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

Our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Karen O'Brien, explores how we're supporting students to make informed accommodation choices - plus news of upcoming events.

We’re now three weeks into our autumn term, teaching is well under way and new students are settling into college life. We know it’s around this time of year that students start to think about their accommodation for next year – who they’ll live with and where.  

That’s why we’ve launched an information campaign for our students, reassuring them that, based on a detailed assessment we’ve undertaken of the housing market in Durham, there will be enough student accommodation to meet the anticipated demand for the 2024/25 academic year.

We’ve launched a website with information and resources to support students through the house hunting process, and there’ll also be information available from our colleges and around campus.

At the same time, we’re working with partners in the city. A multi-agency Housing Group has developed a Student Lettings Code of Practice for landlords and letting agents. This enables responsible landlords and letting agents to demonstrate their commitment to putting student welfare at the heart of their practices.

There’s more to do, but we’re making progress and we’re committed to ensuring a student housing market that works for everyone in Durham.

Events to enjoy

Elsewhere, there are some great events coming up in Durham. Our science festival Celebrate Science returns to Palace Green from October 31 to November 2 and soon after that we’ll be into Lumiere, which runs from November 16-19. We’re pleased to be sponsoring the event, as well as hosting installations – and some of our research has inspired some of the art. Another great activity for the October half-term is a visit to the Botanic Garden, which won the Gold award for Best Tourist or Visitor Attraction in the recent Northumbria in Bloom competition.

All this is part of our wide-ranging work to support our city, county and region – an inspiring place to live, work and study. It’s why we’re happy to help out St Leonard’s Catholic School during their current RAAC difficulties by providing teaching and staff facilities free of charge; it’s why we supported the excellent Durham Book Festival earlier this month; and it’s why we’re working with Durham County Council to develop a Durham Innovation District at Aykley Heads.

Find out more

- Read more about our work in your area in our monthly Community Newsletter. Sign up by emailing:
- Visit our Housing Hub
- Enjoy our Celebrate Science festival
- Discover Lumiere