Ustinov Global Citizenship Programme

Ustinovians do European Languages Day at Hill View Infants Academy

26 September 2017

Francesca Luchi, ERASMUS student, MSc Management

On 26th September I and a fellow Ustinovian, Rumy from Indonesia, student travelled to Sunderland to celebrate European Languages Day with primary school children at Hill View Infant Academy.  It was an amazing experience. I am Italian, and was able to teach the kids several Italian words to the kids – greetings, numbers and colours – and showed them pictures from my region, and famous monuments of Italy. The kids were very curious and asked me lots of questions. They were particularly fascinated by the tradition of the Palio, a famous horse race that take place in my home town Siena twice every year. I also played videos in Italian to them as an enjoyable way of learning foreign languages. We talked about different subjects such as food, traditions, places, tourism, geography, weather and so on. The kids were all from British families and had not had many international or multicultural experiences according to their teacher.  I hope that they will remember not only the few words Italian they learnt, but the value of knowing different cultures and meeting people that come from other parts of the world.

Rumaisah Azizah (Rumy), Indonesia

It was really great to take part in this cultural exchange the primary school students! They were so enthusiastic about meeting new people from different backgrounds and countries, and they asked me many questions about what my country is like, and wanted to learn words from my language. They looked at pictures of my Indonesia and learnt how to make simple conversation, asking about common words around family, colours, numbers even animals. For me, it was a great experience meeting them – they were really nice, telling me where to travel and great places to visit in UK. The visit taught me how to communicate with primary school students, and it really enhanced my English since they are so fluent. Thank you for giving me opportunity to meet them and to sort of promote my country!

Karen Ridley, Teacher, Hill View Infants Academy

Languages Day was a very busy day this year with all children in school participating at some level. All pupils chose a country and came dressed in the colours of that flag. Many brought in books and work from home too about that country. As we were successful in having students outside of Europe too from Ustinov College, Durham University we decided to have a general languages day rather than just focus on Europe.

We were very lucky having Francesca from Italy to come and talk to Year 2 pupils and also Rumy from Indonesia who worked with older pupils. Rumy had pictures of houses to show them which the children found fascinating, and she also taught the how to introduce themselves in Indonesian. Francesca had lots of photos of Italy and maps to show pupils and they thoroughly enjoyed learning about Venice with no roads. They all decided that they wanted to visit the beaches and by the end of the morning could count to 10 in Italian!

Reflections on the Darlington Corporation Road Primary School science outreach event – 11 July 2017

By Emine Gurbuz and Pen-Yuan Hsing

On 11th of July, the Ustinov Global Citizenship Programme (GCP) hosted students from Corporation Road Primary School in Darlington. As the first step of a larger engagement initiative with local schools, we aimed to introduce the students to the university and college life by having several activities in the university campus and at Ustinov College.

We had a full program from 9:00 to 14:00, including many activities like visiting the university library, Qas with university students about their experiences, a tour in a student college room, cultural performances, demonstration of science experiments, a creative writing workshop and a feedback session with the primary school students at the end. Through these activities, we hope that students could have a taste of academic and social life in university and the college. Based on the feedback we received, it was obvious that the students got inspired and most of them wished to be a university student in the future.

According to the teacher Ms Jenna Wade, many of these primary school students came from challenged backgrounds and had never considered, or been exposed to, the idea of a university education. But during the bus ride back to Darlington, they were all talking not just about what they’d like to do at university, but also how they’d like to get there!

As much as these school kids might have learned from this trip, we at Ustinov College also learned so much from them. Coming from over 100 different countries, many of us unfortunately spend our days within the College or our respective departments. This day was a wonderful chance for us to directly learn about local life and better appreciate the valuable diversity here in the north east of England.

