Category Archives: creative events

Strange Umbrellas: SMFA’s Dr Blanca Regina, Associate Lecturer in Event and Experience Design, performing in London on Tuesday 20th March


Strange Umbrellas, a platform for free improvised music and visual art, was started in 2012 by Dr Blanca Regina with musician Steve Beresford.

An artist, teacher and curator who is currently involved in creating mixed media performances, installations and film, Dr Regina is a visiting research fellow at University of the Arts London. Her research and practice encompass expanded cinema, free improvisation, moving image, photography and audiovisual performance.  In 2010, she received a doctorate in Humanities from University Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, with the thesis The VJ and audiovisual performance: towards a radical aesthetic of postmodernism.

She is curator at the London-based Music Hackspace, Live Cinema Foundation and Strange Umbrellas. With Matthias Kispert she founded the Material Studies Group, developing a series of workshops and performances around the production of sound with everyday objects.

Dr Blanca Regina, 2018.


You can hear Dr Regina here: as part of Unpredictable: Conversations with Improvisers – a collection of videos that have grown out of deep research into the nature of Free Improvisation, its history in the UK and its international connections. Research and filming began in 2011 and it was directed and produced by artist, curator and educator Blanca Regina in collaboration with Steve Beresford and Pierre Bouvier Patron.  The series was commissioned by Sound and Music for the 50th anniversary of the British Music Collection.

Strange Umbrellas Number 19 will be on 20th March, in collaboration with CAFE OTO at 18-22 Ashwin St, London, Dalston E8 3DL.  Doors at 7.30 pm, performances at 8 pm. Tickets £8 £6 ADVANCE £4 MEMBERS.


More info go to

SMFA graduate starts Creative Event Consultancy

Kerri Layton. Photo by Rooftop – Hive Studio C, 2018.


2011 BA (Hons) Event and Experience Design graduate, Kerri Layton, has started her own Creative Event Consultancy, Kerri Kreates.  Clients and previous partners include Alexandra Palace, A Different World Productions LTD, The BBC, Fuse Festival Medway, Lancaster BID, Kent County Council, The Arts Council, Body and Mind Festivals, Glade Festival, Glastonbury Festival, Eventspiration and The Hospital Club.

Whilst at Kent studying in the School of Music and Fine Art, Kerri won two awards from the Kent Enterprise Hub & Round One, forming a performance group and social enterprise arts company ‘FAF Arts’ touring the UK in the Summer Terms with her company and theatre productions. Always very active performing and organizing events, she then went on to host session’s at Employability Week for the University of Kent, on ‘Making it Happen’ whilst working for her clients around the UK.

Kerri comments: “It was a practical degree that taught me the logistics of event management but fundamentally placed the importance on the creation and theatre of the event, of it’s core narrative. I made explorations into audience’s journeys using experience as a means of ritual and celebration. Communicating core themes and ideas via the medium of 3D, sensory and participatory experiences, later specializing in outdoor theatre. I enjoyed every second of this degree and it continues to inspire & inform me to this day.”

After graduating, the dynamic Kerri performed with the Banner Theatre Company as a guitarist and singer, she then went on to launch her solo music show, Lady Layton, which toured internationally, including Glastonbury, and was a headline act at many UK events and festivals.

She now performs with her live band as a solo artist Miss Kerri Layton has her EP Songs For A Rainy Day out in March and heads up independent record label Dixiebird Records, which runs live music events all across the capital, featuring some of London’s finest musicians.


Also see:

How to contact Kerri:
0207 1297 582 | 07411 301 960
115 Mare Street, London, E8 3RH

SMFA and Archaeology project produces 3D printed replicas of ancient musical instruments

Replica of Ancient Roman and Egyptian artefacts. Photo by George Morris


A 2 year AHRC-funded project to study Roman and Late Antique Artefacts from Egypt – a collaborative effort between the University of Kent, Manchester Metropolitan University, and the UCL Petrie Museum, Bloomsbury, London – has resulted in the production of replica ancient musical instruments using 3D print technology. Using laser scanning data and further research to enable the identical reconstruction, School of Music and Fine Art technicians, Georgia Wright and George Morris made a set of reed panpipes, 3 different ceramic rattles, a pair of wooden clappers and two sets of double-flutes.

