Durham Cathedral Institute

Launched in 2022, the Institute hosts public discussion and debate on the principal political, economic, social, ethical and spiritual issues of our times, with and for the people of the North East.

What is the Durham Cathedral Institute?

The Institute hosts events on the floor of the cathedral, where national and international experts discuss and debate the most pressing issues of our times, answering questions from members of the public. Ranging from politics and ethics to social and spiritual issues, topics for each debate are chosen with particular significance for the people and communities of the North East.

Institute events are open to everyone and include a substantial section of Q&A.

Building upon centuries of learning

Durham has always been a place of intellectual enquiry - up to and beyond the decisive role of Bishop William van Mildert in founding Durham University in 1832. The Institute builds upon centuries of learning, deep and generous listening, and collective discernment.

We are keen to hear from residents, school groups, business leaders, students, and anyone with a stake in the future flourishing of justice and the common good in the North East region.

Upcoming events in 2023

Past Institute events

Leadership and Standards in Public Life: A Crisis of Confidence?

15 March 2023

Kathryn Stone, independent Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards of the British House of Commons, led a topical discussion alongside the Bishop of Durham, concerning ethics in public life.

With recent events at the time having thrust the question of "standards" in public life into the spotlight, this debate examined what the general public has the right to expect from our elected leaders and political representatives.


Kathryn Stone is one of the country’s leading independent commissioners for standards in public life. She was the independent Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards in the House of Commons from January 2018 to December 2022. During her term of office, Kathryn oversaw high-profile investigations into MPs’ conduct, including the Owen Paterson case in 2021. After five years as the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn is now the Chair of the Bar Standards Board.

Kathryn has also served as Commissioner for Victims and Survivors for Northern Ireland and a commissioner for the Independent Police Complaints Commission, overseeing investigations for seven police forces in the Midlands and North. For eleven years, she was chief executive of the national charity Voice UK, being awarded an OBE in 2007 for services to people with learning disabilities.