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Durham: no ordinary county

The University is one of three founding partners in Durham’s City of Culture 2025 bid, with Durham County Council and Culture Durham. Our Executive Dean for Arts and Humanities, Professor Janet Stewart, outlines the significance of the bid, why the University is lending its support, and what the title would bring to Durham City and County.

Why is the bid significant for Durham?

It’s a tremendous opportunity to raise the profile of the city, county and region.

The UK Government announces a City of Culture once every four years. It brings enormous benefits to the winner: attracting investment, creating jobs and encouraging tourism, as well as a sense of local pride.  

Why is the University one of three founding partners?

The University has an important place in the City and County. We’re a major employer and we play an extensive role in cultural events, research, teaching and partnerships. We’re also custodians of a number of attractions, such as our Oriental Museum, Palace Green Library and our Museum of Archaeology, home to some impressive, diverse and globally significant collections. 

What does Durham University bring to the bid as a founding partner?

We’re a World Top 100 University, with a notable strength in Arts and Humanities (World Top 30).  Our staff, students and graduates have a diversity of expertise, experience and skills and networks in the cultural and heritage sector. And we bring a strong record of world-leading research in areas important to realising the ambition of the bid, such as sustainability, health and wellbeing, space science and data science.

As well as our cultural attractions, we’re also joint custodians of the Durham World Heritage site, which includes Durham Castle. Our extensive international networks extend to partners such as the iconic Palace Museum, Beijing.

What new opportunities will City of Culture 2025 bring?

As well as enabling an extensive programme of exciting cultural and heritage events and activities, winning City of Culture would open the way for a wider range of projects to take place, to the benefit of everybody who lives, works and studies in the City and County, building on the recent success of projects such as Street Museum, a collaboration between Durham University and East Durham Creates.

The University is well placed to be a founding partner in an experimental Social Justice Lab,  that will bring together researchers, third sector partners, including community organisations, local government, corporate partners, faith communities and representatives of minority groups to ensure that the bid delivers on its promise to address Durham’s current state as a County of unequal opportunity.

The University would develop collaborative research programmes across a range of areas, attracting more research and development funding to the region. It will also be a major partner in the delivery of new education programmes and skills training in creativity, culture and heritage that stand at the heart of the bid, from early years provision to postgraduate and professional training. New opportunities will include more apprenticeships and internships in our cultural and heritage attractions and the wider sector.

The City of Culture programme will also offer many opportunities to expand the University’s volunteering programme across the County, already well established with our students and staff.

Find out more:

Our support for the Durham 2025 bid

To submit ideas and leave messages of support, visit Durham 2025, No Ordinary County. – UK City of Culture Bid or follow the Durham 2025 social media

Our world leading research Research and Business - Durham University  and our visitor attractions Visitor Attractions - Durham University

Check out the Street Museum project with East Durham Creates

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