We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Collingwood College

Collingwood In a Nutshell

Welcome to Collingwood College

It is hard to capture Collingwood life in words, but we hope that the information, messages, videos and photos on this webpage enable you to get a sense of what Collingwood is like.

Reflecting our motto, Aime le Meilleur (Love the Best), Collingwood encourages you to be the best you can be at whatever interests you. Collingwood students are ambitious, get involved and make great things happen: from Art to Zorbing, there are more than 70 sports teams and over 20 societies and committees to join.

Whether you’re a serious athlete, casual gym-goer or enthusiastic spectator, our floodlit pitch, extensive gym and fitness studio allow you to stay active and try something new, whatever your ability level. Team Collingwood just won the inter-collegiate sports trophy for the 9th consecutive year!

The arts are equally important; our music, theatre, tech and dance societies utilise our industry-standard music and recording studio and performing arts centre. Filmmakers, photographers and artists enjoy dedicated creative spaces, and our library is home to budding writers and thinkers.

Our culture is informal; you’ll find students chatting about their next volunteering initiative over coffee, dreaming up new College events whilst watching the football, or challenging the Principal to a game of table-tennis. Formal dinners - sometimes black tie, sometimes fancy dress - are big and bold (think fairground rides and silent discos). We end each year with Collingwood Day, a big music festival organised by The Stag’s Head where we come together to celebrate another great year.

Your personal development is at our core and we’ll help you to seize rare, life-changing opportunities: apply to our unique research internships, ever-expanding list of global opportunities, or pitch for funding for your innovative ideas.

Collingwood: The Basics

Left to right: Grant Slater (Assistant Principal), Emma Brownlow (Vice Principal), Joe Elliott (Principal)

Will Stobbs, JCR President

Collingwood is a very, very special place. After studying natural sciences for the last 3 years, I decided I was not ready to say goodbye to Durham just yet, so ran for JCR president 2020-21. Out of all the Durham colleges Collingwood is unique. Our facilities are unrivalled (from a 200 seat theatre to floodlit pitch and new JCR) yet Collingwood is much more than that: the people are what make Collingwood so amazing. Since first year I have worked on the college bar (called ‘The Stag’s Head’,) which in my opinion is by far the best bar in Durham! This has been an incredible part of my 3 years and allowed me to meet a huge range of people and get fully involved in college life. Over my time in Collingwood I have also been involved in organising formals (super fun 3 course dinners followed by a range of entertainments that we have 3 or 4 times per term) and Summer Balls, as well as being involved in finance committee and forming a new cooking and baking society! Before I came to Durham I was worried I wouldn’t fit in as I was from a very rural area and no one in my family had been to university, but I can honestly say coming to Collingwood was the best decision I have ever made! Collingwood is honestly great and there is something here for everyone. If you have any questions feel free to email me at

Theo Russell, Senior Fresher Rep

When I arrived at Collingwood, I knew I was going to make friends, join societies and work on my degree. What I hadn’t realised was that I would become part of an amazing community that cares for every single one of its members, building everyone up to be the best version of themselves! The welcoming atmosphere allowed me to join cheerleading and ultimate frisbee – societies I would never have thought of joining. You can do so many unique things and become anyone you want, when you are surrounded with such a diverse group of individuals and talents. Collingwood provides support like no other, and that is down to each wonderful member of the college who genuinely cares about your experience. I have no doubt that if you embrace it, Collingwood will leave its mark on you forever.

Drop me an email if you have any questions, at

Videos to watch

To get a better sense of the Collingwood facilities, including a detailed look at both types of accommodation we offer (standard bedrooms and en-suite bedrooms), check out the “Virtual Tour of College” video above, produced by our JCR. We are a single-site college and almost all of the college is accessible within the same building, rather than split up into blocks.

Collingwood has state-of-the-art facilities for all of the Collingwood community to enjoy (including when you might live out in your second, third/fourth years).

At Collingwood you will find:

  • A large JCR (social space) with pool tables, table tennis, table football, games consoles, film area and more
  • A theatre for all performing arts, equipped with industry standard sound and lighting (including a motorised rig) and flexible seating for up to 200
  • A film and media suite with state-of-the-art cameras and editing software
  • Extended, air-conditioned gym with weights and cardio sections
  • A studio space for fitness classes, dance and indoor rowing
  • A floodlit 3G rubber crumb multi-sports pitch
  • 2 cricket nets with bowling machine
  • Tennis and netball court
  • Fully refurbished “pub like” bar, The Stag’s Head, with bar conservatory and outdoor terrace
  • Coffee shop and toastie bar, The Wood’N’Spoon
  • Music rooms and a music recording studio
  • A dedicated art room
  • College library, with study space and small stock of core textbooks
  • Large college grounds, including the Meadow, with extensive landscaping
  • Reception and post collection area
  • Large communal dining hall (serving 3 meals per day, 7 days a week)
  • On-site laundry (open 24/7)
  • Staff offices (including Student Support) along the main corridor

Many of our facilities are managed by students elected to oversee them; so not only will you have the chance to enjoy the facilities, but you could also help to run them.

