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Peter Varney Profile

Geography Alum Peter Varney


What year did you graduate? 


What subjects did you study prior to arriving in Durham? 

A level: History and Geography at Norwich School. 

Which degree programme did you study at Durham and why? 

BA Hons Geography. 

What were the highlights of studying at Durham? 

Field courses in Tuscany, Langdale and Ballycastle - all of which I have revisited; Professor Fisher's understanding of the Arab world; living in Castle, the oldest university building in the UK. 

What was the topic of your third-year dissertation? 

'South Norfolk - A Regional Study'. 

What are you doing now and how did your degree help prepare you? 

The study of Human Geography developed into a wider interest in Anthropology and Sociology, and I took a Durham MA in Anthropology. After a Birmingham BD I was ordained in the Church of England and started field work on the religion of the Iban of Sarawak, working for a PhD at LSE. I have served as prison and hospital chaplain and counsellor. After 'retirement' I taught in the Continuing Education Department of the University of East Anglia and became a Research Fellow there. I am a Fellow of the Borneo Research Council and support and teach Anglicans in Sarawak. 

With hindsight, what else would you have liked us to have taught you? 

What l I was taught became a useful way in to so much else in my life, along with the experience of working with a small group of BA Geography students. I wonder how the much larger numbers work for contemporary students.