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Institute of Advanced Study

Welcome to the Institute of Advanced Study

Transforming The Way We Think

The Institute of Advanced Study is a prestigious, ideas-based Institute with global reach. We bring together world-leading researchers from all disciplines to work with Durham colleagues on collaborative projects of major intellectual, scientific, political and practical significance. At least twenty visiting IAS Fellows join us in Durham each year to work with Durham scholars to spark new investigations, set tomorrow's agenda and participate in a varied programme of activities.

Each year, the IAS supports four ambitious interdisciplinary projects tackling major research questions. Leading researchers from around the globe join Durham colleagues in collaborative teams to develop ground-breaking ideas, explore interdisciplinary synergies and develop new programmes of research.

The Institute also serves as a top-level forum, enabling key-decision makers and experts to discuss pressing policy problems in an intellectually stimulating and unrestricted manner. We put on a wide range of public lectures and other events. There are also opportunities for postgraduates and other early career researchers to get involved.

The IAS aims to build research capacity, realise potential, and meet the challenges of a changing world. There are many ways to participate in the life and work of the institute. We warmly welcome your involvement.

IAS Fellow's Seminar - The structures of story: history, storytelling, utility and form

9th October 2017, 13:00 to 14:00, IAS Seminar Room, Palace Green, Dr Tom Murray (Macquarie University, Australia)


One of the most famous Australian Indigenous biographies is that of Bennelong (c1764 – 1813). A man of the Wangal clan of the Eora Nations of Sydney who visited England with Governor Philip from 1792-5 and was said to have met King George III. After Bennelong’s return from England his story is marked by personal dissolution and alcoholism; a narrative used to illustrate the tragic incompatibility of colonial and Indigenous society. It is a story that has been played out numerous times with respect to other famous Indigenous men.

The major problem being: it is not true. It wasn’t for Bennelong, and it wasn’t for countless other Indigenous men that it has been applied to. This seminar reflects on the structures of story, in this case tragedy, and ponders how genre conventions and the political utility of certain forms of story continue to shape popular histories.

Places are limited at these lunchtime seminars and so any academic colleagues interested in attending, should contact the Institute in advance to reserve a place.

Contact for more information about this event.