures: MLaC Student of Russian appears on Russian TV News (Channel 1)

Our student Alex Haigh, who is spending his year abroad in the Kostroma Region in Russia, has appeared on Russian national TV on Wednesday 14th November 2018. Titled “Russian at Heart”, the story about Alex, a young Englishman, who came to Kostroma to learn Russian and teach English is extremely sympathetic. The reportage was over 3 minutes long and was given a nationwide coverage.

(15 Nov 2018)

School of Modern Languages and Cultures: Conference support awarded by The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation

The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation has generously offered support for the forthcoming conference ' Modern Japan in the Comparative Imagination: Past, Present and Future'. The conference is being organised by Dr Adam Bronson [History] and Dr Fusako Innami [Modern Languages] and will take place in May 2019.

(15 Nov 2018)

School of Modern Languages and Cultures: MLAC Alumni return to Durham to inspire undergraduate and sixth-form students

On Wednesday, 7th November 2018 the fourth Back to the Future event took place, where five MLAC alumni returned to Durham to talk to undergraduates and sixth formers from local schools and colleges about their careers following the completion of their Modern Languages degree. It was an insightful and inspirational event which attendees found very useful, it made them realise just how many opportunities are open to linguists.

MADELEINE SHAW-ROBERTS: Maddy graduated in 2016. She has been working for almost a year and a half as an online Content Editor for Classic FM, which involves anything from filming videos with world-class pianists, to writing all-too-realistic articles about how Brexit is threatening the future of the U.K. classical music industry. She sometimes uses Italian, for interviewing classical music experts for podcasts and the occasional press trip to Italy.

JOSEPH TERRY: Joe graduated in 2013. He went on to do a Master’s in Interpreting and Translating at the University of Bath. Since then, he has worked as a freelance translator, interpreter and occasional reporter all over Europe, mainly in the world of football but also in cinema and the public-service sector. He recently joined one of UEFA’s partner companies, Blue Whale Global Media, which provides translation services for European football .

CLAIRE READ: Claire graduated in 2011. Having studied Arabic, French and Spanish, she completed a master's in journalism at City University, London and moved to Egypt. There, she joined BBC Arabic and lived in Cairo until late 2015, working as a news producer for the BBC's Arabic language television and radio services as well as reporting for the English language World Service radio and television. She is now based in London in the BBC's World Affairs Unit, as a defence and security producer.

HARRIET LORD: Harriet graduated in 2013. She is currently Head of Europe in the corporate intelligence department at S-RM in London. The team conducts research into companies and individuals internationally, in-vestigating issues including bribery and corruption, money laundering, fraud and organised crime. Harriet travels within Europe regularly on cases and has just spent three months in Cape Town, where some of the team is based. 

ISOBELLE BOLTT: Isobelle graduated in 2013, with a degree in French and History of Art . After graduation, she moved to Brittany and tried her hand at many different jobs before moving back to London in 2015 to work as an Account Manager at leadership consultancy YSC. Since 2017, she has worked as a Gallery Liaison for Artsy, an online platform for collecting and discovering art, employing her French skills to manage relationships with 30 art galleries based in France.employing her French skills to manage relationships with 30 art galleries based in France.

(15 Nov 2018)

School of Modern Languages and Cultures: Photographic Exhibition Honouring the Legacy of Prof Andrea Noble Opens in Mexico City

The prestigious Centro de la Imagen in central Mexico City has inaugurated a photographic exhibition heavily informed by the work of late Durham Professor Andrea Noble (School of Modern Languages and Cultures). 

The exhibition, entitled ‘Visualidades en conflicto’ ('Visualities in Conflict’), is the culmination of Andrea’s project 'Cold War Camera’ and one of the outcomes of the AHRC-funded network grant ‘Photography and the Transnational Politics of Affect’. The project explores the emotional power of photography to prompt political action and it also included a series of preparatory workshops with academics and photographers, led by Professor Noble. 

'Visualities in Conflict' showcases new work by young photographers Zahara Gómez (Spain/Argentina, 1983), Juan Orrantia (Colombia, 1975) and Mauricio Palos (Mexico, 1981) commissioned especially for this project. Their work is the result of archival research, workshops and fieldwork including interviews in Argentina, Guatemala, Colombia and Mexico between 2017 and 2018. This new work is shown alongside a project by Mexican photographer Rodrigo Morales, focusing on movements of emancipation and resistance against Latin American dictatorships. 

The exhibition opened on October 25th and will be on until the end of January 2019. The exhibition and the accompanying academic Symposium in honour of Andrea Noble that took place in September, are sponsored by the AHRC, Santander, Durham University, the Centro de la Imagen and Mexico government’s Secretariat of Culture. 

