Durham is one of the leaders on the UK debating circuit- every week the Union sends out debaters to compete in competitions all around the UK. Further to domestic success, Durham also annually sends out debaters to the European debating competition and the World debating competition. If you decide to join the Union, you can have the opportunity to be part of the debating success that makes Durham one of the best Unions in the country.
Durham is renowned for the strength of its internal competitions as well. Each year in Michaelmas the Freshers’ Cup is hotly contested, showcasing the newest talent and the future of the Union . In Epiphany, the Inter-Collegiate Cup displays the best debaters from each college. Each Easter, the Robson Cup is held to determine the best individual speaker in the University.
If you would like the chance to improve your skill and represent the University in a competitive environment you will be given the opportunity to enter competitions in Durham and around the UK .
The Union has an excellent reputation on the circuit and in the past year, has shown itself to also be one of the most successful squads, with strong performances in all major competitions, and winning in Bristol, Royal Holloway, Manchester, Sheffield and Newcastle over the last few years.
Each year Durham hosts three major competitions. Our Inter-Varsity competition is one of the largest in the UK, attracting teams from across Europe (and, last year, even a couple from Malaysia!). We host an international schools competition over the Easter break that draws teams from as far a field as Canada . At the end of the Easter term we host the Durham Open, renowned for the both quality of competition and social events.
At the same time, we are at the forefront of debating changes. The 2015-2016 academic year sees the introduction of two new competitions: the Women's Open in November, and an Australs (Australian rules debating) in March.
The Union has been a major force in European debating for several years. At the 2015 World Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Durham A placed 9th overall, an incredible achievement! In 2014 two teams reached the semi-finals of the European Championships in Zagreb, the hardest competition in the world to break at. The 2015 teams narrowly missed out on the break, with Durham A finishing 17th.
Durham regularly sends teams abroad, particularly over the holidays. Other than the above, recent successes have occurred in the Netherlands, Israel, Greece and Ireland.
Debating isn’t just about arguing over topical issues. Only at debating competitions will you be able meet hundreds of other students from around the world - debating, socialising and staying with them. You have the opportunity to travel the country, travel the world, have fun and debate at the same time. You will only find this at the Union.
You can download our introductory guide to debating and find all the information you need about workshops on this website. For more information come along to the first debate or email us!