Lloyd Bosworth, archaeology technician in SECL, 3-D had scanned the objects at the museum and then created virtual 3-D models from the scans (Lloyd has just won a University research prize for his research support). The virtual 3-D models were sent to Georgia Wright, who printed them out to use as a basis for the replica objects in the original materials, and with George Morris then produced the instruments.

Replica of Egyptian Reed Panpipes. Photo by George Morris


On the Project Team, Dr Ellen Swift, Reader in Archaeology at the University of Kent, commented: “It was very exciting going over to Chatham to pick up the instruments and I was really pleased with how Fine Art Technicians, Georgia and George, were able to achieve a close match with the size and appearance of the original artefacts thanks to new 3-D scanning technology. On my first visit, I picked up the 3D print-out of the panpipes and it was a real eureka moment to find out that they played a musical scale known from written documents to have existed in the Roman period. Making the instruments did pose a challenge as in some cases there were parts missing and some additional research and creativity was needed to fill in the gaps.”

The replica artefacts are a key part of the project and will be used for research and also for an exhibition at the UCL Petrie Museum at the end of the project in 2019. When all the instruments are ready, sound recordings will be made at SMFA to be used at the subsequent exhibition.

This research project – the first in-depth study of Roman and Late Antique Egypt that uses everyday artefacts as its principal source of evidence – aims to transform our understanding of social experience, social relations, and cultural interactions, among the populations of Egypt in this period.


For more info go to

Event and Experience Design student work a huge success at Eastgate House

Elle Mayne, 2017.


The historic Eastgate House in Rochester recently hosted Authenticate, an intervention with live multimedia installations and performances by Year 3 Event and Experience Design students which was so successful that Eastgate House want to keep part of one of the works by student Emma Greenwood – an installation of a jigsaw/drawing of a decorative plaster ceiling, on a viewing mirror.   They also want to work with student Elle Mayne on a future video mapping commission.

Emma Greenwood, 2017.


Lisa Caleno, Visitor Development Officer, at Eastgate House commented: “We were so impressed with the students work at Eastgate House this week, not just in the creativity and understanding of the house shown in the installations but also their courtesy and professionalism.  We were particularly impressed with Emma’s work in the mirror room and Elle’s projection in the Rochester Room.  I would like to consider working with Elle when she has graduated on a potential installation at the house using projection. We would also be very interested in acquiring the jigsaw puzzle which Emma created to have as a feature of the mirror room.”

Peter Hatton, Programmes Director for Event and Experience Design, Event and Experience Management and Fine Art, and Deputy Head of School, added: “Both outcomes are very good for the students in terms of their confidence, portfolio

Fight, Flight or Freeze by EED graduate Elise Berdah featured by KMTV

Lily Dedman, Women’s Officer for Kent Union; Clara Lee, Kent Union Vice-president (Welfare); Elise Berdah; Luke Ellis, Vice-President (Welfare) for Students’ Union University of Greenwich (SUUG) and Niamh Baggesen- Cox, LGBT+ Students Officer for SUUG.


Fight, Flight or Freeze, a highly topical touring immersive and interactive installation from 2017 Event and Experience Design graduate Elise Berdah which raises awareness of sexual consent, has been featured by KMTV – See the interview here:


Originally presented in the Drill Hall Library during the Student Wellbeing Festival in May, it was recently commissioned by Clara Lee, Vice President (Welfare) of Kent Union to be presented again in the Student Hub at Medway and Canterbury during November and December.  It may tour to other Universities and Colleges.

For images and videos, go to

EED graduate Elise Berdah commissioned by Kent Union to re-make her EED Independent Realised Project on raising awareness of sexual harassment

Fight, Flight or Freeze exhibition, 2017.


2017 Event and Experience Design graduate Elise Berdah from the School of Music and Fine Art has been commissioned by Clara Lee, Vice President (Welfare) of Kent Union to re-make her EED Independent Realised Project.

Fight, Flight or Freeze is a touring awareness raising experience of sexual harassment, particularly in the University environment – it was originally presented in the Drill Hall Library during the Student Wellbeing Festival last May. It will be presented again in the Student Hub at Medway from the 24th November – 4th December , and from 4th– 8th December in Canterbury. It may tour to other Universities and Colleges.

