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Emma Fisher, St Aidan’s Alumni Secretary

St Aidan’s College, Windmill Hill
Durham, DH1 3LJ

newsletter@aidans-alumni.org.uk
www.dunelm.org.uk/St-Aidans-College

St Aidan’s

Alumni Magazine & Newsletter

January 2017

Welcome
Issue 6, Dec 2016
Welcome to Issue 6 of the Aidan’s
Alumni Association Newsletter.
This issue covers the 2015 – 2016
academic year and we hope you
enjoy reading the news from College and other members.

You will see, once again,
that it is very similar in style and
format to previous editions. This
is due to the assumption that you
love it as it is and have no desire
for change, because we have had
little feedback to the contrary! It
would be great to hear from you
about which parts you find interesting, stimulating and useful, as
well as hearing about the parts
you tend to ignore! A lot of time
goes into producing this newsletter, so we desperately want it to be
something that you enjoy reading
and would be very happy to include any content that you think
we may be lacking.

As was alluded to in the
previous edition, the past year has
seen a steady revival of the Association Committee and we have
been encouraged to see that there
is appetite for engagement from
members spanning the decades.

This issue of the magazine has been the first tangible
product of that reinvigoration.
We have kept the usual updates
about the year in Durham and
the endeavours of our alumni
but have included the odd new
feature too. This is the last newsletter before the much anticipated
2017 reunion and we hope this
inspires you to join us from July
7th to 9th for a weekend reliving
and reminiscing.
With best wishes for a happy and
fruitful 2017,
Emma Fisher (nee Barley) and
Hannah Futter
Newsletter Officers
newsletter@aidans-alumni.org.uk

News From College
St Aidan’s College in 2015 – 2016
The Principal’s review of the past year in College

From the JCR President
The JCR President’s review of her year in College

From the SCR President
The SCR President’s review of his year in College

From the Sports Officer
Justin Beese and Liam Forsyth review the sporting year 2015 – 2016

From the Women’s Hockey Team Captain
Becky Graves highlights Aidan’s Hockey Team winning College Sports Team of the Year

From the Women’s Boat Club Captain
Louise Watkin reviews the Boat Club year 2015 - 2016

Features

Life After Durham

Stories from Les the Porter, Emily Beech and the crew credited with reigniting rowing at St Aidan’s

Bob Williams
Sad news about former Aidan’s Principal Professor Robert J Williams

Lumiere
Durham Lumiere, November 2015

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3
6
7
9

10
12
15

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Recipe Corner

17

News In Brief

19

Aidan’s Alumni descend on London

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Current College chef, Jason Carty, provides us with the recipe for a favourite college dish

News From Members

News and updates from St Aidan’s Alumni members

News from St Aidan’s Alumni

Hannah Futter’s recount of the Alumni day out at the HoRR

What’s new in the Archive?
Josh Stocco provides us with the latest news on the College Archive

A message from Ben and Ed, our reunions team
The Reunion Officers provide us with the latest news on their work

Travel Reports

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24

Travel Reports from 2015 - 2016

25

Degree percentages 2015 - 2016

50

St Aidan’s Alumni Association Committee Members 2015 – 2016

50

Write-ups from students in receipt of travel and conference awards

Results and College Memberships

College Council Membership 2015 – 2016

College Officers 2015 – 2016

50
50

Cover photo – The St Aidan’s College sculpture, ‘The Wheel Cross’ by Fenwick Lawson, erected on 26th November
2013, with the cathedral in the background, taken by Lauren Polson.

achieved in a context of significant personal challenge, were
marked in graduation ceremonies and dinners whose enthusiasm could not be dampened even by the frequent showers. Some
of our Masters and doctoral graduands , who usually brave the
January frosts, enjoyed the summer congregations instead, surrounded by family and friends, some of whom were students
here themselves.

July was busy in ways that our undergraduates rarely
glimpse, as our postgraduates undertake projects and fieldwork,
or present their work at conferences, and some attended our
two key events, as participants or public. In mid-July, a research
project led by Maggie O’Neill, in collaboration with A Way
Out (www.awayout.co.uk) and Barnardo’s SECOS project and
funded by Northern Rock Foundation, was presented to a wide
range of stakeholders via a workshop in the Lindisfarne Centre.
The CSGS Annual Summer School (www.durham.ac.uk.csgs)
followed a week later, with keynotes from New York to York.
Speakers invoked both recent and more distant histories to provide a rich context for research into identity struggles ranging
over physical and digital territories. The lively discussions extended into the evenings, with the Northern Spirit Choir providing glorious music before the Saturday dinner.

However, our community is sustained day by day
through countless small gestures and conversations, remembered as vividly as the big events. So we end on a note of sadness
as we mourn the loss of our porter Stuart Anderson, who we
will remember as a kind, gentle and good-humoured presence,

St Aidan’s College in 2015 - 16
Susan Frenk, the current Principal, on the past year in College
In a year of momentous events, from the centenary of the Somme to the seismic shock of Brexit, the Rainbow College maintained its commitment to social change through dialogue.

Open Clasp initiated a curve of creativity with Key
Change, its multi award-winning production (www.openclasp.
org.uk) devised with women from Low Newton prison and returned to us later in the year with Rattle Snake, a pioneering
collaboration between SASS, local women and Northumbria
police around coercive behaviours.

The Inaugural Symposium for the Centre for Jewish
Studies in October (www.durham.ac.uk/jewishstudies/newsand
events/) revisited the past and debated the future, discussions
which inflected the annual gathering at our commemorative sculpture for Holocaust Memorial Day. Similar questions
echoed in March when we hosted a workshop conceived by Zoe
Roth and Dora Osborne (MLAC) and organised by three MLAC
finalists, Remembering Genocide, Violence and Trauma: The
Memorialization of Difficult Pasts. Our Visiting Fellows explored these threads through community reconstruction following the Szechuan earthquake (Hok Bun Ku, IHRR) and resilient communities in places of violent conflict: Afghanistan
(James Page, SGIA). CSGS

Afterwork (www.dur.ac.uk/csgs/events/) experimented with new formats and themes, including key issues around
consent, and we celebrated International Women’s Day with
an oversubscribed conference convened by three lecturers in
Philosophy: Re-sounding Voices (https://womeninparenthesis.
wordpress.com/international-womens-day-conference-2016/ )
and decked college in posters, produced for us by the Physics
department, of inspirational women nominated by Aidan’s students and staff, from Toni Morrison to Marie Curie.

St Aidan’s students working on decorations
for the Chinese New Year Formal, February
2016

Still in celebratory mode, the JCR and SCR-MCR continue to excel both in fundamental community building and in
dreaming up and delivering aesthetically stunning events, supported by our outstanding staff. Highlights this year included all the Formals – visual and culinary delights –, the Burns
Night and Chinese New Year celebrations, and a Summer Ball,
‘Le Cirque de la Nuit’, that somehow out-dazzled last year’s extravaganza. From VP/Communities to Sports & Societies, JCR

leadership actively promoted diversity, best practice and wider
engagement. The outgoing President of SCA moved the annual
oSCArs to the town hall, enjoying the nominations of several
fellow Aidan’s volunteers, and as ever we enjoyed the talents of
our actors, musicians, designers and tech wizards both inside
and outside College, from DUOS performances to Assembly

St Aidan’s College goes to Durham Pride, May
2016
at all times of day or night, whatever situation he encountered.
Stuart would have been amongst us at our 70th Anniversary
Celebration Weekend next year and we know we will not be the
only ones to miss him there.
SFF October 2016

The dining hall transformed into a stunning
big tent for the ‘Cirque de la Nuit’ Summer
Ball, June 2016
Rooms plays.

Mohamad Rabah (Palestine, Masters in Community
& Youth Work) ran befriending workshops for our new project supporting refugees and asylum seekers and organized an
Interfaith café/open mic session with the student faith societies and Community & Youth Masters programme. Fadia Faqir
added to another successful Inkapture programme with an
Arabic-English writing workshop for our refugee group, which
produced moving and compelling narratives. Many themes
echoed in an extraordinary ‘performing migratory identity’
event which was again oversubscribed (http://learninglabeditions.org/index.php/2015/10/02/performing-migratory-identity-performance-research-on-displacement-belonging-and-autobio-and-participatory-biography/).

Mahshid Turner capped an extremely productive year
of Muslim chaplaincy and Interfaith work by hosting the UK
Muslim University Chaplains Forum in Aidan’s, including
an open discussion session with meet and greet where others
across the University and regional partners could learn about
their challenges and priorities.

Durham Pride (www.durhamprideuk.org) continues
to grow, occupying the Market Square as well as Millenium
Square this year, with choirs and drumming ensembles rotating
through the spaces following the Parade. Proceeds from Pride
go to a selected lgbta+ charity and this year we are extending
our year-round activities by using some of the funds to run
a Pride café staffed by volunteers every Saturday in Alington
House in the town centre.

Our students are equally driven by their degrees, of
course, and another set of impressive academic results, some

Some of St Aidan’s Graduates (Bachelor of Arts in English), July 2016

News from College

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News from College
2

Honorary Life Membership Awards

From the JCR President

Abi Holmes
Heather Mitchell
Lauren Polson
Rose Malleson
Alice Dee

Alice Dee reviews the JCR year 2015 - 2016
The academic year 2015/16 was the first year that St Aidan’s College had two female sabbatical officers in the lead and was, therefore, always going to be a successful year for the Junior Common
Room! I, of course, say this in jest, but felt that such a landmark
must be highlighted to the alumni of a once female-only College. The following report is an equally biased summary of highlights of Aidan’s JCR! As we are all aware, the success of the JCR
and the College as a whole is entirely down to the passion and
commitment of its community and members, of which there are
too many people to thank individually. This year, the high numbers of returners and the eagerness of the ‘Freshers 2015’ cohort
proved to be a successful combination for the common room to
prosper and I’m so grateful to have been able to call myself ‘JCR
President’ during this time.

The social events of the year have always demonstrated the importance of the Aidan’s community. This year was no
different, with formals continuing to prove popular amongst all
year groups and a Christmas and Valentine’s Formal requiring
two sittings. The popularity of Aidan’s formals couldn’t be sustained without the hard work of the catering staff and Formals
committee, which was this year led expertly by Abi Holmes (of
previous Social Chair fame). The JCR owes a great deal of gratitude to Abi’s passion and hard work for events at Aidan’s and this
was reflected by Abi’s numerous ‘Honorary Life Membership’
nominations. To culminate a year of consistently good events,
Ella Egerton and the Social Committee pulled out all the stops
for the annual Summer Ball. This year, the theme was ‘Cirque de
la nuit’ and was a roaring success. Through weeks of preparation,
the College was transformed for the biggest event of the year, enabling entertainment until dawn. Thank you so much to Ella and
her team for their hard work. The big event of Easter Term was
St Aidan’s College Summer Festival, organised by Bar Steward
Heather Mitchell and her team. This year the north-east treated us to glorious sunshine for the festival, making a good event
truly wonderful. The Summer Festival has become somewhat an
unofficial ‘summer returners weekend’. Other Bar Comm run
events continue to be popular, including ‘Top Gun’ and Open
Mic nights. Thanks are due specifically to Heather for being a
wonderful support and for maintaining the strong relationship
between the Bar and JCR and its Executive, which I believe is a
fundamental part of life as an Aidanite.

Many Durham Colleges pride themselves on Music, Art
and Drama provision and Aidan’s is no different. M.A.D have
had another successful year under the leadership of Frankie Fozard (Music), Lydia Purvis (Art) and Sophie Forster (Drama).
Frankie harnessed the musical talent of the College through a
variety of Open-Mic nights, ‘Live Lounge’ sessions and a charity
single. Aidan’s College Theatre had another successful year, producing the annual Pantomime as well as productions of ‘Othello’
and ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, which both received dazzling reviews. Lydia and ‘Team Art’ have supported anything and
everything throughout the year ranging from event decorations
to Freshers’ week banners. The highlight of the year for Team Art
was a competition to design and create a showcase piece for the
annual charity Fashion show.

Rose Malleson, Senior Welfare Officer, did an excellent

job of maintaining the high level of peer-to-peer student support
along with her team of welfare officers. This is the first year that
the JCR has had three welfare officers; Female, Male and Student
Officer. Alongside the listening and signposting service that the
Welfare Officers provide, the Welfare committee ran a series of
campaigns throughout the year. Highlights of these campaigns
include Pride Week, SHAG (Sexual Health and Guidance) week,
International Week and ‘Stress Less’, the latter being a 6 week
campaign run throughout the revision and exam period focusing on sensible work levels and also lots of cake, sweets and fun
activities.

Under the new structure of ‘Sports and Societies Officer’,
societies have a clearer representation on the Executive Committee which has led to their further development. LGBTIQ+ and
Fashion Show Society have both had another successful year and
their respective Executive committees have worked hard to ensure that their societies develop each year. St Aidan’s Foreign
Affairs Society (SACFAS) held a series of lectures this year, including hosting a talk by Graham Brady MP (St Aidan’s, 198689). The Aidan’s branch of DUCK have also had an active year,
under their new status as a ‘society’. As well as DUCK week, the
Exec organised the production of a charity naked calendar. Continuing on a charitable theme, the new position of Community
Officer, held by Emily Hayes, has created many opportunities for
the JCR and its members. Emily has overseen the development of
volunteering schemes with local schools and residential homes,
including inviting local elderly residents for afternoon tea at College. Emily’s passion and patience proved unwavering when it
came to navigating the extensive paperwork required to set up
outreach schemes and has left a solid legacy to be continued.

The JCR Secretary, Ruby Goddard, and her committee
took JCR publications to new levels of professionalism this year.
‘Journo Comm’ remains responsible for the JCR publication,
‘Never Say No to Badger’, which covers the wide range of experiences and opinions of our JCR members. It is now a common
forum for many to express their political views, report on events
and sporting achievements and to promote college activities and
elections. From the start of her tenure as Secretary, Ruby set a
high standard with her work on the Freshers’ week handbook.
Freps at an unnamed neighbouring College described the Freshers’ handbook as a ‘work of art’, which is testament to Ruby’s talent and commitment – in the height of Freshers’ week intercollegiate rivalry, these compliments are rare!

Justin Beese was the Sports and Societies Officer for
2015/16 and whilst we’ve already covered the success of societies,
there is much to celebrate in the name of sporting excellence also.
Particular highlights for the year include the Women’s Hockey
team winning the league and the Men’s Rugby team securing a
place in the floodlit final. As ever in Aidan’s, we never shy away
from lighthearted sporting opportunities, which provides the
perfect excuse for the Men’s D vs Women’s Football teams to go
head to head in what is now an annual charity football match.
Whilst the success of the boat club is covered elsewhere, the
fundraising efforts of SACBC, spearheaded by the Captain Tom
Patmore, cannot go unnoticed. Through a ‘SponsoredErg Million Mile Rowathon’ held in March, the boat club raised over

After a fabulous year as JCR President, I rest comfortably knowing that the JCR is in the safe hands of my successor, Alex Tarrant-Anderson. Alex follows in the footsteps of his six predecessors, as he hails from a Shop Committee background. Alex was
also a star player for St Aidan’s College Football E Team and a
keen pool and darts player. I have no doubt that Alex will be an
amazing President and I hope he enjoys his year as much as I
enjoyed mine. I have tried to focus my summary of the JCR on
the people who have contributed to making the various activities
happen. For me the best thing about the JCR are the hundreds of
people contributing time and effort to maintain and develop the
Aidan’s spirit that we all know and love. This is just a snapshot
of a year’s’ worth of contribution that has spanned 70 years previous and will hopefully continue far into the future. I consider
myself very lucky to have overseen such a wonderful movement
for a year and I’m very grateful to everyone who was a part of my
tenure. Good luck to Alex!
Alice Dee, JCR President 2015 - 2016

£2500. Under Justin’s captaincy, we held an Aidan’s vs Mildert
Varsity, which we eventually lost 3-2. Justin also developed the
‘Sports Colours’ Award to include an equal ‘Societies Award’,
which were presented at the annual Sports and Societies Formal.

The College Shop holds a special place in the hearts of
many Aidanites. Following a rebranding, masterminded by the
Shop Chair Emilie Sims, the shop has gone from strength to
strength and remains an important part of College life. Places on
Shop Comm are hotly contested, as evidence of the popularity
of what is so much more than ‘just a toastie bar’. Diversification
into the Coffee and ESports markets have enabled the Shop to
serve the changing needs of its customer base. The success of the
shop is underpinned by scrupulous managing of the common
room finances. This year Lauren Polson undertook the role of
Treasurer and executed it to the highest standard. With Lauren’s
experience and dedication, the JCR finances have become much
more transparent and user-friendly. The careful management of
the accounts has enabled the JCR to invest money in long-term
resources for its members, which led to the purchase of an Arcade Machine this year.

Aidan’s has continued its run of strong Students’ Union
engagement under the leadership of Lisa Whiting. Not only was
the Union Committee reformed to include postgraduate representation but for the first time ever (I think) Aidan’s beat St
Chad’s by percentage of students voting in an SU referendum. A
high voter turnout for the Union’s annual elections also resulted
in two Aidan’s Exec members being elected full time officers of
the Durham Students’ Union.

News from College

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News from College
4

From the SCR President
Padraig Alton reviews the SCR year 2015 - 2016
It is a great pleasure, at the end of the academic year, to look back
on what has undoubtedly been an incredibly successful twelve
months for the Senior Common Room of St. Aidan’s College.
The SCR is one of the largest and most diverse postgraduate
communities in the university, with more postgraduate students
resident at our college than at any other (barring Ustinov). We
also count university staff, senior academics and college mentors
from the local community among our members.

This year, we have successfully harnessed these
strengths. We’ve seen greater engagement by our students in college life, with many joining clubs and societies and making great
contributions, despite most only being here for one year. We’ve
run a large number of successful academic events. In Michaelmas term, the SCR co-hosted a Chinese-language debating competition. Later in the year, the SCR lecture series continued with
talks on Roman curses, the role of Mont Blanc in romantic poetry and the esoteric chemistry that MRI scanners rely upon.

Meanwhile, our members were not short of social
events to attend. We held formals for Christmas, Burns’ Night
and St. Patrick’s Day … but perhaps a special mention should go
to our Chinese New Year formal, which nearly 200 students from
across the university attended. Great delight was taken in the
decorations (which were created by SCR members) and in the
menu, which was drawn up by our social committee in concert
with the college’s catering team (to whom, of course, we owe our
thanks for their support for this and other events).

In addition to these events, our newly created Welfare
committee, headed up by Helen Finnan, ran several smaller scale
events, as well as one rather large one – a summer barbecue attended by nearly 100 people. This was well received by those
needing a break from the dissertation fugue that usually sets in

Photography by Lauren Polson

JCR EXEC LIST

2015/16

JCR EXEC LIST

2016/17

JCR President

Social Chair

JCR President

Social Chair

Community Officer

Bar Steward

Community Officer

Bar Steward

Alice Dee

Ella Egerton

Emily Hayes
Heather Mitchell
(ex-officio)

JCR Treasurer

Lauren Polson

Shop Chair
Emilie Sims

Alex Tarrant-Anderson

Lydia Purvis

Amy Campo McEvoy
Liam Forsyth
(ex-officio)

JCR Treasurer

Sai Kiran

SCR EXEC LIST

Shop Chair
Jaisal Patel

Rose Malleson

JCR Chair
Dean Lo Seen Chong

Union Officer
Lisa Whiting

Formals Officer
Abi Holmes

JCR Secretary Sports & Societies
Officer
Ruby Goddard

Justin Beese

Senior Welfare Officer
Krish Mehta

JCR Chair
Alex Fage

Union Officer

Formals Officer

President Welfare Officer

Treasurer

JCR Secretary Sports & Societies
Officer
Christie Lau

Miss Helen Finnan

Social Secretary
Mr. Mohamad Rabah AliAhmed

Mia Pereira

Ellen Brown

News from College

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News from College
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Chair of the Executive
Committee
Dr. Matthieu Schaller

Luke Hollander

Padraig Alton, SCR President 2015 - 2016

2015/16
Mr. Padraig Alton

Senior Welfare Officer

during the summer months!

Behind the scenes, the SCR has continued to place itself
on a sounder footing, with such innovations as an online voting
system being prepared for next year’s students, while a code-lock
has made the SCR room a more accessible space for our community. A number of purchases have also been made to make this
a more welcoming space. Relations with our friends in the JCR
are better than ever, with a greater level of cooperation and discussion than in previous years; this has strengthened our college
community.

While we now bid goodbye to many of this year’s students, those of us who remain look forward to beginning another
fantastic year at St. Aidan’s. Long may the SCR’s present success
continue.

I.T. Officer

Mr. Yaman Islim Mr. Matheus Hostert

Executive Committee
The Postgraduate
Secretary Representatives

Miss Victoria Timms
Miss Carmen Cacicedo
Jaroszynska, Mr. Michael
Nower, Mr. Ruocheng Liu

ference, with the impressive total of +230 being enough to take
the title, with Mildert only managing a meagre +217. The early
victory over their rivals therefore proving crucial at the end of
the season.

From the Sports Officer
Justin Beese (2014 - present, Politics) and Liam Forsyth (2013 present, History) review the year in sport

Hockey

This year saw more teams than ever take to the pitch in more competitions than ever. Notably, there was the resurgence of the Ultimate Frisbee team, the creation of yet another darts team in the form of Philip Bos’ G team (who are also now rocking some pretty
flair stash) and the first annual (no pressure Ellen) Aidan’s-Mildert intercollegiate varsity tournament, Aidan’s- Mildert Varsity.
Mildert v Aidan’s Varsity
Beginning with the latter, the varsity proved to be a huge success following the tireless work of Justin Beese and Van Mildert’s sports
captain. In a closely fought affair, the spoils were shared between the two sister colleges, as Aidan’s victories in women’s rugby and
netball were sandwiched in-between successes for Mildert in the men’s rugby and football respectively. In the first instance, the
netball team were dominant for large spells against their yellow opponents, opening up a 20-12 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Despite a late comeback, they would ultimately hold on to win 22-20. Equally, Aidan’s women took to the pitch on a bitterly cold
winter morning to deliver a dominant display. A high scoring affair was largely separated by the impressive contribution of Scrum
Half Alex McGovern, who controlled the game. Jade Birkby’s pace and power also proved effective as she scored a hat trick of tries,
leaving the final score 43- 41 in Aidan’s favour. Yet, the men could not emulate the women’s success, with the Rugby boys falling 22-20
and a below strength football team losing (quite badly).

