Eloise Fritsch
Culture Commissioner

Culture is never simple. It’s a deeply complicated, multi-faceted and hugely important concept: I agree with Seun when she said that ‘Durhamness’ can look like lots of things. So, when she asked me to be a commissioner, I was excited because is a chance (and challenge) to look at something huge. Moreover, it’s an opportunity to think about something deeply meaningful. As a politics and sociology student I happily admit that I am obsessed with thinking about questions of culture, whereas my friends are often reluctant to discuss anything controversial or difficult. But I’ve noticed that when topics around ‘Durhamness’ come up, people who would never normally mention ideas about class, race, gender, fairness or equality start to share their opinions too. And from many conversations over the summer and this term with friends, it’s clear to me that aspects of the dominant culture here do not make students happy. Often, it does not even make students feel ‘okay’, but rather is a significant cause of anger, hurt, and anxiety. These conversations were not only in light of some of the events Durham was recently exposed for, but also more general feelings of outsider-ness, unease, stress and exhaustion that students experience each year. Culture is therefore something that I think that many Durham students are concerned about and I am hopeful that this commission will allow us to define, in our own terms, what it looks like in this university and how it should change.