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Social Programme

The social programme offers a Reception on Tuesday evening and an Excursion and Conference Banquet on Thursday evening.

Tuesday 13th May - Welcome Reception

The conference welcome reception will be held at the Laing Art Gallery (

The Gallery's exceptional collection focuses on British oil paintings, watercolours, ceramics, silver and glassware. The collection has Designated Status in recognition of its national and international significance.

Highlights include outstanding pictures by William Holman Hunt, Edward Burne-Jones, Paul Gauguin, and Victor Pasmore, together with an important group of paintings by 19th-century artist John Martin, who was born and brought up in the North East. Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Daniel Maclise also feature among the 19th-century paintings, together with significant pictures by local artists TM Richardson, Ralph Hedley and CN Hemy. 20th century artists include Laura Knight, Ben Nicholson, David Bomberg, and Gillian Ayres, and there is a growing contemporary collection.

The Laing's watercolours are also of national importance, and include pictures by Thomas Girtin, JMW Turner, Edward Lear, JF Lewis and Elizabeth Blackadder. There is also a small collection of sculpture, which includes pieces by Albert Toft, Henry Moore and Anthony Caro. From the extensive decorative art collection, Beilby enamelled glass is of particular significance, and there are fine pieces of Newcastle silver spanning 400 years. The local glass collection features Sowerby studio glass together with Davidson and Sowerby pressed glass. Maling ceramics from the 19th and 20th century form an important part of the collections of North East pottery. There is also a fine collection of Japanese decorative arts and prints.

Thursday 15th May - Excursion and Banquet Dinner

A Conference Dinner is planned for the evening at Lumley Castle, Durham (

Standing proud for more than 600 years, the magnificent spectacle of Lumley Castle dominates the County Durham landscape. Surrounded by beautiful parklands overlooking the River Wear and Durham County Cricket Ground, Lumley Castle is a magnificent monument to a bygone age of chivalry and honour.

Lumley Castle takes its name from the man who was behind its creation, Sir Ralph Lumley. Ralph Lumley was a well-known figure at the time, a popular soldier, renowned for his bravery in battles. He played a key role in the defence of Berwick-on-Tweed in 1388 and in the same year led the attack at the Battle of Otterburn. Despite his bravery he was captured by the Scots, imprisoned and finally released the following year in 1389. Upon his return he petitioned the Bishop of Durham to allow him to convert the Manor House built by his ancestors into a castle - the remains of which can still be seen at the castle to this day.

Additional Tickets for the Conference Dinner

Extra tickets for the Excursion and Conference Dinner on Thursday 15th can be purchased when registering for the conference. These tickets may also be available on-site, at the registration desk.