Ustinov Global Citizenship Programme

Understanding Durham’s World Heritage Site Today

By Marianna Iliadou

Photo Credit: Pattaranun Chaisudhiphongskul

On Thursday 21st March the GCP Seminar Series Team tried something different to its usual event setting. Instead of having a speaker delivering a seminar, we decided to facilitate a discussion. The topic of the event was Durham’s World Heritage Site and the aim was to explore the perspectives of both students (national and international) and local residents on their experience, stories and views of the World Heritage Site and its use today.

Our expert, PhD student Anouk Lafortune-Bernard, from the Archaeology Department, facilitated the discussion of the event with the help of the Seminar Series scholars. As people were arriving, we encouraged them to take a sit in one of the three tables. Each table had A3 maps of Durham and as an icebreaker activity, participants were asked to draw the line of what they think the Durham World Heritage Site involves.

After the icebreaker, the event kicked off with discussion in each table on the history and importance of Durham World Heritage Site, its present use and expectations and Concerns related to Durham World Heritage Site. What followed was a short presentation by Anouk on findings of similar discussions she had with other groups. The last activity designed for the evening was to discuss your own experience of Durham compared to the results presented by Anouk.

It was very interesting to bring together local residents and students to discuss Durham’s Heritage Site, its use and expectations. The discussion in small groups showed how different the perceptions of students were compared to those of other groups. The focus was also placed on the role of university and what could be done in order to engage students with the local community, history and heritage of Durham.

Understanding the use of the site and reflect on any concerns or expectations that we may have about future plans or developments at, or near, the World Heritage Site is very important for our community. The event provided a great opportunity to create spaces where we can engage in dialogue beyond academic spheres, reinforcing ties within our community.

Special thanks to Anouk for the initiative and facilitation of the event and to everyone who participated.

Renewable Energy Competition

By Diana Martinez-Trejo

On Thursday 7th of March, team Café Scientifique organized a competition about renewable energies where not just Ustinov College students were invited to participate, also from the Engineering Department.

The competition start with a small demo on how Wind Turbines work and how we can get energy from the wind. Engineering Department of Durham University provided with a Wind Tunnel for this demo. Participants understood more about the mechanism of the turbines and got a better idea on the importance to use them in UK.

The rules of the game and the dynamics where explained to the participants, everyone agree to use the table as a buzzer to reply the question. Questions were read until one participant hit the “buzzer” or finish it. The type of questions were common knowledge based on UK and we had two different types of questions, multiple choice and direct answer.

The competition turned out to be between Ustinov College and Grey College; we had two students from each college. Matthew Roberts (member of the GCP) helped by being the judge of the competition.

After a very hard-fought and fun competition, participants went to sudden death to determine the winner, surprisingly team Ustinov (lead by Shubham Shukla) won with the question: “What is the difference between renewable energy technologies and renewable energy resources?”

At the end of the competition, participants greeted each other, talk about their backgrounds, and discuss some of the questions. All contestants were happy participating in the competition and found out that renewable energy is playing a big role in the coming future.


Oriental Museum

The Oriental Museum may be comparatively small to other museums, but it is filled with treasures seldom found elsewhere. As the Intercultural Forum, we look at not only celebrating existing cultures and traditions, but also the history behind them.


For international students who make the long journey to Durham, it is without doubt that the one thing that they miss the most, yet the one that gives them the most motivation and energy to pursue their studies, is home. After all, isn’t home where our heart truly is? To celebrate our roots, as well as those of others, the UIF along with the Oriental Museum, organised a day of exploring the theme of home through some of the museum’s unique artefacts. Students, parents and children were all invited to see what home life was like in the good old days sans electricity, electronic devices, the internet, and other modern technology that we seemingly cannot live without.

Attendees marvelled at pieces including a Chinese wedding bed, religious idols that are worshipped under Hinduism even today, elegant Japanese tea sets, Egyptian jewellery and even South Korean wedding ducks to signify whether a marriage is in a good place or not. What’s more, the attendees got a peek at the museum’s celebrated Egyptian exhibits which included actual mummies. Since the museum believes in highlighting what was and what is, there were also exhibits from the 21stcentury to show how an idea as old as home is more susceptible to change than we think. There was a short break for tea and refreshments to energise the attendees, especially the little kids who spent their energy paying close attention and marvelling at the exhibits.

The highlight of the day, and undoubtedly the part that all attendees were looking forward to, was handling some of the museums artefacts. Protective gloves were given, making everyone feel like a surgeon holding a person’s life in their hands. Common, yet ancient household pieces including clothing, mirrors, tea kettles and cosmetics were passed around, each having a story of their own. The children particularly loved some of the colourful pieces, which also included soft toys that they would be familiar with. Personally handling the artefacts gave one a connection and better understanding as to how people back then performed the same activities that we perform today, but with limited resources.

All in all, the visit was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone, and it was a learning experience that one could not get from books alone. The UIF eagerly awaits organising its next museum visit!

Ustinov Research Round table

With the success of the first Research Round Table event, the second Research Round Table came back for Ustinovians to share and discuss their research topics. The event is hosted by the Seminar Series team of the Ustinov’s Global Citizenship Programme (GCP).

In this second Research Round Table, there are three speakers across departments including Geography, Philosophy and Business School. The first speaker, Giselle Eugenia Connell from Department of Geography, shared about the memory and meaning of dance-mappings after the genocide in Rwanda. The second speaker, Angelos Sofocleous from Department of Philosophy, talked about the reason why law of nature should be redefined as law of the system and the interaction of supernatural and physical systems. The last speaker, Antonios M. Vasilatos from Business School, presented his research interests in the area of Microeconomics in Greece’s Tourism and explained how economic events affect Tourism’s growth.

During the discussion, this event offers an opportunity for participants to ask and discuss in the speakers’ topics in order to help speakers develop the quality of the research, gain new experience and share new ideas. Apart from the topics’ discussion, the socialising and networking with international students are one of the highlights of this event, building the sense of community.

We welcome all speakers and participants to discuss further topics. If you are interested in our upcoming event, please stay connected through our social medias such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.