As a member of Café Scientifique, personally, it was a very motivating and valuable experience for us to be able to interact with these students who have been very interested in the university life itself (e.g. where we live, what inspired us to study the certain subjects, how our lectures look like, what languages we speak, and how we socialize). And at the end, all the GCP members who contributed and the primary school students themselves had so much fun that they left the college with a big smile on their face!

We started preparing for this weeks before, beginning with an introduction by Dr Lorraine Coghill of the Durham University outreach team to the teacher Ms Jenna Wade from the school. Since this was the first time the GCP hosted an event specifically with primary school students, our wonderful member Vicky Meaby (who is a school teacher herself!) did a workshop with us to share her wisdom. In addition, Sarah and Ross of Culture Durham were extremely helpful in preparing a fun-filled tour of the Bill Bryson Library and the Palatine Centre.

Thanks to the genuine help of Jenna, Lorraine, and the contributions of many GCP members, Ustinov College staff, and many others in organizing the events, we could find the chance to have a great day with students and I am sure we have learned from them as much as they have learned from us!

Quotes from Primary School Students

Students shared what they most enjoyed about the visit and told us a wish they had for the future. Here are a few quotes depicting what the primary school students expressed.

“I want to be a University student.”
“The pictures we took at Ustinov College.”
“I really liked lunch because of all the performances and dancers.”
“I enjoyed meeting new friends.”
“My colour relates to nature because I saw a lot of nature around Uni. Also I met an Indonesian friend.”
“Going to the library.”
“Staying in University forever.”
“I wish to see Marcus again.”
“At Durham University we went to the dorms and the room was really small. It was interesting because you could decorate it.”
“Meeting Dan and Joyce. They are fun and cool. I will miss them.”
“Playing traditional music.”
“To be a Ustinov student.”
“One of my stars is for Diego and his guitar because he is really good with it. I think if he wanted to be a musician he would be a good one.”
“I really enjoyed the lecture hall. I love that I got the answers for my questions. I also liked when Alyssia gave some advice.”
“I also enjoyed the library. I got to look at the different books. One was about a 92 year old student.”
“Maybe they could make the dorms bigger.”
“Playing badminton with Jack and Tom.”
“Looking at the pictures and art.”

 

Stargazers of the World, Unite!

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By Diego Astorga De Ita

Have you ever wondered what those sparkly dots up there are?

Or rather, do you ever look at them?

There’s something to them. They charm us. They feature in poems and songs across the world. We dream of cruising through them. But still, when was the last time you looked at the stars?

A few weeks ago Café Scientifique teamed up with the Durham Astronomy Society to go stargazing. We met in Fisher House, and walked from there to the Durham Botanic Garden where we looked at the stars. Little by little people arrived, some alone, some with friends, quite a few families with kids. On the way, more people joined our group, and we walked through the darkness of the Botanic Garden together, towards the Garden’s café.

In the café, Dr. Jurgen Schmoll talked to us about something that has stuck in my mind ever since: electric light. Have you noticed how when the sun sets we’re flooded by electric lights? There is hardly darkness in the cities anymore. That’s a pity.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should go back to the dark ages and live by candlelight, but with the proliferation of blue electric lights, looking at the stars becomes nearly impossible without a telescope. When was the last time you saw the Milky Way, if you’ve ever seen it at all? I remember seeing the Milky Way four years ago, from a potato field in Peru. It is, I think, one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. It may sound corny, but it is true. And I had to go all the way to a Peruvian potato chacra to see it! (Granted, I might have seen it before, but that’s where it was etched into my memory). All because of our overwhelming electric lights. We turn them on and point them at the sky without even realising we’re doing it, and we use way more than we need. Our lights are polluting the night sky, and that is bad not only for stargazing, but also for our sleeping patterns, and for nocturnal animals.

Now, one of the reasons we met the day we did was because it was Earth Hour. On Earth Hour, at least theoretically, the people of the world turn off their lights for an hour to give the Earth a break, and to try and make others conscious of the mess we’re making with our energy consumption and uncontrolled illumination. This would be a perfect hour for stargazing, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately some of the nearby colleges forgot to turn off the security lights on the outside of their buildings (yes Collingwood, I’m talking to you). Still, thanks to the telescopes we could take a good look at the stars.