Corridors in accommodation blocks have small, shared pantries containing a fridge, kettle, sink, toaster and microwave for snacks outside of meal times.

Collingwood’s dedicated Student Support staff are available in offices on the main corridor. All students (livers-in and livers-out alike) are welcome to drop in to discuss any concerns, or simply have a chat. Where necessary, our student support team will be able to signpost to other specialised Durham University Support Services to provide additional support.

Collingwood’s student-led Welfare Team offer an anonymous peer-support system and in person drop-ins (they always have biscuits and hot drinks!) They also run important awareness campaigns about issues such as Consent, LGBTQ+ matters, Sexual Health, and Alcohol Awareness.

We have Porters on site 24/7, and out-of-hours they are the first port of call for students living in, should any emergencies arise.

The Hill Colleges' Chaplin runs regular drop in sessions at Collingwood and is available for any student, of any faith, or of no faith, for guidance and support.

There are many other events and activities at Collingwood to support student wellbeing and encourage a balance between work, rest and play. For example, craft sessions in the college library or yoga in the fitness studio. We are situated close to the Botanic Gardens, and a recent landscaping project means that there are many beautiful places in the college grounds to find some relaxation, pause and admire the flowers.

Collingwood aims to provide opportunities for all students to pursue extra-curricular activities and interests that are most meaningful to them. Whatever it is, we will support and encourage you.

In addition to the range of opportunities offered to students as part of our clubs and societies, or by taking up student leadership positions and part time jobs in the college, Collingwood offers a whole host of internships and opportunities thanks to the generosity of our alumni (graduates of the college). Over a number of years, we have built up an extensive programme of opportunities in both professional and academic domains.

Our flagship Undergraduate Research Internship Programme offers students the chance to work as a paid research assistant alongside world-leading academics at Durham University for 6-8 weeks of the summer vacation. Each year, our alumni and friends of the College offer a range of once-in-a-lifetime global internships and opportunities across many professional domains. Collingwood students are selected for these opportunities by a competitive application process. We have been able to offer some amazing internships in the past, including placements in Zambia as part of a HIV research study, a maritime security internship, shadowing with a Lord Justice, and experience on the set of a Hollywood movie!

To find out more, check out the internship highlights in the "spotlight reel below, watch some of the videos posted above, and take a look at our 2018 brochure, A Path Through The Wood, in which students share their experiences of our internships and funded opportunities.

Each term we open applications to a range of alumni-gifted Student Opportunities Funds. Students can apply for funding towards the costs of activities that enhance their development or employability, for example, funding to take part in volunteering initiatives, participate in sports training camps, music or skills workshops, or even take a show to Edinburgh Fringe. Our aim is to level the playing field. We believe that no Collingwood student should have to turn down a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop themselves simply because of financial concerns or barriers.

Throughout the year you can also attend a number of “Collingwood Connect” Sessions, where Collingwood alumni will speak openly about their careers, sharing their own advice and professional experience. These small group sessions take place in an informal setting, over refreshments and nibbles, so you really get the chance to have a meaningful discussion with our guests.

Formal dinners happen three or four times per term at Collingwood. We do not wear gowns; our formals are a mixture of black tie dinners or fancy dress (costume) themed events! They are whole college events, open not only to students who live in the college building, but also to the second, third and fourth years who live out of college. After dinner, we head down to The Stag’s Head and JCR for live music and entertainment. At some of the larger “megaformals” such as Winter Solstice and Spring Ball, expect fairground rides, silent discos, and more surprises!

Once a year we host a special formal dinner called The Invitation Formal. At this event, we are joined by guests from around the University, from our alumni body, and from the local community. Students and guests sit together throughout the meal enjoy and performances by Collingwood student musicians. It is a great occasion to celebrate our college community and for students to network with our guests.

Throughout the year, our student leaders arrange a whole host of events, including “BarFest”, open mic nights, music, dance and theatre performances, a Summer Ball, nights in Newcastle, and a weekly pub quiz! Of course, the societies and sports clubs you join will also have their own events and social calendar. At the end of the year, the whole college comes together for Collingwood Day, a huge on-site music festival organised by The Stag's Head and a student committee. Throughout the day you can expect a live music stage, a BBQ lunch, games and giant inflatables, student awards, hopefully sunshine, but certainly a lot of celebration at the end of another brilliant year in The Wood.

Sport is a large part of many Collingwood students' lives, whether they consider themselves as "sporty", or not. Team Collingwood have won the Durham University Inter-Collegiate Sports’ Championship for the past nine years in a row, and we don't plan to lose any time soon! The Championship Award is based on the total performance of women and men across a wide variety of sports, at all levels of proficiency. Importantly we also achieve the most points per student.

