The University of Lincoln has hailed its latest open day as the “most successful” one to date.

Dame Carol Ann Duffy took part in the event. Photo: screenshot from the Q&A.

The event was held virtually on 14 November and included a live talk with former Poet Laureate Dame Carol Ann Duffy.

Emma Jubbs, assistant director in recruitment at the University of Lincoln, was one of the hosts.

“We had much more engagement, with the viewers asking many more questions,” she said. Speaking about Ms Duffy, she added: “Dame Carol is such an incredible character to meet. She’s very intelligent, opinionated and a bit cheeky as well. She’s very talented and holds education very close to her heart.”

Speaking after the open day event, The Linc asked Ms Duffy about her favourite parts of Lincoln.

 “The cathedral I love – it’s up there in my top six of English cathedrals,” she said. “I also like Browns Pie Shop up Steep Hill. It’s the kind of place you can go on your own, read a book and stuff your face. It’s also very friendly and cosy.

“I grew up in a small market town called Stafford. Lincoln has that same feel to it where people know each other.”

On advice for students, Ms Duffy explained the importance of saying yes.

“‘Yes’ is like opening a door up – something will happen on the other side of ‘yes’. Finding out who you are and developing interests is very important.”

Reneeé Ward, the module leader of English and Journalism, said she decided to add Carol Ann Duffy’s poetry to the reading criteria, in hopes it would inspire and give a useful insight to the students of the industry.

“As a University of Lincoln visiting professor, Carol Ann Duffy frequently speaks to students and alumni, and she often gives lectures to the broader university and Lincoln community, particularly through our ‘Great Lives’ lecture series,” Ms Ward said.

“Her contributions demonstrate to students the ways in which the arts, the study of literature in particular, enriches our lives. As the first woman to hold the post of Poet Laureate in its nearly 350-year history, she provides inspiration and insight to the industry for our students.”

Millie Webster, an MA Creative Writing student who also studied at the University of Lincoln for her undergraduate degree, told The Linc why Dame Carol’s involvement is so helpful for students. 

“Having the opportunity to interact with Dame Carol Ann Duffy is extremely encouraging to me,” she said. “I first read a Carol Ann poem in GCSE and went on to study her collection ‘Mean Time’ at A-Level. To now be able to have opportunities to interact with her and learn from her is wonderful. Her views on the craft, her individual poetics and her life-story are all something to be inspired by as a creative.” 

Miss Jubbs from the University said one of the main highlights of the day was the virtual tour of a flat in Cygnet Wharf. It boosted interactions with prospective students and is something they will progress with for future virtual open days.

The next open day event will take place on 16 December. However, Miss Jubbs added that pre-registrations are already being taken, with the aim to get potential students back onto the campus as soon as it’s safe to do so.

“Whilst we’ve turned it around, I don’t think anyone can beat physically being on campus and seeing the city,” she said.

By Chantal Kapani, Eleanor Maslin & Adam Laver

News Editor at The Linc.