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Research and Scholarly Activity

Research and scholarship: Academic research is central to academic life at Durham University and it is already embedded in the life of South College. Our Principal is a noted newspaper historian and an academic member of Durham's Centre for Modern Conflicts and Cultures. Professor Luckhurst gave the Centre's first public lecture of 2020: 'George Orwell versus Vera Brittain: Obliteration Bombing and Dissent in Weekly Political Publications'. In the academic year 2020/21 Professor Luckhurst will host a weekly editorial conference for students and staff at South College. On these occasions he will discuss and analyse the coverage of a major news story by newspapers and broadcasters.

South College is the planned home of Durham's proposed new Interdisciplinary Memory Studies (DIMeS) Centre. The Centre's ambition is described below:

C.P. Snow’s Two Cultures has perhaps never been truer than for the study of memory. Technical advances in science have pushed neuroscientific and psychological studies of memory towards ever more controlled conditions in which specific changes in stimuli can be mapped onto precise mechanistic models. This has driven the experimental study of memory further and further from the humanities and arts in which the difficult to control and define experiential aspects of memory are often the focus of study. Big data has driven memory of information within large databases to be thought of as distinctly different to smaller and more personalised archives. Artificial intelligence has developed new ways to store, retrieve and act on memories without clear links to expansive work in natural systems of how memories lead to bias and suboptimal decisions in the future. In recent years the field of Memory Studies has attempted to overcome these divisions by bringing different disciplines together, but this has largely been a multidisciplinary approach with each discipline sharing knowledge and its language of memory but not truly combining approaches to develop novel interdisciplinary approaches which are able to provide genuinely new perspectives on memory of value to everyone. The time is now right to focus on training the next generation of memory researchers in an interdisciplinary approach to questions of memory.