Our sporting success is underpinned by very high participation rates involving students ranging from novice to expert.We have over 70 teams, across 23 different sports. Collingwood College Football Club is the largest football club, amateur or professional, in Europe, in terms of the number of adult men's and women's teams! Whatever your level of proficiency, there are opportunities to participate in your preferred sport at a level that is just right for you, or try something brand new! See a full list of sports clubs and teams lower down on this page.

Whilst we enjoy celebrating the wins and trophies, College sport is about camaraderie, taking part, and having fun. You'll just as likely see us cheering when the pool team pots the white, someone scores an own goal, or the boat club accidentally capsize!

Casual and serious gym-goers will enjoy access to our extensive Mark Hillery Gym and Fitness Studio, and members are able to take part in a number of gym classes, including Zumba, circuit training and boxercise. Throughout exams and busy periods of academic life, we provide additional classes such as yoga and Pilates for relaxation. Elected student gym officers help to make sure the gym is welcoming to all, so if you'd like to see changes or even run a gym class of your own, all you have to do is raise your hand.

In 2020 the following Collingwood Teams were Premiership Champions...

Netball A (100% win record)
Women's Squash A (100% win record)
Men's Squash A (100% win record)
Women's Football A (100% win record)
Mixed Lacrosse A (100% win record)
Table Tennis A (100% win record)
Women's Hockey A (100% win record)
Indoor Cricket A (100% win record)
Men's Rugby Union A
Men's Hockey A

The Men's Football Premier Division Championship was undetermined, although Collingwood A were leading before lockdown. Overall, six of our sports teams were promoted to higher divisions. Men's Football A and Men's Rugby Union A reached the Floodlit Cup Final, which went unplayed due to Covid-19.

A high proportion of Durham University elite athletes, many of whom also take part in college sport, are members of Collingwood.

The Arts scene is flourishing at Collingwood. Each year, we are wowed by performances and showcases by our theatre, dance and music societies. Our purpose built theatre, The Mark Hillery Arts Centre, is entirely flexible and equipped with industry standard lighting and sound equipment, so thanks to the wonderful student tech team, our shows always impress! Check out the spotlights on theatre and tech in the spotlight reel below for more details.


Our resident theatre company, Woodplayers, put on a number of productions each year, including an annual musical. They are an inclusive society, so you can get involved even if you have never acted before. This year, Woodplayers’ production of Chicago received many five star reviews!

If treading the boards is not for you, then you can contribute behind the scenes as a producer, director, stylist, choreographer, treasurer or even helping to sell tickets on the door! Many of our students also get involved in Durham Student Theatre; but the beauty of the college system is that you can be involved at both a college level and a University level – whatever works for you.


In music too, you can get involved at both a college level and University level. Collingwood College Music Society is made up of a range of groups and ensembles including chamber orchestra, a jazz and swing band and Collingwood Voices, an inclusive and non-auditioning choir. Groups and soloists alike shine in termly performances and at our College formal dinners. Anyone can take part in our Open Mic Nights, and CCMS organise informal evenings of music downstairs in the JCR, called Stag Sessions. CCMS team up with Woodplayers for an annual Musical Showcase, featuring hits from Broadway and the West End.

Collingwood excels particularly in contemporary music and student bands – many of the biggest names in the Durham student music scene originate from Collingwood and keep the crowds entertained College Days and big events!

The main corridors are often filled with the sound of students practising on one of the pianos around the college. Musicians of all levels benefit from access to our music rooms, rehearsal space, and a recording studio. Next year we will start work on a brand new, £2 million recording studio, designed by some of the leading acousticians in the country!


Despite being one of Collingwood’s youngest societies, the Collingwood College Dance Society is constantly growing. They are an inclusive society, so you can start from scratch. Experienced students teach lessons in contemporary, jazz, ballet and tap for both beginner and advanced levels in our very own dance studio. At the end of each term, CCDS display their progress (and their increasing number of members!) with a showcase in the theatre – the most recent was Disney themed!


Our student tech crew is one of most experienced and advanced in Durham University. The tech team rig up the sound and lighting for college events and productions, and using their many tech gadgets (including lasers, an LED video wall, and two snow machines), they have treated us to some truly breath-taking displays. At the end of the year, the tech team help us to pull off the festival vibe at Collingwood Day with a fully decked out stage, and usually some pyrotechnics! Don’t worry if you have never even plugged in a mic before, they a number of workshops throughout the year so you can learn.

Art, Poetry and Creative Writing

We have a thriving community of artists, poets and creatives at Collingwood. The recently formed art society benefit from a dedicated and private art room, equipped with art essentials. Our college library provides a hub for poets, writers and journalists. We proudly exhibit student artwork around College and run annual creative competitions.