There are videos here:

Fine Art students exhibit work at the Historic Dockyard Chatham to celebrate Black History Month

Two 3rd Year BA (Hons) Fine Art students – Solomon Dada and Amanda Rosette Nsubuga – are both showing their images of Kent’s four black Professors in an exhibition to celebrate their research interests, achievements and contribution to scholarship as part of Black History Month.

The Historic Dockyard Chatham, in collaboration with the University of Kent Student Success Project, are pleased to present a Private Viewing of Black History Month Art Exhibition: Celebrating Kent’s Black Professors, followed by a talk by playwright Junior Douglas on ‘The Contribution of Black and Asian Soldiers to WW.1.’ The event will be held on Wednesday October 18, 2017 from 17.30 to 19.30 at Mess Deck: Command of the Oceans. Come and meet the artists on the evening.

The exhibition will run from October 1 to 31, 2017.  Book your free ticket here:


More info

SMFA is partner in international festival of moving image and digital art in Medway


The 51zero Festival takes as its theme Decreation: Establishing new coordinates, and runs from 27th October – 2nd November in Rochester and Chatham.

51zero, which takes its name from the geographical coordinates of Medway, focuses international collaboration, artistic production and exhibition of film, video and digital art. Working from within the region of Medway as the project’s base, 51zero partner with cultural organisations in the UK and overseas to commission, curate and present contemporary moving image work. The programme features contemporary artists and established musicians, alongside emerging practitioners and students from SMFA.

The festival opens on Friday 27th October with an eclectic evening of silent short films, animations and heritage moving-image, screened alongside live music performances at Rochester Cathedral.

Events continue at the Cathedral Crypt until Wednesday and Guildhall Museum presents exhibitions, installations, participatory performances and a strand curated by students of the University of Kent, until the following Thursday.

On Thursday 2nd November, a final showcase of films by emerging artists, as part of Open Projector, will be hosted by the University of Kent, as well as a final discussion forum, bringing together a mix of international and emerging artists, local students and graduates, curators, critics and musicians.  Open Projector takes place in The Royal Dockyard Church, 5pm – 6:30pm, providing an important opportunity for emerging artists, graduates, and students to screen and discuss their work in a peer group environment. The public is invited to participate to Decreation New Coordinates, this closing strand of the festival, which will precede the closing discussion forum, accompanied by a communal supper from 6:30pm – 9:30pm.

All events are FREE and open to all.  Further information at



The festival was made possible by lottery fund from Arts Council England Grants for the Arts, Kent County Council’s Arts Investment Fund and University of Kent – Student Experience Fund. With special thanks to Rochester Cathedral, the Guildhall Museum, Kent School of Music and Fine Art, Screen South and Rochester Film Society.

EED Live Event Tuesday 12th December in Rochester

Eastgate House interior. Photo by Peter Hatton


Year 3 SMFA Event & Experience Design students present a live event from 11am-4pm with multimedia installations and performances in an explorative response to the physical, historical and social contexts of one of Medway’s historic sites – Eastgate House, High Street, Rochester.

This innovative event produces an interpretive and immersive tour of the buildings.

To enter Eastgate House, there is an admission charge to the public.
Adults: £5.50
Concessions (inc. Friends Group): £4
Under 5s: free
Family Ticket: £15
Groups of 10 or more: 15% discount
School groups: 15% discount on concession price

More info about opening times and charges here:…

“It is a great privilege and pleasure to work again with the officers at Medway Council’s Sports, Leisure Tourism and Heritage Department and a wonderful opportunity for the students to work with a client in a real-world environment,” says Programmes Director for Event and Experience Design, Event and Experience Management, and Fine Art, and Deputy Head of School, Peter Hatton.

Join our SMFA music groups in Medway!


A fabulous selection of ensembles are up & running at University of Kent (Medway) this year. We’re lucky to be in close range of London, so top performers and teachers come down to coach our groups. Importantly, lots are OPEN TO ALL – students, staff & the broader community. You can simply turn up on the day and try a group out. Advisable though to ring ahead for venue details 01634 888980 or email
Nearly all ensembles are open to everyone. All groups offer free taster sessions.

Note: Although you are welcome to simply turn up on the day we would advise ringing or emailing the SMFA reception, just so we know you’re coming and can direct you to the right space!