Maybe it sounds a bit boring, looking at the stars; but the stars are full of stories. Take the Seven Sisters, also known as the Pleiades; they’re that tiny cluster of stars that look a bit like a little pot or a pan. Only six stars are clearly seen by the naked eye, that’s because –unlike her siblings –the seventh sister loved a mortal man; as a result she gave up her light. Out of shame or out of love? Who knows.

When you look at them from a telescope you can see many more than seven stars. What stories lie there?

Aiming his bow at the Seven Sisters is the Orion Nebula. This hunter has been chasing the Pleiades for a few thousand years, and apparently he’ll continue to do so for the foreseeable future. As time passed, some stars set and others rose; and like Orion with his bow, we chased them with our telescopes. The night was cold and after a few hours some people started leaving. Jupiter was supposed to rise from behind the trees in the horizon, so some of us stayed to take a look. It was an interesting end to an interesting night: looking at Jupiter’s four Galilean moons –Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Calisto–, and seeing the same thing Galileo must have seen with his telescope all those centuries ago.

In the end, like Ernesto Cardenal would say: “We are the star seeing itself. / Born in its fire / and cooled to be able to think and see”.

So, why not turn off the electric lights every now and then and try and see the stars? Perhaps from Howlands Farm with all the lights in the parking lot, on the walkways, and on the buildings you might not see much.

But if you’re ever in a potato field at night…

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A Bombastic Beginning: Café Politique Scrutinises the Construction of Geographical Spaces

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by José Luis Mateos-González

On 11 October 2016, Café Politique kicked off the academic year hosting a multidisciplinary seminar examining discourses around the representation of geographical spaces within the British and European contexts. Under the title ‘Britain, Europe and the rest of it: Myths and Narratives’, the event propagated new ways of understanding statehood formation from the perspectives of the European Union’s Arctic policy, Victorian literature, and the debate around multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism and Brexit.

To begin with, the event – which was overwhelmingly successful, judging from its turnout –scholars from the Global Citizenship Programme at Ustinov College introduced their teams, activities and plans for the year.

Afterwards, Jarno Valimaki, a scholar from Café Politique and chair of yesterday’s session, introduced the three main speakers of the evening, which came from a myriad of research fields in the Social Sciences and Humanities: Michael Laiho, PhD candidate at Durham’s Geography department; Tom Spray, PhD candidate at Durham’s department of English studies; and Dr. Ipek Demir, assistant professor at the department of Sociology of the University of Leicester.

The first speaker, Michael Laiho, put forward an account of his own research, which scrutinises European territory in the context of the European Union’s Arctic policy. Arguing that political elites have long anticipated a call for Arctic environmental protection and resource extraction, Mr. Laiho asked the questions “why now?” and “why an EU Arctic policy?”. Using Foucauldian discourse analysis, he tried to answer these questions claiming that “carbon” as hydrocarbons and CO2 emissions is mythologised in EU policy to promote European interests offshore in the Arctic ocean.

The second speaker, Tom Spray, explored the relationship between Scandinavian literature and British national identity in the nineteenth century. His presentations considered two key literary figures of the nineteenth century Britain – Walter Scott and William Morris – and examined how their idealised models for British nationality were influenced by a cultural renaissance in northern Europe, as Scandinavia, Germany, and Britain rediscovered a Germanic past largely overlooked by academics of the seventeen-hundreds.

Finally, Dr. Ipek Damir, engaging in a conversation about how discourses favourable to the exit of the UK from the European Unions have framed Brexit as “taking the country back”, explored cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism against the current political backdrop. Moreover, she also discussed how the latter two intertwined with contemporary debates around race and difference. She argued that multiculturalism was never about purely recognising diversity; it was about questioning national homogeneity and allowing minority groups to make claims and participate as equal citizens.