Media – Film and Photography

Budding film-makers and photographers enjoy a dedicated media suite with state-of-the-art cameras, filming equipment and editing software. Collingwood lead the way in this domain: many of our students record and edit Durham University films, like the launch video for this very Virtual Visit Month! Check out the spotlight on film and photography in the spotlight reel below for more details. We draw on our connections and alumni networks to support students who wish to pursue careers in film and media, and we have previously been able to offer placements working on Hollywood film sets!

Many of our students volunteer with University wide projects through Durham Student Volunteering. However we also have a number of volunteering projects at Collingwood and this area of Collingwood life is growing.

C5 (The Collingwood College Community Challenge Cup) is a donor-funded football tournament for young people in the North East and County Durham, hosted on our very own floodlit sports pitch. The aim is to provide an amazing tournament (complete with trophies, medals, lunches and special guests) for young people who may not otherwise get the chance to play or use facilities like ours. It also gives them a chance to catch a glimpse of university life, and encourages them to consider further study. The project is run entirely by Collingwood students, from the project leaders to the refs, with support from college staff.

We encourage our sports clubs and societies to think of ways in which they can make a difference to the lives of others:

  • Collingwood College Music Society run their own schools outreach project, teaching music lessons in a local primary school. CCMS’s annual Night at the Proms has a charitable focus.
  • GreenSoc run events such as clothes swaps and beach cleans.
  • In the last two years, the men and women of Collingwood’s Football Club have raised almost £20,000 for charity through two incredible 24-hour matches played on our pitch, and two charity dinners. The Football Club also have a coaching academy programme with local team, Spennymoor FC.
  • Our annual Collingwood Charity Fashion Show supports CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young).
  • As part of the Out Of The Shadow project, students involved in WoodArt and our Library work with a local women's refuge centre to produce shared artwork exploring the impact of domestic abuse and showcase this at a Collingwood exhibition to raise money for the centre. Out Of The Shadow was named the best "Cultual Volunteering Project" in Durham University's Volunteering Awards 2020.
  • Many of our students have been awarded funding from our Student Opportunities Funds to kick-start new volunteering initiatives, including a programme taking debating into schools in the North East.

Our new Changemakers programme will offer groups of Collingwood students the chance to make a difference to others locally in the North East, but also around the world: contributing not just their time and hands, but their minds and ideas to support others trying to bring about change in their own communities.

Although most of your learning will take place in your departments and no teaching takes place at Durham Colleges, they are multi-disciplinary communities that play an important role in your academic and intellectual development.

At Collingwood, our student-run library plays a key role here. Not only does our library offer a peaceful place to study and hold a small stock of core textbooks, but our student librarians arrange a host of academic skills workshops and study groups, as well as some really thought-provoking events that encourage you to explore perspectives different from your own. For example, Big Ideas on Screen events use an excerpt of a popular film, TV show or documentary to kick start an open and honest conversation (usually over refreshments and nibbles!) about issues, ideas or moral conundrums. Previous events have explored topics of socialised medicine, domestic violence, the rise of veganism and the stigmas of body modification. The best part is, you do not have to be an expert (or even know anything about the topic) to join in!


Badminton: 2 men’s teams, 2 women’s teams, 2 mixed teams
Basketball: 3 men’s team, 1 women’s team
Boat Club
Cricket: 2 men’s indoor teams, 1 men’s outdoor team
Football: 14 men’s teams, 2 women’s teams
Futsal: 3 men’s teams
Golf (new for academic year 20-21)
Hockey: 2 men’s teams, 1 women’s team
Indoor Rowing
Mixed Lacrosse: 3 mixed teams
Netball: 7 women’s teams
Palatinalps (Snow Sports)
Rounders: 1 mixed team
Rugby: 2 men’s teams, 2 women’s teams
Squash: 4 men’s teams, 3 women’s teams
Table Tennis: 2 mixed teams
Tennis: 1 mixed team
Ultimate Frisbee: 2 mixed teams
Volleyball: 1 mixed team


Charity Fashion Show | Cooking and Baking Society | Volunteering | Woodplayers (Theatre) | CCMS (Music Society) | CCDS (Dance) | Gaming Society | Woodword (Student Journalism) | Film, Photography & Media | Christian Union | Casual Debate Society | WoodArt | Ripped Off Society | Green Society


Services (Coffee Shop) | Welfare | Environmental | Finance | Durham Student’s Union | Tech Committee | Associations (People of Colour, LGBTQ+, Mature Students) | Bar Committee | Events Committee

Something missing? Start your own club/society/committee with help from the JCR!

A Path Through The Wood

This 2018 brochure contains reports and stories from students who have beneffited from alumni-donated Student Opportunities Funds and who were selected for some of our once-in-a-lifetime internships and opportunities.