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Widening Participation

For many of our school groups, a visit to one of our libraries or museums will be their first experience of a university and we very much aim for that to be a warm welcome, filled with inspirational learning.

As a team, we strive to contribute to opportunites being equally available for everyone and want to support a diverse community of learners to achieve their greatest potential whatever they aspire towards.

We are keen to work with underrepresented learners, starting at Primary School age, to support them to access, flourish and succeed in higher education.

Through working with you over a more sustained period, we can play a meaningful part in: 

  • increasing awareness of Higher Education in low participation areas and the concept of making an informed choice 
  • helping to equip young people with the skills and vocabulary of Higher Education
  • Working with young people and their families to feel comfortable and have a sense of belonging in a university setting 

All of this will be done in a fun and engaging way, using the University’s collections as a springboard into the world of Higher Education.


Previous projects

The following projects and visits should give a flavour of what we can offer as part of a Widening Participation visit to Durham University. However, please do let us know if there is something specific you would like to include. 

English Martyr’s Catholic Primary, Newcastle (September 2022)

We welcomed 60 Year 6 children to Durham University, giving them a taste of university life, including a mini-lecture, tours around the Bill Bryson Library and St Aidan’s College, and a seminar using museum artefacts.

Benton Park School, Leeds (July 2022)

Sixty Year 9s from Benton Park School in Leeds spent a day on campus, experiencing a lecture and a seminar based on archival material held at Palace Green Library, as well as being taken around University College and the Bill Bryson Library.

New College, Durham (June 2022) 

Sixty Year 12s from New College Durham visited us on campus over two days. As their local university, we spoke to them about making informed choices as they consider applying to university in autumn 2022 and aimed to give them a taste of what life at university is like.

Activities included:

  • Introductory mini-lecture 
  • Visit to Bill Bryson Library 
  • Campus Tour 
  • Lunch and a tour around University College in Durham Castle 
  • A workshop using objects from our collections 

SS Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School (2018-19) 

Through the academic year 2018-2019, we worked closely with staff at SS Peter and Paul RC Primary School to develop a programme to support their own work in Widening Participation. 

We went into the school in the Spring Term and worked with every year group, which included an assembly about university and more specifically Durham University. In the Summer Term, we welcomed the KS2 classes onto the campus over two separate days. 

Over those two days, we held activities that included: 

  • Visiting the Bill Bryson Library 
  • Mini lecture in one of the lecture theatres 
  • Workshop with the Archaeology department 
  • Looking around University College in Durham Castle
  • Seeing a student bedroom and dining hall 
  • Having their own graduation 

Book with us

The Learning and Engagement team offer hybrid, interactive taught programmes and events for schools, community groups, families and lifelong learners through Collections Outreach.

Learn more

Booking form

Fill out our form to book a session with us. If you wish to discuss any details of your session with us, please feel free to get in touch via email or telephone.
School children exploring in a museum and pointing at the exhibitions