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Rachael Richards, Claire O'Malley, Paul Howell MP

Rachael Richards, Director of Public Affairs and Claire O’Malley, PVC Global, hosted a visit by local MP Paul Howell, to highlight the many ways the University contributes to the regional community beyond teaching and research. The visit focused on the role the University plays in community engagement, highlighting various outreach projects currently being undertaken to support schools, businesses and support groups .

As the local MP for Sedgefield constituency and as an alumnus of the Business School, Paul was keen to learn more about what we can offer to his constituents and identify new ways of working together that can benefit the region as a whole.

Wonders of the Orient

The visit began with a guided tour of the Oriental Museum, by Head of Museums, Galleries and Exhibitions, Dr Craig Barclay. The Museum houses nationally important collections and over 36,000 artefacts from Africa and Asia, dating from pre-history to the modern day.

As well as hosting a regular programme of activities, the Museum works closely with local schools to deliver an extensive outreach programme, welcoming school visits, running the under 5’s Group ‘Baby Dragons’ and ‘Creative Age’, a project especially for elderly visitors suffering from dementia.

Senior Culture Manager Ged Matthews also had the opportunity to talk Paul through the Street Museum project, in conjunction with the Blackhall Community Association, which emerged during lockdown. He spoke about how his team is working on plans for the next phase in the coming months.

Looking to the future

The visit also included a trip to the Business School to learn more about the planned move to a new location at The Sands building in Durham City Centre and how that will support further engagement across the region.

Prof Kieran Fernandes, Associate Dean for Internationalisation, highlighted how the Business School supports ‘Levelling Up’ and was closely involved in the report commissioned by the company Atkins - entitled ‘Regional Rebalancing’. Prof Fernandes also explained how the Business School has hosted events with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) entitled ‘Competition, recovery and the challenges ahead’, as part of the on-going commitment to supporting businesses in the North East.

The Business School is currently ranked 7th in the world in the Financial Times Online MBA rankings, attracting student from across the globe to Durham and showcasing the region.

Working together

Speaking of the importance of this visit, Rachel Richards, Director of Public Affairs, explained; “We were delighted to welcome Paul to the University to show him first-hand some of the many projects we are involved in and ways in which they benefit many different groups across our region. Paul is a great advocate for Durham and enabling him to speak to colleagues and learn more about some of the work of the University will hopefully support his understanding of the University’s role regionally, nationally and internationally. We look forward to welcoming him back in the future.”

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