Monthly Archives: November 2014

‘Style has no size!’ – Alumna launches fashion boutique

Alumna Kerry Smith, who graduated from Kent in 2010 with a BA (Hons) in Classical & Archaeological Studies, has recently launched a plus-sized fashion boutique in the Kent seaside town of Broadstairs.

Kerry studied Classical Civilisation for a number of years, but was unsure of what career path she wanted to pursue. After graduating from Kent, she obtained a PGCE in 2012 from Canterbury Christ Church University, but soon realised that teaching was not for her, and decided to set up her own clothing business, Kerry’s Boutique.

‘While I was a student, I worked part-time in plus-size retail’ says Kerry. ‘As a young plus-sized girl, I realised that most of the clothes my size were frumpy, old fashioned and shapeless. I decided to open a boutique store which welcomed the curvier figure and gave women a choice of style, which the big name brands seemed to have neglected. I had always loved working in retail, but I never had the chance to make any creative decisions or have any input in merchandising and buying.’

Kerry’s parents have always been self-employed, and have owned a variety of different businesses over the years. ‘They have always encouraged me to do something I am passionate about, so I have always known that starting my own business was a viable option and something to consider’.

It took just under a year to locate and renovate her new business premises in Broadstairs. During this time, Kerry researched the latest fashion trends, and made contact with overseas suppliers. ‘I had always been a keen “fashionista”, and grew up with my own sense of style while still adopting an appreciation for the major fashion trends, so I had a clear vision in mind’ says Kerry.

Her ultimate goal is for the business to eventually expand, and to open up additional stores. Her advice to anyone who would like to start their own business is to make sure that you do something that you are passionate about. ‘If you really love what you’re doing, and have a clear idea of how your business will work, then the sky is the limit. If you put everything you have into your business, it doesn’t feel like work because you’re doing what you love.’

‘The best piece of advice I’ve been given is to just go for it’ says Kerry. ‘Starting your own business can be extremely daunting, because you don’t have the security that comes with employment, but if you have a solid business plan and a clear vision of what you want your business to be, then it’s worth the risk. Otherwise, you’ll never know what could have been.’

Esteem Lectures to mark University’s 50th anniversary


A series of prestigious public lectures by Kent academics is being held to mark the University’s 50th anniversary during 2014/15.

The Esteem Lecture series will feature topics as diverse as royal diseases, fashion and the older woman, and the Christmas Truce in WWI. They will take place in Grimond Lecture Theatre 1 at 6pm on the University’s Canterbury campus and are free and open to all.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow said: ‘I am delighted to announce this series of inspiring open lectures by Kent staff in our 50th anniversary year. They feature a range of specialties, reflecting the University’s broad academic appeal, and provide a wonderful opportunity to hear from academics who are internationally renowned in the sciences, technology, medical studies, the social sciences, arts and humanities.’

Confirmed lectures include:

Wednesday 3 December – Mark Connelly, Professor of Modern British History, ‘Not so Silent Nights: Myths and Realities of Christmas 1914’.

Wednesday 4 February – Dr Ruth Blakeley, Reader in International Relations, ‘Mapping the Global System of Rendition, Secret Detention and Torture in the War on Terror’.

Wednesday 11 February – Abdulrazak Gurnah, Professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures, ‘Indian Ocean Journeys’.

Wednesday 4 March – Julia Twigg, Professor of Social Policy and Sociology, ‘Fashion and Age: Dress, the Body and Later Life’.

Wednesday 11 March – Martin Warren, Professor of Biochemistry, ‘Royal Diseases: Medical Mysteries of Queen Victoria’s Haemophilia and King George III’s Madness’.

Wednesday 25 March – Dominic Abrams, Professor of Social Policy on ‘The Pride and Prejudice of Groups and their Leaders; Must ‘The Dark Side’ Prevail in Politics, Organisations and Society’.

Wednesday 1 April – Robert Green OBE, Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science, ‘DNA and Crime – Fact, Fable and Future’.

Alumnus launches venture to support entrepreneurs from a double decker bus

Alumnus and technology entrepreneur George Johnston (Rutherford 2010) has recently launched a unique personal development programme for young entrepreneurs from a renovated double decker London bus.

