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Celebrating with our new graduates at Winter Congregation

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Celebrations at Durham Cathedral have drawn to a close for our Winter Congregation.

More than 1,500 students from 120 countries have celebrated the completion of their degrees, reflecting on the time spent at the University and in Durham, and looking to the future.

An occasion like no other

Six ceremonies were held at the magnificent Durham Cathedral for our Winter Congregation where we celebrated the successes and achievements of this year’s cohort of graduates.

We welcomed students whose graduation was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic to celebrate their achievements.

We also extended congratulations to our honorary graduate on celebrating her degree.

Claire Malcolm, Chief Executive of North-East based literary organisation New Writing North, was honoured for her exceptional work with the Durham Book Festival.

Claire Malcolm, Chief Executive of North-East
Claire Malcolm, Chief Executive of North-East

Claire leads on many talent development, reading and engagement projects including the Gordon Burn Prize, the Northern Writers’ Award, Durham Book Festival and the David Cohen Prize for Literature.  She is a regular literary event host and event chair and is passionate about culture’s role in the climate crisis and how arts organisations can play their part in supporting transition and in supporting writers to enter the industry from all backgrounds and lived experience. She is one of The Bookseller’s 150, a list of the most influential people in publishing.

New Writing North collaborates with Durham University’s pioneering psychologists and researchers on ‘Well Read’, a new programme to use writing to support wellbeing and mental health.

Speaking about her honorary degree, Claire said:

It is a great honour to be recognised by the University for the work that New Writing North has achieved with the book festival and our wider work in County Durham.

“Upholding the essential power of writing, reading, knowledge and new ideas and our need for them is my life’s passion. I have been very lucky to pursue working in this context when many people from working class backgrounds like mine feel excluded from opportunities. To be recognised in this way means a great deal to me personally and I hope will inspire others to pursue their passion in their career.”

Professor Karen O’Brien, Vice-Chancellor and Warden of Durham University, said: 

“Our graduates have worked hard for their degrees and we wish them every success in the future. We know as Durham University graduates they will be highly sought after by employers worldwide and we hope that they will maintain close links with us here at Durham.”



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