Upcoming Industrial Action 

As we’re sure you know, another round of industrial action is coming up starting this week. Whilst most of the exact dates are yet to be confirmed, we do know that there will be 18 days of action throughout February and March. 

So far UCU have announced one day of strike action on Wednesday 1 February - this is to coincide with a coordinated day of action from a number of national trade unions protesting recent changes to strike laws in the UK. 

On strike days, some staff at Kent will join others across the country in not delivering teaching or wider academic support. This means your teaching on strike days may be cancelled and there could also be some knock-on effects on other University services too. The impact of strikes can be very different in different areas – not all lecturers are members of UCU and not all members take strike action. Please make sure you attend timetabled events unless told otherwise, we cannot know for sure which members of staff will be taking strike action. 

If you are impacted by industrial action, there are ways that you can get support, all of which you can find on the University Industrial Action Webpage 

In particular, we would like to draw your attention to the financial support available. The University have a system to allow students to claim back any direct costs, such as travel or childcare, they have incurred during the periods of industrial action. Please do take advantage of this if you are impacted! You can find the info here: kent.ac.uk/student/industrial-action/expense-claims 

We will also be holding a drop-in session if you have any feedback about how the strike has affected you and your studies. Keep an eye on your newsletter to find out when this will be held. 

As always, do not hesitate to get in touch with the team if you have any questions or concerns! 

 

My Experience Chairing a Student Voice Forum – Miguel Santos

Being a Student Rep is an empowering experience. Not only is it an opportunity to create real change in improving the student experience, it has enabled me to develop skills that I would not have otherwise gained.

As a Student Rep at both undergraduate and postgraduate taught-levels, I have experienced first-hand the meaningful work Reps do to improve the academic experience. Here at Kent, I led a campaign to diversify the student curriculum in the School of Arts, resulting in a School-wide diversity statement.

Now as a postgraduate research student, it is important that university staff listens to our views because our voices need to be heard, given the variety and diversity of experiences within the postgraduate research community.

To that end, the Graduate Student Voice Forum in the Arts and Humanities is an opportunity to raise concerns about the academic experience and to ensure that actions are taken to address these concerns.

Due to encouragement from the Arts and Humanities Student Experience Team as well as the Director of Graduate Studies in the Arts and Humanities (Ben Hutchinson), I volunteered to be a student chair for the forum.

Despite it being my first time chairing a formal meeting, it was an opportunity for me to develop employability skills and graduate attributes that I can refine in my career. As chair, I had to ensure that the agenda ran efficiently, so that all items were discussed in the timeframe allotted, which enabled me to develop my time-keeping skills.

Moreover, chairing developed my communication and leadership skills. Since I was chair, I wanted to ensure that all the student reps’ views were heard and acted upon by the university staff. Even though I much prefer contributing, rather than leading a discussion, I nonetheless have experience now in steering discussions in a structured way.

Finally, chairing also gave me the chance to be adaptable. As the meeting was done via Teams, my WiFi would intermittently cut out, so I had two devices with me to ensure that I could be present to chair. Rather than panicking, I acted quickly and maintained my composure.

As such, I do hope that having myself chair this Student Voice Forum will encourage other Student Reps to do the same. While it is intimidating, it is also empowering to see our peers lead the discussion; it also creates a space where students’ voices are at the forefront of the forum. Finally, chairing is a unique opportunity that has enabled me to develop my skills, whilst also representing the views of my cohort.

While it may be scary to chair a Student Voice Forum, it is a way of making a real impact to ensure that our voices as students are heard.

48 Hour Film Challenge

 

3pm Friday 28 October – 3pm Sunday 30 October 

Join this challenge during the weekend of reading week and compete with your team to make the best short film in 48-hours!  

 The brief will be released at 3pm on Friday 28 October and is set by film maker and producer Richard Belfield – who will judge and give feedback on all submissions. You have until Sunday 30 October to write, film and edit your short films.  

 Sign up here by Wednesday 26 October. You can sign up as a team or as an individual. If you sign up as an individual, you will be assigned a team.  

 THE 48-HOUR FILM CHALLENGE 

The challenge is to create a small team and make a film in 48 hours about a given subject. The subject will be released on 3pm Friday 28 October. You then have until 3pm Sunday 30 October to make your film. Your film can be any format or genre. Your film can be any length, but a typical film will be between 3-5 minutes. If your film is any shorter or longer, it will need to serve a particular creative vision.  

Although 48 hours sounds very short, this challenge is very close to the reality of film and video making. Many pop videos, ads, corporates and TV shows are made under similar time constraints. You’ll be amazed at what you can come up with under pressure in a short amount of time.  

GUIDANCE NOTES 

Teams should form themselves beforehand and sign up here by Wednesday 26 October. You can also sign up without a group by this date, and then you will be allocated a team. Make sure that your team covers the necessary roles to make your team.  These should include camera, sound and edit plus a director and a producer. Do not underestimate the role of the producer. They will bring everything together and manage the project. If you want to go down the drama route, then include actors and writers. Good writers can come from anywhere so cast your net widely. Top quality sound is crucial. It is ok to for someone on the team to cover multiple roles (e.g. cinematography and editing).  

If you sign up as a group, tell us about people’s specific roles on the team. 

If you sign up as an individual, tell us about the specific role(s) you want to take on when you are assigned a team. 

Production equipment and post-production facilities will be made available for use of individuals who have been inducted to use the equipment and software of the Film and Media programmes in the School of Arts. 

In other words, if your team has Film and Media students on it, who have received the proper induction, you will be able to use cameras, editing suites, etc. from the School of Arts.  

But, you don’t have to use these resources to make your film. You can shoot on mobile phones and use your own editing software, for example. But, of course, you are responsible for the creativity and quality of your film – so make wise choices. For example, think about shooting formats – do you want to mix different filming ratios, shoot in colour and black and white or on phones as well as 4K cameras?  Do you want to include graphics and/or music?  Do you have friends who are musicians who will record music for your film?  

Teams should plan in advance.  Agree roles beforehand.  All contributions are of equal value. This is about teamwork.  Think about possible locations and logistics. If you have a favourite location, get permission to film there now. How are you going to get the crew and actors there?  How long will each sequence take to shoot? If you are going to shoot outside, check the weather forecast.   

Plan a schedule, when you are going to film and edit.  Try to edit in camera as much as possible – time is tight. The editor(s) can start cutting as soon as the first sequence is finished – on set if possible. If you have two editors, then cut in parallel and assemble the sequences later.  

Things will go wrong. Everyone makes mistakes. When this happens – own up, fix it and then move on.  There is no place or time to assign blame.  The only thing that matters is the quality of the film. 

As soon as you are told the subject matter be creative. Think laterally. Every year Hollywood produces hundreds of films.  It is the unusual ones which win the awards and industry acclaim.   

Be bold.  Put in some real effort.  Get some sleep and use the full 48 hours.  You will be amazed at what you can produce in this time. If something doesn’t work, abandon it and try something else. Make something you will be proud to look at in the future. 

Remember the basic rules of film making. Engage your viewer from the first frame, keep them watching and ideally surprise them at the end.  If you are filming a scene, then have all the crew members shoot it from different angles on their phones or a separate camera if you have one.  Give the editor lots of options. 

Put a title on the film and add a credit list at the end.  

Above all – enjoy the experience, remember everything that went well and what you can do better next time!