Following Dr. Damir’s presentation, the chair took some questions from the ground. The audience engaged in a fascinating discussion on the issues covered by the presentations. A question regarding Dr. Damir’s presentation was particularly challenging, as it argued that class politics may hold the key to understanding the Brexit referendum result. Notwithstanding, Dr. Damir put forward polling data that showed that voting patterns varied across ethnic groups. From Café Politique, and based on the feedback we received, we are sure that the audience will want to engage in future events.

Do you want to know more about Café Politique? Contact us at ustinov.cafepol@durham.ac.uk

Sentence: A Work in Progress

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Alan O’Cain, Artist Exhibition at Ushaw College
(Article by James O’Neill, Café des Arts lead)

“If there was a means to picture my inner self, picture my thoughts and traumatised sensibilities, picture the suffocation caused by lack of freedom, then this is it” (subject to artist – 31.08.15)

The fragility and perseverance of humanity is most observable in the extremities of life, something usually un-confronted in Britain. On June 22nd, the Café des Arts organised a trip to Ushaw College to give postgraduate students and the public the chance to see the opening night of local artist Alan O’Cain’s most recent work. However, this was not the usual exhibition for a U.K. audience. Instead, attendees experienced a modern-day Shakespearean narrative of desolate tragedy tucked away in an unassuming collegiate chapel.

The evening began slowly, as people filtered through to a large and well-lit lounge within Ushaw. As-per-usual at these events, drinks were freely offered, and people began to sip wine and mingle with one another in a civilised fashion. This was, however, a fleeting moment of niceties, for as Alan began discussing the exhibition it soon became clear that it was created neither for nor from any courteous pleasantry.

The paintings originate from an ongoing collaboration between Alan and a British former banker who pled guilty to securities fraud in 2008 (which was backdropped by the world’s banking crisis). The anonymous subject of these paintings is currently in his sixties, and is serving a sixteen-year prison sentence in a United States jail. He is a university graduate, a father, a former art collector and previously a successful corporate banker, who has no opportunity for parole before serving a minimum sentence of fourteen years.

Alan’s project is to create a painting for every year his subject remains incarcerated. Each four-foot square work (interestingly, Andy Warhol’s preferred sized canvas) is inspired by the emotional and intellectual content of their correspondences. A single photograph taken of the subject and his wife in their beautiful garden, a symbol of the joy he once experienced, is repeated, again and again, in each year’s painting. This poignantly references both the inner-life of the inmate’s relationship to the external world and his fading place within this existence.

Alan completed his speech by playing an eight-minute-long cello recital of torturous and emotionally evocative sounds whilst he read out one letter by the inmate. In this letter the audience discerned both the complexity of the subject and his involvement in Alan’s work, referencing a recent example that he had seen: “Then there is the black. Is the space growing or shrinking? We must think positively because rather than a suffocating vacuum the space contains a hint of colour. That means life, surely.” A discernible mood of emotional unrest and unease was felt, and at this point we were taken into the chapel where the cello recital continued, enhancing an atmosphere of both heightened concentration and discomfort.

In his style the series draws comparison to Robert Rauschenberg’s work. You see a faint depiction of the subject fading into an often compartmentalised background, either neutral or colourful, roughly applied in broad strokes of unmodulated colour. The everyday types of multi-media incorporated upon the canvas (such as screws, hinges, zips) also pays homage to Rauschenberg in Alan’s simpler, perhaps more focused style:

Close-up of Year 1)

The cycle itself begins with a painting of two halves, connected by a zip in the centre of the panel. Already the subject is visible only faintly, a ghostly apparition compared to the strong outlines of his wife; faceless features serve to heighten the de-humanising process, accentuated by usually unseen-every-day objects placed externally to reference the interior-life ripped out externally. In the fourth year’s panel the tone turns to a sombre black. Here, the use of a bin liner wrapped around the subject’s face emphasises the sensation of his interior suffocation during a two-year state of intense depression wherein no letters or communication occurred.

