Monthly Archives: September 2014

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s the Kent Wheel!

The University of Kent welcomed the largest attraction from its 50th anniversary celebrations to the Canterbury campus on Wednesday 24 September.

Standing at 33m tall and holding 24 ‘pods’, the Kent Wheel is located on the lawn between Eliot and Rutherford, and offers spectacular panoramic views of the University and the beautiful city of Canterbury. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Keith Mander officially opened the Kent Wheel at a special ceremony in which he spoke of the many changes in the political and cultural landscape over the past 50 years.

The anniversary year will be officially launched on 1 and 2 October at the Canterbury and Medway campuses, and the celebrations will then be taken to Kent’s postgraduate centres in Brussels, Paris, Athens and Rome, with many of the University’s alumni groups also hosting their own 50th events throughout the year, including groups in the USA, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

The year-long festivities will celebrate the University’s rich heritage and recognise those who have made the University what it is today, whilst also celebrating the present achievements of its staff and students, and looking to create a lasting legacy to inspire future generations of students.

Professor Keith Mander said: “The University’s anniversary activities over the next year will give everyone the opportunity to be involved in and reflect on Kent’s many successes and achievements over the past fifty years, as well as contribute to the course and direction of the next fifty.”

The Kent Wheel will be on campus until 19 October 2014, and will then return to the University from 1 July 2015 until 15 October 2015, therefore giving all alumni and guests at the Alumni Reunion Weekend in September 2015 the chance to take a ride and see the campus as you’ve never seen it before. Don’t miss out! It will take your breath away…

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A giant ferris wheel came to our Canterbury campus as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations.

It was an exciting opportunity to soar above the University and the city of Canterbury. We were delighted that so many of our staff, students and members of the local community came to enjoy this unique attraction.

Please share your photos with us so that we can add them to our image gallery.

Don’t worry if you missed out this time, the giant ferris wheel will return to Canterbury in summer 2015.

All profits from ticket sales go into the Kent Opportunity Fund. Every year the fund supports students by providing scholarships to enhance their academic studies, offering bursaries to assist individuals who are suffering financial hardship, and funding projects that help students to develop their personal and professional skills. Find out more at: www.kent.ac.uk/opportunityfund.

Click here to see photos and a timelapse video of its construction.

Poetry meets archaeology

A walk from London to Canterbury

The poet Dan Simpson, an alumnus of the University, is walking from London to Canterbury along the route of the Roman road as part of the project run by Professor Ray Laurence and Dr Ellen Swift from the Department of Classical & Archaeological Studies.

Dan is going to produce a poetic artefact that responds to the experience of walking the road, the research of Kent’s archaeologists and historians, and visiting local museums. This is being done to create greater public awareness of local museums that house a wealth of information about the Roman past.

Starting on 29 September, Dan will walk from Shooters Hill to Dartford and visit the Dartford Museum, where Lloyd Bosworth, Archaeology Technician in the Department of Classical & Archaeological Studies, will be laser-scanning objects in collaboration with Dr Mike Still, the curator of the museum.

The next day, 30 September, Dan will visit Rochester Guildhall Museum. On day three, 1 October, he will visit Sittingbourne. On day four, 2 October, Dan will walk to Faversham to the Maison Dieu museum, where Lloyd Bosworth will again be laser-scanning objects and photographing objects found in the Ospringe Roman cemeteries.

Finally, 3 October, sees him walk to Canterbury via Bigbury Hillfort, a site at the heart  of Kent doctoral student Andy Bates’s research.  In the evening, Dan will present his poem in the Canterbury Roman Museum to staff of the museum service, Roman experts from the University of Kent, and others (this event is not open to the public, but can be followed on twitter #romanresidency).

The University of Kent has world-leading experts in the field of artefact studies.  Notably Dr Ellen Swift, whose most recent work sets out to understand the nature of Roman design of everyday objects from dice to spoons.

Dan commented: ‘Having been taught by staff in the School of European Culture and Languages during my time at Kent as an undergraduate, I am incredibly excited to be working with the School by being in-residence at the Canterbury Roman Museum. This project gives me a chance to get involved with the fascinating research the School undertakes, and use it creatively as I walk from London to Canterbury – making new and historical discoveries along the way.’

You can interact with Dan as he walks on twitter @dansimpsonpoet with the hashtag #romanresidency or follow his progress on the web http://canterburyromanresident.wordpress.com/

Personal experience inspires Alice Furse (Eliot, 2004) to write first novel

Alice Furse, a Kent graduate who was awarded a BA (Hons) in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2007 and an MA in English in 2010 from the University, has written her first novel, due to be published in October by Burning Eye Books.

