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Our University community is asked to respect the archeologically significant grounds, graves and landscape of St Peter's Church. Staff and students are also reminded that parking in the Church's grounds is reserved for its congregation or visitors. 

If you do walk through the church’s grounds please use the designated stone footpaths and keep off the grass. Using the marked paths will mean you avoid walking on ancient gravestones and will protect the eighth century stonework near the church tower from further damage.

The Anglo-Saxon church of St Peter's was built in 674AD by local nobleman Benedict Biscop. It is one of the UK's earliest stone churches and parts of the original church are still standing, including the West Wall, porch and stone carvings. St Peter's was also once home to Venerable Bede, one of our greatest ever scholars. 

Since 2015 visitors have been able to better appreciate the size of the original monastery thanks to landscaping works that replicate its original footprint. This ‘footprint’ features stone and soft landscaping to highlight the internal spaces and exterior walls of the monastery, without disturbing the buried archaeological remains.  

Please work with us to protect this important heritage site on our doorstep.

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Pharmacy students - you have just over a week to apply for the Hope Winch Scholarship - £1,000, non-repayable, non-means tested.

Nick Lee, who is in the second year of his MPharm Pharmacy degree, was awarded a Hope Winch Scholarship, one of the many scholarship available from DOSH (Development Office Scholarship).

Nick writes about how his scholarship impacted on his studies below.

The Hope Winch Scholarship is now open to Pharmacy students - apply by Friday 25 January

If you would like to find out more about the scholarships available to current student from our Development Office go to:

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"I’ve worked in different careers, from Navigation Officer in the Merchant Navy to a night shift manager in ASDA, but I wasn’t happy. I decided to apply to university to study something I was passionate about – Pharmacy."

“My dad agreed to support me financially, as I knew it would take my full attention and commitment, but a few months after starting my course my dad suffered a major heart attack and was unfit to work.

“I had to take up full-time work again. A typical week for me would be Monday to Friday I would attend lectures and laboratories, and as soon as I finished I would travel to Team Valley and work until 2am, 6 or 7 days a week.

"Applying to the Hope Winch Scholarship made a huge difference to me. I am able to spend a lot more time concentrating on my Uni work. 

“I am passionate about University, and the fund has helped me be the best possible pharmacist I can be.”

Every year the University’s Development Office awards tens of thousands of pounds in scholarships. Development Officer Scholarships (DOSH) are exclusive to current students, both undergraduate and postgraduate studying at the University of Sunderland. Scholarships are free money that is non-means tested that you never have to pay back. If you’d like to find out more now go to:


The University's School of Education will provide continuous professional development (CPD) in computer science, to teachers in local schools. The announcement comes after the team saw off competition for the £240,000 contract with National College of Computer Education.  

The successful bid was led by Senior Lecturer Lynne Dagg, PGCE Computer Science Programme Leader in the School of Education. The project aims to help address the shortage of computing teachers by providing high-quality CPD training in schools.

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The School of Education Team will work in partnership with colleagues from Northumberland County Council, North Tyneside Council and Knetic Sunderland to develop and deliver high quality Computing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to schools across the region. 

The project will enable teachers in the Primary phase to access subject development in complex areas of the curriculum, including programming and algorithms and enable schools to enhance their KS1 provision in this area.

In the Secondary phase, the project will focus on developing teacher competence and confidence in GCSE Computing planning and delivery, with CPD being available to both experienced and non-specialist teachers.

Head of School of Education, Susan Edgar, commented “This is an exciting project which will put the University at the forefront of developing excellent teachers of computing across the region, which - in turn - will educate the next generation of computer scientists.”

Calendar is talk of the Toon

A University of Sunderland art and design student has created a one-of-a-kind drag queen calendar that has become the talk of the North East.

Haydn Brown has teamed up Newcastle’s most glamorous community in a bid to support transgender children and young people across the UK.

Haydn, who is studying a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, along with Louise Harvey, pulled together the Newcastle Drag Queen Calendar on the 'spur of a moment'.

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From drag queens posing on a carousel to more candid snaps taken behind the scenes at performances, the calendar aims to celebrate the very best that their hometown's drag scene has to offer.

Haydn, 19, from Gateshead, said: “We really wanted to produce something that represented the Newcastle scene.

“It was important to us because as members of the Newcastle scene we spend a lot of time with so many diverse people from different backgrounds and places and it doesn't matter who you are, or what you identify as, people will still spend the time to talk to you or go out of their way to help.

“I think we're really lucky to have such a tight knit community that a lot of places don't have. So we wanted to use the profits made from this calendar to help young people who don't feel like they have a place to get the support they need to find one.”

All proceeds from the calendar will be donated to charity Mermaids UK who work to support gender variant and transgender children, young people and their families.

The pair said they chose the charity because Mermaids supports a cause close to the hearts of so many people on the scene.

