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Durham University

Durham University News


Celebrating world class arts and humanities

(2 July 2019)

Performances from a poet, a playwright and a musician were part of our annual research showcase for arts and humanities at Durham, a subject area ranked in the world top 30.

Poetry, drama and music

Kayo Chingonyi, who teaches on our creative writing MA, read the title poem in his collection Kumukanda, which translates as ‘initiation’. He compares the traditional coming of age rituals of the Luvale tribe of North Western Zambia with his own experience of growing up in the UK.

Abir Hamdar, who specialises in Arabic Studies, read a passage from her play Wasafuli al-Sabr (I am Waiting for You). Based on interviews with female cancer patients from across the Arab world, Abir’s play is the first dramatic work to focus on Arab women’s experiences of cancer.

Musicologist Hector Sequera reconstructs incomplete Renaissance vocal music from lute sources. He played an excerpt of a William Byrd consort song on his lute from the original lute manuscript, and then a recording of the same piece reconstructed for viol consort and voice. Hector uses computational methods to bring these long-lost repertoires back to life.

Innovation and creativity

The performances epitomised the vibrant and innovative culture of our Faculty of Arts and Humanities. This was also evident in the accompanying departmental exhibitions, featuring a wide variety of projects from the portrayal of Islam on campus, to Plato and Greek Comedy, to the history of petitioning the UK Parliament.

Researchers also showed how they are working creatively with other disciplines. Examples include Team Pigment, a group of medieval historians and chemists who are analysing the colours used in medieval manuscripts, and Life of Breath, a major collaboration between arts, humanities and medical practice.

Global recognition

The quality of arts and humanities subjects at Durham is recognised globally – Theology and Religion is ranked fifth in the QS World University Subject Rankings, with the faculty as a whole is ranked 30th in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Find out more:

See Kayo Chingonyi reading from Kumukanda here and find out about our creative writing MA here . Dr Abir Hamdar’s play is part of her project Performing Cancer in the Middle East and Dr Hector Sequera lectures in music performance.

Information about studying with our faculty for undergraduate students, postgraduate students and international students.


Further information about our Faculty of Arts and Humanities is available here.



Events at Durham University

Check out our new What's On guide to keep up-to-date with dance, drama, lectures, exhibitions, family activities and much more.