Welcome to the Critical Excursions in Kent project, funded by the Graduate School’s Postgraduate Community Experience Award.

There is growing evidence about the prevalence of mental health issues among PhD students – one in two will experience psychological distress, while working conditions are a significant predictor of student’s mental health. At the same time, spending time in green and blue spaces (such as parks, woods, and watery places) has been found to offer significant benefits for mental health and vitality.

The Critical Excursions in Kent project will significantly improve the postgraduate experience at Kent by offering PhD students opportunities to manage and improve their mental health by spending time immersed in green and blue environments in the local area.

The project will deliver seven monthly excursions to spaces around Canterbury that would normally be difficult for students to reach or explore on their own. Most excursions will take place over an afternoon and will include return travel from Canterbury, as well as a guided walk or other activity. Participants will also be invited to engage critically with one aspect of the philosophical, historical, ecological, colonial and environmental contexts of the spaces that we visit. Before each excursion, a short reading will be shared with participants to provide a stimulus for using the excursion site to explore an interdisciplinary theme or contemporary issue facing society.