Year 1)
Year 4)

Alan manages to create with this evocative exhibition a real sense of emotional desolation, depression and imprisonment. Fortunately for us, the exit was ready for when we wished to withdraw. Unlike the subject of this painting cycle we were, thankfully, not trapped in this unsettling world, but free to depart and enjoy normality once again. For those who would like to visit and experience this exhibition themselves, however, it is on until August 31st.

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Siobhan Charts a Year of Café des Arts

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By Siobhan Harper

I was unfashionably keen to be part of the Café des Arts team this year, and thrilled when I was successful! I’d attended most of their events the previous two years that I’d been at Ustinov, and, as an arts student and enthusiast myself, had often thought about what events I’d love to put on if I were a part of this project.

Over the course of this year, my fellow team members and I have aimed to make our events as broad and encompassing as possible, since the concept of ‘the arts’ leaves so much for interpretation and exploration! Our events this year have sought to cover numerous aspects of arts and culture, to be as international as possible, and far-reaching in terms of both event content and type—including academic talks, crowd-sourced talks, workshops, and musical performances.

We’ve succeeded in covering ‘art’, ‘film’, ‘music’ (both performance and theory), and are working on ‘literature’ even as I type this. So far this year, we’ve arranged: a meet-and-greet of contemporary Japanese artists whose work was on display at the Oriental Museum, with a discussion of their work; a film and discussion evening about mental illness, creativity, and the arts, featuring the film Frida (2002); a rug-making workshop with the Durham Rug Makers; a talk on trauma and musical modernism; and a crowd-sourced talk from our very own Ustinovians about inspirational women for International Women’s Day.

Café des Arts also comprises the Ustinov College Choir, a small, un-auditioned choir filled with individuals who enjoy singing. We’ve put on two events starring the choir—an ‘alternative’ Christmas concert and a Spring concert—which both also featured poetry and prose readings, including international examples. The success of the Christmas concert in particular was a proud moment, featuring as it did both a fascinating talk from a professor of music about the origin of the Christmas carol ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’, and a full repertoire of international carols and Christmas songs by the choir. Have you heard ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’ sung in eight different languages before?

Of course, it’s not all plain sailing, and while I’m so proud of the events we’ve succeeded in putting on, I’d like to spare a moment for those events that were unfortunately not to be: an event about Lumiere, Durham’s biennial festival of light, featuring the organisers themselves; a talk about the cultural history and importance of tattooing; and a joint event with the Race, Crime, and Justice team featuring a play about domestic violence. Some ideas if you’re interested in taking over the position next year!

We have worked alongside the Ustinov Volunteering Team, hosting their bake sale at our events to raise money for the Ustinov Foundation, and hope to be working with Café Scientifique soon. Arts and culture, rather than being separate from science, politics, and indeed our everyday lives, are fundamentally intertwined with them—there is so much scope for events connecting these varying themes.

A Durham Rugmakers rug of Durham (Photo: Galane J. Luo)

Café des Arts is valuable because it brings the world of the arts and the arts of the world into the temporary home of students who are studying incredibly diverse and often non-arts postgraduate degrees. Everyone, regardless of their academic interests, has at least some interest in art and culture—whether it’s music, theatre, dance, film, art, reading, television—and it is incredibly important to have this represented and promoted as part of college life. The arts, even if not your field or your lifestyle, can act as escapes and retreats, and learning more about them can only be a gain.

And aside from working as part of the individual project, I also work as part of the bigger team of Global Citizenship Programme scholars. We have regular meetings, often with home baking from our multi-talented members, and I’m lucky to have met such wonderful people during my time at Ustinov. The level of organisation, constant glow of enthusiasm, and genuine interest in such a wide array of topics and themes is staggering to witness. I’m honoured to have been a part of it.

