Cardinal Ravasi's commencing of the Residential Research Library
His Eminence Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, cut the ribbon to commence Durham University's Residential Research Library (RRL) at Ushaw College on Tuesday 1 May 2018.
Accompanied by Bishop Paul Tighe, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, the northern Catholic Bishops and the Trustees of Ushaw College, the Cardinal was invited to deliver the Bishop Kevin Dunn Memorial Lecture on 'Universities as Places of Encounter Between Faith and Culture' (audio available here) as part of a conference celebrating the 450th Anniversary of the founding of the English College at Douai.
During his stay, the Cardinal enjoyed a visit to the Palace Green UNESCO World Heritage Site and shared in a private tour of Durham Cathedral with the Dean, the Very Revd Andrew Tremlett.
The Dean said: "This occasion marks a bright future for researchers in Durham, and continues a centuries-old tradition of scholarship and spirituality in this city. It was a privilege to welcome His Eminence Cardinal Ravasi to Durham and our Cathedral, and reinforce the Cathedral’s strong relationship with the University and Ushaw College."
The group was also welcomed to Palace Green Library by Durham University's Vice-Chancellor and Warden, Professor Stuart Corbridge, where a display of three Priory Library Books – one held by each of the institutions partnering in the Residential Research Library – was presented by Dr Richard Higgins in the splendid surroundings of the 17th century Bishop Cosin's Library.
Professor Corbridge said, “It was an honour to welcome His Eminence Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi to Durham and to see his deep interest in the work of the University and its growing relationship with Ushaw College. The University recognises the global significance of Ushaw and its collections and is committed to ensuring the success of the Residential Research Library as the College embarks upon this new chapter in its 450-year history.”
The only one of its kind in the UK, the RRL will enable and foster research across the three historic collections of Durham – those held by Durham Cathedral, Ushaw College, and Durham University, including Palace Green Library and the Oriental Museum.
They include not only globally significant libraries, but also archives, collections of visual and material culture, and architectural assets. Visiting researchers will be able to reside at Ushaw College, a 200-year-old establishment and, as well as using the library resources, contribute to a growing public engagement programme, including public lectures, cultural events and learning opportunities.
Archbishop of Liverpool Malcolm McMahon, Chair of the Trustees of Ushaw College, commented, “To have His Eminence Cardinal Ravasi attend the celebrations marking the College’s 450th anniversary underlines the importance of the College and its predecessor in Douai to the story of Catholicism in these isles and, indeed, further afield. The Residential Research Library shows how the pioneering spirit of the English College at Douai is again being adapted for the 21st century as the Catholic Church and Durham University work together in this new venture.”