Crowned College Sports Team of the Year by Team Durham, the
women’s hockey team delivered a truly astounding performance
under Becky Graves and Ellen Brown. Particular highlights include winning the league and a win after being selected to represent the University in the college varsity against Loughborough.
Success was also the order of the day for the men’s hockey team.
The men stormed division two, effectively sealing the title with a
win over their nearest rivals Cuth’s towards the end of the season.
However, in the cup, the same opponents delivered heartbreak,
knocking out the Aidan’s boys on penalty flicks.

will now enter a play off to secure their own spot in division two
next year.

Pool

Basketball

On the pool tables, the Bs once more flirted with relegation, but
managed to avoid the play-offs. They also were extremely successful in the Plate competition, beating the As in the semi final
before toppling Butler D in the final to lift the plate and secure
their spot in the champions cup. A phenomenal effort from
Tarrant-Anderson’s team. The A team were unlucky to come up
short in the final couple of games to relinquish their grasp on
the top spot to Ustinov, eventually securing second. Close but no
cigar. Further down, the Ds were unfortunately relegated back
to division two after a one year stay in division one, whilst the
E Team enjoyed their swan song season with an invincible campaign, topping the friendly by a mile and returning a 5th team
to the league proper. The Fs finished 6th in the same league and

Over on the basketball courts, the women’s team were yet another Aidan’s team to win their league unbeaten, with 8 wins from
8 enough to secure the crown for the 2015-2016 season, where
they were also the highest scorers, with an impressive 249 points
scored. The men finished comfortably mid table.
Table Tennis, Tennis and Volleyball
The table tennis A team likewise finished mid table, ending their
three year run in the top two, as Mary’s A took the league, and
in unfortunate circumstances the B team was relegated from the
top flight after a 4 year stay. Elsewhere, Alexander Fage and the
tennis team were desperately unlucky in their league, coming
second to Mary’s B despite only losing one match all year (unsurprisingly to the eventual champions). In a similar manner, 5
wins from 6 would also prove frustratingly insufficient for the
Volleyball team to claim their league title, as bested on set difference by Grey A (four sets conceded to three for Grey).

Football

The Caswell Cup

The women enjoyed yet another fantastic season. After their promotion last year, they settled in well to the top flight, securing a mid
table finish and can look to press on next year. They also produced a memorable cup run, which saw them all the way to the final. Unfortunately, they would ultimately come up short, falling 1-0 to Collingwood, but can be justly proud of what was an incredible run.

Turning to more conventional action, the football fields once more saw the highest participation rates. Under Moody’s leadership, the men’s football A team were unfortunately relegated. They struggled to find a consistent eleven due to other commitments
and drop outs, but did go on to win their final two games. A delayed fixture was finally completed by Hild Bede, which consigned
Moody’s successor with the challenge of winning promotion back to the top flight next year. The Bs team collected a mix of wins,
draws and losses which subsequently ensured they finished either above or below the other teams who had endeavoured to do likewise, with their place in the table ultimately decided by comparison of those endeavours. Down in division four, there was heartbreak
for the Ds. Described as the Norwich City of division four, there were rumours, hopes and even mild belief that they may not only
avoid relegation, but also finish above the Cs. Alas, it was not to be and both finished firmly in the mid to lower section of the table.
Finally, the Es lost one game 19-0 and won one game 7-0. They lost every other league game and are still proudly the worst team in
collegiate football, but have begun to challenge the social monopoly the D team have over the football club, hosting their own end of
season meal and even seeing one fresher prioritise a social and klute over his flight the next morning.

The Caswell Cup, awarded for outstanding contributions to college sport, this year was given to Will Legg. During his time at
Durham, Will Legg was club captain of cricket, college cricket
coordinator, social secretary for football and represented Aidan’s
in cricket, football, darts and pool, while at the same time being
Vice-President of Team Durham and playing University football
as club captain.
Justin Beese and Liam Forsyth, Sports Officers 2015 - 2016
(Photo credits to Polson Photography and Brian Kulik)

Rugby
The men’s rugby team, under Henshall’s captaincy, became the team to beat in the Men’s top flight. After toppling the old enemy
Collingwood 15-5 to exact revenge for last year’s floodlit final, they would not surrender top spot, delivering an unbeaten season to
rival that of Arsenal’s in 2004. Despite this, Collingwood would again prove themselves by ruining a league and cup double. Defending the title they won last year, they ultimately overcame Aidan’s.

After only losing once all season, Aidan’s also won the league. Paula Dunne’s team surged ahead of Mildert on point dif-

News from College

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News from College
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From the Women’s Hockey
Team Captain

From the Women’s Boat Club
Captain

Becky Graves (Criminology 2014 - present) highlights Aidan’s
Hockey Team winning College Sports Team of the Year

Louise Watkin (2013 - 2016, Biology) reviews the Boat Club
year 2015 - 2016

Women’s hockey enjoyed an unprecedented season of success, representing both Aidan’s and Durham across 2015/16. The team,
led by Ellen Brown and Becky Graves, entered the season having lost a number of mainstays from the previous year and facing the
challenge of only their second season in the premier league. A combination of talented freshers and committed returning players
produced a cohesive squad from the first training session in October through to the college festival of sport in June.

The main focus of the season was the college premier league. Aidan’s played 16 games across Michaelmas and Epiphany,
storming to the league title with 12 wins and a goal difference of 36 - the best in the league! A particular triumph was enjoyed in the
top of the table clash against Castle, Aidan’s emerging victors by 3 goals to 2.

As a result of this success, Aidan’s were selected to represent Durham in the inaugural college varsity against Loughborough.
In front of a partisan home crowd at Maiden Castle, Aidan’s won convincingly by 4 goals to 2. Aidan’s also represented the University
away at York in the mixed varsity; it was the first time playing alongside the boys and whilst Aidan’s were on the wrong side of the
result, we hope to return to the fixture next year as a more practised and successful team.

The success of our season was recognised at the Team Durham dinner when Aidan’s women’s hockey was awarded college
sports team of the year! It has a been a real honour to lead the team this year; particular thanks go to Rosie Davies, Lou Welham,
Grace Fagan, Sophie Briggs and Claire Webster - leavers who showed particular commitment throughout the season and their whole
time at Aidan’s.

St Aidan’s Boat Club has changed dramatically in the past year.
Not only have we grown in numbers, but our club has significantly grown in stature. This year our Men’s and Women’s first
VIIIs finished in the top 100 crews at the HoRR and the WEHoRR respectively and both crews were placed highly at the
BUCS Head and numerous regional races as well. As a result, we
are now ranked the fastest Durham College and we expect this
winning trend to continue into the next academic year.

We had our first glint of success in the 2015 regatta season. After a number of strong performances in earlier regattas, St
Aidan’s Men’s squad were able to secure their first wins of the season at Hexham. Here the club reached four finals and managed
to win in both the Men’s Novice IV and Novice VIII categories. A
notable performance came from the Novice VIII crew who had
a dramatic win against St Cuthbert’s in the semi-finals, with St
Aidan’s winning by just a bow ball (roughly three inches). These
wins came as a result of many weeks of hard training and dedication by the crews. Although there were no wins for the Women’s
squad, we resumed our position as top contender for the crew to
reach the most amount of finals without winning any. Sadly, the
number one spot was always that little bit out of reach, but each
time we were left even hungrier for success.

Unfortunately, the weather in Michaelmas term was
very much against us, with endless river flooding and the crews
spending more time shifting leaves from the landing stage than
on the water. Despite these inconveniences, the Men’s squad successfully made it to the top spot at both Durham Small Boats
Head and Tees Small Boats Head. We then set our sights on Rutherford Head, where the Women’s squad hoped to retain our
title of Fastest Novice VIII. Regrettably, it was postponed until
January due to high winds and then it was cancelled again due
to bad weather, much to our disappointment. There was more

Becky Graves, Women’s Hockey Team Captain 2015 - 2016

success for the Men’s squad when they clinched the title at Tyne
New Year’s Head.

February saw the debut of Formula Rowing, which
brought a new, exciting format to racing: rowing in a circle.

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Similar to Formula 1, the race structure consists of 3 laps of a
circular track, with differential braking technology allowing
for steeper turns. Aidan’s managed to clinch both the Women’s
and Men’s title, proving we are also the most versatile club in
Durham. The Hayward Cup followed shortly after. In this local
5km race, Aidan’s came away as the second fastest college overall
with wins for the Women’s Novice VIII, Women’s Novice IV and
Men’s Novice IV. A dispute with Hatfield over questionable racing lines and suspected intentional sabotage of our Men’s 1st VIII
crew made for a dramatic day. However, the men’s squad chose
the higher ground and vowed to beat them next time, fair and
square.

In March, we held our second sponsored ergo event,
The Million Meter Row, conveniently the 24 hours directly after
St Aidan’s informal ball. The excitement of the previous evening
somehow spurred on our club and, thanks to all those who supported our cause, we were able to massively exceed our target.
We raised over £2500 of which half went to the Teesdale and
Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue.

After our debut at BUCS the year before, we were keen
to measure up against other University crews once more. The
women’s team advanced on last year beating 12 University crews
but Hatfield and St Cuthbert’s Colleges managed to escape our
grasp on this occasion. We used this as a springboard for our
next race and channelled our disappointment into training. The
Men did exceptionally well at BUCS, obliterating the field of college rowing and University rowing. They placed 7th out of 48
University crews which is an incredible feat. A special mention
goes to the Men’s Captain, Samuel Nobbs, who stepped in only a
few weeks prior and led his team to success.

My personal highlight as Women’s Captain, however,
was the Women’s Head of the River Race, the pinnacle of the
head racing calendar. For the first time since the boat club was
founded, we sent two Women’s VIIIs to the Thames. This event
saw nearly 3000 rowers on the Tideway, ranging from Olympic
champions to novice rowers. St Aidan’s 1st VIII stormed ahead,
reaching the highest Durham College ranking in recent memory (if not ever), placing 83rd with a time of 21 minutes and
27 seconds. This was a huge advance on the year before where
we placed 204th. This represents an incredible achievement for
the club and was very much deserved. The 2nd VIII also raced
strongly, finishing 264th, gaining invaluable race experience for
the novice members.

These results appeared to galvanise the Men’s Squad
into action, where they also raced on the Tideway a fortnight
later. After an incredible start, another crew’s poor line looked as
if it might have jeopardised the 1st VIII’s race; however nothing
would hold them back, and they finished in just 19 minutes 32
seconds. This impressive time ranked them 97 among the 334
crews who completed the race. They were not only the fastest
Durham college, but the second fastest college crew nation-

Life after Durham
Emma Fisher (nee Barley, Sociology and Social Policy 1993-96,
JCR President 1996-97) caught up with legendary Aidan’s porter Les Goodyear during a visit to the JCR Summer Festival, two
years after retiring from his 25-year stint.
Les told me that he left school at 15 and became an apprentice carpenter. He loved the
first 3 months but then it became something that he hadn’t quite expected so he started
“drifting”! He then started a gruelling farming job before coming up to Durham in the
summer of 1976. He had been pursuing his bird conservation hobby prior to this and
was working on a project in Canada when a friend sent him a job advert for the Zoology
Department at Durham. He didn’t think he had the qualifications for it so pretty much
ignored it. However, a colleague of his put an application together for him and it was
successful! He carried out the job for six years via a succession of short term contracts.
When he started, his wife, Shirley (nee Jones, Aidan’s, 1973-1976), had just finished her
degree at the same department and they became involved in the same research project
– the rest, as they say, is history!

Before he became a porter at Aidan’s, he had been self-employed for several
years. He did a lot of wood turning and sold woodcraft and soft toys at markets and
craft fairs. However, in the late 80s, the recession hit and he needed something that
would pay the bills! The Porters job was offering steady part-time work so it was a good
solution for him.

Les started at Aidan’s in January 1990 under the Principalship of Bob Williams. When he arrived, the current bar had just finished being built, the Vice-Principal
was Dr Wood, the Bursar was Commander Bull, Miss Peak was the domestic bursar
and Miss Hunter was his line manager. The JCR President at the time was Greg Wade.
The porters that worked alongside him when he first arrived were Barry Pointer, Ken
Simmonds (aka KTP) and the Bills – Tempest, Spedding and Roundtree.

He spent his first three days being shown the ropes by Barry Pointer, and that
was it - he was then a fully-fledged Aidan’s porter! However, he says it took a couple of
years before he actually liked the job! Once he took a laid-back approach to the job and
began to really enjoy it, he never had so much as a moment when he thought he’d like to
give it all up.

During his time he has met “so many incredible people” and had “so many fun
times”. He was always conscious that there should be a line that you shouldn’t cross. He
said that making great friendships with students is a happy by-product but Porters are
here to do a job and when being reasonable isn’t repaid, it can be very difficult.

When quizzed on what he enjoyed the most about the job, he admitted to being quite a loner which meant that, when he was on night shift, he was in his element!
Provided he stuck to the rules (as he saw them!), he had no-one telling him what to do,
whereas day shifts could be different! He loved bops, formals and summer balls – “my
bread and butter” – whereas other porters would often avoid them for the aggro they
could cause! Les “loved the interaction and got to see some really funny things!” He
didn’t like the summer holidays – evidently, conference delegates can be a lot harder to
please than students!

He also alluded to the parts of the job that probably most students aren’t even
aware of – the all-night conversations with students whose wellbeing was suffering under the stresses that student life can bring, especially during the exam season. At these
desperate times for students, the College Porter could often be the first member of staff
they would open up to.

Aidan’s alumni members have fond memories of Les. Ben Fisher (Physics,
1995-97) remembers sitting by the Porter’s Lodge in the early hours of the morning,
eating Les’ sandwiches that he had handed around whilst listening to all the drunken
banter. Rebecca Davis (nee Becks Briley, Anthropology, 1993-96) remembers the awkward moment Les caught her with her hand stuck in the vending machine at 3am trying
to steal a KitKat. Steve Sanders (Physics, 1990-Present) remembers him dressed in drag
reading bedtime stories. Tim Whiter (Psychology, 1995-98) spent his last ever night
living in college, sitting in the Porter’s Lodge with Les having the “What the heck shall I

Photograph by Lauren Polson
ally. The 2nd VIII proved their strength and skill too, in what
proved an invaluable and successful taste of racing for the Novices among the crew. The amazing achievement of both squads
in London has not only confirmed SACBC’s status as the fastest Durham college on the Wear, but means both the Men’s and
Women’s 1st VIIIs have ranked among the top 100 crews on the
Tideway, up against international athletes.

The success of the Fresher’s squad was largely thanks to
the incredible work of Sarah Jowett, Bethan Meirion-Jones and
Christian Smith, our novice development captains, who were
largely responsible for the success of our Fresher squad. The
hours they committed to teaching and mentoring new rowers
really paid off and we now boast our strongest Fresher squad
to date. Another contributing factor to this was our much improved social scene. Gone are the days where ex-captain Evan
Bolle-Jones had to physically hunt down and beg freshers to attend SpongeBob Squarepants socials. Thanks to the work of both
our Social Secretary John Edwards and the Boat Club Captain
Tom Patmore, not only have socials vastly improved but two of
the best events SACBC has ever seen were hosted. The Michaelmas Christmas Dinner accommodated 70 rowing enthusiasts for
much fun and frivolity and was definitely the highlight of the
term. However, the event that surpassed all expectations was the
Summer Boat Club Ball, our annual black tie event. It was not
to be missed, with many of our alumni making the trip back to
attend- we even had a Snapchat filter! Durham’s grand Town Hall

made a wonderful venue and our live entertainment, The Invitations, performed outstandingly.

We are pleased to name Jack Pooley as our Clubman of
the Year. After four years of full time commitment to SACBC,
his enthusiasm has never faltered and for that we thank him.
As a very talented rower and asset to the Men’s squad, Jack has
stacked up many rowing points, making him one of our most
decorated athletes. On a more personal note, the bleak, snowy
6:30am sessions don’t get any easier no matter how many years
you have struggled, but to have Jack there, who is always positive and throwing all his energy into coaching us, even though it
might have been his fourth morning outing in a row, is remarkable.

As I’m sure you can gather from this report, SACBC
have significantly upped our game and couldn’t be in a better position for next year. On behalf of our Boat Club Captain, I would
like to thank all the executive committee and club members of
2015-16 for all their hard work and dedication. We aim to expand our club even further and I have every faith in the next
executive committee to rise to the challenge.
Louise Watkin, Women’s Boat Club Captain 2015 - 2016
Editor’s Note: This year’s London Alumni event will be held at the
Women’s Eights Head of the River Race on 11th March 2017.

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do now?” chat.

And Les has fond memories too. He remembers a fellow
porter called Bill who had a bit more experience than Les at the
time of this story. Early one morning, Les took over from Bill’s
night shift and asked Bill if he had had an eventful night. Bill
reported that there had been some noise on B curve – the usual
loud music etc. He had wandered down to have a word with the
offending students but they had taken no notice and turned it
back up when he had walked away. So, he went to the fuse box
and turned it off. The lack of music had forced them “to go back
to bed like good boys and girls” so, at about 3am, he went to turn
the fuse box back on again – but the students hadn’t turned it off
at their stereos! He also remembers how the doors to all of the
study bedrooms had rising buttresses so you could just lift them
up and take them off. There was a former social chair that Les
suspected had been the culprit behind a spate of door removals
on B curve. So, one morning, Les removed the suspect’s door and
hid it in the Porter’s storeroom for a few days. When the suspect
reported it missing to Les, Les explained to him that he would
have to pay for it if he was unable to find it. Les returned the door
eventually and he never had any doors go missing on his watch
again!

We asked Les how he felt that College had changed and,
in true Les style, he got a little political! He felt that catering and
cleaning staff splitting off as a separate entity was quite a blow to
the Colleges because, until that point, the same staff were working together and all felt like a part of a family - “it’s what made it
such a great place to work, because you felt a part of it”. Now that
staff are rotated around different colleges, it is harder to get to
know staff members.

He was also sad to say that he and other colleagues noticed an attitudinal change in students when tuition fees started
to hike up in the mid-2000s– “I never felt the job was the same
after that – you were seen as somebody that was here to do a job
rather than someone that was putting time in at the same place
and, therefore, was worth talking to.”

It was very affirming to hear Les say that the Aidan’s
Alumni Association was an important part of the College – he
feels that memories and history are important in terms of charting future progress.

From his more recent University-wide Union-based role, which
has led to him working with staff across the University, I was
proud to hear Les say that Aidan’s had a University wide reputation of being a very friendly and caring college.

Les became active with the Trade Unions in 2003, becoming President of the University’s GMB branch almost immediately. He says it was the best decision he ever made in his life,
despite the fact that “it stretched me more than you can stretch a
rubber band!” As a manual worker all his life, he’d never sat at a
desk or made negotiations before, representing employees with
disciplinary issues and he was thrown straight into it. Although

ment.

It was only a modest two-week gig, but our two weeks turned into four and then again into four months. We were getting
paid, but with no guarantee of a job at the end - the final few weeks were full of stressful uncertainty. Finally we were given the job
in May. Sweet, sweet relief!

Since then we’ve been working on anything from dreaming up car commercials to writing Children in Need fundraising
packs. It’s frustratingly difficult to get anything live but hopefully you’ll be irritated by some of our unwanted ads in the future.
Emily Beech

Boat club alumni come back for a visit
On Saturday the 29th October, St Aidan’s College Boat club were
privileged to be visited by four members of the crew of 1983: Jonathan Cope, Pete Green, Mike Unwin and Kathy Hemming. This
crew is credited with reigniting rowing at St Aidan’s, their claim
to fame having been beating Castle in their first ever final at Durham Regatta. Since their time, the club has grown substantially,
now totalling nearly ninety members. We are one of the largest
clubs in Durham and have maintained the competitive edge that
the five of them pioneered.

With pleasantries exchanged and a tour of the boathouse complete, it was time to take to the water joined by Samuel
Nobbs, our current men’s captain, in the stroke seat to provide
guidance if needed. However, even after 33 years, as soon as the
boat was underway, any doubts about their ability were rapidly
quashed and within minutes they were rowing as though they’d
been training four times a week. It was a pleasure to watch the
boat move swiftly up and down the river with Kathy expertly weaving ‘Tyree’ around numerous Brown’s boats, the Prince
Bishop River Cruiser and a couple of novice crews from Grey
making a mess of spinning by Elvet. With four trips of the Minute Strait complete, they returned to the boathouse with smiles
across their faces, even Samuel’s (a sure sign that the rowing was
good).

Later in the evening, Samuel and I joined the crew and
friends (all Aidan’s alumni) for a drink in the Swan and Three
Cygnets, which it turned out had opened the year they started
their degrees. It was fascinating to hear about their time as students and to share stories with them. It’s remarkable how little
student life has changed in Durham over the years; B curve has
always been ‘the loud corridor’ and the viaduct has always been
the place to live outside of college.

It’s always fantastic to hear from members of the alumni
community and we’re always happy to welcome crews back to
Durham, especially one that played such an important part in the
club’s history. If anyone would like to arrange a visit to SACBC or
to share stories of past crews then feel free to email us at rowing@
st-aidans.com and make sure you follow our Facebook page and
join the alumni group (St Aidan’s College Boat club Alumni).

Les retired from being a porter in June 2014, he remained working with the Union until the end of June this year.

Retirement will no doubt see him further immersed
in caring for his well-known goats! The conservation with birds
that brought him to Durham in the first place has now become
conservation work with goats and he has already won awards for
his rehoming projects. This hobby that he shares with Shirley has
seen them giving their expert opinion on goats in Ireland and
Holland on several occasions. He also enjoys gardening, carving
and drawing and Shirley is still working at the Durham University Geography department.
Emma Fisher, Newsletter Officer

Emily Beech (2012 - 2015, English Literature) regales her experiences of getting into advertising
Since finishing my English degree last year, it’s been a long hard slog to land a job as a Junior Copywriter. In short, I now work for
BJL, an advertising agency in Manchester, writing and creating campaigns for brands.

Getting into advertising is arguably a little old fashioned. Apart from the Watford course, there’s a lack of graduate
schemes on the creative side of the industry. Work experience is king and in my experience they care little for grades.

After spending the summer travelling round Europe, I started looking properly in September. It wasn’t long before I spotted a junior copywriting position going in Manchester. It was a straight rejection, but a useful one. I was told if I was serious about
becoming a copywriter, it was looking like a stretch of about 12 to 18 months of probably unpaid work experience. And that was
after I could find an Art Director to work with. In advertising, junior creatives are most likely hired in teams.

You get placements by showing agencies your book – an A3 portfolio full of campaign ideas from briefs you make up. You
get crits by contacting Creative Directors or just wandering into companies and asking anyone, anyone to take a look.

I was warned about the brutal criticism that was likely to happen. Thankfully, I managed to avoid being told to burn my
portfolio like one team claimed– an achievement of sorts.

After a month, I was still a single creative seeking my other half. Thankfully a lucky twist of fate lead me to Faye. Faye had
just graduated from Loughborough where she studied Graphic Communication. I was put in touch with her after going for a book
crit at BJL. She’d visited just a couple of days before and like a young and hopeful X-factor band, reeking of desperation and graduate aspirations, we were put together.