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A Tremendous Turnout: Crime and Justice Walk of Durham with Dr Ivan Hill a Success for Café des Arts

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By James O’Neill 

The first project for the Café des Arts took place last Tuesday, 25th October. We organised a walk led by Dr Ivan Hill on the History of Crime and Justice through the streets of Durham. The walk took an even portion of history from the medieval to the contemporary and included handouts which illustrated convicted persons, parades and portraits of a bygone city centre to the group. This enhanced the experience and brought to life the stories told by making visible those persons who were either imprisoned, lived, or were executed at a particular place and space in Ivan’s walking seminar.

Despite the awkward post-lunch timing of the walk, we had a tremendous turnout for our first event. We started with 22 persons arriving for the walk from three different colleges, composed of Undergraduate and Postgraduate students, as well as a lecturer in French Language. Members of the general public were also in attendance and their numbers, incidentally, appeared to grow as the walk went on!

Cafe des Arts Crime and Justice walk with Dr Ivan Hill. Credit: Justin Marinelli

The great success in the turnout can be given to the brilliantly interesting nature of the walking seminar. Credit must also be given to the publicity Café des Arts organised in the weeks before. These efforts helped relay the message out to Undergraduate and Postgraduate students, who had either an active interest in the History and Art History of Durham, the Socio-political nature of the seminar or who were using the walk as an orientation tool to better get to know the city that they had just moved to.

The success of the seminar can be measured by the degree in which the participants verbally engaged with one another, actively discussing certain aspects that appealed to them over the post- Q and A time coffee and cake, supplied by the excellent staff at The Dun Cow. These conversations went on for some time, with many students speaking privately to Ivan to discuss in greater detail those concepts, stories and comments that most appealed to them. For future walks, we hope the Race, Crime and Justice Team will be in attendance. They were unable to attend this event, but their presence always compliments Ivan’s walking seminar, creating great dialogue.

We at the Café des Arts look forward to an equally high turn-out for our next event, ‘Defining the Erotic in Art over the Ages’, on Tuesday 15th November (Fisher House from 6pm).

Cafe des Arts Crime and Justice walk with Dr Ivan Hill. Credit: Justin Marinelli
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Chinese New Year 2017 – Year of Rooster

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By James O’Neill

Red lanterns, paintings of Chinese landscapes, traditional red clothing, Fisher house in Ustinov college was filled with the bright hue on Friday, January 27th as students gathered to celebrate Chinese Spring Festival.

Edward McDougall from Durham Philosophy department opened the event with the presentation about the history and origin of Chinese New Year referring to philosophical aspects and hidden meanings of yin and yang.

While watching the Chinese New Year Gala – the most popular four-hour long TV show – students participated in workshops organized by the Ustinov Intercultural Forum and Café des Arts. Paper cutting workshop demonstrated the art of cutting designs out of paper and gluing them on a transparent surface, usually windows and doors. Designs of fruits, plants and animals on each paper represent a wish for the new year, for example, a pine tree symbolizes eternal youth. The paper-cutting workshop set the cheerful atmosphere and was followed by a challenging Calligraphy workshop. Participants were amazed by how much concentration is required to achieve a crisp stroke. Indeed, Chinese calligraphy is not only about writing but expressing yourself in the most aesthetic sense. An egg painting workshop turned out the most exciting. Participants covered eggs with acrylic paints and came up with individual patterns and symbols for decoration.

As the year of the Rooster arrived, envelopes containing cash were exchanged, which is a way to wish safety and good luck. This festive event was a reminder of strong connections to our cultural values and at the same time the celebration of diversity of students’ experience in Durham.

2017 Chinese New Year Celebrations, Ustinov College. Photo Credit- Alex Verzuh

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International Dress Day

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By James O’Neill

The International Dress Day, which fell this year on Saturday March 4th, is a relatively new event to Ustinov College. The day has been created as a celebration of Durham Universities’ most diverse college as a casual and informal platform for meeting other cultures and celebrating the many cultural differences of the students that make up Ustinov. The guests were warmly encouraged to wear the dress of their country in an atmosphere which sought to bring people together through their dissimilitude.

