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

St Cuthbert's Society


St Cuthbert’s is a large multi-disciplinary scholarly community of 1200 students: over 200 of these are postgraduates, many from overseas. The Senior Common Room (SCR) has over 200 members from university departments and also from the professional world and the local community, including alumni; their work and interests span a very wide range, including archaeology, modern languages, Old Norse, mathematics, astronomy, psychology, education, business, policing and prisons. As part of the University’s Research Strategy, colleges play an increasing role in the support of research activities and in linking research with education. The Principal, Elizabeth Archibald, is also a Professor in the Department of English Studies. She is responsible for the development of research activities in the college, with the support from the Deputy Principal, the SCR Committee and the Postgraduate Representative of the JCR.

The Principal

Professor Elizabeth Archibald is a medievalist who works both on comparative literature and on social and cultural history; her current project is on baths and bathing in the Middle Ages. She has published widely on the Arthurian legend, and is President of the British Branch of the International Arthurian Society. She is a member of the University’s Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, the Centre for Medical Humanities, and the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing, and is working with them on research events at Cuth’s also open to the wider university community.

Institute of Advanced Study

Each Michelmas term, Cuth’s hosts a visiting Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS), who lives in the college and engages both formally and informally in our research activities. For the 2018-19 Michaelmas term, we will be joined by Professor David Sutton, who is Professor of Anthropology at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, where he has taught since 1999. During his stay at Durham and Cuth's, Professor Sutton will be continuing a recent project that has grown out of his interest in the diverse meanings of food in Greece. This project considers how food discourses and food practices have been mobilized to address social insecurities created by the Greek crisis and subsequent EU-imposed austerity programs. Professor Sutton will be giving a public lecture on 'Rethinking Commensality: The Sensory Politics of Eating Together in Contemporary Times' on 13th November 2018, 18:15 to 19:15, in the Dining Hall of St Cuthbert's Society.

Postgraduate Research Fora

The JCR Postgraduate Committee organises regular research talks by current postgraduates and members of the SCR throughout the year. These talks are an ideal opportunity for Cuth's postgraduates to present their current research in an informal and relaxed setting, and this opportunity has often been extended to undergraduate finalists.The research fora are open to all members of St. Cuthbert's Society and past topics have included King Arthur, Molière, galaxy formation, string theory, Austrian novels, philosophy of science, plant science, and landslides.These informal sessions allow research students to practice presenting their projects to non-specialists; students discover what SCR members work on; undergraduates gain a better understanding of what research involves; and the whole community benefits from interdisciplinary discussion.