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, which Alice initially self-published on Amazon, is written from the perspective of a 24 year old woman, who has graduated from university and faces the first challenging years of ‘real’ life. She begins to realise that during job interviews, she is being sized up not for her ability to do the job, but by the likelihood of her getting pregnant soon. She starts working in an office, and notices that a male colleague who graduated at the same time is an Account Manager while she is relegated to making tea and answering the phone, even though she has a better degree than he does. Not only that, but the man she is living with, who seemed so exciting when they first met as students, now appears to have no ambitions for her other than having children and becoming a stay-at-home mum. It slowly dawns on her that the world is not, in fact, laying at her feet, as she was once led to believe.

Alice explains that the book was very much based on her own experiences after she graduated from Kent: “There’s very little you can do about constantly being looked over for jobs, or being asked to do trifling tasks when you do get one. This goes some way to explaining why I wrote the book really, as the whole feminism movement seemed pretty quiet at the time but I strongly felt that sexism was still there, but just happening on a subtler level, which is hard to combat. I felt very alone, and wrote the novel because I was sure I wasn’t the only one to feel that way and I couldn’t find anything like it – I wanted to write something that might make others feel less alone.”

Everybody Knows This is Nowhere was recently listed as a close contender for the Reader’s Choice Guardian First Book Award, and writer Dan Holloway, who describes the book as “a beautifully written exploration of a much underexplored time in life” also interviewed Alice about her motivations for writing the novel, and what her future aspirations are.

Everybody Knows This is Nowhere will be released by Burning Eye Books on 10 October 2014, and is available for pre-order now.

Alumna success at the Gulbenkian Theatre

Alumna Becky Callaghan (Darwin, 2009), has written and directed a play which recently received rave reviews when it was performed at the Gulbenkian theatre at the beginning of September.

The Stage Hands, which was produced by RJC Productions, a production company set up by Becky and her sister, is a comedy about theatre staff who, having grown tired of dealing with difficult and demanding actors, decide to take back control, and make one too many ‘mistakes’ once the curtain goes up on the show’s opening night.

The play is based on Becky’s own personal experience as a Stage Manager: “Most production companies I met were really good to work with, but occasionally we would get very demanding and arrogant people! I often wondered whether they realised that we could make them look like fools onstage if we wanted to, and so I just couldn’t understand why they would be so unpleasant. I thought how funny that scenario could be, and the idea came from there!”

Becky, who graduated from Kent with a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics in 2013 and is currently studying for a PhD in Operational Research at the University, has been writing stage plays and musicals since she was fifteen. Her best piece of advice for anyone who dreams of writing is to set a time dedicated to writing: “There are so many people who love writing or have so many good ideas, but they never actually get round to doing it. Life tends to get in the way, so you need to schedule in a time and have the discipline to sit down and write.”

Becky’s ultimate goal is for the play to become a long running professional performance, and hopes to be able to turn her passion for theatre into a career: “It would be amazing to be able to continue writing stage plays and musicals full-time!”

RJC productions will be taking the show to London’s Waterloo East Theatre in December 2014, and hopes to show it at several other theatres across the capital.

To see an interview with Becky Callaghan, or to find out more information about RJC Productions, please visit www.thestagehands.co.uk

Head of Campaigns to take on winter abseil challenge

On Saturday 1 November 2014, the University of Kent’s Head of Campaigns, Hilary Edridge, will be taking part in the Winter Abseil Challenge organised by the KM Charity Team to raise money for the Kent Law Campaign.

The challenge will see Hilary (Hils) abseiling down the new Premier Inn, a five-storey building, in Canterbury on a winter’s morning and we ask that you support her in this exciting event.  She has set herself a fundraising target of £2,000 and would be most grateful if you would sponsor her to help her reach her goal.

About the challenge, Hilary said, “As Head of the Campaign I have set my target high, but with the help of my friends, family, colleagues and other supporters we could make a measurable difference and help close the gap on the remainder of the money needed for our new law clinic building.  This year we have worked hard to achieve our campaign goal and getting to this point has taken a lot of hard work by a lot of people. It’s now my turn to personally step up and abseil gracefully down a multi-storey building in Canterbury.”

Whilst this is not a challenge for those without a head for heights, Hilary is looking for people to join her team and urges you to sign up to join her!  If you would like to take part it is just £12 to register via the KM Charity website.