After an initial first meet that felt very much like a blind date, we made things “offish” and began working in coffee shops
and libraries on our book. After seeing a few other agencies, in December, we went back to BJL and landed our very first place-

Christian Smith, Geology 2014 - present

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Bob Williams

Durham Lumiere - November
2015

Sad news about former Aidan’s Principal Professor Robert J
Williams

The UK’s largest light festival returned to Durham for a fourth
year last November (2015)
Commissioned by Durham County Council and supported by
the Arts Council England, Lumiere was first created for Durham
by the London-based production company, Artichoke, in 2009,
and has taken place in the City every other year since then.

The extraordinary light festival has very quickly established itself as a much-loved Durham fixture with 2015’s festival
attracting 200,000 visitors, up from 175,000 in 2013. Interestingly, the image of the Tricolore projected on to the Cathedral
received 1.4 million views with 31,000 likes, 490 comments and
14,000 shares, while attracting wide coverage in the media including reports from BBC and ITV. In the same year, Artichoke
also produced Lumiere in Derry- Londonderry UK City of Culture, commissioned by Culture Company 2013, and January
2016 saw Lumiere staged in London for the first time.

Helen Marriage is the Director and Co-Founder of Artichoke, the creators of Lumiere. Described in their own words as
“A creative company that works with artists to invade our public
spaces and put on extraordinary and ambitious events that live in
the memory forever”, Helen’s work injects unorthodox behaviour
into urban settings to encourage people to reflect on the place

It is with much sadness that we report the death of Bob Williams. Emeritus Professor Bob Williams died at home in the company of
his wife Jean (who also worked for the University for 32 years) and other family members on Saturday 9 May 2015.

Bob joined the Politics Department at Durham in 1971 and retired in 2005. He served as Deputy Dean and then Dean of the
Faculty of Social Sciences, 1984–91, as Principal of St Aidan’s College, 1991–97 and as Professor of Politics and Head of the Politics
Department from 1997 to 2001. His teaching and research focused on American politics and on political corruption, particularly in
Africa. He was the author or editor of Political Scandals in the USA, Political Corruption in Africa, Politics and Corruption (4 vols)
and Party Finance and Political Corruption, as well as over fifty academic papers and articles. He held several visiting appointments
at universities in North America and Australia.

Bob had a substantial career beyond the University. He served as a Justice of the Peace for twenty years. He was a member of
the board of governors of several local schools, member and sub-committee chair of the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee for
Durham and, from 2001 to 2007, Chair of the County Durham Probation Board, a Home Office ministerial appointment. His work
on corruption led to numerous consultancy roles for DFID, USAID and the EU Commission, involving visits to developing countries
which continued into his retirement from the University. In 2005, he was lead researcher and co-author of a major study for the U4
Anti-Corruption Resource Centre in Norway, Measuring ‘Success’ in 5 African Anti-Corruption Commissions.

In retirement Bob also developed a career as a public speaker working on cruise ships for Cunard, P&O and Fred Olson
Lines (as well as in numerous terrestrial locations), giving acclaimed talks on scandals and corruption with intriguing titles such as
‘The Life and Strange Death of Marilyn Monroe’. In the period since his diagnosis of metastatic prostate cancer in 2013, after a break
for treatment, he not only resumed giving talks and served as an external examiner for the International Anti-Corruption Academy
in Austria, but also fulfilled a long-held ambition to reinvent himself as a thriller writer, publishing two books under the pen-name
of Jack Carey.

I don’t have many strong memories of Bob, but this is not as bad as it sounds! Bob appeared to have a lot of faith in the
JCR and had a rather ‘hands-off ’ approach, trusting us to manage our affairs ourselves and supporting only when necessary. He was
popular, well-respected and always had a smile on his face.

He is much missed by his family and friends.

where they live, work and play.
Q: Did you envisage that Lumiere Durham would become the
UK’s largest festival of Light?
A: When we created Lumiere in 2009, I had no idea that it would
grow as it has. I thought that we were doing a one-off glorious event
in the beautiful setting that the city provides. I’m delighted with
its growth and the way in which the public has taken it to their
hearts– but no one is more surprised than me.
Q: Why did you choose Durham for Lumiere and what makes
you keep coming back?
A: I have an affinity for the place because my mother was born here
and my grandfather was a Methodist Minister in the city. I used
to visit when my mother moved back here in the late 1990s and
always loved it. As a producer, it provides me with the ideal canvas
to express my ideas and to inspire the artists we work with. The
ancient architecture and the way it bleeds into the countryside; the

Emma Fisher, Newsletter Officer

‘The World Machine’ Ross Ashton, John Del’Nero, Isobel Waller-Bridge, Professor Carlos Frenk
and Richard Bower Lumiere 2015 by Matthew Andrews
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juxtaposition of contemporary living with historic significance — it’s all a rich blend that allows momentarily to transform the physical
fabric of the city and, so, try to change the way people experience it. And why do we come back? Because the welcome has been so warm
and the commitment from our principal supporters – County Council, the Arts Council in the North, the University and the Cathedral,
together with the many local businesses and individuals that help us, has been so steadfast.

Recipe Corner
Bucatini with wild mushrooms

Q: What is your personal highlight from 2015’s programme?

It would appear that College food has come a long way since the days of Dick the chef in the mid-90s! I asked current chef, Jason
Carty, to supply the recipe for a current college favourite and he came up with this tasty looking dish.

A: It’s impossible for me to choose between the many installations. Some were more complex than others; some simple and delightful.
We choose each one carefully so that it fits its location and says something about the world we live in. I never programme anything that
I don’t long to see myself.

Ingredients
Morel sauce

Q: What does the partnership with Durham Cathedral add to Lumiere?

40g dried mushrooms
360ml hot water
2tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 medium carrot (¼” dice)
1 medium celery stick (¼” dice)
1 leek (¼” dice)
2 garlic cloves (chopped)
725ml chicken stock (white)
Bouquet (thyme, bay, parsley)
725ml whipping cream
Salt & pepper

A: From the outset, Durham Cathedral has been one of our most supportive partners. We recognise that the demands the festival makes
on the building and its staff can be enormous– but the Cathedral has never failed to rise to the challenge. It’s a privilege to be allowed to
work with such an iconic building that has a special place in the public’s heart.
Q: How does Lumiere benefit Durham and its communities?
A: Together with Durham County Council, we commission an independent economic impact survey each time we mount the festival. In
2015 this measured the financial impact of the festival at £6.5m (£5.9m net). While this is important in order to demonstrate its value in
these times of austerity, equally significant are measures of health and well-being that come from the survey. Around 96% of respondents
said the festival made them happy and was good.
Lumiere 2015 saw more than 80,000 people visiting the Cathedral over the four days, braving the torrential rain to explore Durham
by light. As the centrepiece of the festival, the programme for the Cathedral and its precinct was diverse and dynamic. For example,
there was ‘The World Machine’:

Wild mushroom garnish
2tbsp butter
700g best quality wild mushrooms
(mixed)
2tbsp chopped shallot
Salt & pepper

The birth of modern cosmology from the 12th century until the present day was told in a stunning new son et Lumiere on the façade
of Durham Cathedral. Through the World Machine, art collided with science in a daring collaboration between Ross Ashton, the
world renowned cosmologist Professor Carlos Frenk of Durham University, sound engineer John del’Nero and composer Isobel
Waller-Bridge. Durham is a world-renowned centre for research into the cosmos and it is this field of academia that has inspired numerous artistic works including Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Solar Equation, a huge simulation of the Sun, commissioned by Federation
Square for the Light in Winter Festival in Melbourne, and Gina Czarnecki I which was projected onto the façade of the Bill Bryson
Library during Lumiere 2013.

Bucatini
450g bucatini
3tbsp chopped basil
3tbsp chopped chives
3tbsp chopped parsley
1 tomato (large concasse)
80g toasted pinenuts
Salt & pepper

Durham Lumiere is truly a feast for the eyes and has formed the decision behind choosing to permanently schedule the Aidan’s
Alumni Association AGM and Recent Graduates’ Weekend on the middle weekend of November each year – it provides a perfect
third reason to go back to Durham!
Adapted from an article in a recent edition of the Dunholm Magazine by Emma Fisher (Sociology and Social Policy, 1993-96 and JCR
President 1996-97)

Method
1. Soak morels in hot water for 20 mins.
2. Lift out, rinse & set aside.
3. Sweat vegetables in butter for 5 mins.

11. Add shallots & saute for 1 minute
more.

4. Add garlic & cook for 1 min.

12. Season.

5. Add morels & cook 1 min more.

13. Cook pasta ‘til al dente.

6. Add chicken stock & bouquet.

14. Drain.

7. Boil till reduced to 250ml.

15. Re-heat morel sauce & add basil,
chives & parsley.

8. Add cream & simmer to a sauce consistency.
9. Set aside.

Features

17

Features
18

10. Sauté mushrooms until they give off
their liquid.

16. Correct seasoning.
17. Toss bucanti in half of the sauce &

divide between six bowls.
18. Spoon remaining sauce & mushroom
garnish over.
19. Scatter with tomato & pinenuts &
dribble with white truffle oil.
Emma Fisher - Sociology and Social Policy
1993-96, JCR President 1996-97

News in Brief

maybe for the 70th anniversary weekend.

We have managed to gather together quite a bit more ‘news in brief ’ than we had last year, but still not as
much as we have managed in previous years. This is such a shame, as we know it is a favourite section for
many of you. Let’s aim for a bumper section next year! Please send news for the next edition to newsletter@aidans-alumni.org.uk or to the college address on the back cover of this newsletter.

Gary Tetlow

1947
Joan Moir Armstrong (nee Bidgood)
Since a fall at my granddaughter’s home in Charleston, South
Carolina, in 2014, I have not been very mobile and I no longer
drive. However, in September 2015, I visited the same families
who were in Didcot for a wedding. I was able to see Betty Lawes
(Bennison) at her home in Oxford – a happy reunion – but we
have always kept in touch. I introduced Betty to my great Grandson, William (aged 1 ½ years) – happy days!! I miss being able to
come to reunions.
D. E Lawes
I am delighted to have St Aidan’s magazine, a printed copy as I
don’t do emails. I can no longer visit Durham but I enjoy College
and University news. It was a great thrill to meet Joan Armstrong
(Bidgood) who called on me and we talked non-stop for 2 hours
after many years absence, more than 10.

1965
Vivian Fairbank (nee Jolly)
I still live in Aldridge in the Midlands where I am very busy
with the U3A, the governing body of the local grammar school
and the local prep school and helping out with our three young
grandchildren.

1972
Gillian Richmond (nee Clarke)
Still writing for my living. This year I have been writing for the
Archers again (after a gap of over 20 years!) and EastEnders, as
well as pursuing writing projects of my own invention. Still living in Muswell Hill, very close to Sue Wagstaff. Still married to
the same lovely man. Children now grown and flown, fortunately
both well, happy and gainfully employed. (Phew)

1986

vorced with two daughters; Camilla and Lucy. Camilla lives some
of the time in New Zealand. Lucy lives at home and works locally
in Thame. Would love to hear from fellow Aidan’s ‘maidens’ of
the ‘70s!

1975
Ruth Frampton (nee Bleasdale)
I was ordained deacon at Exeter Cathedral last September and
now serve as curate in the Benefice of Salcombe. In the same
month I began a Masters in Theology at Exeter University. Giles
and I became grandparents for the first time, also in September.
It has been an eventful year!

Still working as the Director of Pendragon PLC (car retailer) fascinating and varied. I had a week in Durham (St John’s) in
Summer 2015 at the Cranmer Hall course for communications
in Christian Ministry, getting skilled up as well as enjoying visiting Jenny Parker (Aidan’s 1978-1981). In regular touch with Babs
Petchy (Cotton – same years, Law, Aidan’s) as we each have a
country cottage in Wensleydale.

1979
Claire Hewitt
I am now living in Henley on Thames, and working at Henley
Business School in the Executive Education Division. I am a
thorough country girl, living in the country, but being close to
London and working with global businesses. So I get the best of
all worlds! I have remained single, but with a trail of romances
along the way.

1984

The Buckinghamshire music service was reorganised and I was
made redundant. I have embarked on a research degree with the
Open University; I am having great fun with it! I hope to come to
the 2017 reunion; I hope there will be many of my vintage there.

19

I am now a Fellow at Queens’ College, Cambridge, where I am
in charge of development and alumni relations. I’m married to
Jessica (Hatfield): Emily (4), Sophie (3) and a new baby arriving
this February. I’m still involved in rugby as an ex-Aidan’s captain:
now a Television Match Official (too slow to run any more) for
the RFU and World Rugby.

1992
Munir Mamujee (‘fondly’ known as Mooch)
I studied English Language and Linguistics and, immediately after Durham, I went and looked for a full time job and never got
my backside into gear whilst at uni…! I’m now the MD of m2r
Education, an international recruitment firm focussing on the
overseas teaching sector www.m2rglobal.com. I live in Wakefield
and am happily settled with 2 kids. I am planning to attend the
reunion too.

1993

I was at Durham from 1986-90 studying Chinese, with the second year away at the People’s University of China in Beijing. After leaving Durham, I got a job with P&O Containers on their
Graduate scheme and spent a couple of years with them before
moving out to Hong Kong where I got a job with the world’s
leading organiser of b2b trade shows. I married another Durham
Chinese graduate and our first two kids were born in HK where
we lived for six and a half years before moving to the States for a
year. We’ve been back in the UK since 2000 - with another child
- and I am now a Director at the China-Britain Business Council
- www.cbbc.org - advising British companies on their strategies
for developing their business in the China market. And yes, I
am intending to join the college’s 70th Anniversary celebrations
next year!

I am still living in Oxford with Ben (see below!). I have been
working as a student support co-ordinator at Oxford Brookes
University for two years now. Ben and I have stayed in touch with
a variety of Aidanites, whom we spend our spare time catching
up with and have also become heavily involved with the Aidan’s
Alumni Association, focusing now on next year’s big reunion.
Hope to see as many of you there as possible!

News in Brief
20

Rowan Kitt

Emma Fisher (nee Barley)

I was at Durham from 1986-90, studying Engineering. Immediately after Durham, I returned to the Royal Navy, which had
sponsored me through Durham, to be an Engineer & Helicopter
Pilot and I am still in the RN, now a Commodore, working in
Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) in Bristol. I head up a
team that is contractorising the flying training for all three Services and bringing into military service 5 new planes and helicopters in the next two years, as well as providing all the support/
maintenance to operate older military aircraft like the Hawks
used for different types of training (including Red Arrows). It’s
called UK Military Flying Training System. I live in Cerne Abbas,
Dorset and am happily married with 2 gorgeous daughters aged

News in Brief

1988

Chris Cotton

Thomas Manson

I celebrated a significant birthday last February with a trip to
Exeter to visit our son, Jamie. He graduated this summer with
an engineering degree, like his Dad and me. I have now been
teaching maths for 10 years and enjoy it very much. So far, no
one has noticed my inability to add up! I was very pleased that
Marin Ritter (a US student who spent a year at Aidan’s 1985/86)
came to visit the UK this autumn. We had a great time catching
up and a fun time with Ian Ailles (Aidan’s 1984/87?). I’d love to
get in touch with others from that era. It will be 30 years since
I graduated in 2017 so seems a good time to return to college,

Working as Head of English in Reading at a girls’ school. Di-

Immediately after Durham, I went travelling in the USA & Central America for six months before joining Price Waterhouse as a
trainee accountant in London. I’m now an accountant at a boutique fund management business. I live in East Sheen in South
West London and am married with 2 girls aged 10 & 13. I am
in touch with Suzanne Baxter, Chris Cotton, Keith Pickard, Nik
Haidar, Colin Spinley, Gary Tetlow, Philip Bailey, Louise White,
Peter Innes, Crawford Winton and Steve Lilley from St Aidans
1986 – 1989. I am planning on going back up to College for the
70th Anniversary Reunion.

Hilary Disney (nee Sykes)

Sarah Clarke

Julie Hardy (nee Bowyer)

Keith Pickard

1978

Helen Crosbie (nee Burt)

1973

Immediately after Durham, I went to do a postgraduate certificate
in Advanced Design Manufacture and Management (ACDMM).
I am now a self employed Project Manager working in the Pharmaceutical Industry, GSK. I’m living in St Albans, Hertfordshire,
married to Sarah with two secondary school age kids, Olivia and
Finlay. There are a group of us who ended up in D House who get
together pretty much every year and have seen our families grow
and develop. We met up in early October 2016, celebrating the
first of our 50th birthdays and love the idea of attending the 70th
celebration, especially if we could end up in D House. It’s a great
opportunity to meet other Alumni, hopefully loads from 86/89.

17 & 15. I still meet up on an annual basis with the old D house
from Aidan’s including Suzanne Naylor, Gary Tetlow, Syd Bailey,
Colin Spinley, Keith Pickard, Chris Cotton and all our respective
families. What a team! We are all planning on going back up to
College for the 70th Anniversary Reunion.

1994
David Cockburn
Nearly 20 years and I still think about Aidan’s as if it was yesterday. Living in London with my wife and beautiful daughter.
Jo Cook
I’m surviving the NHS as a Clinical Psychologist, well mostly
senior manager now. I married Gerry and we have an amazing
daughter Aibhilihn (23 months) who keeps us entertained.

1995
Ben Fisher
I am still in Oxford, very settled here with my wife Emma (nee
Barley). I am working as an actuary for a pensions consultancy
based in Reading, and have been doing so for the last ten years.

Emma & I spend our spare time either travelling, meeting up
with friends (many of which are from St Aidan’s) or running the
Aidan’s Alumni Association. I am very much hoping to catch up
with a few old Aidan’s friends that I have lost touch with at the
upcoming 70th Anniversary reunion.

1996
Katie McInnes (nee Yellowlees)
I can’t believe it’s been 16 years! 2 kids later and training to be a
teacher, I still think fondly of Aidan’s!

1997
Simon Clough
Enjoying being a part-time stay-at-home dad in Oxford.

2004
Matt Spencer
I studied at Aidan’s from 2004 to 2007 and then was JCR President for the 07/08 year. I am now the treasurer for the Alumni
Association. I always liked being involved with college life and
the alumni association is a great way to keep people involved in
what was an amazing and important time in their lives. Three
years ago, the Alumni Association helped fund a new boat for the
rowing club. If anyone has any capital projects they would like to
suggest to the association, please let us know.

2005

2012

Aidan’s Alumni descend on
London

Evan Bolle-Jones
Rowed at Henley with Aidan’s, came 97th at HoRR with SACBC.
Currently rowing in Jersey with Jersey Rowing Club and sea rowing is massively different to river rowing. We have rowed from
Jersey to Sark which is 41km across the sea which is rough and
terrible conditions. Contemplating moving to Taunton with my
mum to row at Taunton Rowing Club - a force in the south west!

Hannah Futter (2012 - 2015, Geography) reports on this year’s Head
of the River Race

On March 19th 2016, thousands(ish) of former Aidanites descended on London for a day, supporting the SACBC crews at the annual
Head of the River Race. This also legitimised an all- day affair of catching up with alumni from across the years and firmly staking a
territorial claim to a section of the Blue Boat, a pub on the banks of the river Thames.

Aidan’s women had paved the way at the Women’s Head of the River Race earlier in the month, sending out two crews. The
first VIII finished 82nd out of 294 crews, officially cementing their position as the fastest college in Durham. This unprecedented
result set the scene for a dramatic showdown on the Thames for the viewing pleasure of Aidan’s Alumni. The race itself was a chance
for former SACBC members to talk non-stop about the intricacies of the sport and, for everyone else, it provided an excuse to start
drinking at midday. The first VIII finished 97th and, again, secured their position as fastest College crew. St. Aidan’s College was officially the fastest College in both the men’s and women’s races and had managed to put out four crews across the two weekends. Credit
must go to Captains Louise Watkin and Sam Nobbs for their hard work and to all at SACBC for their commitment and resilience that
often goes unnoticed.

Once the business of standing out on the bank of the slightly chilly Thames was over, the Blue Boat provided an excellent
venue for catching up with old friends and meeting Aidanites from across the years. Decent food and a plentiful supply of beverages meant that the event continued into the evening when the racing crews and their supporters joined us in a celebration of their
achievements. The event was an overwhelming success and we hope to see more Alumni as we continue the tradition next year!

Jack Pooley
After sleeping off four years’ worth of degree, I’m about to start
my PGCE course to become a Modern Languages teacher. I continue to love rowing unconditionally but I’m enjoying a break
from the boat for the time being…
Ethan Tamlyn
I graduated with a degree in Classics in 2015. I’m now living in
NW London with a couple of other Aidan’s alumni, Ollie Rollinson and Elliot Kirk. I am currently working as a Nursing Assistant at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington. I’m still in touch with
lots of Aidan’s Alumni and some of us recently returned from
trips to Prague and Berlin.

2013

Join us next year on Saturday 11th March to watch the Women’s Head of the River Race. Look out for information in Newswire
or on Facebook!

Tom Patmore

Hannah Futter, Newsletter Officer

Tom is in his final year of rowing and aiming high before moving
to London to start a graduate job with Deloitte.

Sam Fowler
Still rowing occasionally in York, France and further afield! Very
proud of the current women’s squad for doing so well at WEHORR! Would really like to hear from alumni who would be
keen to take on Durham regatta together - get in touch!

2008
David Morris

Obituaries
Janet Koss (French, 1966-1970) passed away last November
(2015). Janet worked for years at the British Library and was
involved in the move to their new premises. Her Aidan’s friends,
who called themselves ‘the dazzling gaggle’, remember her for
her erudition (“she really was so clever and knowledgeable”),
and her laugh, “which truly was so characteristic of her”.

As of March 2016 David, or ‘Dorris’ is working for the National
Union of Students. He specialises in education policy and spends
a lot of time lobbying. He also lives with fellow Aidan’s alumni
Sam Foster, one of his better life decisions.

2011
Rob Fowler
Rob works as a teacher in a private school. When he is not talking
about Physics, he spends his time discouraging A Level students
from applying to Hatfield and considering a career on the Hill
instead.
Jo Matthews and Will Eustace married on 30th July 2016 in
Cirencester.

News in Brief

21

22

News from St Aidan’s Alumni

What’s new in the Archive?

A Message From Our Reunions
Team

Joshua Stocco (Physics and Astronomy, 2011 to 2015) provides us
with the latest news on the college archive

Ben and Ed fill us in on the events of the past year and some of those
planned for next year

Following the reboot of the Alumni Association back in November 2015, we have seen a busier year of alumni events, which we plan
to carry on improving into 2017, most notably with the 70th anniversary reunion in July.

One of the reasons for this has been the continued development of the relationship between the Alumni Association and the
JCR.

March saw the first of the new Aidan’s alumni events at the annual Head of the River Race (HoRR - http://www.horr.co.uk/)
on the Thames. Aidan’s Alumni took over half of the Blue Boat pub in Hammersmith for the afternoon. There was a great turnout of
alumni from the mid-1980s right up to recent graduates and a few current members of the JCR who had come to cheer on the two
Aidan’s crews that were racing. There is more on this elsewhere in the newsletter.

In June, the JCR held its annual Summer Festival (formerly known as Beer Fest) to celebrate the end of exams. As always,
the festival provided a reason for recent graduates to come back up to Durham for a visit to the North-East in the sunshine. Great
weather made it a perfect June afternoon sitting out on the lawn taking in some of Aidan’s current best undergraduate bands whilst
enjoying some of the many real ales on sale.

The next Summer Festival in college will be on Sunday 4th June 2017 and again recent (and not so recent) graduates are
invited to attend.

By the time you are reading this, the annual Recent Graduates Weekend will have been held in mid November, which also
now coincides with the Alumni Association’s AGM in College. The AGM is open to everyone and a great chance to voice your opinions about where you would like us to direct the Association and what sort of events you’d like to see or get involved with.

Next year’s Recent Graduates Weekend will be at the same time as the biannual Lumiere festival is running in Durham. If
you haven’t experienced this fantastic light show around the City (which is also the largest light festival in the UK), it is an excellent
reason to get yourself up to Durham. It is always an absolutely unique experience. To see what they have done in previous years, have
a look at their website http://www.lumiere-festival.com/. Elsewhere in this edition of the newsletter, you can also have a read of our
article (kindly provided to us by Durham Cathedral) with Artichoke, the creative minds behind the Festival.

In March 2017, we will be returning to the Thames, but this time for the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race (WEHoRR)
on Saturday 11th March (http://wehorr.org/). You don’t have to be a rowing fan to come along - the sights of the 100s of crews coming
through one-by-one is quite a spectacle, as well as being a great excuse for meeting up with old friends and meeting new people in
the area.

The big event for 2017 (and, by definition, the decade) is the 70th Anniversary Reunion Weekend. This will be held in College on the weekend of the 7th to 9th July 2017. At the time of writing, the exact program is still being finalised so, to keep informed
of the planned entertainment, discussions, tours etc, check our website for the latest information, including information on how to
book, as we imagine places will fill up very quickly.

If you would like to get involved with organising or planning of a reunion, or have any gatherings planned that you want to
open up to other alumni in the area, get in touch at reunions1@aidans-alumni.org.uk (we’re working on catchier contact details).

Currently, the archive team are hard at work getting as much material out of Palace Green, where it is currently carefully stored,
and on display within college. Work continues to install a display case for archive materials in the foyer of college. The site has been
surveyed and we are planning which of the materials to put on display first. We hope this will be ready for unveiling at our 70th
anniversary in the summer.

We are in the process of framing some beautiful concept sketches of the college which were drawn by Sir Basil Spence. We
hope to have them installed in college by the main stairwell in time for Christmas. The recently commissioned portrait of former
principal Professor John Ashworth has been completed and framed and will shortly be displayed in college along with the portraits
of other past principals.

In April we received a generous donation of interesting materials from Andy Walton (matriculate of 1982), including four
college magazines from 1983 and 1984 for which we are extremely grateful. I include an article above from the ‘84 epiphany term
edition of First Aids for your entertainment.

This has also been the beginning of renewed efforts to create some form of a digital archive which might be accessible to
everyone - currently you can access the catalogue through our website but must physically visit Durham in order to see anything; I
would encourage anyone to make an appointment to take a look if you plan to visit the area.

Obviously an archive can never be full and we are always searching for more content. If you have any treasures like posters,
ball invitations, meeting minutes, sports awards or photographs stowed away in your attic that you think might be of interest to the
archive, please get in touch at archive@aidans-alumni.org.uk. We will be happy to copy any photos or documents and return the
originals if desired.
Joshua Stocco, Archivist

Ben Fisher and Edward Smith, Reunion Officers

The JCR Annual Summer Festival, June 2016
Photograph by Lauren Polson
News from St Aidan’s Alumni

23

24

News from St Aidan’s Alumni

As I talk to more and more people in Paris about their feelings about the
attacks, I soon get a clear sense of the
fragmentation between communities in
the city; there is a common sigh of resignation when Parisians talk about Paris,
a loss of faith in the goodness of others.
This is most obvious when I bring up “les
attentats” in a café. While sitting at the
counter, eventually conversation turns to
life in Paris and the elderly man to my side
jokes that Paris is his paradise as he raises his glass. The owner bursts into cynical
laughter, “it’s the opposite...”

After the Charlie Hebdo attacks,
the prime-minister, Manuel Valls, spoke
of the “territorial, social and ethnic apartheid” in France that needed to end. He
was referring to the Banlieue, a symbol
of societal alienation that the country,
historically, has been unable to solve.
The Banlieue, where the country’s poorest people live in a parallel world to the
city centres, have been characterised as
a breeding ground for terrorists, a place
where alienation is prevalent, the forgotten France. Whatever the exact origins of
home-grown terrorists, whatever the exact relationship between the chicken and
the egg, it has become abundantly clear
that the war on terror in Europe is inseparable from social policy, both within
France and within the EU.

And yet, whilst such horrific
events call for clarity in response, France,
indeed the Western World, still struggles
between two polar solutions. The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyuhu,
is clear in his view “we have to fight terrorism like we fought the Nazis” – treating terrorism as a purely military matter.
This is an attitude that has permeated
throughout Israeli society and means that
issues such as PTSD among civilians are
taken considerably more seriously while
threats are dealt with both more brutally
and more effectively. This approach un-

Travel Reports
The Alumni Association Travel Award
The Alumni Association Travel Award
for 2015/16 was awarded to Henry Popiolek, a 2nd year undergraduate in Modern Languages and Cultures. Here is an
account of what he got up to:

Paris et son éléphante
In September 2016, I went to Paris to investigate the legacy of the November 2015
attacks and to understand how they exist
today in the collective consciousness of
the city’s residents.

“Bonjour monsieur, est-ce que
vous voulez boire quelque chose?” asks
the barman, greeting me with a wide smile
as he moves from dirty dishes to manning
the coffee machine and back again in the
blink of an eye. I ask for an espresso and
take a moment to take in my surroundings; I’m in an upmarket Parisian café
in the 11th arrondissement, the décor is
modern and stylish, it’s busy for 3pm on a
Sunday afternoon.
Entering La Belle Equipe involves weaving my way through a packed terrace of
chattering locals and tourists, but once
inside the ambiance is much more lethargic. Conversation bubbles lightly
along from the handful of tables finishing
off their meals, to my right a pensioner
drinks Muscadet and reads the paper, at
the far end of the room the chef laughs in
the doorway as he chats with a client. It’s
everything you’d expect from a Parisian
café in late September, right down to the
faint waft of cigarette smoke that rolls in
from the terrace.

I cast my eyes around the room
looking for anything that seems out of
place, any sign of what occurred here 10
months ago. There’s nothing. I wonder if
any of the staff working today worked that
night in November, I wonder how many
people here are aware that customers were
shot dead while sitting in the very same
seats, I wonder how many would care to
know. On the surface, in La Belle Equipe,
just as in Paris itself, it’s life as normal.

On November 14th, Parisians
and Europeans woke up to a new age of
terrorism. The magnitude, location and
sheer cold-bloodedness of the attacks
in Paris the night before caused a bigger
shockwave than any other terrorist attack

A soldier patrols a tourist hotspot in the South, a common
sight in post-2015 France
in modern European history - it has carved
a place in our collective consciousness.
Solidarity with the victims was expressed
throughout Europe as well as within Paris,
where the frantic desperation of that fateful Friday night gave way to mass memorial services and displays of national pride
in the days that followed. But as is always
the way, daily realities eventually retook
the fore. The city was eventually to remove
six truckloads of wilted flowers and several kilograms of candles from memorials
placed around shooting scenes, a street
cleaner poignantly telling France 24, “we
didn’t really want to get rid of the things,
but it feels a bit like a cemetery with all the
flowers.”

The flowers may have disappeared, but the symbolic significance of
the attacks pervades. The legacy of the
Paris attacks will continue to shape government policy, public opinion and, ultimately, the relationships between communities throughout Europe for years to
come. What is less certain is just what
exactly that legacy will become. How
will the attacks come to be remembered?
What will they come to mean?

Those are some of the questions
that the 13 Novembre research program
is looking to answer, through regularly
taking the accounts of 1,000 people over
the next 12 years, all of whom were affected by the attacks in Paris that night.
The researchers are investigating the way
our individual and collective memory is
constructed and how it evolves to create

a consistent narrative that makes sense
for both the individual and for society. To
be in Paris in late 2016 is to witness the
legacy of the attacks being formed. I have
come to this city to witness them finding
their place in our collective memory.

I feel the frisson of witnessing
something significant as I approach the
Bataclan theatre that same Sunday. Although covered head to toe in scaffolding,
the building exudes something; it echoes
with a feeling that I feel in the pit of my
stomach but cannot articulate. I imagine
that if I had never heard of what had happened here, I could have still felt it from
the way the building sits, as if trying to
hide in plain sight. There are a number
of tributes and messages that remind you
of the sheer loss of human life; most profoundly “you can’t rebuild my friend”. I
look down the narrow road that runs
along the side of the building and instantly recall the videos and images that
emerged that evening, showing people
running desperately away with bodies
littering the ground. The building works
feel like a cover, like a transparent attempt
to separate the Bataclan from its past. It
is a building in limbo, waiting for people
to forget; not ready to close down and yet
not ready to reopen. Provisional dates
are set for a reopening in late 2016, but a
scan through the theatre’s Facebook page
reveals that many are displeased with that.
For now, the building seems to be waiting
for time to run its course - it is proof of a
lasting psychological trauma.

Travel Reports

doubtedly limits the psychological as well
as physical harm of terrorist attacks but
many point out that responding with such
aggression filters down throughout society and causes the exact kind of alienation
that leads to Islamic extremism. Commentators argue that we must focus on
integration and social mobility as a longer
term solution. France finds itself stuck in
a catch-22; unable to commit to either and
yet following a middle ground that thus
far seems ineffective.

The conundrum of modern terrorism has stumped the old rulebook of
liberté, egalité, fraternité. Beyond pragmatic, reactive responses, France is still
searching for its long-term answer. Although Parisians have proven themselves
united in their condemning of attacks
and their solidarity with victims (over
a million marched in January 2015 after
the Charlie Hebdo offices were attacked),
there has been a lack of unity in finding
the next step. Political dialogue has not
been able to affect the way people feel
beyond heightening fear and uncertainty
at the influx of refugees; there is still no
vision for fighting the perceived enemy
within beyond a greater emphasis on proactive intelligence work and on military
measures. The Paris attacks will form part
of the narrative of the next decade, yet a
year on it seems that France is still short
for answers; traumatised by the last attack,
vulnerable to the next and still unable to
choose its path. Beneath the day to day
realities of life in Paris, I sense an unease,
a country paralysed, not ready to accept
a state of war within its borders and not
able to find the unity and vision necessary
to prevent it. The covered up Bataclan
theatre epitomizes this, an elephant in the
room. Memorials will come and go to the
Paris attacks but key questions remain unexplored, unanswered. Will the traditional republican values that define France
be able to resist the regular onslaught of

The Bataclan Theatre, late
September 2016
terrorist attacks? How can the necessary
national dialogue be facilitated when we
are dealing with such a sensitive issue?

Earlier that day I sit on the steps
of Sacre Coeur and pluck up the courage
to tell the old couple I’m sitting next to
that I’m looking into les attentats. I ask
him about their experience of that night.
Immediately the old man jabs a remark
that I don’t quite catch. After a few more
moments of miscommunication, we realise that he had heard “djihadiste” rather
than “journaliste”, a fitting misunderstanding for the taboo that suffocates the
topic today in France.
Henry Popiolek

The Bruce & Pat McGowan Travel Award
The Bruce & Pat McGowan Travel Award is for travel by a student from St
Aidan’s College. Recipients of the Award also correspond with the donor.
Zara Duncan, 3rd year undergraduate in Chemistry, received the award in
2015/16.
In the summer of 2016, I travelled to Kolkata in India to volunteer with the
MCKS Food for the Hungry kindly organised by one of the trustees, who I
stayed with throughout my trip. The foundation helps with many small charities in and around Kolkata by funding specific needs, such as new teachers,
and by providing much needed food. During my time there, I was able to visit
and help with a number of these organisations and, for this report, I have chosen to focus on what I feel is being achieved there.

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Travel Reports

Udbhas – child welfare organisation for
underprivileged children
This school was set up for underprivileged
children from 5 to 18 years old to help
them with their school work outside of
school hours. As many of these children
come from families that live in slums,
they often are unable to keep up at school
and end up dropping out as their families
and those around them rarely have any
formal education themselves. The aim of
this organisation is to stop this cycle by
providing a support network which cares
for the children, mainly by helping them
with their school work as well as ensuring they have a heathy breakfast each
day. The work they do is fundamental to
many of the childrens’ well-being and I
strongly feel as though, without their hard
work and dedication, the large majority of
their students would struggle to cope with
school pressures.

The school is run Monday
through to Saturday by volunteers, some
of whom come every day to teach the children. It is held before school from 7.30 to
9.30am in a car park which doesn’t open
until 9.30am. This is currently their only

real option as they cannot afford to rent or
build an adequate school space. The children are split into small groups of 5-10
with one teacher and sit on plastic mats
on the floor. MCKS Food for the Hungry
provides the food for the children every
morning. After visiting the school, I volunteered to run art classes for some of the
children who were around 8 years old.
This was particularly challenging as the
children and I did not speak the same language. I used a drawing book and a step–
by-step method in order to show the children how to draw flowers, then used oil
pastels to shade and blend the colours for
the flower and leaves. It was really lovely
to see how proud the children were when
they had finished each drawing and how
much fun they had. The organisation also
turns some of the children’s drawings into
cards which are sold to help fund school
supplies. It was great to see how these

classes improved their confidence and
showed that they could achieve something
that might initially appear too complex.
Bodhayan – association of the parents of
mentally challenged persons
This association was set up by the parents
of mentally challenged persons originally as a support group and has developed
into an association where mentally challenged persons are able to partake in activities such as sports, music and crafts.
It is held in a small apartment in the suburbs of Kolkata. I met one of the founders,
a teacher and some of the students. They
are severely in need of constant care with
all aspects of their daily life. For example,
some were physically unable to speak and
needed to be taught the very basic techniques for a daily routine like washing
ones face. Many are past school age but
are unable to find a vocation due to their
mental disability. Group activities such as
making envelopes, cards or candles are all
split so that each person has a specific task
and these crafts are sold at exhibitions.
This helps create a sense of community
and achievement, which is an underlying
goal of Bodhayan as they believe that a
sense of purpose and belonging can provide a fulfilling and happy life. Some have
even been taught to use a hand loom to
make placemats. This is an exceptionally
useful skill in India as many of the fabrics or clothes sold in markets are handloomed. MCKS funds a teacher who holds
weekly sports lessons. Recently, there have
been organised trips for groups to compete in sporting events that are linked to
the Paralympics held across India. This is
invaluable as these people are able to find
role models, form goals and compete on a
platform in which they can succeed. After having spent the day at the association
talking to some of the people there, I was
able to appreciate how important providing a community and teaching these
students skills to become self-reliant is to
both the parents and students. Unfortunately, the majority of students would be

unable to cope without the constant support from their parents. The next aim for
the association is to build a home to take
care of these students when their parents
no longer can.

of huts by the side of the road. These are
used to store all of the potatoes harvested
in winter. Occasionally we would also pass
through small farming villages.

When we arrived at Nunkutir,
we were greeted by over 200 elderly women, each of whom held an MCKS identity
card which had been given to those most
in need. The cards also acted as a way to
record who had received food each week.
The organiser had personally gone to each
of these women’s homes and evaluated
who was in need of this support. This distribution would not have been possible
without the tireless work of the organiser
who has lived there her entire life. Small
villages, such as this, have strong closeknit communities with each village containing a local self-government and so
it is very important when setting up any
aid in the village to get their full trust
and support. Around 450 elderly women are given food by the MCKS Food for
the Hungry every week with each woman
getting a carton of rice poured into their
bag and a packet of puffed rice each to last

Bhowanipuz School in St Paul’s Cathedral
I was lucky enough to visit another school
set up for underprivileged children while
I was in Kolkata. This school is usually
held in a small building in the grounds
of St Paul’s Cathedral. However, due to a
leak in the roof, the school is now being
held on the steps leading to the main entrance. There are two classes that run in
the morning; one for the younger and another for the older children. When I visited I was greeted with a half hour song and
dance performance from the children.
They sang traditional songs in both Hindi and English and were absolutely adorable. Afterwards I helped distribute food
from MCKS food for the Hungry for their
breakfast. This visit was also a chance
for the trustee of MCKS to speak to the
teachers to hear about the different ways
in which MCKS could best provide for
Bhowanipuz School in the future.

uniform as this is compulsory for schoolchildren in India. Many of the families
struggle to afford school uniform and so
this may enable the woman to save money
by making it for their children. They can
also potentially make money by selling
the uniforms they make.

Travelling to India was an amazing and truly unforgettable trip and working with the foundation has allowed me
to experience a side of India I would not
have been able to as a tourist. This experience has allowed me to gain new perspectives and broadened my horizons by
immersing myself in a rich and vibrant
culture that I had never experienced before. I feel very privileged to have met so
many amazing people and explored a new
country and culture whilst also making a
positive impact. Thank you very much to
all involved in making this possible.
Zara Duncan

The Duerden Travel Award

The Duerden Travel Award is from a fund that was originally intended for the purposes of Chapel maintenance. The award
is now given to those intending to travel for Christian teaching work or for choral music tours. Two students received it in
2015/16 - Lisa Font, 2nd year undergraduate in English Literature and Amy Campo McEvoy, 3rd year undergraduate in Combined Honours Arts.
This summer, I spent the two weeks between July 4th and 18th
travelling down the Californian coast visiting five of the missions
that make up a section of the twenty-one missions that form the
600 miles of the Historic Mission Trail. The trail loosely follows
the El Camino Real which was the path of the original Spanish missionaries. Starting with the Mission San Diego de Alcalá
the trail stretches northwards to Mission San Francisco de Solana. Although I would have liked to have visited all twenty-one
missions, I felt that choosing five to focus on would allow me to
spend more time studying the architecture and history of these
missions which has had a large influence on American architecture. In slightly backwards fashion, I took the pacific surf liner
from Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo, and then the Coast Starlight from San Luis Obispo to San Francisco as it allowed me to
then make my way back to Los Angeles visiting my five chosen
missions along the way.

Nunkutir Village
I travelled to a village on the outskirts of
Kolkata to help distribute food funded by
MCKS Food for the Hungry. The majority of people living there are farmers and
work in the multi-crop fields growing rice
in the summer and potatoes in the winter.
On our way to the village, we were called
by the organiser of the distributing team
to say that there was a rally for the Chief
Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee. There were thousands of people who
had blocked the main road of the village.
We took the only other road we could
which turned out to be a dirt track which
we were barely able to drive on. It was covered with large stones and there were pot
holes everywhere. After three hours on
this horrible road we made it to the village.
On the way we passed though rice fields as
far as you can see with nothing but a row

Travel Reports

them a week. This acts as a substitute for
potatoes which out of season are too expensive to distribute. It is a very organised
process with women one by one collecting
their food when their name is called out.
They show their identity card which has
to match with a corresponding photo to
the one on record. I was responsible for
distributing the puffed rice.

In the village there was a sewing
school which was set up by MCKS Food
for the Hungry specifically to teach women in order for them to have a vocation.
This school was set up in a small house in
a residential area and so the women feel
safe coming and going without an escort.
Whether they are married or single, many
are unable to support themselves or a
family without being in work and the majority of jobs are not available for women. Due to the popularity of these classes,
they run multiple lessons a day for different skill levels. They teach the woman how
to make tops, skirts and dresses which can
then be sold. The school’s next venture is
to teach the woman how to make school

more modest stylings of the original missions. Because the Old
Mission is significantly smaller than the Basilica, and it was the
first Mission that I visited, I initially believed the Basilica to be
the Mission; it holds a position of Prominence at the crossroads
of the street. However, walking further down the street I was
greeted with what I have come to recognise as traditional mission architecture in the form of the Old Mission.

In these photos you can see the difference between the
Old Mission and the Basilica. The Old Mission boasts the same
architecture as the Mission San Luis Obispo, whereas the Basilica’s size and intricacies is reminiscent of the Mission Santa Barbara.

Mission San Francisco de Asis (Mission Dolores)
I began my mission trail at the sixth mission on the trail, the
Mission San Francisco de Asis which, along with the Basilica that
has been built beside it, makes the Mission Dolores. Founded on
June 29th in 1776 it is not only the oldest building in the heart
of San Francisco, but the oldest intact mission in California. As
the Mission Dolores Parish includes both the Old Mission and
the Basilica it made for an interesting architectural comparison.
As can be seen in the photographs below, the Basilica is much
larger and much more ornate than the Old Mission, resembling
the more decadent tropes of Catholic architecture rather than the

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Travel Reports

The Old Mission (left) and the Basilica (right)

Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo
The next mission on my list was the Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo. This mission is extremely different from the
Mission Dolores; I had to include it in my travels, partly because
of the unusual colour of the mission but primarily because it was
the ecclesiastical capital of California. It was the headquarters
from which Father Serra oversaw the building of several other
missions, and it is where he was buried in 1784. Although the
first church in this location was built from wood and mud, it was
later replaced with adobe structures – the material from which
the majority of the missions were constructed. However, after
Father Serra’s death, his successor, Father Lasuén, built the stone
church that stands today. Thus, the mission at Carmel charts
the development of building materials in the history of the missions. It was the first mission to be built from this beautiful yellow stone that comes from the Santa Lucia mountains. The only
other mission that I visited that was built from this stone was
the Mission Santa Barbara; the similarities can be seen in both
the warm colour of the stone and the prominent, symmetrical
bell towers. I chose this mission for two studies in watercolour
because I love the sun-kissed ochre of this particular stone. For
me it seemed more traditionally Spanish in style, and stepping
through the gates felt like stepping into Northern Spain or Mexico. The buildings that can be visited now were built on the same
plan as the original buildings, so the layout is very similar to that
of the mission that stood there in the early 1800s. This makes
Mission San Carlos de Borromeo unusual as it is one of the few
missions that was never modernised. Unfortunately, this is because the mission fell into disrepair after the Mexican independence because the native Americans and Padres were forced to
leave the mission. The restoration that began in 1884, after the
mission lands were returned to the church, is still under way.
This mission was also particularly interesting because of the el-

Aspects of the Mission that I painted alongside
scans of my original paintings
ements of Native American tradition that can be seen there. In
the mission’s cemetery, every grave is marked by a large shell; a
tradition that came from Native American as shells were thought
to signify re-birth and protection.
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa
The next mission on my route was the mission at San Luis Obispo; as it is an inland town, there was a lovely still warmth to the
air which enhanced the mission’s picturesque location in a treelined park. Although the mission’s colour scheme is the same as

that of the Mission Dolores, modifications have been made over
the years that have added elements of American architecture to
the traditional mission style. San Luis Obispo also reflects the
other side to California that is often forgotten about, but is the
reason why this area was possibly my favourite. When this area
was explored on the original expedition, the missionaries’ diarist kept the name given to the area by the soldiers which was
‘llano de los osos’ meaning Bear Plain, as the area had a large
population of bears. In 1772, supplies began to run out at the
then four missions and so remembering Bear Plain, a hunting
party was sent to bring back supplies. As a result, it was decided
that Bear Plain would be an ideal place for the 5th mission. As
a bear is the symbol of the Republic of California, I think it is
fitting to have a mission that reflects the importance of bears to
the survival of the people of California. Furthermore, because of
an earthquake, the front bell loft was removed in the 1800s and
was replaced by a New England style belfry. Despite undergoing
restoration to transform the bell tower back to its original style
during the 1930s, this New England addition remains in the mission’s history tying it to American architectural traditions.

The outbuildings of this Mission, despite the Mission as
a whole being less ornate, are very similar to those at Santa Barbara. The long, neat colonnades stretch away from both missions
to the left, making the Mission as a whole asymmetrical.

first building was built in 1782, the mission that stands today was
finished ten years later – a possible reason for the different de-

Conclusion:

sign. However, the contrast with white walls with dark wooden
beams and features is a trait that can also be seen at the Mission
San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. Mission San Buenaventura also has a
traditional missionary bell tower, double stacked in a cubic pyramid. However, unlike the Mission Santa Barbara and San Luis
Obispo, the bell tower in Ventura makes the Mission’s design
asymmetrical. Certain elements of early mission architecture at
this mission are a result of attempts in 1956-7 to restore the mission, because of efforts to modernise it in 1893; the interior of the
church was altered as they painted over much of the original artwork. Unfortunately, as a result of the modernisation, and sub-

Mission Santa Barbara
The Mission Santa Barbara, otherwise known as the ‘Queen of
Missions’, was the largest mission that I visited and arguably
the most ornate. It was influenced by an ancient, pre-Christian
chapel in Rome, which is notable in the layered and domed bell
towers, and the central pediment. In fact, if you removed the
outer parts of the structure, the central section looks very much
like a classical Roman temple; it even includes columns embedded in the mission’s face. This mission is home to a community
of Franciscan friars, however as I visited it in the evening I didn’t
make the acquaintance of any – they were probably asleep. My
decision to view this mission in the evening was for artistic reasons. The different light highlights the architecture of the mission in a way that I was eager to paint. It proved harder than I
thought to capture the right balance of shadow in my painting,
but I enjoyed the challenge. The mission looked amazing lit up
at night, especially because of its size and classical architecture;
as there was no one else around this added to the mission’s ethereal sense of peace. In the painting, you can see that the bells in
the tower stand out so starkly because their alcoves are lit from
behind. The position of the lighting around the mission was a
good indication of which aspects of mission architecture are the
most prominent.

The prominence of the bell tower can be seen in both
photographs and my painting.

I am extremely thankful to St Aidan’s College for awarding me
this travel grant, without which I would not have been able to
experience such beautiful buildings in such an incredible setting.
My travels also allowed me to re-discover my love of painting
which had become side-lined during the exams and coursework
of the past two years. I was amazed at the rich history of the
Californian missions and am keen to go to Northern Spain and
compare the architectural similarities between the El Camino
Real and pilgrimages such as the Santiago di Compostela. Then
hopefully, in a few years, I will able to follow the full El Camino
Real and see the rest of these incredible buildings.
Lisa Font, 2nd year undergraduate in English Literature

“We must never stop dreaming. Dreams provide nourishment for the soul, just as a meal does
for the body.”
- Paulo Coelho, The Pilgrimage

For the last five years, I have been fortunate enough to go to Lourdes for a week
during the Easter break. I am able to devote time to children who either come
from disadvantaged backgrounds or have
a disability. Their time spent in Lourdes is
a well-deserved holiday and allows their
parents and carers to get a much needed
break.

Mission San Buenaventura
Founded in 1782, the last mission erected by Father Serra, the
Mission San Buenaventura is the ninth mission on the El Camino Real but the fifth and last mission on my journey. I chose this
mission partly because of an architectural quirk – it is unusual in
having a triangular design, and also has a unique pair of wooden
bells. This different design is the kind of missionary architecture
that has influenced churches such as Our Lady of Mercy in Boca
Grande (the church that inspired this whole trip). Although the

Travel Reports

sequent restoration, little of the old church was left untouched.
However, it was still an extremely beautiful church. If you walk
down the main street of Ventura (the original El Camino Real),
you come across the church quite unexpectedly. It is tucked away
just at the point where Main Street merges into a less affluent area
of the town. Like in San Francisco, it was interesting to see a mission surrounded by modern urbanisation; in some ways it made
these missions appear more timeless and poignant.

The face of this mission is almost a combination of the
classical, triangular pediment at Santa Barbara with the traditional and simple roof and colours of early missions.

The history of HCPT
The charity we travel with and that created this project is HCPT and this year we
were lucky enough to celebrate the chari-

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Travel Reports

ty’s 60th anniversary.

65 years ago, in 1951, Dr Michael Strode visited Lourdes and decided
to take a group of disabled children there
on holiday for a week. His refusal to take
these children to a hospital that would remind them that they had a disability, his
commitment to removing them from the
sterile and clinical routine of institutional
or hospital life, and his determination to
give the children the unique experience
of a proper holiday in a real hotel saw the
birth of HCPT five years later, in 1956.

Unknowingly, Brother Michael,
who drew from and built on his own harsh
experiences of pulmonary tuberculosis
and a difficult year spent in a hospital,
managed to create a youthful, contagious,
warm and vibrant movement that was to
quickly grow and expand across the UK
and beyond.
This year’s adventure
This year, my departure point was Brussels, so I had to set off to Lourdes alone.
As the group is always in need of sponsorship and funding, I had the bright and,
dare I say it, rather random fundraising

idea of travelling as a Friesian Cow from
starting point to destination. Limited
funds also meant the most economical
form of transport was by bus. Needless to
say, the 24-hour bus trip attracted a fair
amount of mooing and wacky comments
from bewildered fellow passengers. After
1,300 km and stops in Paris and Tarbes,
my black and white face paint was not at
its best and the cow outfit was looking
rather the worse for wear, but I am proud
to say that, dishevelled as I was, I made it
as a lone Friesian to my final destination
in one piece, where I was able to wait for
the rest of the group to arrive. Thanks
to generous sponsorship, I also managed
to raise money on a JustGiving account.
Those who sponsored me were able to follow my trip on Facebook, where I was able
to post several selfies at different stages of
the journey. Until then, I never realised
just how many jokes about cows and cattle
existed!

The first big activity we have
upon arrival is the Easter Sunday mass,
which is a lively and colourful mass that
every group takes part in. Although
HCPT is a Catholic organisation, people
from all faiths and people who profess no

faith come together to celebrate life and to
be thankful for everything we have. During this, and any other mass throughout
the week, children are encouraged to act
out the different readings and we all sing
the songs as loudly as we can in a church
room filled with colours, bubbles and musical instruments. Throughout the week
we also go to two other masses, one celebrated with all the groups from our region, the Merseyside, and one that takes
place towards the end of the week, in an
underground basilica, the Basilica of Saint
Pius X, which can host up to 25,000 people. For these masses, priests are dressed
up as children’s favourite characters, songs
are choreographed so that all the children
can join in, and soap bubbles fill the air.
Regardless of whether someone is religious or not, everyone feels involved and
like they belong to something much bigger to themselves and no one is left unmoved.

As this trip is also a pilgrimage
for the volunteers and the children, one
night we take the children to watch the
candlelight procession. Instead of doing
the whole route, which can take up to
two hours, we go up to the basilica and,
from above, we watch hundreds of candles
light up in prayer. One day, we also tell the
children the story of Saint Bernadette,
the children themselves playing the main
characters of the story and we then take
the children to the holy water, which they
can drink and put in a bottle to take home.
Our group leader also organises a different activity for us to do every day, which

the children really enjoy. The zoo is always a favourite for us all and every year
we also do a trip to Gavarnie, a beautiful
town in the Pyrenees where we can play
games with the children, walk along the
river, and see the snow on the mountains.
Another evening, a train ride in which the
children are armed with water pistols is always a great success, even though the volunteers end up getting soaked! This year
we were very lucky with the weather and
one day, we were able to relish the mere
simplicity of sitting on some green grass
in beautiful fields next to the river and

sing songs and play games.

Whenever we have any free time,
our group goes to cafés by the river where
we get the guitar out and have a good
old hearty sing song. These songs are all
known by the children because they are
taken from their favourite films or sung
by pop groups and they can be heard all
across Lourdes, as groups gather in different cafés filling them with life and colour.

The evenings are also filled with
fun for the children. Fancy dress is a huge
part of the trip to Lourdes and pirates
dance with princesses or clowns, crutches become magic wands, wheelchairs become golden carriages and all of the children become dazzling stars for the night.
The evening is rounded off by prize giving
and each child’s individual talent or merit
is praised and reinforced by prizes, certificates and thunderous rounds of applause.
The last evening is made particularly magical because we all go up to our hotel’s terrace and light up sky lanterns to celebrate
the week together and we follow this by
going into the Grotto to light candles for
all the children’s loved ones and to thank
God for the week we have spent together.

When the week comes to an
end, everyone is sad to leave. Children
are greeted back in Manchester by their
parents, who are often surprised to see
an increase in confidence in the children
or an unexpected chattiness. For many of
the children that come this may have been
their first trip abroad and this week stays
in their memories for ever.

about the important things in life and to
remember that happiness can be found in
the smallest things around us.

Brother Strode’s dream has be-

Thanks

Due to generously being awarded the
Ethleen Scott Scholarship by St. Aidan’s
College, this summer I went on the trip
of a lifetime, touring China with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain for
a fortnight, before returning home and
concluding the tour in England. This
generous sum, aimed at permitting musical development, made a real difference
in helping me to raise the funds for my
trip. Without this contribution from the
college scholarship awards, I would not
have been able to partake in this incredible trip. As a second year Music student
at St. Aidan’s, touring China with NYCGB
was truly invaluable. I experienced an incredible new culture, made friends for life
and also developed my skills and interest
in choral singing.

An ordinary trip to China of
course offers the amazing opportunities
of experiencing a whole different culture,
eating delicious food and seeing astonishingly interesting and beautiful sights

Thanks are always due to the sponsors of
these trips. Without fundraising events
and generous sponsorships, the children
would not be able to have this exciting
and unique experience. I would like to
take this opportunity to extend my immense gratitude to St Aidan’s college and
the Duerden award for making my trip to
Lourdes possible once again. It is believed
that if you pray to a statue of the Virgin
Mary that stands in the grotto, you will
always come back to Lourdes one more
time and my prayers have now been answered four years in a row.

Although without funding this
trip is not possible, I would say that, without a doubt, all volunteers would give
greatest thanks to the children. We all
learn so much from each child and we
are often humbled by the example that
these children give, which is why we keep
coming back every year, to learn again

which in itself would be hugely
educational for any individual.
However, combining this trip
with a choir tour meant that
I was surrounded with other
talented musicians in my peer
group and spent time working
with Ben Parry, the Director of
NYCGB and Greg Beardsell,
the Deputy Artistic Director.
Through this, I developed my
musicianship within a choir
ensemble, improving my sight
singing and also expanding
my choral repertoire, not only
in 400 years’ worth of British
choral music and poetry, but
also traditional Chinese and
Thao folk melodies. In addition, I personally felt that my
performance skills and professionalism within a choir
also greatly improved. These
skills are vital for my future
development as a choral singer
and hugely beneficial for my
future studies as a Music student. However, importantly
to me, this experience fed and
inspired my love for music and
singing, which is a career path
I am hoping to pursue.

This summer saw the
National Youth Choir of Great
Britain’s first tour to China
and, as previously mentioned,
showcased 400 years of British choral music and poetry.
As a member of the 100-voice
ensemble on the tour, I performed in a total of four concerts: at Tianjin Grand Theatre
Concert Hall (6th August),
Beijing Concert Hall (7th
August), Shanghai Concert
Hall (12th August) and Hong
Kong Baptist University (13th
August), and a homecoming performance at the Snape
Maltings (17th August) as part
of the Snape Proms 2016. All
of the performances were conducted by the NYCGB Director and Deputy Artistic Director. In Hong Kong, the NYC
shared the stage with Hong
Kong Baptist University’s elite
chamber choir, Cantoría Hong
Kong, who recently performed
with NYCGB’s Fellowship octet at the launch concert of the
NYCGB Summerfest 2016 in

come the dream of thousands, and as
Paolo Coelho said, we must never stop
dreaming either.
Amy Campo McEvoy, 3rd year undergraduate in Combined Honours Arts

The Ethleen Scott
Bursary
The Ethleen Scott Bursary is a bursary
to students who have shown ability in
French or Music as would justify such
a student receiving financial aid for a
course either abroad or in this country
for the furtherance of his or her studies.
In 2015/16, it was awarded to Catherine
Bench, a 1st year undergraduate in Music.

Travel Reports

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The full choir on stage at our homecoming
performance at the Snape Maltings (17th August) as part of the Snape Proms 2016.
London. This performance
was additionally recorded by
Radio Television Hong Kong
for subsequent broadcast.
There was also a full day of
professional recording at Felsted School with the award winning producer, Adrian Peacock, recording many pieces
from our tour repertoire upon
our return to England (16th
August).

The touring programme included selections
from the Tudor Triumphs of
Oriana and Gerald Finzi’s
Seven Poems of Robert Bridges; Ralph Vaughan Williams’s
Three Shakespeare Songs; Benjamin Britten’s Hymn to Saint
Cecilia; and William Mathias’s A May Magnificat. The
contemporary British choral
tradition was represented by
James MacMillan’s The Gallant
Weaver and a trio of recent
commissions for the NYCGB
New Music Programme: We
Are the Music Makers (Roxanna Panufnik), Alleluia (James
Rose) and Who We Are (Kerry
Andrew). Completing the programme were arrangements of
traditional Chinese and Thao
melodies, newly published by
Hong Kong Baptist University’s Associate Professor, John
Winzenburg. I was very lucky
to have been chosen to perform the alto solo from Benjamin Britten’s Hymn to Saint
Cecilia and to sing with my
peers in wonderful venues.

Much like my father,
the reader may question why
the NYCBG could not simply
do a tour of Britain, with the

fantastic venues and opportunities that are on offer here.
However, when I was touring
and singing around China, I
realised that I was a part of a
huge cultural exchange, sharing British Choral Music, a
huge part of our culture and
history, with the Chinese audiences, many of whom would
never had heard western music like it. The response and
applause that we received was
very warm and appreciative
and I’m glad that I was a part
of that. As a part of the ‘exchange’, I was very excited to
be able to go and experience a
production of one of Beijing’s
finest music art forms – the
traditional Peking Opera. It
was like no ‘opera’ that I have
ever seen or heard before and I
was treated to (by my western
ear) unconventional singing
with percussion accompaniment, performed alongside
majestic balletic movements
which verged on the martial
arts. I found the whole experience very interesting and,
as intended, entertaining, and

Enjoying the tea ceremony in Beijing! We
look very warm because we were drinking hot tea and it was
near 40oC outside…

would definitely return if given the chance! I am looking
forward to researching and
learning more about Peking
Opera as a part of my ethnomusicology module which I
have chosen to study this year
after being exposed to China’s
music.

I am currently the
President and Conductor for
Aidan’s Voices, a fun choir
open for everyone within St.
Aidan’s College which was
ratified this year into a society under my leadership.
Through taking part with the
Choir Tour to China, my understanding and knowledge of
choirs has improved and I am
confident that this will further
improve the way that I run and
conduct Aidan’s Voices, improving the quality of choir for
those around college who perhaps would not normally have
the chance to sing in a choir.
In addition to that, I am fortunate to have this position as
it gives me the opportunity to
be able to continue on this cultural exchange into our college
community. I intend to teach
Aidan’s Voices some of the
traditional Chinese and Thao
melodies that I learnt and performed in China.

In between intense
rehearsals and concerts, we
had some free time, giving us
the chance to do some sightseeing, visiting Tiananmen
Square, exploring the Forbidden City and also gaining
the title of ‘hero’, according to
Chinese proverb, by climbing
the Great Wall of China in
sweltering heat of nearly 40
degrees centigrade, equipped
with hats, fans and cameras. A
personal favourite activity of
my free time was experiencing a traditional tea ceremony,
even learning how men and
women should hold a Chinese
tea cup – anyone who knows
me would tell you that my love
for tea could any day overtake
that for music!

My thanks go to St.
Aidan’s College and Susan
Frenk who awarded the schol-

as if they were drowning. We did not know about that. There were many actions that
were simulated and also one which was not. One person had a cramp and I saw him
from my lifeguarding board. It was fairly easy from my original perspective, but at the
time of undertaking the action, I was extremely stressed. Unfortunately, not everything
went smoothly, so we (the lifeguarding trainees) got told off by our instructor, because
one of us did not notice and hence did not react to a simulated drowning. This, again,
made me even more conscious that being distracted for even one second could lead to
a horrible tragedy. Most people do not realise that lifeguarding requires so much skill
and it is not at all sitting on the beach, sunbathing and looking good.

On some other days instead of acting as professional lifeguards, we joined the
group and had a long distance swim. We swam in pairs: one person was kayaking on
the right hand side of a swimmer and the other was swimming with a buoy. Once, I was
paired with my friend who is a very good swimmer and he started swimming while I
was kayaking. Our instructor whistled and then everyone swapped places and turned
back. My friend ended up swimming to the furthest point he could on the lake (2,5km)
and I had to swim back. I reached the shore second last. However, I felt a great sense of
achievement and it did not matter which place I got. This moment taught me that it is
important to strive till the end and not give up half way through when my friend told
me that he could take me on the kayak.

In the evenings, we had lifeguarding theory as well as self-protecting classes
in order to learn how to fight off a victim in water who is desperate and wants to climb
onto you, unknowingly drowning you. Furthermore, during the camp, I learnt to steer
a motorboat. We had both theory and practice. The practice part was very enjoyable,
especially going with a big speed, which made the boat slide on the small lake waves.
The harder part was mooring, but, all in all, I managed to pass the certificate. However,
the theory part of the test was a challenge to quite a lot of my friends, which means that
they had to retake it.

The lifeguarding camp was one of the most rewarding parts of my summer.
Teaching how to lifeguard, sharing my knowledge with the course participants and seeing their improvement over the week and that they had carefully listened to my instructions made me very pleased. It was wonderful that I could both teach and at the same
time improve and learn details about lifeguarding. However, I know that there is still a
great amount of information that I should learn. After this camp, I believe that I potentially could undertake a job of a lifeguard. Thank you for this amazing opportunity.

The full choir standing outside the Temple of Heaven in
our matching NYCGB t-shirts
arship to me. I hope I have conveyed how
fantastic this tour was for me, both on a
personal and hopefully on a professional
level too and that this opportunity would
not have been possible without the help
of St. Aidan’s College’s scholarship programme.
Catherine Bench

The Jack Caswell
Memorial Award
The Jack Caswell Memorial Award was
established by Jack’s family this year in
his memory, following the sadness of
his death at the very young age of 23.
Jack was formerly JCR Sports Captain
and then Vice-President of Aidan’s JCR
and a truly inspiring, warm and talented young man. The recipients of the
Award correspond with Jack’s mother.
This year’s award was shared between
Anna Kubinska, a 1st year undergraduate in Law; Rebecca Lowe, a 3rd year
undergraduate in History; and James
McGurk, a 2nd year undergraduate in
Biological Sciences.

The Lifeguarding Camp
The lifeguarding camp organized by
Warsaw Lifeguarding Organization was
an amazing experience. It allowed me to
improve my lifeguarding skills as well as
making me conscious that this is a very
difficult job, which must, under all circumstances, be carried out diligently.

Every morning my group woke
up at 5:30 in order to be ready to swim
at 5:45. This training did not contain
lifeguarding elements. Its aim was to
strengthen us physically, to be able to react and swim quickly to a potential victim.
Each training was based on the improvement of speed and conditioning.

After breakfast, we always had
a meeting with our lifeguarding instruc-

tor as we acted as lifeguarding trainees for people who participated in the lifeguarding
course. The instructor gave us instructions for the day and pointed out things which he
thought should be improved such as the way to hold a victim when you are rescuing
him/her. After this talk, we were divided into groups of two and went to the lake to prepare our ‘stations’. Each group was responsible for one of the stations. The stations were:
rescue a person with the use of lifeguarding board, row a lifeguarding boat with two
paddles one way and only one on the way back, rescue a person with and without use
of a lifeguarding buoy, rescue a person and be pulled back with the use of a two-person
reel, throw a rope to a conscious person for him/her to grab it and, finally, how to hold
the victim while rescuing her/him with the use of a lifeguarding jet ski.

Irrespective of the fact that all of the above were very hard, I regarded the lifeguarding boards as one of the most challenging stations. In order to master the board
and how to put a victim on it, you had to put a lot of effort and skill into it. The first
few times that I tried it, it did not resemble the action that one would undertake while
rescuing. I had to practice many times before I could teach it and show it to people who
participated in the course. Before going to this camp, I did not have the opportunity to
use such a board as it is a non-standard equipment for lifeguards in Poland. However,
I believe that boards are helpful and effective at sea while spotting potential victims.
They also enable great manoeuvre and the ability to reach the victim faster than simple
swimming.

Moreover, rescuing a person with the use of a two-person reel was difficult to
explain correctly. The first step is to swim to the victim as fast as you can and after that
you are pulled back on a rope. Lifeguards who are carrying that out must be very attentive not to cover both the victim and their fellow lifeguard with water. When I explained
this action, I not only noted that you have to be strong physically, but also a vital part
of lifeguarding is to communicate with your teammates. Without effective communication rescuing a person would be very difficult, not to mention the fact that without help
one lifeguard will not be able to take care of other people e.g. on the beach.

These ‘stations’ lasted for about four hours. After that, all participants went for
lunch and enjoyed a break from physical activity. However, we were not finished after
that. After lunch, on some days there was exercise in the water for participants who
were swimming behind the boat and we (the lifeguard trainees) acted as professional
lifeguards. This was a very stressful activity for me, due to the fact that you had to be on
the lookout for potential victims who were swimming in a big crowd and you could not
really distinguish if something bad was happening or if they were just splashing water
around them. In order to train us, the lifeguarding instructor made the participants act

Travel Reports

Anna Kubinska, 1st year undergraduate in Law

Quidditch World Cup
This summer I travelled to Frankfurt and took part in the Quidditch World Cup for
Team UK, ultimately coming third. The event involved 25 countries, from 6 continents
(from the USA to Turkey to South Korea). Some of the countries had only been playing
the sport for just under a year and only managed to send enough players to field the
minimum required for a team. It was an excellent opportunity to develop the sport
across the world and for the UK to impart some of the knowledge it has gained as one
of the most developed countries in the sport.

I began playing quidditch at university and have quickly found myself becoming more and more dedicated to it as a sport. I was sceptical at first, coming from a background of other sports such as karate, basketball and football, but have quickly found
quidditch to be a fast-paced, full-contact and challenging sport. It helps develop many
sports skills such as stamina, accuracy, dealing with and delivering heavy contact, agile
footwork and hand-eye co-ordination. It also helps establish excellent team work and
communication skills as the sport is very complex and requires much co-ordination
between teammates to achieve success.

To be part of Team UK was an absolute honour for me. There had been an
extensive selection process to be chosen for a place on the team. I attended monthly
training sessions with the team in locations across the UK in order to develop the many
skills quidditch requires and I was delighted to be able to put the skills to good use in
Frankfurt.

I arrived in Frankfurt on the Tuesday evening prior to the tournament. We
had team training scheduled on the Wednesday and Thursday as well as an opportunity
to check out the venue and the equipment. This time prior to the tournament was vi-

33

34

Travel Reports

tal for team bonding and also to work out
any kinks, I hadn’t played the sport in four
months due to being on my year abroad in
rural Austria where there were no teams
to train with.

On Thursday we also had an
expo game against Canada which sadly
we lost narrowly. Whilst initially disheartened, the team definitely benefited from
the experience as it gave us the opportunity to identify our weaknesses before any
games which mattered.

On Friday we had a rest day before the tournament which we spent having a picnic with our supporters who had
travelled all the way over from the UK to
watch and support us in Frankfurt. This
was lovely as there were many words of
encouragement and much hype.

The tournament began on Saturday and the first day took the format of
pool play. There were 5 pools of 5 teams.
In our pool was Turkey, Austria, South
Korea and Spain. We won all our games by
a significant margin which gave us a good
ranking going into the second day.

On day two, we faced Slovenia in
the round of 16, winning by a significant
margin to go on to a rematch against Turkey in the quarter finals. Turkey had unfortunately missed a large portion of their
team due to the military coup in their
country on day one but the rest of the
team had made it to Frankfurt safely by
day two and so it was a good opportunity
to rematch them at the full strength. They
gave us a tough game but we managed to
pull ahead and make it into the semi-finals versus the USA.

Sadly, we lost the semi-final to
the USA. We held them for the first half

of the game but they managed to slowly
pull away through consistent excellence.
It was a hard loss, as to beat the USA had
been a high goal for many of us. However, we pulled through as a team and readied ourselves for the bronze medal match
against Canada. This game went excellently and we quickly pulled away for Canada
and won ourselves third place and some
bronze medals.

I thoroughly enjoyed the entire
experience and feel I have grown as a person and as a sportsperson because of it.
I had the opportunity to prove to myself
that I could train to be among the best in
the world at something and it was gratifying to have this proven. After the tournament, a media outlet picked their allstar
team from across all the countries and it
was an honour to be chosen to be part
of this. The article can be found at this
address: http://quidditchpost.blogspot.
co.uk/2016/08/world-cup-2016-all-tournament-team.html. It was rewarding to
see the months of hard work and training
I had put in pay off on such a large scale,
especially as I had to do a lot of training by
myself due to living and working in rural
Austria for the 4 months prior to the tournament.

The tournament was also a lesson for me of the effect fabulous teammates and great team work can have on
an outcome. We weren’t just team-mates
on the pitch but took the companionship,
camaraderie and support off pitch as well.
From socialising together in the evening
to buying our breakfasts in the local supermarket, we did everything as a team
and it was a great opportunity to grow not
just as individuals but as a group.

Furthermore, the world cup provided me with the chance to make friends
with players from all over the world. All
of our opposing teams, whilst providing
fierce competition on pitch, were amazing and fascinating people off pitch. The
atmosphere and wider community was

thrilling to be a part of and reminded me
of how much I love the sport for bringing
so many like-minded people together.

Finally, I cannot finish my report
without mentioning how excited I am for
what will come next. Both for myself and
for quidditch. The sport has grown exponentially since it’s conception and it looks
like it will continue to do so. The number
of teams in the UK has doubled in a year
and it is amazing to be part of a sport at
this stage in its evolution. I am also extremely proud to be part of the national
team and know that, as the sport continues to grow, I will have to continue to grow
and progress as a player and sportsperson
in order to continue to provide competition for a sport on the national squad.

the training camp in Mallorca was that
it features tougher climbs and routes
on better-surfaced, quieter roads than
in England. In particular, the length of
climbs such as Sa Calobra and Puig Major is excellent for building strength and
endurance. Meanwhile, the lack of much
traffic in Mallorca in March makes for
a safer and more pleasant ride, whereas
around Durham we often have to either
slow to accommodate other vehicles or
else ride on gravelly, potholed back roads.
Additionally, the Mediterranean weather
and spectacular views on the mountains
made it a pleasure to train over there.

On the first full day of the camp
we set out to do a challenging 138km
route featuring the highest climb on the
island – Puig Major, at almost a kilometre above sea level – along with the
tough climbs of the Coll de Fementia,

The end of the ride to the Cap de Formentor
vista of waterfalls, deep ravines, lakes and rugged peaks. The
descent from the summit was exhilarating: the road descends
an altitude difference of nine hundred metres at a steady eight
per cent gradient with wide corners that allow you to reach and
maintain a high speed – around 70km/h for the best descenders
in the group – and by the end of it my initial fear (being new
to cycling I had never gone so fast) was mostly conquered.
We regrouped at a café in Soller, but over the next two climbs
the group continued to fragment, as a couple of people had
gone out too hard and paid the price. It was clear that in future
training camps, a shorter initial ride would allow people to get
used to the new bikes and find the right pace on the unfamiliar
climbs – we were all used to the shorter, steeper hills of Durham and not the very long but less steep climbs of Mallorca.

The following day we had a session in the local pool
followed by a much shorter ride to the lighthouse on the Cap
de Formentor. As there were no turnings on this road, everyone
was able to ride at their own pace and spend as long as they
liked in the café without fear of getting lost. We continued to
alternate harder days and easier days throughout the week. To
be sure I didn’t exhaust myself early in the week, I took the easy
days as easily as I could and made the most of the gym and spa
at the apartments to help my legs recover. These were the days
I eased off on the hills to watch the eagles and vultures soaring
by, knowing that there were still a couple of riders behind I’d
need to wait for anyway or took some time to see all the fish
when swimming in the bay. It was a pleasant surprise that I
always recovered and rested well enough to stay with the faster
group throughout the camp, save for two occasions when the
group decided to time trial the flat final few kilometres into
Puerto Pollensa at the end of rides, when I was the first of many
to drop off the back as the pace hit 40kph. The weather remained excellent and every ride was highly enjoyable.

The toughest day for me was the longest: a largely flat

Rebecca Lowe, 3rd year undergraduate in
History

The Triathlon Camp
The Jack Caswell Memorial Bursary
enabled me to attend a triathlon training
camp with twenty-one others from the
university triathlon club in Puerto Pollensa, Mallorca, at the end of March this
year. During the week, we cycled a total
of 550km in the Tramuntana mountains
and also did four open-water swimming
sessions in the bay near our apartments.

I had joined the triathlon club
in October 2015, but had been unable
to cycle until Christmas due to a knee
injury. Therefore, before the trip began,
I spent some time researching cycling
routes in Mallorca using a cycle map of
the island and the internet, in case I was
unable to keep up with the more experienced members of the club on some
rides or needed shorter routes to avoid
overtraining. At this point, I had never
ridden more than 120km in a week so
I felt the 550km on the schedule to be
overly ambitious. As it turned out, I was
stronger than expected and rode happily with the main group throughout the
week. Nonetheless, my knowledge of
routes and maps proved useful in helping
navigate.

The major benefit of holding

Me descending the Coll de
Fementia
Coll de Soller and Coll d’Orient. The
idea, proposed by the professional coach
who assists the club, was to fit this ride
in while our legs were still fresh. With
hindsight, we agreed that next year we
shall begin with a shorter ride. The first
climb split the group considerably, and
at the summit, a small group of weaker
climbers had to leave us to take a shorter
route. The wide range of abilities continued to make riding as one bunch difficult
however, and only a few of us knew the
route so we had to stop frequently to
regroup. It made for a slightly stressful
lesson that we would have to have a faster
and a slower group in future and that
we needed to agree beforehand places
for faster climbers to wait for the rest.
Although I was one of the slowest riders
on the flat, I could keep pace with the
rest by slipstreaming and I was a stronger climber than most. Once we were
organised, the climb over Puig Major
was very enjoyable. I was amazed by the

Travel Reports

Pollensa Bay
35

36

Travel Reports

155km route to the south side of the island. I was very glad of
the two café stops. Again when the group split into two I stuck
with the faster group for the longer distance. I had to ride hard
even staying in the slipstream of the other riders, but the view
across the whole island from the one climb, the Puig de San
Salvador, was worth the exertion.

I gained a great deal from the training camp. As well as
gaining strength on the bike, I gained confidence in my ability.
Beforehand, I had not cycled on a road bike for long, most of
the cycling I had done was short, very hilly commutes from
my house to the nearest town or occasional bits of mountain
biking and I didn’t believe I could cycle anywhere near 550km
in a week. Mallorca gave me the endurance I was lacking and
showed me quite how well I could cycle. Cycling was my focus
there, but I also developed skills swimming in the warmer open
water such as sighting and swimming from a mass start. I did
no running sessions, but after many rides I ran for ten minutes
to get my legs used to running after a ride as I must do in races.
Climbing and descending skills are not often needed in triath-

The road up Sa Calobra, which we climbed as a
time trial
lons, but as I live in Cumbria, my local races are hilly throughout. Over the summer I was overtaking people up every hill in
the Capernwray sprint series and putting some distance into
them on the descents. The open water training proved good
practice for the Great Scottish Swim in August, where I knocked
five minutes off my time from last year, and for the mass starts
at the Capernwray races. There was also much to enjoy in
addition to the training: I have mentioned the views and the
wildlife, but there was also the kindness of the locals, who often
brought out a tray of fresh oranges as soon as we arrived at a
café, before we had even ordered; I stopped off at the town of
Alcudia at the end of one ride to appreciate the old town walls
and the remains of the Roman town there; I had a chance to use
the Spanish I learned at AS level, as many of the café staff we
encountered did not speak English; and of course, I loved the
buffet at the hotel twice a day, where I certainly got my money’s
worth. It was also a great time to bind with the rest of the team
and for us to enjoy ourselves together. Triathlon requires a great
deal of commitment and when I get up at 5:30am on a Monday
morning to swim, or cut a social short because I have to rest for
the next morning, or ride through the cold and the wet and the
wind, I can know that I’m doing it for the joy of days like those I
spent in Mallorca as well as to shave bits off my race times.
James McGurk, 2nd yr undergraduate in Biological Sciences

The Leslie Clark Travel Award

was supplied by a mountain stream with
a small diversion into a trough and heat
and light was provided by gas, brought up
to the hut in gas canisters. I don’t know
what the toilet arrangements at the hut
were - to promote the leadership and independence of the participants, none of
the leader team went with them on the
hike, instead visiting them for about an
hour in the evening to bring them pizza
and make sure that they had arrived safely! The other half of the camp had a bit of a
relaxation day, enjoying the good weather
in the lake and sunbathing on the grass –
the leadership team had to do some work
(a little bit), heading to the shops to buy
food, and returning to organise and cook
(which was normally done by the explor-

Leslie Clark was a previous governor of the College and a donation was given by his wife, Mary. The Leslie Clark Travel Award is
used towards foreign travel for a St Aidan’s student with preference for one studying Engineering. In 2015/16, it went to Pascal
Lamb-Camarena, a 2nd year undergraduate in General Engineering.

Hatters ESU Austria Summer
Camp
The Hatters Explorer Scout Unit is a
Scout Association group for young people between the ages of 14 and 18. I am a
member of the Scout Network, for those
between 18 and 25 – a platform to develop
from an Explorer, who is led on activities
to a leader, who helps lead the unit. The
Hatters ESU is the largest in the district
and has allowed me and many others
opportunities that would otherwise have
been unavailable to us. Summer camp is
the highlight of the year, allowing Scouts
to get away from their regular lives for two
weeks and giving them the time to develop their scouting skills in an unfamiliar
environment – away from their families
and with their friends. Previous summer
camps run by the unit include two community uplift projects in Namibia and
camps to Denmark and the UK.

This year’s summer camp to Austria was based in Pfadfinderdorf Zellhof
(Zellhof Scout campsite), Salzburg - a
campsite in Austria’s rural area surrounded by lakes, near a small town, Mattsee,
and around 30km North of Salzburg, the
state capital.

Our first day at the campsite saw
us unpacking the minibus that had been
driven across the continent the day before and pitching camp – setting up heavy
canvas mess tents and a pavilion, as well
as the lighter tents for sleeping in. As the
camp quartermaster, I tried to organise
the unit stores into a semblance of order
(which took hours, and was not entirely
successful!).

After our first night in Austria,
we had a free day to finish setting up the
site and explore the campsite. The weather
was sunny and warm and in our explorations we found that the campsite backed
onto a lake with a jetty, which we were allowed to swim in. Many of us had never
been wild swimming before – it was cold
and green, but there were warm patches
where the lake was shallow and the sunlight had warmed up the water. Around
the campsite we became familiar with
some of the features – the large barn, the
bar/shop area and the neighbouring farm,
where we could buy our milk, fresh from
the cow.

On the first Tuesday, we left the

campsite to go to the salt mine at Hallein,
which used to be the main economic driver of the region, giving name to both the
state and its capital, Salzburg. The mine,
complete with passenger train, was fun
and educational, with small presentations about the different types of mining used to extract salt through the ages,
accompanied by horrible history style
videos of one of the mines’ beneficiaries
– the prince archbishops of the region.
Famous for long wooden slides between
mining levels, they are composed of two
rails like a tramway, down which visitors
slide – and get their photos taken! (Sadly

The start of one of the long
slides down the tunnels on
the salt mine
unavailable as no one wanted to fork out
£10 for it…). Having learnt the traditional Austrian miners welcome, “Glück auf!”
(Good luck!) we moved slightly further
up the mountain into which the mine was
delved to come straight back down on toboggans – hopping onto chair lifts, we had
an express ride to the mountain top.

Wednesday dawned rather wet
and cool, and after breakfast we set off to
the Werfen ice caves, the largest explored
system of ice caves in world, with 26 miles
of dark, winding passages – explorations
have been conducted, often spending
days underground, the only light sources
their small head torches. Walking from
the entrance to the mouth of the caves
(via a cable car) was a soggy process, with
many of the Explorers getting cold and
wet – this wasn’t helped when we got under the cover of the caves, they were (be-

ing ice caves…) full of ice, and had strong
draughts blowing through from an opening at the top of the mountain through
to those at the bottom. These gusts could
reportedly make it difficult to walk when
allowed to pass unhindered through the
caves, but doors have since been installed
to manage the wind and make the tourist
passage much easier! Once we got to back
to camp and warmed up, the Unit prepared for the campsite’s weekly international food evening – a fantastic chance to
mix with (and sample the local delicacies
from) Scouts of six or seven nationalities
from around Europe.

On Thursday, the Unit split in
two – one group cycling and another
doing some voluntary work around the
campsite. The groups reversed the next
day, so that all the Explorers got to do the
same activities. I was in the first group to
go cycling. As soon as we set off, the wind
picked up and it soon started raining on
us – fairly thin rain, but cold and hard,
getting everyone soaked in short order.
As the only Leader with the team (part
of being an Explorer is developing independence, so as a group of 18 Explorers
and me, they were in charge!) I made sure
everyone was sticking together as a group,
which was fairly successful towards the
beginning of our excursion, but as the trip
wore on some of the younger and weaker scouts started to fall behind. Many of
them found the conditions challenging
and were glad to get out of the cold at the
end of the ride when we got to Mattsee
and settled in a kebab shop.

To make up for the poor weather
the day before, we had fantastic weather
on Friday (even after extensive sun cream,
some people were pink at the end of the
day). Our community project was the
refurbishment of the campsites entrance
arch, which had originally been built by
American Scouts in 1995, but was starting to fall apart! The American lashings
(nails…) were the hardest part of the deconstruction, after which we put up a new
timber frame and lashed it together, taking the first photo with the unit in front of
the newly refurbished arch.

On Saturday, our group split
in two again, with half of the explorers
undertaking an expedition to a remote
hut up a local mountain. The hut didn’t
have any connections to utilities – water

Travel Reports

The view from the chairlift up
to the toboggan run
ers, who were split into patrols and given
a meal to cook, with varying results…)

Sunday was even more relaxed
than the day before –half of the unit was
hiking out to the hut, while the other half
was hiking back, leaving the leader team
with very little to do! A few of us hired a
rowing boat from the site, and spent an
hour heading to the middle of the lake
and diving in for a swim – one forgot to
put sun cream on, and regretted it for days
after!

Monday and Tuesday were recovery days for the Explorers, with the
second expedition group returning Monday lunchtime. On both days most of the
camp walked down to the local town,
Mattsee, browsing the high street and enjoying cake and coffee in one of the local
cafés, before heading for the kebab shop
on the way back to town. On each day, the
explorers had a patrol cooking competition – with a budget of €75, a patrol had
to cook for themselves, another patrol and
2 leaders (15 or 16 in total), reversing the
subsequent day, so that each day 3 patrols
cooked, producing some very impressive
results with no input or guidance. I managed to get down to the local waterpark
with some friends, based at a lake near

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Travel Reports

Mattsee, where we spent a few hours swimming and sunbathing.

Wednesday was rather drizzly and windy, making the organised canoeing sessions more invigorating. Splitting into pairs, my partner and I paddled around the lake
looking at the houses at the edges, which were mostly in traditional Austrian style,
before playing some canoe games with the other boats.

We had a long but very enjoyable day on Thursday, boarding a coach after an
early breakfast and heading to Salzburg, picking up a tour guide on the way for a Sound
of Music tour. He wasn’t very professional, an eccentric man who didn’t mind answering his phone halfway through the tour for a quick chat. He started several interesting
stories, but tended to peter out with ‘you probably wouldn’t find it interesting...’, which
we felt defeated the point of hiring a tour guide to tell us stories. We meandered around
Salzburg on the coach, being told about the local sites and some history before reaching
the Mirabell Palace and Gardens. Debussing, we went and looked around the gardens,
before walking to the houses where the sound of music was filmed. After our dubious
tour ended, we had a few hours to explore the city, during which we found the cathedral and central district. A small city, the centre is full of culture and kept most of the
Explorers engaged for a few hours, though some of them needed to stop off at the coffee
shop before we headed back to camp for dinner! Dinner was another camp international food event, so we cooked some traditional British food and shared it round with the
Scouts from other countries.

Friday was the last full day of camp. We spent several hours in the drizzle
packing up the tents and equipment, loading most of the stores onto the unit minibus
and moving personal kit to the barn, where we would be staying for our last night in
Austria (it avoided having to get up extra early the next morning to strike the tents)
which was great fun, letting the whole unit share the space in the barn together, which
is always a fun experience. Lugging the cooking equipment and food 500m up a hill
from our campsite to the barn was less fun, but we did have a fantastic chilli con carne
because of it!

I believe the camp was a resounding success, with the Explorers and leaders
all gaining something beneficial from the experience. All the Explorers enjoyed themselves, developing when put outside their comfort zones on activities like the expedition
and the daily patrol cooking, but also growing as well rounded individuals experiencing
some of the culture that Austria has to offer. Personally, I enjoyed the cultural aspects of
the trip, as well as my first chance to lead teenagers in an informal environment, developing my leadership style in a different direction to the leadership that I normally get to
practice in the military.
Pascal Lamb-Camarena

Russell-Smith Travel Award
Dame Enid Russell-Smith was a Principal of St Aidan’s and left a legacy for the College. As part of this, the College awards a Travel Award to students of the College.
In 2015/16, eight awards were made.

Sean Mui, postgraduate research student in Archaeology, tells
us how she used hers:
I am very grateful to St Aidan’s College for awarding me the Russell Smith Award and
for supporting my participation at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA), at Vilnius University, Lithuania.

This conference is the only conference I have attended outside the UK and it
was also my first ever visit to Lithuania. Vilnius is a quiet and beautiful city and has a
very rich history and archaeology. Prior to this visit, I was not very familiar with Lithuanian history before the 20th century. During the conference, delegates were invited
to visit the National Museum of Lithuania as well as the brand new exhibition ‘Recent
discoveries of Lithuanian archaeology’ at the Bastion of Vilnius Defensive Wall. I learnt
a great deal about the history and archaeology of this part of Europe, especially of the
early medieval period which I study, so it helped me to reflect upon my own research
and the cultural links between western and eastern Europe, both in the past and in the
present.

Back in August, student presenters were invited to submit full texts of their
conference papers for consideration for the EAA Student Award 2016, a prestigious

award for the best paper presented by research students at the
EAA conference. I took up the opportunity and submitted my
conference paper, entitled ‘Positioning Ritual: Death and Representation in Early Medieval England’, for consideration. I am
pleased to announce that I was selected as a joint-winner of the
EAA Student Award 2016 with one other candidate. The prize
was officially announced and presented by the EAA committee
at the Opening Ceremony, which took place in the evening on
31st August and was attended by hundreds of archaeologists
across Europe. I was given an award certificate and book vouchers (worth £500), sponsored by six different publishers. The EAA
committee also invited me for the Awards Dinner afterwards and
encouraged me to submit my winning paper to be considered for
publication in the European Journal of Archaeology.

I was thrilled to be awarded the prize and my supervisors and friends at the Archaeology Department at Durham
were all very excited and proud. At the Awards Dinner, I spoke to
various members of the EAA committee, including the President
of the EAA, who were all very interested in my research and its
value in the development of the archaeological research in the
future. In fact, throughout the 4-day conference, many established academics approached me to congratulate me, expressed
their support and asked about my research. Their kindness was
very humbling for me indeed. I intend to take up their encouragement to publish, especially since the European Journal of Archaeology is a high-ranking journal in archaeology. Publication
in this journal will ensure wide readership and it would also be
hugely beneficial for my future career prospects. I will discuss
with my supervisors and will work towards submitting a paper
in the next few months.

My paper presentation took place on 1st September at
the session ‘Charting Otherworlds: Cemeteries as Cult Sites’. The
session aimed to revisit links before cult praxis and burial, which
has traditionally been the approach to cemeteries in eastern
Europe, but has been largely overlooked in western European
scholarship in the past two decades. My research on mortuary
practices in early medieval England fitted well within the theme
and objectives of this session. I communicated my research to
a mixed audience of archaeologists ranging from fellow Anglo-Saxonists to those working on Scandinavia, Central Europe
and the Mediterranean. My paper was positively received and
it sparked many further questions and discussions both at and
beyond the session. In particular, some members of the audience
asked questions about evidence of ritual activities around the

Trakai Island Castle in Lake Galvė.

Alexander Peace, postgraduate research student in Earth Sciences, writes about his attendance
at the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Annual Convention and Exhibition
(ACE), made possible by the Russell-Smith Travel Grant
Between June and July 2015, former St. Aidan’s College student
Jordan Phethean and I spent one month in the town of Makkovik on the north coast of Labrador conducting original fieldbased geological research in this vast and understudied region
of northern Canada. This research produced interesting results
that I took with the help of the Russell-Smith travel grant provided through St. Aidan’s College to the Annual Convention and
Exhibition (ACE) of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) held in Calgary in June 2016, one of the largest
conferences of its kind in our field of study.

The geological fieldwork focused on characterising the
igneous rocks associated with the opening of the Labrador Sea
and their relationship with the structures that preceded it, a contentious theme in the Earth Sciences. The main findings of the
fieldwork were that an integral rock unit described by previous
work was considerably less spatially extensive than previously
claimed, a conclusion with significant implications for the geological evolution of the area. It was the significance of this finding that motivated me to apply for a college travel grant so that I
could present the results of this work at AAPG ACE. AAPG ACE
provided the ideal platform to present this work as the AAPG is
one of the largest and most notable professional geoscience bodies in the world, with the Annual Conference and Exhibition being the key annual meeting of this community. I was also motivated to attend this conference as it was held in Calgary, Canada,
and as such many of the experts on relevant Canadian geology
were in attendance. The results of our fieldwork and analysis that
formed the presentation at AAPG ACE have now been published
in journal form as:

Peace, A., McCaffrey, K., Imber, J., Phethean, J., Nowell, G., and Gerdes, K., Dempsey, E., (2016). An evaluation of
Mesozoic rift-related magmatism on the margins of the Labrador Sea: implications for rifting and passive margin asymmetry.
Geosphere Vol.12 No. 5

In June this year, I returned with the help of the Russell-Smith travel grant to Canada with a companion from the
Department of Earth Sciences, Dr. Mark Brodie. As geologists
visiting Western Canada, we took the opportunity to visit the

Presentation of the Student Award 2016 at the
EAA conference opening ceremony. I (centre)
was a joint-winner of the award. The award
was presented by Prof. Robin Skeates (left),
Chair of the EAA Student Award Committee.
edges of the cemetery and in spaces between graves, which are
very interesting issues that I had not thought about previously. I
also met several PhD students who are working on related topics
about the treatment of the dead in the early medieval period. It
was a valuable experience, as I was able to learn about exciting
current research on mortuary practices across Europe in the first
millennium AD and contribute to ongoing discussions.

As the largest annual archaeology conference in Europe,
the EAA conference provided an excellent opportunity for me to
meet and discuss my research with leading archaeologists in my
field and beyond. Beyond the session at which I presented, I have
benefitted from listening to a wide range of papers from different sessions, from the microbiology of Yersinia pestis bacteria
responsible for plague, to paradigms in the conservation and display of bog bodies. The wide range of sessions and topics allow
me to critically engage with current research and debates and
to reflect upon my own work. I have also made useful contacts
with established academics as well as other research students
from around the world: Finland, Norway, Spain, Austria, Estonia, Bulgaria, Poland, US, Canada, among others. The diverse
and friendly environment of the EAA has not only helped inform
my current research, but also develop my intellectual agility and
awareness.

After the conference, I went on a day trip to Trakai, the
historical capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, before flying
back to England. I visited the 14th- to 15th-century Trakai Castle, the only island castle in eastern Europe. Present-day Trakai is
a small village-town, but its unique landscape and historic buildings present a very different feeling of Lithuania, compared to
Vilnius. I also devoted myself to trying different Lithuanian dishes for a fuller experience of Lithuanian culture. The potato pancakes (bulviniai blynai) were exquisite and I adored the baked
aubergine rolls with curd, although I found Lithuanian potato
dumplings (cepelinai) slightly overrated.

I enjoyed this Lithuanian trip very much and have benefitted hugely from it, in my own academic research as well as in
gaining a valuable cultural experience. I am grateful for the St
Aidan’s College Trust’s generosity in supporting my participation
at the EAA conference 2016.

spectacular Rocky Mountains National Park prior to the start of
the conference. I found attendance of AAPG ACE to be extremely beneficial to my studies. In particular,
it provided the opportunity to receive feedback on my research
from the scientific community, feedback that is invaluable as I
near the completion and defence of my PhD thesis. It was also
useful to meet with other people who have worked on similar
areas, exchange ideas and develop new contacts. Presenting the
fieldwork results in Calgary also helped with the production of
the aforementioned publication and for this reason I would like
to again acknowledge the contribution made by St. Aidan’s college through the Russell-Smith travel grant.

Finally, I would like to again express my gratitude towards the donors of the Russell-Smith travel grant for making
attendance of AAPG ACE 2016 possible and I would also like to
encourage other members of the college community to apply for
the travel grants offered by the college.
Alexander Peace

Jitendra Thakur, postgraduate research student in Geography, used his award to discover the
story of Bagh block prints in Central India
In August 2016, I travelled to experience the famous Indian handcrafts ‘Bagh print’, supported by the Russell Smith Award 2016
from St. Aidan’s College. I visited the Khatari community at Bagh village, in the Vindhychal Mountain Range, in Central India. Bagh
Prints are listed as geographically tagged and are protected under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection)
Act (GI Act) 1999 of the Government of India

I met with some of the members of the Khatari community who keep alive the fame of Bagh block printing craft. I tried to
discover the roots of this art and explored the new insights of Bagh art.

The tropical leopard is found in the area which is called ‘Bagh’ in local dialect. It has significant influence on the cultural
and geographical identity of the region. The roots of Bagh prints traditionally connected with 1500 year old wall paintings found in
the ancient rock–cut caves in the region. These beautiful wall paintings are a great example of Indian classical art and have significant
inspiration for bagh prints.

In the 1950s, the Khatari community moved to the Bagh village. They began practising and gave new heights to the block
printing which was already being practiced by most of the indigenous people here.

National Award winners for craft excellence, Ismail Suleman Khatri and his family have made a great contribution to the
Bagh print which gave it a new dimension. Very limited patterns of block prints (2-3) were available when they started working here
in the 1950s. Now, thousands of designs can be found for each age category and different varieties for males and females.

Nowadays, they are successfully experimenting Bagh printings with cotton, silk and bamboo and provide a new look to

Sean Mui

Travel Reports

Presenting the results of the Labrador fieldwork at AAPG ACE 2016 in Calgary.

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on). Perhaps the most important example is the Tutte polynomial, named after Bill Tutte - best known as the codebreaker from
Bletchley Park who cracked the Lorenz cipher, which was used
for top-secret communications between the German high command. After the war, Tutte completed his Ph.D. at Cambridge
and remained within academia, making great contributions to
graph theory and beyond.

The purpose of studying graph polynomials is to gain
a deeper understanding of the structure of graphs. This may
sound highly abstract, but practical links do emerge: a great
number of real-world scenarios can be modelled by graphs and
an understanding of their structure has resulted in insights in
chemistry (the classification of compounds and prediction of
chemical properties), biology (DNA sequencing) and algorithm
design (finding optimal transportation routes, network designs,
and so on). The latter is of particular interest to me; my own research is in computational complexity, which investigates which
problems can be solved quickly by computers (and which ones
cannot!).

The seminar began with a packed schedule of prepared
talks on the Monday and Tuesday, with some describing specific
results and others building towards the general theme of establishing a unified approach for the study and comparison of graph
polynomials. On the remaining days, some talks continued but
the schedule opened up to allow collaboration time and impromptu tutorials on topics arising from the talks (such as polytopes, matroids, and the characteristic polynomial). On Wednesday afternoon, there was a social excursion (another Dagstuhl
tradition!): in our case, a guided tour of Trier.

I am now coming to the end of my Ph.D.: writing my
thesis and looking for positions to continue my research. Attending this seminar gave me a great opportunity to discuss my
own work and learn about closely related areas, but also allowed
me to make personal connections with potential future colleagues. I am extremely grateful to the college for assisting me
with funding at this key early point in what will hopefully be a
long research career!

In June, William Whistler,
postgraduate research student in Computer Science,
attended a seminar on Graph
Polynomials at Schloss Dagstuhl in Germany, with the
support of a Russell-Smith
Travel Award

block print which is becoming popular across India.

When I met Ismail Khatri, son of Hazi Ismail Khatri and Jiya Olla Khatri, they
explained to me how to make Bagh block printing here and how it is unique from other
block printing arts. First, they buy material such as cotton, tussar, silk and crepe from
the market. Then, these materials are soaked overnight and are dried with the help of
workers. After that they prepare a paste made by goat’s droppings, raw salt or sanchiri,
castor oil and water. The fabric is soaked in this paste by stamping it. This fabric is
dried. Then it is once again washed, bleached and dried. It is then ready for printing.
Once the printing is finished, the printed material is kept dry for eight days. In the final
stage, it is held in the running water of the Bhagini river. Thereafter; it is dried again
and put in the bhatti mixed with dhawala flowers and alzarin. Bleaching and drying
follow. Finally, the beautiful Bagh textile is ready.

In the Bagh Village, around 6-7 block printing centres are run by the Khatri
community where almost 400 - 500 supporting artists or workers are engaged in the art.

A single piece of Bagh block print work takes around 25-30 days and can be
sold in the Indian market for 4-5 pounds. The amount is not good enough compared to
the hard work they do.

There are problems of scarcity of water and wood and the younger generation
are not too keen on pursuing the craft. I tried to find out the concerns and challenges
they are facing to keep this valuable tradition alive the 21st century. Tribal artists or
workers also struggle to find sufficient space for washing and drying of printed textile
on the river bank. Lack of satisfactory government policy for supporting art and artists
is a further challenge for the Bagh Block print.

Currently, Bagh block printing is struggling to keep its traditional form due to
modernisation and the changing socio-economic needs of the people. As a researcher,
I realised that there is a serious need for detailed documentation of various aspects of
the Bagh block print. A deep research study can bring more detailed and newer insights
that could be helpful for the development and progress of art as well as its preservation.
Government and non-government efforts are also required to ensure the utilisation of
Bagh block printing for their own economic or social benefit, preserving its original
values.

Having had a great learning experience at Bagh village I uncovered some interesting hidden aspects of the beautiful Bagh block printing art. The findings bring about
newer insights and ideas regarding development and progress of this art along with its
preservation. This travel activity definitely helped me to improve my research and field
work skills as well as to make my dream come true to see the rich cultural value.
Jitendra Thakur

Dagstuhl seminars differ greatly from typical academic conferences and the venue
is not your typical conference centre! The
seminars bring together about fifty experts on a specific topic within computer
science for five-day meetings at a remote
location in Saarland. Topics may be proposed by researchers from either academia or industry and the seminar is then
arranged by the proposers, with financial
and practical support from the centre. The
venue provides accommodation, meals
and even a wine cellar, but is isolated to
say the least: 80km from the nearest airport and 20km from the nearest train station. This is intentional: the setting and
organisation are designed to minimise
potential distractions and foster a strong
sense of community amongst attendees.

The quirks continue: there are no
external door keys on the rooms (though
safes are provided!); at each meal, the
seating plan is randomised to encourage meeting new people; and snacks and
beverages are available on a trust system,
where you note your own consumption
for payment at check-out. The system
works well: the environment makes it
easy to enter into friendly and open discussions and gives rise to collaborations
which often last well beyond the seminars
themselves.

The study of graph polynomials, as the name may suggest, combines
graphs (a set of objects where pairs are
connected - think of a map of cities with a
line between each pair of cities linked by a
direct road) and polynomials (the general name for “x squared”, “x cubed”, and so

The attendees of “Graph Polynomials: Towards a Comparative Theory”.

Another Dagstuhl tradition: each speaker is
asked to handwrite their abstract in a book.

William Whistler

Nihan Tokac, postgraduate research student in Computer Science, attended the Mathematical
and Computation Evolutionary Biology Meeting from the 12th - 16th June 2016 inder the support of St. Aidan’s College and the Durham University School of Engineering and Computing
Sciences.
The meeting took place in Hameau de l’etoile, France, a nice hotel close to Montpellier.

The school programme contained basic introductory
courses as well as an overview of very recent developments, including many exercises and open problems.

My research area is theoretical computer science. The
algorithms I wrote were based on biological data. One of the
most important contributions of the meeting was collaborating
with the biology student who is going to be applying my theoretical work.
Nihan Tokac

Conference area

The main building of Schloss
Dagstuhl.
Travel Reports

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security and liberty for our own ancestors felt especially important. In the additional context of the upswing in expressions of
anti-Polish sentiment in the wake of the UK’s decision to leave
the EU, we felt particularly privileged to be able to in some small
sense represent the UK in continuing to foster links and relationships with students from across Europe.

In debating where new Europe started, we continued
to develop the skills competitive debating imparts to all participants, but more importantly gained important insights into the
past, present and in some sense future of Polish democracy and
society. Exploring the built environment allowed us to experience Warsaw’s unique juxtaposition of the legacy of the former
USSR with manifestations of Polish capitalist modernity and the
economic miracle. We also saw first-hand important representations of Polish identity at the Presidential Palace, and felt in some
small way able to take part in a reaching out to a common European cosmopolitanism, paying our respects to Polish sacrifice,
forming links and relationships with students from all over Europe and in doing so reinforcing our own commitment to representing these values.

George Bainbridge, postgraduate student in International Studies, spent part of the summer
debating where New Europe started
Between the 14th and 20th of August this year, 10 Durham students and recent graduates (including myself, kindly assisted by
the St. Aidan’s College Russell-Smith travel award) participated
in the European Universities Debating Championships in the
Polish capital, Warsaw. The trip provided a fascinating opportunity for myself and the other Durham representatives to discuss
topical issues with fellow students from all over Europe in one of
the most prestigious inter-university competitions in existence.
We were debating, as the organisers of the competition put it,
‘where New Europe started’: a reference of course to Poland’s
unique status as the heart of the new wave of popular participation in politics that swept the eastern half of the continent in the
crumbling of the former USSR. In addition to the skills that competitive debating develops in terms of public speaking, current
affairs knowledge and thinking on one’s feet, the Durham squad
therefore also gained an insight into the nature of modern Polish
democracy and society.

The European championships, conducted in the British Parliamentary format of debating where teams of 2 are given
15 minutes to generate arguments and ideas in favour or against
a previously unseen proposition, are made up of 9 preliminary
rounds before the top 24 teams progress to elimination rounds.
Durham this year achieved astounding competitive success, with
teams Durham A and B ranking as the 1st and 6th ranked teams
in Europe after these preliminary rounds, and making up 40% of
the top 10 speakers in Europe in the individual standings (more
than Oxford and Cambridge combined!). Unfortunately, my own
team, Durham C, and also Durham D, narrowly did not progress
to the elimination rounds, but strong performances all round ensured that Durham collectively took home one of the highest collective points hauls of any institution, second only to Cambridge.

More importantly than competitive success however,
the topics for debate were fascinating, current and varied. We
discussed the rise of social media-driven news distribution, Barack Obama’s position on racial injustice, psychedelic drug regulation, gentrification, Israel’s relationship with Wagner’s music,
the mass commercialisation of football, a potential military coup

in Venezuela, sanctuary cities in the USA and satire of the European far right in the preliminary rounds alone! The topics for
the elimination rounds were similarly diverse, including the role
of facts in political debate, retributive justice in Iran and metadata ownership. Discussing such a diverse profile of issues with
students from universities across Europe was an incredibly enriching experience for the entire Durham squad and broadened
our intellectual horizons significantly. Indeed, in an age where
social media and real-life university bubbles can often isolate us
from diverse experiences and ideas, debating against teams from
across Europe in a format where innovative thinking is rewarded
is a much-needed corrective.

Beyond the competition itself, spending time in the
centre of Warsaw was an incredible opportunity in and of itself.
The built environment in particular provided ample opportunity for reflection on the changes that the city, Poland as a whole
and indeed the broader Eastern European political and physical landscape have undergone. The juxtaposition of Soviet-era
buildings such as the imposing Palace of Science and Culture
with Warsaw’s modern business district’s skyscrapers and hotels
provides a striking dual exposition of how Poland’s intertwined
past, present and future are represented in the very fabric of the
city. Two of the tournament social events during the week were
also held in the Palace of Science and Culture: the first in one of
the bars that the giant building, a gift from Stalin himself, now
houses. This in itself, socialising and talking freely while physically located in such a striking manifestation of the totalitarian
regime that less than 30 years ago retained such a strong grip on
the country, was a humbling experience. The second event held
in the building, the championship dinner black tie finale to the
tournament, provided a further reflection on discourse and democracy in Poland itself, neatly showcasing the maturity of Poland’s transformation from the past repression exemplified in the
towering intimidation as captured here to the present, hosting
the culmination of one of the largest celebrations of free discussion and debate on the continent.

Other social events offered the opportunity to visit the
former headquarters of the Polish Communist Party – now host
to part of the Polish Stock Exchange! This stark contrast exemplified the impact of the Polish economic miracle – the central
manifestation of the old economic order now being operated
by that of the new provided much food for thought. Indeed, the
courtyard literally in the centre of the imposing square building
and its past representation is now full of commercial outlets, in-

Travel Reports

cluding cafes and bars.

More broadly, while exploring the city a little more, we
were struck by the newness of the built environment more generally. Being used to the general architecture and so on in the
UK and Durham in particular, the almost total absence of any
buildings more than 60 years old or so was at first unnerving,
as it was initially difficult to place what was different about our
surroundings. Even Warsaw’s Old Town, we discovered from
plaques and so on, was rebuilt from the ground up by the Soviet regime as part of an attempted prestige project in the 1970s.
Staying with the theme of political transition, there were two observations that particularly stuck out: firstly, the initial plan to
hold elimination rounds of the competition in the Sejm, the Polish Parliament, had to be abandoned due to the recent upswing
in political protests outside the parliament making it too likely
that the competition would be disrupted. This in itself stood as
evidence of Polish democracy’s health! Secondly, the Polish Presidential Palace (itself shadowed by a significantly taller nearby
hotel, neatly alluding to the dominance of capital in modern European democracy) displays three flags outside: the Polish national flag of course, but also those of the EU and of NATO. This
was a particularly fascinating insight into the country’s own conceptualisation of its political identity in the choice of flags representing Poland to stand outside the home of their government.
Like much of the broader built environment that we encountered
in Warsaw, it spoke to the Soviet past in the strong identification
with NATO and also to the country’s present and future in the
EU, as well as a strong spirit of civic national identity.

The country’s turbulent past was also captured in the
poignant memorials to the many fallen in the historically ubiquitous conflicts that have raged on Polish soil that we visited later
in our visit. Not only the Soviet past but many other previous
battles and conflicts were carved into the plaques on the walls
protecting the eternal flame memorial near the centre of Warsaw.
Coming face to face with this symbol of national sacrifice and
renewal also put into stark context the sad rise of anti-Polish racism in the UK in the last decade or so and strongly reinforced its
utter unacceptability. In this context, paying our respects in memorial of Polish casualties in conflicts including (but of course
not limited to) those in which Polish sacrifice ensured greater

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George Bainbridge

Sophie Deden, 1st year undergraduate in
Geography, spent two weeks at Yayasan Widya
Sari with “Volunteer in Bali”
In September 2016 I embarked on a trip to the northern region
of Karangasem in Bali to volunteer as an English teaching assistant at Yayasan Widya Sari with the organisation “Volunteer in
Bali”. Even though I only spent two weeks in Bali I feel like this
experience has opened my eyes to the importance and reward
of volunteering, the diversity of cultural backgrounds and the
Balinese culture.

When I decided to apply to Volunteer in Bali in March,
I was persuaded by my sister’s enthusiasm of her experience with
the organisation. She had spent 10 weeks in the small village of
Tianyar at Yayasan Widya Sari and came back with a new appreciation for the Balinese culture and a surprising amount of
self-confidence. As I was still looking to do something worthwhile during the long summer break, I decided to apply to the
same organisation. From the website and my sisters experience I
knew that it was cheaper than other volunteering programs, had
a positive work ethic and created a friendly environment for both
the children attending the school and the volunteers that taught
there.
More about Volunteer in Bali
Volunteer in Bali is a Balinese owned non-profit organisation
that gives local children from unprivileged families the opportunity to learn English from volunteers with diverse backgrounds
and ages. This enables them not only to learn English to a higher level than they otherwise would through learning English at
school, but also gives them an insight into the diversity of cultural backgrounds that exist outside of their local village in northern Bali. Studying English is of growing importance for locals in
Bali due to the growth of the tourism sector. The founder of the
organisation, Ketut De Sujana, has established a program where
volunteers teach children aged 5-18 English through games,
arts and crafts and sports. The children attending the program
are supported through individual sponsors that allow them the

Having fun with the children
after class
opportunity to attend local schools and
buy school supplies and uniforms. After
their morning classes in the local schools,
the children attend classes organised by
the volunteers as a sort of extra-curricular from Monday to Thursday between
2-5pm. Over the years the organisation
has gained more popularity, which has
allowed it to extend from one school in
Tianyar to two schools in Tianyar, one
school in Suraya and Ubud and another
program for students with disabilities in
Ubud.
My experience at Yayasan Widya Sari
My role as a volunteer at Yayasan Widya
Sari in Tianyar included teaching children
English in the form of games and sports,
or so I thought. After having spent two
nights in Ubud for an introduction to the
project, me and eight other volunteers
were driven 3 hours from Ubud to our
program in Tianyar. There, we got another introduction during which we got told
what classes we were teaching during our
stay. I was assigned to teach the adult class
and the “C2” class including students between the ages of 13-17 alongside another
volunteer named Molly, who had already
been teaching these classes for 4 weeks
when I arrived.

Teaching English to students
who were older than 10 was a challenge
I hadn’t expected. In the first few days, I
got to help out one of the other volunteers
teaching a preschool class. This was relatively easy as they were keen on games
and remembered word we taught them
easily. Teaching the “C2” class however
was more of a challenge. On my first day
no students showed up to the class, which
was disappointing as I was excited to get
into the teaching as quickly as possible.
We were told that the students had extra
hours in school and couldn’t attend their
afternoon English classes at Yayasan. On
my third day students did start showing
up, however only two out of twenty stu-

dents that were on the register attended.
This made me feel a little unsure on how
to approach the class, especially because
my co teacher had only vaguely told me
what level they were at. We started off the
first few lessons by introducing ourselves
to each other, which the students knew
how to do quite well as their previous
teacher had created identity cards with
them. From these short interactions with
each student I recognised that most of
them had a very low understanding of any
English, which I later found out was because they had just started their program
at Yayasan. When we tried to play Hang
Man with the few students that showed up
in the second lesson, we realised that they
didn’t have a proper understanding of the
alphabet, which meant we had to go back
to the basics. I was very surprised by this
considering their age.

During the second week my co
teacher was sick so I had to come up with
interesting, age-based ways to design lessons to familiarise the students with the
alphabet. I thought at first that games I
had seen other volunteers play with the
younger children were not appropriate,
but by the second day I had given up on
that thought because that was the only
way the students would remember what I
taught them. Thus I designed my classes
around games of Hang Man, singing the
ABC song and a game of Butterfly search,
which the students loved. I was quite glad
my co teacher wasn’t there actually as she
was always quite dominating while teaching. I think we had an opposite approach
to the classes, which made us clash when
planning and teaching classes but it didn’t
matter much as she didn’t attend class
most of the time I was volunteering. On
my last day seven students turned up to
class, which I was really happy about. The
Indonesian teacher assistant that helped
us with translations was surprised as well
and told me that the students had told
her that they liked my lesson style and

My co-teacher and I teaching
our C2 class the alphabet

the support of the Russell-Smith Travel Award I received from
college. I am extremely thankful for the experiences the travel
award allowed me to have. I hope I was successful in describing
how the two weeks have changed some of my perspectives on
other cultures and how it has helped to develop me as an individual. I can only recommend volunteering at Yayasan Widya
Sari with Volunteer in Bali - it was an incredibly rewarding and
fun-filled two weeks.
Sophie Deden

Posing for a picture during
the Ceremony with the other volunteers and Swandi, a
member of staff

The class room I taught the adult class in

teaching and thus showed up more often,
which showed me that my lessons were
successful and made me feel quite proud
and accomplished.

Teaching the adult class was easier and more fun I thought. In this class I
taught three students, one 18-year-old and
two 30-year-olds. This was a little strange
as I taught people who were a lot older
than I was, but overall it was very interesting. Within the first few days I had developed a strategy for my classes. I would
start every lesson with a short discussion
about a topic that they suggested or that I
proposed. This meant that while I could
teach them some new content I would
learn more about their culture and views
as well. We talked a lot about Bali and its
culture as well as topics that were important to me such as development and global
warming. I think they quite enjoyed these,
even though they often lacked vocabulary
to explain how they felt about these topics. Thus I brought a text to class for them
to read to me so that I could correct their
pronunciations as well as explain anything
they didn’t understand about the topic.
The second half of the lesson I brought
worksheets to class with which they could
practice the past continuous and past simple tense. Overall teaching these students
was lots of fun because communication
was easier and I had a proper structure to
follow allowing me to see progress.

Not only did the volunteer work
itself enrich my experiences in those two
weeks but the other volunteers and their
backgrounds did too. On my first day
on the program, I met a huge diversity
of people already, most of which had a
completely different background to me.
For example, I met a girl who originated
from Portugal but studied Art History in
Paris and didn’t own a passport before she
travelled to Bali, which was fascinating to
me as I have grown up in Singapore and

Travel Reports

owned a passport since I was a baby. Another volunteer I met
came from Washington State in the United States and had never
left the Americas before coming to Bali. When I asked her what
she had for breakfast one morning, she tried to explain to me that
she got given some fruits and a sweet wrap, which I would describe as a pancake, but because she had never seen a non-American pancake she didn’t know what she was presented with. These
encounters highlighted the difference between customs, food
and culture of countries all around the world to me. What excited me most about the people I met during my two weeks of
volunteering was, however, that for nearly all of them, it was their
first time in Asia. As I grew up in Asia I couldn’t imagine what it
would be like to discover this part of the world for the first time.
But spending a whole day exploring Ubud with them made it
easier to picture what my co-volunteers were experiencing.

In addition to teaching English and meeting other
volunteers, I got to take part in activities such as a ceremony
honouring a family temple of the founder of the organisation,
visiting a nearby waterfall and tree house complex, climbing the
volcano Mount Batur to watch the sunrise and visiting the nearby “paradise” Island Gili Trawangan. These all heightened my
appreciation of the beautiful nature and culture of Bali.
Overall Outcome
On the evening my flight was scheduled to Bali, I was regretting
my choice of applying to volunteer in Bali. I wanted to stay in
Singapore to spend more time with friends and family. I had the
feeling of rushing my time in every place I visited in the summer
and wasn’t quite ready for another experience in a different country. But since cancelling the whole planned journey was not possible, I went along with it and I am extremely glad I did. At the
end of the two weeks of volunteering, I was not ready to return
home yet and I wish I had agreed to stay longer.

My two weeks at Yayasan opened my eyes to how important voluntary work is and how much of a difference it can
make to the people and places the work is aimed at and how it
can change the life of a volunteer as well. I have learned that the
patience and skill needed for teaching comes with time and practice and have practiced my cooperation and team-working skill.
Working with people from so many different backgrounds has
highlighted the importance of open-mindedness and respect for
diversity. I have understood that I need structure and preparation to be able to carry out activities such as teaching successfully
and improvisation is not one of my strengths.

This amazing trip would not have been possible without

45

46

Travel Reports

Susannah Cox, 4th year undergraduate in
Modern Languages and Culture, concludes the
list of students receiving the Russell-Smith
Travel Award for this year
The National Student Drama Festival is an annual event celebrating diverse theatre performances from different universities and
student groups across the country. The festival provides opportunities for students involved in all areas of theatre to perform,
write, discuss, network, receive feedback and engage in workshops and this year, its sixtieth year, the festival was held in Scarborough in the third week of March. Durham Student Theatre
(DST) was keen to become more involved in the festival this year
and, out of 75 submissions from across the country, three productions from DST were selected to be performed at the festival.
I was fortunate enough to perform in a week-long run of Cole
Porter’s ‘Kiss Me, Kate’ as part of the Durham University Light
Opera Group (DULOG) in January at the Gala Theatre and, as a
group, we decided to enter this show into the festival, knowing it
would be an inspiring experience for all involved.

As part of the selection process, a member of the festival
adjudicating panel came to view the show and, after one of the
Gala performances, we gathered in the Assembly Rooms to hear
the feedback. Although it seemed unlikely that a show with such
a large cast, crew and set could be involved in the festival, the
show was ultimately chosen as one of only twelve to perform at
the festival this year. Having gone through the process of auditioning, rehearsing intensely over a period of around two months
and performing seven shows, the prospect of being able to perform it again, on a new stage, was exciting.

There is a cost for each participant attending the festival (which includes entrance to all shows and workshops),
added to the cost of travel and accommodation in Scarborough,
but with financial support from Experience Durham, Aidan’s
and other colleges, around 150 Durham students were able to
attend the festival. Many members of the band, cast and tech
crew arrived at the beginning of the week to participate in dif-

ferent workshops. With some other cast members, I arrived a
few days later and, after some time to explore the town with its
many cafes, shops and beautiful beach, we poured over the timetable and planned which shows, workshops and discussions we
would attend. Some shows were performed multiple times on
different days and students were divided into groups in order to
enable as many people as possible to view each show. There really was something for everyone, with workshops delivered by
various professionals, including members of the Royal Shakespeare Company and performing arts schools such as East 15,
Mountview and Rose Bruford were also represented. Equally,
the performances themselves were incredibly diverse, featuring
DULOG’s two popular musicals ‘Kiss Me, Kate’ and ‘The Addams Family’ as well as newly devised shows and even solo performances.

I was particularly impressed with the first show I saw:
‘Departures: A Song Cycle’ by Verismo Theatre Company at the
University of Sheffield. Having previously performed the musical at the Edinburgh Fringe, the cast appeared extremely comfortable in their roles as individuals bonding over being stuck
on a train platform. Another particularly thought-provoking
piece was ‘I Can’t Breathe’, a play written and performed by
Modupe Salu from Buckinghamshire New University. Salu’s
dramatic entrance into the dark auditorium, using rap, sharp
movements and song, caught the audience’s attention and took
us on a journey exploring race-related violence and identity.
Perhaps the biggest talking point, however, was ‘Dahmer’ from
Heads Up Productions at the University of Cumbria. This newly
devised piece of theatre focused on the motives of Jeffrey Dahmer, an American serial killer, and provoked much discussion
and controversy among many festival-goers. The disturbing use
of graphic images, accompanied by bizarre jokes, was deemed
completely inappropriate by some, while others appreciated this
pushing of artistic boundaries.

DULOG’s own performance ‘Kiss Me, Kate’ was, happily, far-less controversial and proved an overall crowd-pleaser.
We were scheduled to perform twice on the last day, closing the
festival, and we watched the crew set up the stage for the final
time for our dress rehearsal the day before. The performance
itself took place in the Grand Hall within the Spa Complex and
was open to students from other shows and the general public.

We had begun rehearsing anew towards the end of
Epipha¬ny term and some adjustments had to be made to some
of the choreography and staging, as a few students were unable to
attend the festival. Despite these changes, the two performances
were a success and received great feedback from the panel and
from other students. At the closing ceremony the following day,

Duck in Mango Sauce at Le Little Saigon. It went down very
well.

I was standing in the office of a neuroscience laboratory in the Chinese Academy of Science’s Institute of Biophysics just north of downtown Beijing. Unfortunately,
I had not been working on explaining the neural circuits that underlie the pure joy
experienced by dunking a gingernut in a cuppa. I had in fact been sent to the Institute
of Biophysics from Durham for an annual six week exchange set up by academics in the
School of Biological and Biomedical Science at Durham. I had been partially funded
by St. Aidan’s College Trust hence why I am writing this report. This report is to give a
rounded account of my experiences in China: there were two major aspects to my trip,
half my time was spent in a laboratory studying neuroscience in Drosophila, and half
was spent exploring Beijing and learning about Chinese culture, therefore half of this
article will describe my experience of modern neuroscientific research and half will
describe my experience of a completely new world.

I should explain the experiences I had for a lay person, so I should define a few
terms.

What is neuroscience? Neuroscience is the study of nervous systems, the complex networks of electrically conductive cells that form your brain and run though out
your body to allow you to see, feel, think and move.

What is a Drosophila? Drosophila melanogaster is the Latin name for the fruit
fly, the organism that I was working on, chosen for its genetic malleability and surprisingly similar neuroanatomy to humans.

What is the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)? CAS is China’s national scientific think tank and academic governing body. It provides undergraduate and post
graduate education, it has the highest Nature Publishing Index in the world and fellowship to the academy is the highest scientific honour in China.

What is the Institute of Biophysics? One of the oldest research institutions in
the CAS, having been formed in 1958.

The lab I was in worked on several aspects of Drosophila behaviour, but I spent
most of my time working on fruit fly feeding behaviour. The lab was working collectively on the function of one gene; Female Independent of Transformer or FIT for short.
FIT has a great number of functions in flies but we hypothesised that it regulates the
proportion of protein the flies consume by making the flies able to perceive the protein
they eat.

Studying a specific gene is easier said than done however. To see what a gene
does we need to see what happens without it and reason from there. To get Drosophila which don’t have a functional FIT gene we could wait several thousand years for
the mutation to naturally occur or we could use molecular techniques, like the famous
CRISPR-cas9 system for genome editing developed in 2014. We used CRISPR-cas9
to create our FIT deficient flies, we replaced the FIT gene with a gene that coded for
white eyes, so that we could identify our mutant flies. To get the replacement gene into
the CRISPR primed flies, we needed to put it into a little ring of DNA called a plasmid which had sections flanking the replacement gene identical to those flanking the
FIT gene. Building these plasmids was what me and a recently graduated PhD student
called Zhang Yunpeng worked on for my first few weeks in Beijing. Unfortunately, I
wasn’t allowed to actually use the CRISPR-cas9 system myself but generally one doesn’t
put super-expensive biotechnology equipment in the hands of a gormless student.

One of the areas the laboratory was studying was how FIT affects eating behaviour. The aim was to show how FIT affects food preference and explain why it has
that effect. There a several ways to measure the feeding behaviour of a fly:

several students were given awards, including Harvey Comerford and Dominic McGovern who received the ‘Comedy’ award
for their roles as the gangster duo. Durham University Light Opera Group was also given the Judges’ Award for ‘Contribution
to the Festival’ for its performances of ‘Kiss Me, Kate’ and ‘The
Addams Family’.

Attending the National Student Drama Festival, as a
result of the Travel Award from Aidan’s College, not only gave
me the opportunity to perform to a new audience, but also to
watch high quality productions from other successful students
and participate in workshops given by professionals. Additionally, I think the festival presented a fantastic opportunity to inspire younger students who attended the festival, exhibiting the
talent of the different theatre groups that exist as part of DST and
showing how students can pursue high-level accomplishments
alongside their degree. I have performed in DULOG’s annual
Gala Theatre performance for three years now and was part of
the executive committee in my second year: needless to say, I am
extremely proud of how the society has gone from strength to
strength over the years and it was exciting to be able to showcase
the society’s success and talent to other festival goers and give
performances of a similar calibre to other colleges which specialised in theatre. The experience of working as a team, including band, production and crew, to put on all the different performances and bring the show to Scarborough was fantastic, as
was the opportunity to receive criticism from peers and professionals. I would like to thank Aidan’s College Travel Awards for
enabling me to take part in such an enriching event and would
encourage readers to consider paying a visit to National Student
Drama Festival in March 2017!
Susannah Cox

SCR Travel Award
The St Aidan’s College SCR provide an award each year for
educational travel, outside of course requirements, that will
benefit a student or students of the College. The winner of
this year’s SCR Travel Award was George Dobson, a 2nd year
undergraduate student in Biological Sciences.
Neurons and Hútòngs: Notes from a biologist in Beijing
I think the perfect amount of time to dunk your biscuit in your
tea is one and a half seconds. I had never considered how long I
like to dunk my biscuits until I found myself giving an impromptu explanation on the art of dunking and why you can’t put a
mint imperial in your tea. Strange I know.

Travel Reports

47

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Travel Reports

• To measure simply how much
food different populations of flies eat, a
CAFE assay is used which involves putting a capillary tube filled with liquid food
into a fly bottle and simply measuring
how much the meniscus drops.

• To measure the relative
amounts of two types of food, a plate assay
can be used which involves presenting a
choice of two foods with different coloured dyes.

• The golden standard of
Drosophila feeding measurement is a FLIC
assay - FLIC is a Fly Liquid-food Interaction Counter. In FLIC, flies are placed
into chambers with liquid-food in wells.
When the fly lands and feeds it completes
an electrical circuit, which allows highly
reliably and detailed data to be obtained
about the nature of fly behaviour.

Using a combination of these
three techniques, it was established that
FIT causes flies to consume more protein
and have a longer lifespan.

I worked on the effect of FIT on
aging in Drosophila. It was known that
FIT mutant flies had an altered life span.
This could be because of the altered diet
of the fly but FIT could also have another effect. Myself and a master’s student
named Hu Xiaoli worked on establishing
a role of FIT in ageing. As well as altering
feeding behaviour, FIT might also affect
the TOR pathway which is important in
ageing and is conserved in both flies and
humans. To study an association between
FIT and TOR, we used a western blotting
technique which allows the isolation of
specific proteins from flies. We used this
to identify a difference in the concentration of two major components in the TOR
pathway between normal flies and FIT
mutant flies.

The work that I did in the laboratory was enjoyable and interesting, if
occasionally repetitive when things went
wrong. But the experience was defined by
the people I worked with. The researchers

The front entrance of the Institute of Biophysics

Some of my colleagues after a large meal
and students in the lab were wonderful - they helped me with the
language barrier, took me to have lunch with them, gave me advice and were generally fun to talk to. I learnt a lot about Chinese
culture from them; whenever I had a question they would answer
it. I hope I also taught them a little about English culture - in fact,
comparing our respective cultures became a hobby. Yunpeng
even asked how English people get engaged before proposing to
his fiancé!

As a thanks to the friends I had made, on my last day, I
went to the only Marks and Spencer in Beijing and bought a horrendous amount of tea and biscuits and threw a very English tea
party for the lab (which I mentioned earlier), which culminated
in a me explaining the fine art of dunking. That tea party was
possibly the best part of my trip.

I was amazed to find how different Chinese culture was
from the west, but the thing that struck me was that in a world so
different, these young people behaved exactly like young people
all over the world. They laughed at the same jokes, chatted about
the same things and enjoyed the same music (turns out Taylor
Swift is big in China).

I mentioned that I needed help with the Mandarin.
When I have been abroad previously, I have been able to bumble
though on the small amounts of European languages I know, but
that was not an option in China. Outside the lab, most people
did not speak any English and Mandarin is incredibly difficult.
If you’re not familiar with Mandarin, rather than each character
being similar to a letter in English which are put together to make
words, each character is more equivalent to a syllable. Therefore,
there are over 50,000 characters, each with their own subtle pronunciation. Often unrelated characters sound extremely similar
for example the ‘ma’ sound can mean ‘mother’, ’horse’, ‘hemp’, ‘to
scold’ or imply a question depending on the tone which you say
it with.

As a result of this complexity, foreign diplomats often
mistakenly introduce themselves as hedgehogs! Because the languages are so different, there are also some amusing mistranslations from Chinese to English - some of my personal favourites
were: ‘Joyous rendezvous upon pure ice and snow’ (on the entrance to the Olympic aquatics centre), ‘the subliminal thought
has started while the noisy has stopped’ (instead of ‘keep quite’)
and ‘oxygen bar in primitive forest’ (engraved into a rock halfway
up a small mountain).

I think I found the topic which is the most talked about
subject in Chinese and that is food. As Yunpeng said to me ‘The
English talk about the weather and the Chinese talk about where

to eat.’ With the population of China being so large, there are a
huge number of chefs and thus restaurants are inexpensive. In
fact, in China, students regularly eat out for every meal of the
day, student dormitories don’t have kitchens and cooking in the
rooms is prohibited. Fortunately for these kitchenless students,
the general quality of food is very good - I was very content after
almost every meal. Having said this, I was offered a few dishes that took some getting used to - chicken’s feet, pig’s stomach,
cow’s intestines. The only thing I had to turn down was a frozen
scorpion! The variety of foods on offer was impressive as well cuisine could be found from every one of China’s 23 provinces,
as well as most other East Asian counties. My personal favourites
were cuisine from Guangxi (China’s far south) and a restaurant
that combined French and Vietnamese cooking (it’s call ‘Le Little
Saigon’ if you’re ever in Beijing - look it up, it’s great!).

A lot of people I met had little knowledge of Britain. I
was asked if we ate anything other than fish ‘n’ chips and if I had
ever met the Queen. For the people I met in the lab, these questions weren’t ignorance, just that they were naïve. Comparing
and explaining our cultures to each other actually became a little
hobby. Some people I spoke to had never seen a foreigner before
and many people stared at me and stopped me on the street and
asked to take a photograph. The Chinese regard European features as very desirable so I was told how handsome a young man
I was quite often (my ego now has its own postcode).

Some of the architecture which I saw in China was
stunning: From the undulating curves of the Great Wall and the
imperial grandeur of the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace
to the striking modern design of the CCTV Building and the
Olympic Park. But the nicest thing I saw was simply the traditional streets (or Hútòngs) which were always bustling and contained all manner of quirky shops and restaurants.

In conclusion I would like to thank St. Aidan’s College
Trust for sponsoring me and Prof. Roy Quinlan and the School
of Biological and Biomedical Science for organising this annual
exchange. Most importantly, I want to thank Bindhu Unni, my
fellow Durham Student at the institute, who made my trip all
the more enlightening and Dr. Zhang Yunpeng, Hu Xiaoli, Lin
Wong, Bingxiao Bai, Toutou, Prof. Yan Li, Alexi, Caoying and
everyone at the institute who helped and encouraged me through
a month and a half of adventure and science.

If I had the opportunity, I would do every second all
over again and if I ever have the opportunity to live and work in
Beijing, I will take it without hesitation. Beijing is the most different place from home I have visited and I am incredibly lucky
to have been able to experience it.

Results & College Memberships
Degree Percentages for 20152016
Degree Classification
I
II:i
II:ii
III
Ordinary
Diploma of Higher
Education

The role of College Council is to advise, counsel and support
the Principal in leading and developing the College Community. College Councils are also formal sub-committees of Council
with delegated authority in some matters.

The Principal is responsible for the management of the
College, accountable to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Deputy
Warden, and will seek the support and advice of the College
Council in carrying out her role.

Xiaoshibei Hútòng near the Houhai lakes

49

50

Co-opted member

Emma Hamlett

External Member

College Officers 2015-16
Dr Susan Frenk, Principal
Mr Stefan Klidzia, Vice-Principal and Senior Tutor
Mrs Paula Dawson, Bursar

St Aidan’s Alumni Association
Committee Members 2015-16
Treasurer: Matthew Spencer

College Council

George Dobson

Travel Reports

Percentage
38%
52%
8%
0%
1.5%
0.5%

Mr Sam Dale

Vice Treasurer: Charlotte Liles
Reunion Officers: Michael Benbow, Edward Smith and Ben
Fisher
Newsletter Officers: Emma Fisher and Hannah Futter
Web Manager: Kenneth Sandman

College Council Membership 2015-16

Digital Communications Officer: Ethan Tamlyn

Mrs Susan Johnson

Chair

Archivist: Joshua Stocco

Ms Emma Wilson

Secretary

Secretary: Alice Dee

Dr Susan Frenk

Principal

Mr Stefan Klidzia

Vice-Principal & Senior Tutor

Mrs Paula Dawson

Bursar

Professor Stuart Corbridge

Vice-Chancellor

Professor Graham Towl

Deputy Warden

Mr Paul Leake

Council Appointee

Miss Alice Dee

JCR President

Miss Lauren Polson

JCR Treasurer

Mr Paul Cohen

JCR Representative

Mr Paddy Alton

SCR President

Mr Yaman Islim

SCR Treasurer

Mr David Littlefair

Mentor Representative

Professor Martin Ward

Council Appointee

Emma Fisher

Alumni Representative

Results and College Memberships