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Professor Karen O'Brien, Vice-Chancellor and Warden of Durham University, stood smiling with arms folded, in front of bookshelves

Our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Karen O'Brien, reviews recent and upcoming community events and activities.

We hope you enjoyed, as much as we did, last week’s (November 16-19) Lumiere spectacular.

For us as a global university at the heart of North East England, Lumiere both allows us to welcome friends and neighbours onto our campus to enjoy some of our most beautiful locations and buildings, lit up in art often inspired by our own academic research, and show the rest of the country and the world what a uniquely wonderful place Durham is – as we like to say: a university like no other.

It was delightful to have tens of thousands of people marvelling at, for example, ‘Universal Loom’ at our Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics, or ‘Sacral’, in the grounds of St Mary’s College.

Lumiere followed shortly after Celebrate Science, our annual community science festival, which again saw thousands of children and young people enjoying hands-on experiments and, perhaps, having their eyes opened to what a career in science could offer.

What to look forward to between now and the end of the year

For many, thoughts now are turning to the festive season. Our term ends on Friday 8 December, but before then there are lots of events to enjoy, and we’re doing our bit to help those less fortunate at this time of year too.

There are musical concerts from Foot Notes A Capella, our Brass Band and Jazz Orchestra, Gospel Choir, Chamber Choir and more. Full details of these events and more can be found at:

We’re also supporting Durham Christmas Festival: three days of markets and entertainment across the city, beginning on Friday 1 December. Another great example of different organisations in the city working together.

We know that Christmas can also be a lonely or stressful time for some, and our staff and students always go the extra mile to support those less fortunate. We’re running gift donation schemes and a festive food drive, working with local charities and other North-East universities.

A diverse community

We are a global university, with more than 120 countries represented among our staff and students, as well as a range of faiths and beliefs. We recently celebrated Diwali at the Oriental Museum, and we will also be marking Hanukkah shortly.

Our diverse community is a place where people of different backgrounds and perspectives can come together to explore and learn, and we cherish this.

As we approach the end of 2023, may I wish you a very enjoyable festive season and all best wishes for 2024.

Find out more

- Read more about our part in Lumiere
- Explore student music
- Visit Durham Christmas Festival