IncuBus London, which was created by George and his business partner Rishi Chowdhury, aims to help ambitious entrepreneurs by supporting them and their start-up businesses; over a 12 week period, they teach them how to get into the world’s most prestigious accelerators, giving them a guaranteed interview and supporting them throughout the process.

Since leaving Kent, George, who lives in Kings Cross in London, has been immersed in the London technology scene. ‘To notice the gaps and opportunities available, you need to be fully committed’ he says. Having worked for Huddle and developed several mobile applications, George also hosts a regular meet-up called Flagons’ Den for London’s technology entrepreneurs, which has over 1,000 members. He currently runs Tech City Tours, which takes newcomers to the start-up scene on a whirlwind tour of the technology eco-system.

George was inspired to set up his own businesses whilst studying at Kent. ‘The University provided me with inspiration through the Kent Enterprise Hub’s Big Ideas competition. They sent me to America where I pitched to investors and entrepreneurs at the Global Business Competition. The Chancellor also awarded me the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2012, and this gave me a taste for business which has evolved into a lifetime ambition.’

George has high aspirations for IncuBus London: ‘I want to have a bus in every city across the world. As we spread entrepreneurship globally, we can connect the buses, sharing resources, skills and collaboration. We plan to offer young entrepreneurs exchange opportunities with different technology clusters. When you’ve started your business, your one and only focus should be growth. Don’t let anything else distract you.’

His advice to anyone thinking of starting up their own business is to make sure that you do something that you are truly passionate about. ‘There will be many difficult and painful moments in your business journey’ says George, ‘This passion is the only thing that will get you through.’

Publication highlights worldwide research impact


A new publication for the University’s 50th anniversary marks the impact Kent researchers make regionally, nationally and internationally.

Since its foundation, research has always been an important part of the University’s mission, with more than 55 research centres and hubs now spread across its various locations.

This collection of case studies shows how Kent research has clarified ethics in healthcare and how it is helping to improve adult social care.

It also features an award-winning centre which improves the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

This publication outlines several examples of progress in pharmaceuticals and also presents examples of how Kent research has had an impact on UK Government, including the creation of a new model for the social care system to identify limitations in the funding system. Kent research has also provided a better understanding of how wealthy donors make decisions, and how research into biometrics is helping to make the world a safer place.

In addition, Kent researchers are transforming heritage management, and research from the University’s schools of Architecture, Anthropology and Conservation, Engineering and Digital Arts, Business and Law all has a clear focus on global sustainability.

Kent Research: Making a difference is available in both English and Mandarin.

Kent Research: Making a difference (English)

Kent Research: Making a difference (Mandarin)


Pitch it!


Have you got a great design idea for a University of Kent 50th anniversary limited edition t-shirt?

Then enter our ‘Pitch it!’ challenge before the Monday 24 November 2014 deadline.
The winning design will be made by the University’s official merchandise supplier and sold as official limited edition 50th anniversary merchandise.

There are also cash prizes to the top two designers. First prize is £500 and the runner up will receive £100.

Click here to find out how to enter.

50th anniversary celebrations reach the US


Special events have been hosted across seven cities in the United States to celebrate the University’s 50th Anniversary.

A series of events have taken place in the US to raise the profile of the University’s 50th anniversary.

Events were held in: Indianapolis, New York, Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston.

Hosted by members of the 50th Anniversary team, each event attracted a high number of Kent graduates, all of whom were keen to share their fondest memories of their time studying at the University.

The 50th team also  used their visit to express their gratitude to the US alumni for their contribution to the University’s history and for their ongoing commitment to its future.

A dedicated alumni group based in America also scheduled their annual meeting to coincide with these events. This group have since committed to at least double their fundraising target for the University of Kent in America Scholarship. This scholarship, in partnership with the US-UK Fulbright Commission, enables a US citizen to undertake postgraduate studies at the University.

Other highlights of the visit included Professor Roger Vickerman, the University’s Dean for Europe, joining the largest group of alumni at the British Embassy in Washington DC. Current Kent students who are undertaking placements at Cisco also attended the event in San Francisco.

