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We have been putting sustainability at the forefront of our conversations this year, and recently developed our own Sustainability Policy, with thanks to our Sustainability Intern Anna Barrett from Durham University.

Anna has contributed a guest post to our Directors Blog, to illustrate what has been going on behind the (green) scenes!

Over the past five months whist completing an MSc at Durham University I have had the opportunity to become a sustainability intern at Changing Relations. I’ve loved this opportunity and found it a really rewarding experience.

As sustainability intern, my work centred around trying to better the sustainability of the organisation and ensure environmentally focused thinking became the norm in every aspect of Changing Relations’ work. In order to do this, I began carrying out research into sustainability in general, looking at large organisations that are leading the way in terms of sustainability, and then seeing how these steps translate into the work of smaller organisations that are more of a similar size to Changing Relations. I spent time with Artistic Director Polly, going through the sustainable steps she already takes, and we talked a lot about how to make sure that these became standard practice throughout the team rather than just steps that she does. This also involved assessing the work environment in the office, and reviewing the resources and materials regularly used to see whether we could swap out options for more sustainable alternatives.

It was also really important to Polly and Lisa that we made sure sustainability became a central value of the organisation rather than just something added on, so I spent time working on ways to embed sustainability throughout the whole organisation. This involved work such as drafting sections for artists contracts focusing on sustainability, and drafting text that could be included in art packs which discussed the sustainable nature of the products and encouraged the recipient to recycle, reuse and repurpose the contents where possible. By the end of my project, I had created a Sustainability Policy and other work to support this including a Sustainable Induction for new starters and current team members to demonstrate the importance of sustainability to the organisation. Through this work not only were my research skills considerably strengthened, but I also gained further appreciation for the importance of sustainable thinking and the steps that we can all take to do our part.

One of the personal objectives I hoped to accomplish whilst undertaking my internship was to improve my confidence in communication skills, particularly presenting. I was given the chance to present my work at a Board Meeting at the end of my internship and despite initial nerves I accepted the invitation and received positive feedback which definitely boosted my confidence.

Overall I just want to say thank you to the team at Changing Relations and to the Careers and Enterprise team at the University for setting up such a positive and valuable experience for me. To be able to develop my employability at such a thriving and socially aware organisation only bettered the experience, and I felt welcomed, supported and empowered by the team at Changing Relations.

Thank you, Anna! Your work was fantastic and we enjoyed having you as a part of our team.

If you're interested to know HOW sustainability has been weaved through our organisation, take a look at our highlights video.

Durham Women Rising LAUNCH

Having renamed ourselves and arranged for our own logo to be designed, Durham Women Rising will officially launch on Tuesday 10th December, from 4-5pm in the Boardroom of Durham University’s Ustinov College.

* Our launch will be hosted by Professor Nicole Westmarland, who co-founded and co-directs the Durham University Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse.

* It will be an opportunity to get a flavour of the programme we have lined up for February and March to challenge the all-too-prevalent culture of violence against women, whilst celebrating women in as many different ways as we can.

* On the day that our Police and Crime Commissioner, Ron Hogg, launches a North East region-wide Strategy to tackle Violence Against Women and Girls together with Vera Baird QC and Barry Coppinger, you will have the opportunity to ask Ron what the strategy means for us in Durham, including how he intends to work with all of us to ensure the strategy is implemented effectively.

* You’ll get a flavour of the creativity we hope to bring to our festival programme with some performance poetry hot off the press from Durham University’s Feminist Society poetry slam!

* We’ll also hear about the very important It Happens Here campaign.

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Lisa Davis of Changing Relations on BBC Radio Tees

Lisa Davis of Changing Relations on BBC Radio Tees

– Awesome morning of discussions of feminism activism in our region from BBC Radio Tees earlier in the week, including a slot from Changing Relations’ own Lisa Davis.

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One Billion Rising, Durham 2013

It’s been an inspiring day in the Market Square today in Durham. After weeks of hard work, the Durham One Billion Rising event came off brilliantly. Durham City Mayor opened the event and was followed by thought provoking speeches, rousing music, challenging and emotional poetry readings and upliftingly enthusiastic dancing from our invited dance group.

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