Haydn added: “We wanted to make sure any money raised went to a charity that everyone thought was important, especially with everything going at the moment regarding trans’ equality and trans’ rights.”

After coming up with the idea in September last year, the duo were left with less than three months to shoot and create the entire calendar in time for the start of the New Year.

“We didn't really have a lot of time to shoot,” Haydn added. 

“We decided to do it at the end of September so we really had to work non-stop and do as many photo-shoots as we could to get to done by December. At one point we weren't sure if we'd even get it done.”

However the calendar was complete on time and is now on sale across the UK.

Haydn, who used to go to Thorp Academy in Ryton, Gateshead, is hoping to continue his career in photography once he leaves University.

The pair have had buyers from America purchasing the calendar online, with the help of one of the world’s most famous drag performers Yehuda Yamasaki, a contestant on American reality TV show Ru Paul's Drag Race, who posted about the product on her Instagram.

“It’s great to see people supporting a great cause as well as supporting Newcastle's local drag,” said Haydn.

To find out more or purchase a calendar visit LAH photography.

They were the go-to nightclubs for a generation of young people from across the North East - and beyond.

But Sunderland’s Blue Monkey and New Monkey venues were as controversial as they were popular.

Now, years on from their closure, two University of Sunderland students are making a documentary on the impact of the clubs, their music, and their reputation on cultural life in the city.

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Rob Kilburn and Lewis Dodds, third year Digital Film Production students, are interviewing key figures involved with the clubs, from door staff to DJs, as well as trying to trace those who regularly danced the night away at the venues.

While Rob, now 25, was much younger at the peak of the clubs’ popularity, he still remembers the impact and reputation they had on young people growing up in Sunderland.

Rob, from Seaburn, said: “They were the most talked about places; they reached beyond being just nightclubs. The music they were playing was quite wide-reaching.”

The venues highlighted music genres including Makina, a form of hardcore techno which originated in Spain with a keen following in the North East, and Monta, the events held to dance and listen to it.

Rob added: “Even though the New Monkey has been closed for more than a decade, the impact [of the clubs] is still there and I thought it would make an interesting subject as a documentary for part of my dissertation.”

Sunderland’s Blue Monkey was located in an old bingo hall on Bedford Street in the city centre, the site has now been demolished to make way for the new Empire cinema. But during the 90s, it was a haven for ravers before it burned to the ground.

In 1999, efforts began to turn the former Plaza Bingo Hall in Pallion into a new nightclub, this time called the New Monkey. However, residents living near the venue objected to the plans, claiming their lives would be disrupted by late night comings and goings, loud music and antisocial behaviour.

But bosses behind the club resubmitted plans, this time saying they aimed to open a private members’ only dance club, serving only soft drinks - thereby removing liquor licence control by the local authority.

So began the era of the New Monkey which finally ended in March 2006 when more than 100 police officers raided the venue, seizing drugs and making 14 arrests. Search warrants were also simultaneously executed at the homes of senior management and staff from the trouble-hit venue.

Rob and Lewis hope their 25-minute documentary will encapsulate the impact of the clubs during the height of the UK’s rave scene.

This is not the first short-film Rob has made. In 2012 he made a documentary about the often-forgotten Seaburn Zoo.

He said: “I was blown away by the fact that a zoo which had tigers had just been around the corner from where I now live.”

As well as a short film about Parkour, Rob and Lewis are currently finishing off a film about the history of graffiti in the North East – called Broken Window – which they hope to have completed by the beginning of next month, just in time for the Sunderland Short Film Festival.

Rob believes that thanks to streaming services like Netflix, documentaries are now becoming much more mainstream and hopes to continue perfecting his craft ahead of graduating from the University this summer.

The 25-year-old also started popular Facebook page Tyne and Weird which looks back at North East folklore, urban legends and street history.

Speaking about his time at the University of Sunderland, Rob said: “It’s been a great three years and I have learnt a lot.

“After graduating, I’m looking forward to building on documentary making as well as my work on Tyne and Weird.”

Anyone who would like to get in touch with Rob and can help provide archive footage or stories of the Blue and New Monkey clubs can send a message via the page or email

Rob Kilburn and Lewis Dodds

Are you Club of the Month?

Here’s your opportunity to see your club recognised across the University - but hurry, the deadline closes soon.

Following on from the success of last month’s club of the month presentations by the Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell, to our winners for October and November, Pole Fitness and Cheerleading respectively, entries are open for the December award.

Team Sunderland is committed to recognising the achievements of our teams this year and club of the month is a great way to showcase your team’s successes.

Team Sunderland President Natalie Gray said: “We are looking for teams to demonstrate their commitment, improvement and dedication across the month. The winning club gets a certificate and personalised engraved trophy while also having their achievements displayed across the university.”

She added: “Our Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell KCB will again be selecting the Club of the Month and will be presenting the award for December.”

Entries close on Monday 14 January at 2pm, for more information contact Natalie at

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