In addition, Kent alumnus, Johnnie Raines (Eliot, 1990) hosted a masquerade ball at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in LA. Four alumni who had not seen one another since they studied at Kent 15 years ago were reunited at the event.

Photos from the visit are available on Flickr here.

Striking new sculpture unveiled outside Jennison building


A striking new sculpture has been unveiled at the entrance to the Jennison building, home to the School of Engineering and Digital Arts (EDA).

The ‘Synapse-Soleil’ sculpture, was designed by Michael Green and Sam Frewer, both PhD candidates within EDA, and constructed by Tunbridge Wells blacksmith Michael Hart.

The sculpture is the result of a competition in 2012 to design a sculpture for a plinth outside the EDA building, which had stood empty for 40 years. The project was jointly funded by Creative Campus, which supports best practice to mark out the University as a highly creative place to work, study, play and visit, and the Ingenuity Fund, established by John Washington to fund postgraduate students demonstrating an entrepreneurial and public-spirited approach to their studies.

Michael Green, who completed a BSc in Multimedia Technology and Design at Kent in 2008, commented: ‘After much research and speaking to several individuals with expertise in sculpture and construction, including the EDA workshop and a visit to the School of Arts in Medway, we fine-tuned the original concept, which was initially designed in a 3D computer package.’

The Synapse-Soleil sculpture evokes the Russian constructivist work of Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International (c1919). The sculpture’s framework of intertwining strands is symbolic of the various disciplines within EDA. A smooth orb forms the structure’s focal point, representing the present day as it reflects its surroundings.


The sculpture was installed for the start of the University’s 50th anniversary celebrations, with support from Paul Griffiths and Nigel Futter of the Estates Department. A formal unveiling by Dr Louise Naylor, Director of the Unit for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching, took place on 22 October in front of students, alumni, staff, former staff and friends of EDA.

For further information, see EDA’s webpages.

Education UK Alumni Awards 2015 now open!

Nominations for the Education UK Alumni Awards 2015 are open! If you are a Kent alumnus/alumna from mainland China, the USA or India, who returned home after completing your studies in the UK, then this award is open to you.

It recognises the outstanding achievements of the UK’s international alumni, and allows your successes in UK Higher Education to be internationally recognised by some of the world’s most influential people.

Watch the video to find out more, including details about how to apply or nominate:

Get your Kent Law Campaign Season’s Greetings cards this week!

The Kent Law Campaign Student Group (KLCSG) is selling a beautiful selection of Season’s Greetings cards in aid of the Kent Law Campaign and invite staff and students of the University to come and buy them to help a good cause.

The KLCSG, who are supporting the University to raise funds for the Kent Law Campaign, a £5million fundraising project to build a new home for the Kent Law Clinic and the Kent Law School’s Mooting Programme, sought sponsorship from a local organisation to fund the cards and used stunning images of campus courtesy of Jim Higham from Information Services as their designs.

There are seven designs to choose from which will be available to buy at regular stalls held by the KLCSG, please note stock is limited and is expected to sell out fast!

Tuesday 18th November – 12pm-2pm – Plaza outside Essentials
Wednesday 19th November – 12pm-2pm – Plaza outside Essentials
Wednesday 19th November – 1pm-2pm – Santander
Thursday 20th November – 11am-1pm – Plaza outside Essentials
Friday 21st November – 1pm-3pm – Plaza outside Essentials

The KLCSG would like to thank The Headley Pitt Charitable Trust for their generosity in sponsoring the cards this year.

Further designs can be viewed online.

Foundation Day lecture


Dr Gavin Esler, Chancellor of the University of Kent and Kent alumnus, will deliver this year’s Foundation Lecture on Thursday 20 November at 6pm.

The lecture, titled “Trust Me: How Trust has been diminished in the Suspicious Century,” will take place in Woolf College Lecture Theatre on the Canterbury campus. Admission is free and open to all.

Dr Esler will talk in part about the Scottish independence referendum: “trust” played a big part in the campaign, particularly lack of trust of Westminster, and that lack of trust came within a few hundred thousand votes of ending the UK forever.

For further information, see our events page.