For more information, including opening times, please visit the Centro de la Imagen website here

(14 Nov 2018)

Theology and Religion: Vacancy for a PDRA on a research project on Catholic Sexual Abuse

Job vacancy: Postdoctoral Research Associate in Catholic Studies here at the Centre for Catholic Studies, Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University, UK. This is a three-year full-time position and the closing date is 12 noon on 10 December 2018. As a post-doctoral researcher, the candidate will develop and co-lead a research project entitled, ‘Boundary Breaking: Discerning the consequences and implications of the sex abuse crisis within the Roman Catholic Church’. This is a flagship research project specifically analysing the potential and – claimed – complicity of Catholic ecclesial self-understanding and wider Catholic cultural habitus in creating the circumstances in which Catholic clerical sexual abuse could be at once endemic, hidden, unthinkable, denied, and routinely mismanaged. More details, including how to apply

(13 Nov 2018)

School of Modern Languages and Cultures: New Publication: Professor Mike Gonzalez [Hispanic Studies] 'The Ebb of the Pink Tide: The Decline of the Left in Latin America'

Following the election of Hugo Chavez to the Venezuelan presidency, and the Cochabamba water wars, Latin American politics were radicalised and their governments populated with former activists and trade union leaders. In this book, renowned Latin Americanist Mike Gonzalez explores the course of the Left in Latin American politics.

In the last few years, Latin America’s Left have suffered many setbacks and reactionary challenges, which has led many to wonder if the ‘Pink Tide’ is on the wane. Gonzalez argues that whilst left-wing developments have been widely celebrated, less has been written to address the problems that have arisen. Through examination of the successes and failings of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Venezuela, Gonzalez is able to identify weaknesses and strengths and suggest possible future pathways for the Left in nations across Latin America.

Providing a critical but sympathetic analysis of the records of the left governments across the continent, Gonzalez offers a refreshing reflection on the prospects and future of Latin American politics, asking whether Chavez’s vision of twenty-first century socialism may ever be realised. Further details available here.

(6 Nov 2018)

Theology and Religion: CCS Member Hanna Lucas to give York Newman Circle talk

Monday 10 December 2018

Hanna Lucas (Centre for Catholic Studies, Durham University)

The Shepherd, the Thief, and Sacramental Knowing – Can Jesus’ ‘Good Shepherd’ Discourse and Sacramental Catechesis Answer Modern Questions of Knowledge?

7.30pm at the Bar Convent, Blossom Street, York. Tea and coffee will be available from 7pm. Members £1, non-members £2, students free. All welcome. For further information please contact Judith Smeaton on 01904 704525 or at More information about Newman Circle talks can be found here.

(5 Nov 2018)

Theology and Religion: Catholic Social Thought and Prostitution Project

The CCS is delighted to be working in partnership with women@thewell and the UK Centre for Catholic Social Thought and Practice on this exciting and groundbreaking project.

Across the globe 33 million women and girls are affected by prostitution. Whilst there are significant bodies of work in relation to Catholic social thought in areas related to prostitution, for example; trafficking and modern slavery, dignity of work, and family life, there has been very little done to explore prostitution with women affected by prostitution specifically within the context of catholic social thought.

The research will work across a number of areas including; trauma theory, feminist thought and a range of theological perspectives. It will include research with women affected by prostitution and with the practitioners who support them.

The project will run from October 2018 through to the summer of 2019 and aims to produce robust, research based resources to support the development of Catholic social thought in relation to prostitution.

(5 Nov 2018)

Music: Dr James Weeks nominated for British Composer Award

James Weeks’ work Libro di fiammelle e ombre (‘A book of little flames and shadows’) has been shortlisted for the 2018 British Composer Awards in the Chamber Music category. 

(1 Nov 2018) » Music: Dr James Weeks nominated for British Composer Award

Music: Philosophy of Improv: UG student reports on event

A two-day workshop exploring the philosophy of improvisation in music and other arts was held recently in Newcastle Arts Centre and the Literary and Philosophical Society. 
The event invited improvising musicians, plus practitioners from visual art, architecture, garden design and dance, to explore an ‘aesthetics of imperfection’, an alternative way of considering the value of spontaneous process over final product. It was hosted by Professor of Philosophy at Durham, and associated Music Department member, Andy Hamilton.

(30 Oct 2018) » Music: Philosophy of Improv: UG student reports on event

Music: Suppressing Musical Chills, Goosebumps and Shivers in Listeners

Durham music researchers Mr. Scott Bannister and Professor Tuomas Eerola today saw published a novel experiment that successfully manipulated and suppressed experiences of musical chills, goosebumps and shivers down the spine in listeners.

(29 Oct 2018) » Music: Suppressing Musical Chills, Goosebumps and Shivers in Listeners

Music: World Premiere of Stanford’s Mass ‘Via Victrix’

Saturday 27th October WORLD PREMIERE of Stanford’s Mass ‘Via Victrix 1914-1918’ by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Chorus + Soloists conducted by Adrian Partington.

Stanford’s Mass ‘Via Victrix’ will be given its world premiere performance in Cardiff. Only one movement of the Mass, the ‘Gloria’ was ever performed in Stanford’s lifetime and that was with organ, chorus and soloists under Stanford direction in the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge in 1920. For this performance the published vocal score by Boosey would have been used.

(24 Oct 2018) » Music: World Premiere of Stanford’s Mass ‘Via Victrix’

Music: Performance of Stanford’s ‘The Travelling Companion’

Friday, 30th November, Stanford’s last opera ‘The Travelling Companion’ will be given its first professional performances by new Sussex Opera in November and December. Professor Jeremy Dibble, who has been consulted about these performances, will give pre-performance talks about the work on Friday 30th November (before the performance in the Cadogan Hall) and on Sunday 1st December at the Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden. The opera is going to be recorded by SOMM Recordings.
More info at:

(24 Oct 2018)

Theology and Religion: Call for Papers: Anglican-Catholic Relations, 1569-the present

Northern Rising 1569 Anniversary Conference: From Rebellion to Reconciliation: Anglican-Catholic Relations from 1569 to the Present - Regional, National, and International Perspectives (17-19 September 2019 at Durham University, UK)

Call for papers

(23 Oct 2018)

Theology and Religion: Now available to listen to: talks from the conference marking the 450th anniversary of the founding of the English College at Douai

Click here for the conference report, pictures and audio-recordings, including:

  • Professor Eamon Duffy: “To Doe Our Countrie Good”: Douai, Rome, and the Tridentine Seminary
  • HE Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi: Universities as Places of Encounter Between Faith and Culture
  • Other talks on the past, present and future of Catholic education

(23 Oct 2018)

Theology and Religion: New course on Receptive Ecumenism

Embracing the Other is a resource for Receptive Ecumenism produced by a team served by Churches Together in England. It is free for anyone to use. It is intended for groups of people, perhaps from different church traditions. Click here for the course resources.

Receptive Ecumenism is a concept developed here at the Centre for Catholic Studies. Practising Receptive Ecumenism involves asking not "What do the other traditions first need to learn from us?" but "What do we need to learn from them?" The assumption is that if all were asking this question seriously and acting upon it then all would be moving in ways that would both deepen our authentic respective identities and draw us into more intimate relationship. More information about Receptive Ecumenism can be found here.

(23 Oct 2018)

Music: DURMS - First issue available

The Music & Science Lab group is pleased to announce the publication of our new journal, Durham Undergraduate Research in Music & Science (DURMS). The inaugural issue of DURMS features the excellent work of 15 of our undergraduate students, who have produced these articles using materials from their coursework for the Music and Science and Psychology of Music modules, or their final year dissertation projects.

(21 Oct 2018) » Music: DURMS - First issue available

Music: Spanish première: Rijnvos’ orchestration of Albéniz

On the 1st and 2nd of November 2018 the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias will perform Richard Rijnvos’ orchestration of Chants d’Espagne by Isaac Albéniz. It is the first time in Spain a professional symphony orchestra presents this orchestration from 2014 of the 5-movement piano suite, which the most important Spanish composer of his time wrote between 1891 and 1894.

(16 Oct 2018) » Music: Spanish première: Rijnvos’ orchestration of Albéniz

Classics: Congratulations to Dr Amy Russell

We are absolutely delighted to announce that Dr Amy Russell is one of this year’s recipients of a Philip Leverhulme Prize.

Philip Leverhulme Prizes recognise the achievement of outstanding researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising. Every year the prize scheme makes up to thirty awards of £100,000, across a range of academic disciplines, which this year includes Classics.

This very prestigious award reflects Amy’s all-round excellence and her stellar track record as a scholar, and it is a fantastic achievement for Amy to have received one.

Well done, Amy!

(16 Oct 2018)

Classics: Classics students sweep the board at Faculty Awards

Many congratulations to three of our students who have received awards from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities for Student Excellence!

Congratulations to Arved Kirschbaum for his outstanding contribution to the academic life of the department.

Congratulations to Esther Meijer on her exceptional progress in her doctoral research.

And congratulations to Archie MacCormack on his outstanding academic achievement.

Well done to all of you. We are so proud of you and feel very privileged to have you with us in the Department!

(16 Oct 2018)