Skip to main content

Acting Vice Chancellor Antony Long outside

Acting Vice Chancellor, Antony Long, runs through the different entertainment available ahead of the festive period and looks back on some of our achievements this year.

I hope this finds you and your families well and looking forward to what we all hope will be a more ‘normal’ Christmas than was possible last year.

It has been wonderful to see many of our talented student musicians bringing festive cheer to the City these past couple of weeks, with carol sing-a-longs, concerts and as part of the Durham Christmas Festival last weekend.

Festive entertainment

If you haven’t yet taken in a concert, I would recommend our Concert Band and Brass Band’s Christmas performance at Elvet Methodist Church tomorrow night (Friday 10 December).

Plus the student-run Ooook! Productions is currently presenting the comedy play ‘Miranda’, based on the popular BBC series of the same name, at The Assembly Rooms Theatre. Perhaps you haven’t been to The Assembly Rooms since it was refurbished – or perhaps you’ve never been. If so, this is the perfect reason to make a visit.

Finally, a nod to our acclaimed a Capella group Northern Lights, which has recorded ‘Never Alone’ to raise money for the Durham branch of Age UK. The single is available to download now, from Spotify.

These are great examples of how the University and our students contribute to the cultural life of Durham and the North East – and another reason why Durham would make a fantastic UK City of Culture for 2025. Visit our website,, for full listings and ticket details.

Recognition of the last year

Our term ends tomorrow (Friday 10 December) and I wanted to thank you for your support during the past few months, particularly during my tenure as Acting Vice-Chancellor.

We have seen further world-leading and world-changing research: from sugar-containing polymers that could help repair artificial joint implants, to the links between rugby, concussions and mental health; from a new therapy hope for dementia patients, to tracing the origins of Merlin the Magician.

We’ve also announced new funding for scholarships for North East students and, just this past week, I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to offer temporary accommodation to families affected by Storm Arwen.

As I hand over to Professor Karen O’Brien, who will join us a Vice-Chancellor in January, I am excited at what we can do together in 2022. As I said in my first column: we are Durham’s University.

I wish you a joyful Christmas and every happiness for the year ahead.