The day began early as the Ustinov Intercultural Forum and Café des Arts arranged the location and arrangement of the decorations and flags for the event. The balloons were blown up and grouped together to be tied in place; the bunting hung from corner to corner of the Howland’s farm sports hall (a fun Spring event would not be the same without some bunting!) and fourteen flags from around the world hung across the back of the stage. The food was being prepared for the guests and the order of the performers was run through to check all was in ready and in place for the six O’clock start time. The only thing left to do was to wash oneself after the semi-arduous task of putting up the many decorations, get into the costume which many of the guests had thought over and put together across a period of weeks, and attend the evening’s festivities.

The evening began slowly as people began to arrive, mostly fashionably late. There were many native costumes from across Europe, South and Central America, and many parts of Asia, adding so many different colours, designs, and types of dress that you might wonder why this event is so young in age, given the history of the broad cultural diversity at Ustinov College. The performers were equally chosen to reflect the national differences that populated the event and being celebrated, including an Indonesian bamboo orchestra; Chinese dance and poetry reading; English poetry reading of historic and original poems, amongst many other individual and group events besides.

After the event, as people still mingled and chatted to one another, the decorations had to come down once more to leave the room as we found it. But the great many photos, live streaming from numerous smart phones and iPads and many albums created for the event on social media testify to its huge success and its growing popularity and status amongst Ustinov College’s GCP events.

Connie’s Eventful Year with the Ustinov Intercultural Forum

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The secret handshake of the UIF international dress party (Photo: GCP)

By Connie Kwong

To prompt exploration and celebration of our many social, cultural, national, and religious differences. —Primary objective of Ustinov Intercultural Forum (UIF)

Being part of UIF is an identity I have proudly adopted since I joined the GCP. Being on the UIF team offers us great opportunities and flexibility in planning and organising events to understand differences and to promote and appreciate others’ cultures. It also allows us to learn about and enhance our capability and creativity.

The whole process involves intercultural communication. Working with a team of people coming from different backgrounds is such an enjoyable experience, as everyone has brilliant and innovative ideas, bringing in what is unique from their own culture. We also organised some events as a cross-team collaboration, such as a seminar on movement and identity with the Ustinov Seminar, Graduate Common Room (GCR), and Durham University Indian Society; and ‘Concepts of Home’ with Race, Crime, and Justice.

I guess you can’t wait to hear more about our events. Our team has put in so much effort in organising a wide range of events. We invited academics for discussions on cultural issues such as migration and identity, engaged people in interactive activities such as the language café and pinning the place(s) where you call home on the world map, and provided career advice for international students in an international career session.

Celebrating world culture is one of our themes this year, for people to learn about and appreciate cultures. We had the Festival of Lights (Diwali) Celebration in which the audience learnt the festival’s background, enjoyed Indian dance and music, got henna drawings, and tried authentic Indian sweets. The International Dress Party was another highlight. Everyone was immersed in colours of national dresses, fantastic performances—Indonesian music and dancing, Chinese singing, and Bollywood dancing, and traditional desserts brought by the guests.

You would never forget these events if you were there. But no worries if you missed them, just check out the photos.

We believe that it is equally important for us to know more about the area we are living now, so we have another theme of ‘Exploring the North East’. We brought people to a local farm to learn local agriculture and taste some farm produce. A visit to Beamish Museum was a journey back to the everyday life in old North East England.

In addition to embracing differences, I have gained invaluable experiences and friendship, inside and outside of Ustinov. The GCP has created a friendly and inclusive environment to bring various cultures together as a world-in-miniature through all these wonderful events, when we are away from home for studies. Here at Ustinov we feel right at home!

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