T: 01634 888980 Email:


SMFA Pop, Rock & Soul Choir 

The Pop, Rock & Soul Choir is led by choir director and vocal coach Kelly Fraser, Deputy Head of Vocals at BIMM,  who is currently working on this year’s X Factor.

Kelly writes: “The choir works together to create vibey, innovative arrangements of existing Popular Music repertoire. The sessions are open to all & guaranteed to be up-lifting!”

This is a fantastic opportunity to work with one of the top names in the music business. Don’t miss out!! ALL singers are strongly encouraged to attend.

World Percussion Ensemble

Our World Percussion Ensemble is led by Stephen Hiscock, founder of one of the world’s most innovative percussion groups – Ensemble Bash. Stephen studied in Ghana and has premiered works from Steve Reich to Django Bates. Djembes are at the core of this group – but plenty of other wonderful instruments from around the world besides!

Improvisation & Advanced Improvisation Ensembles

The improvisation groups tackle all the important information for those wanting to explore their music in new ways, find fresh ideas for composition or bust out those face-melting solos. Over the year we’ll be exploring how to build those killer improvs, work well as a band and more as we improvise through pop, jazz and classical repertoire allowing you the chance to bring your ideas to the table. Multi-award winning sax player, arranger, composer and educator Phil Meadows (Engines Orchestra Founder) takes the groups through their paces. (Advanced group by invitation only.)

Little Big Band

Little Big Band is led by jazz and rock lead guitarist Lisa Davies. Line- up is rhythm section plus horns, flutes – and any other front-line instrumentalists that fancy joining in! A very friendly group covering jazz standards, rock and pop repertoire.

Chamber Music Forum

Interested in duos, trios, quartets, quintets, usual and unusual combinations of instruments?  Chamber Music Forum could be for you. Music ranges from Baroque to Tango to Klezmer, including works by Khachaturian, Piazzolla, and Shostakovich. *Composers:  – get your small ensemble work performed! Dr Ruth Herbert, Music Lecturer, Head of Performance & founder member of TableMusic ensemble,  coaches these groups.

Strings Group

In the Strings Group, contemporary specialist violinist   Dr Stelios Chatziiosifidis works on the basics of string sound production, while enhancing players’ overall technical skills in different bowings, sound blending and sound projection. The emphasis is on practising difficult sections of the orchestral works, but other repertoire will be briefly explored.

Band Forum

Band Forum is coached by Dr Rich Perks, Lecturer in Popular Music who has toured internationally with a range of bands – currently Ali Azimi and the Need, also leading the Diaspora Arts Connection World Music project 2017 in San Francisco. Predominantly geared towards first year undergraduates (though not exclusively!), Band Forum provides an opportunity for students to form bands and rehearse, whilst gaining advice and guidance from an experienced practitioner. There will be several department-led gigs throughout the academic year at which BF participants will be encouraged to showcase their work.

University of Kent (Medway) Choir and Band

Compulsory for BMus students, open to everyone at the University of Kent and a lot of fun. The University Choir and Band take on different projects each year. From the complete B Side of the Beatle’s Abbey Road to Haydn’s Nelson Mass. This year’s focus includes Queen’s iconic 1975 album A Night At The Opera, featuring choir and rock ensemble. Directed by University of Kent music performance lecturers Dr Rich Perks and Dr Ruth Herbert.

The Zorn Project

An ever expanding ensemble with a richly varied line-up (all instruments welcome) entirely focused this year on John Zorn’s Cobra. Cobra is a directed ensemble piece that will never sound the same twice. Elements of live direction, combined with free improvisation, allow the piece to be either idiomatically ‘free’ or to traverse genres seamlessly. It is crazy sounding at first, but trust us, this can (and will!) be a LOT of fun! Directed by Dr Rich Perks & assisted by Dr Ruth Herbert.

University of Kent (Medway) Chamber Orchestra

Chamber Orchestra, directed by Dr Stelios Chatziiosifidis, provides a chance to explore the full breadth of the orchestral sound and familiarise yourself with different styles of performance, ranging from classical, baroque to pop. The discipline of orchestral playing, involving attentive ensemble playing and awareness of other parts, is a great way to advance your musical skills.

Guitar Ensemble

Guitar Ensemble is directed by renowned guitarist James Woodrow, member of the Gavin Bryars Ensemble, Icebreaker and Lontano. The group work on a wide variety of material, most recently performing Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint.