Monthly Archives: May 2015

Grant maximises opportunities for students


The Student Projects Grant Scheme has paid out £65,000 this year to increase opportunities for students, including summer schools and work experience.

What is the scheme?

The Student Projects Grant Scheme is funded by the Kent Opportunity Fund, which was established to increase opportunities for students at Kent, today and in the future.

The scheme allows donations given by alumni and friends of the University to reach as many students as possible by enabling individuals to bid for funds to run their own projects.

The Development Office invites applications for project funding on an annual basis.

In the spring 2015, grants totalling almost £65,000 were made to a range of projects across the University. Among the 20 successful applications that received either full or partial funding, seven of them were submitted by staff from academic schools or professional service departments.

Success stories


European Summer School

The European Summer School is one of the very few projects that received funding from the Student Projects Grant Scheme in two consecutive years.

‘We are sincerely grateful for the funding received from the Student Projects Grant Scheme, and wholeheartedly thank the donors for their generous contribution.

‘The funds will go towards the European Summer School Scholarship, allocated to 15 outstanding Kent undergraduates to live and study in Paris for two weeks.

‘The programme will enable students to build upon their written and verbal presentation skills through immersing themselves in French culture through the study of film, art, literature, history and architecture.’

Dr Ana de Medeiros, Academic Director of the University of Kent at Paris.


Work-Study Scheme

A brand new initiative named the Work-Study Scheme, which was suggested by theCareers and Employability Service also received support from the Student Projects Grant Scheme.

The Work-Study Scheme aims to assist students in gaining campus-based roles, which allow them to experience realistic, meaningful paid positions, while undertaking employability skills training sessions and being mentored and supported throughout the application and interview process.

Since October 2014, over 100 students have received assistance through the Work-Study Scheme.


How to apply

The Student Projects Grant Scheme welcomes applications from student groups in Kent Union, departments, faculties and schools from across the University, including the campuses in Canterbury and Medway, our centre in Tonbridge and the University’s European centres in Brussels, Paris, Athens and Rome.

The next cycle of funding scheduled for the 2015/16 academic year will be open for applications in autumn 2015.

For more information visit the scheme’s webpages.

Kent alumna takes part in Eton Open Water Swim

We would like to congratulate Hannah Bignell, former Chair of the Kent Law Campaign Student Group and current Young Alumni Group member, for taking part in the 3km Eton Open Water Swim on Monday 25th May 2015.

Hannah joined hundreds of swimmers to take part in the 3km challenge at Dorney Lake on Bank Holiday Monday in aid of the Kent Law Campaign and Prostate Cancer UK. Dorney Lake is a modern world-class rowing and flat-water canoeing centre near Windsor. The site hosted events for the Olympic and Paralympic Games for London 2012 and every year since it is transformed into an open water swimming venue for beginners all the way up to elite open water swimmers.

Hannah completed her first open water swim in a fantastic time of 1:08:48, coming in 10 minutes under her practice swim. She has also raised an incredible £303.75 (including Gift Aid) for the Campaign as well as raising money for Prostate Cancer UK.

Well done Hannah and thank you for your commitment and dedication towards the Kent Law Campaign.

Paul Dyer (Eliot, 1974) helps support the leaders of tomorrow

Paul Dyer (Eliot, 1974), Kent alumnus and former director of Towergate partnership, one of the UK’s leading insurance intermediaries, has recently collaborated with Kent Business School to offer 20 deserving business school students the opportunity to take part in a unique one-day leadership development programme at Kent’s Medway campus in March 2015.

Paul generously sponsored the students to partake in the Paul Dyer Development programme, which has an emphasis on personal development and has been designed to encourage students to achieve their leadership potential, bolster their confidence and enhance their management capabilities to allow them to develop essential employability skills for their careers after graduation.

The focus of the one-day programme was on learning by doing through a range of fun in-class and outdoor activities, encouraging reflective self-assessment, building network relationships and enhancing collaborative working. The programme proved an eye-opening experience for many students and was described by some as a ‘life-changer’.

“It was nice to meet people who were just as passionate as I was about entrepreneurship and leadership” Matt Baker, BA in Accounting & Finance (with a year in industry)

“It was a truly great experience. The programme was very well prepared and definitely worth attending” Damian Harateh, BA in Accounting & Finance

This is a unique experiential leadership programme developed at the University of Kent with the Leadership Trust which has been adopted in other Universities in the UK and has been proven to help students enhance their leadership skills and employability.

If you would like to find out how you can support students at Kent, please visit our website.

Kent Law Campaign Team takes part in the London Legal Walk 2015

On Monday 18th May 2015 over 8000 walkers took to the streets of London to take part in the annual London Legal Walk organised by the London Legal Support Trust.

The 10km walk takes place around central London starting at Carey Street, passing the Royal Courts of Justice, heading up The Mall, through the Horse Guards Parade towards Hyde Park. The walk was attended by senior members of the legal profession, including the Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls, the President of the Supreme Court, leaders of the Bar Council, the Law Society, as well as the Attorney General. Money raised through this event supports free legal advice charities in London and the South East.

Natalie Salunke, Emily Smith, Callum Borg, Daniel Shaw, Simone Kraemer, Hannah Bignell and Felicity Clifford joined the walk in aid of the Kent Law Campaign and so far have raised £625 (including Gift Aid and the University match) for the Campaign.

You can still support the team by donating online.

Kent Law Campaign student volunteer wins Kent Union Award

On the evening of Tuesday 19th May, this year’s Kent Union Awards were held in the Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury. The award ceremony is to celebrate the achievements of our students and their efforts throughout the year.

Billy Ng, Vice Chair of the Kent Law Campaign Student Group, was invited to this year’s ceremony and presented with the Dedication to Volunteering Award for his tireless work raising money and awareness on behalf of the Kent Law Campaign.

The Kent Law Campaign would like to congratulate Billy and thank him for being such a dedicated volunteer.

Alumni invited to submit artwork for outdoor exhibition on bank of the River Medway

Five students from the School of Music and Fine Arts will be hosting an outdoor exhibition of artwork inspired by the Medway landscape on 18-20 June – and alumni are warmly invited to take part.

Initiated by Nadia Perrotta, Ben Crawford, Clarinda Tse, Angela Ioannidou and Georgina Wilcox, Wetlands was conceived from the students’ wish to explore the beauty of the Medway landscape and re-engage the local community with their rich maritime heritage.

‘Whilst studying at Kent’s Medway campus, I noticed the increasing disconnection between the Medway community and their history ’ explains Nadia, project leader of Wetlands. ‘It was also clear that the University community was out of touch with its surroundings – the majority of students at the Medway campus don’t come from the local community, and know very little about the region. I decided to start a thorough research of the area along with my friend Ben, another Fine Arts student, and we soon discovered the incredible landscape of the Hoo Peninsula. We were captured by the place, the people living there and their stories, and it was this that inspired the project’.

Wetlands, which received support from the Kent Opportunity Fund’s Student Projects Grant Scheme, aims to present an ambitious series of events throughout June which will engage the Medway community with its surroundings through art, re- creating a dialogue between the local Medway people, their maritime history and the wetland landscape. ‘The human connection to the scenery, how emotions are translated into the appearance of a place, and the impact of our project are some of the aspects that I hope to explore’ says Clarinda. ‘I’m really looking forward to seeing how our project will be received in the area’.

One of the events will be an outdoor exhibition on the bank of the River Medway, going from Lower Upnor to Hoo Marina, on 18 to 20 June 2015, for which they are inviting all Kent students and alumni to submit site specific artworks that have been inspired by the Medway landscape. Any media will be accepted and displayed, including installation, sculpture, photography, painting, performance and music, as long as they do not require electricity and do not feature violent or explicit content. Every artist will be responsible for the setup and de-installation of their artwork, which can be left outdoors for the whole event in order to interact with the landscape and the natural processes, or just for a day. The exhibition will be publicised through the group’s media network which is linked to Medway Council and Fuse Festival.

If you would like to take part in the Wetlands exhibition on 18-20 June, please contact the team at

You can also join their Facebook group and follow them on Twitter @wetlands_medway.

Staff profile: Helena Torres


School Administration Manager Helena Torres has received a special 50th anniversary award to mark her commitment and contribution to learning and development at Kent.

She tells Wendy Raeside more about her early career in France, her role at Kent and why lifetime learning is so important to her.

What did you do before entering the world of HE?

I studied Geography with a Year Abroad at Swansea University and worked as an au pair in Paris during the summer holidays.

After graduating, I returned to France, to take a TEFL course and teach business English in Paris and Montpelier. My interest in learning and development really stems from that experience – I like learning myself and get a lot of satisfaction from helping others to learn.

On returning to the UK in 2000, I taught English to Japanese students on a summer school at Nottingham University. I really liked the university environment so applied for a job there as an Administrative Assistant.

For family reasons, we relocated to Kent in 2001 and I joined Kent Business School as the Programmes Administrator, moving to the School of English in 2003 as Academic Administrator (now School Administration Manager).


Can you tell us more about your role at the University?

I work alongside the Head of School to manage all areas of the School’s business; for example, managing the budget, HR, strategic planning, learning and teaching, research, student experience and recruitment and marketing.

I love the variety of the role. I also enjoy being in an academic environment – you feel that you are contributing to students’ futures and helping them have a fantastic experience while they’re here. It’s great to see academic colleagues being so passionate about their research and teaching and to be part of a successful School.

As I’m bilingual – fluent in French as well as speaking a bit of Spanish – I have also been able to get involved with our Paris centre, for example, helping with school liaison.


When did you return to learning after your degree and what difference has it made?

I started my MBA in 2005 studying part-time with the Open University. The organisation was fantastic and enabled me to really fit my studies around work. I was part-funded by the University and given some time off to study. I took a long break when my daughter was born – she’s now seven – and graduated in July 2013.

The MBA has really helped me in my work at Kent. In the final year, we had to complete a project that would make a difference to both you and your organisation. I had enjoyed the pilot of LPPSM (Leadership Programme for Professional Services Managers) in 2010, but felt there was a gap for managers at grades 6 and 7.

So, as part of my OU project, I worked in partnership with Learning and Development to start the Developing Management Skills (DMS) programme and, in January 2013, 13 people were selected for the pilot course. It went really well and is now in its sixth cohort.

I still act as a facilitator for the programme and am part of the design team. As I was sponsored by the University in my own studies, it’s great to feel that I am giving something back.


Why do you think you were awarded the 50th anniversary prize for ‘sustained contribution to Learning & Development’?

It was a complete surprise! I was asked to attend the Learning and Development Awards ceremony (on 26 February 2015) to present prizes to cohorts 2 and 3 from the DMS course. I was very flattered and honoured to receive the award.

I strongly believe that working in such a strong learning environment, it’s essential to ensure that that you’re on top of your own professional development. I think it also adds to your credibility with academic colleagues and helps give an understanding of what it’s like to be a student here.

The work I have done with Learning and Development and also the AUA (Association of University Administrators) has meant that I have been able to share these beliefs and contribute to the professional development of members of staff within the University and in the HE sector as a whole.


How do you spend your time outside work?

I enjoy spending time with my family and visiting my husband’s French family and friends in Marseille.

I’m a member of Faversham Flower Club which is quite a recent hobby and completely different to other aspects of my life. Flower arranging brings together gardening – which I love – and a tiny bit of creativity. I find it’s a very focused way to spend my time.


What was your earliest ambition, career-wise?

I really wanted to be a news reader or a weather presenter. But I didn’t enjoy meteorology while studying Geography and then my career took a different pathway.


What was your first and/or worst job?

My first and worst job was working on Saturdays as a sales assistant for a department store – it was so boring and the day seemed to last forever. Otherwise, I have enjoyed all my jobs.


What do you think is your greatest achievement?

Definitely my MBA – I think that managing to work part-time, study part-time and having a family has been a real achievement. There were stages when I thought I was not going to manage but I received lots of encouragement along the way, especially from my heads of School and line manager.


Based on your experiences, what advice would you give others?

Seize every opportunity that is presented to you at the University. It’s a fantastic organisation to work for – take the time to look outside your own role and see what’s going on.


What’s next for you in terms of learning and development?

I have signed up for a couple of short in-house training courses but I haven’t got anything else planned at the moment in terms of further qualifications. After studying part-time for so long, I really value my free time!

Find out more about learning and development opportunities for staff at the University

Kent premiere for acclaimed Edo-period chamber opera

The multi-media chamber opera with a libretto by Dr Nancy Gaffield (School of English) will be performed at the Gulbenkian on 23 May.

Titled Tokaido Road, the fifty-minute opera is set in the rich, hedonistic ‘Floating World’ of Japan’s Edo period. A composite of music, poetry, mime, dance and visual imagery, Tokaido Road draws inspiration from the ravishing mix of art forms enjoyed by the wealthy members of Edo society.

The opera was created and commissioned by the Okeanos Ensemble , long renowned for its fascinating mix of Western and Japanese instruments (oboe, clarinet, viola, koto, sho, shakuhachi). The Ensemble will perform traditional Japanese music during the first half of the production and composer Nicola LeFanu’s celebrated music during the second half.

Tokaido Road

The idea for Tokaido Road grew from Dr Gaffield’s award-winning book of poems of the same name. Published in 2011, Dr Gaffield’s book was in turn inspired by Japanese artist Hiroshige’s woodcut prints (1833–34) depicting the landscapes and travellers of the Tokaido Road, which linked the Japanese eastern and western capitals of Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto.

Tokaido Road , published by CB Editions, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, nominated for the Forward First Collection Prize, and was awarded the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize.

The opera, which received its national premiere at the Cheltenham Music Festival in July 2014, appears at the Gulbenkian as part of the University’s 50th anniversary, part of which is to celebrate the work of members of its creative community.

Further information is available from Gulbenkian .

Dr Gaffield is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University’s School of English.

Billy Yu Lok Ng

Kent Law Campaign volunteer wins The Chancellor’s Award

On Friday 8 May, the University celebrated outstanding extracurricular student achievement at the 2015 Kent Student Awards Gala Dinner.
Our very own Billy Ng, Vice Chair of the Kent Law Campaign Student Group, was awarded the Chancellor’s Employability Points Award and the Outstanding Fundraiser of the Year Award.
The Chancellor’s Employability Points Award recognises a student who has made an outstanding contribution to a University initiative, while participating in the Employability Points Scheme. Billy has worked tirelessly campaigning and fundraising for the Kent Law Campaign accumulating a considerable amount of volunteering employability points throughout the year.
The Outstanding Fundraiser of the Year Award recognises students who generously devote their time to fundraising, making a real difference for their societies or organisations in the local community. Billy has helped organise, as well as taken part in numerous activities to raise money for the new Kent Law Clinic. The Clinic reaches out to the vulnerable in the community that cannot afford legal support to help them gain justice. Billy’s last fundraising challenge, the Reading Half Marathon, brought in an incredible £530 for the Kent Law Campaign.
Of his achievement, Billy said ‘I would like to wholeheartedly thank the Kent Law Campaign and the University of Kent for helping me end my Law degree on a high note. It has been a fantastic journey that I am extremely grateful for. I would like to share these awards with Hilary Edridge, Anna Pollard and Dr. Anthony Manning for all of their support. I will continue in remaining humble and working hard, hopefully my help may be able to reach more people especially the vulnerable in need.’
The Kent Law Campaign would like to congratulate Billy on being awarded these prestigious awards and thank him for his commitment to the Campaign over the past year.
For more information about the Employability Points Scheme, please visit our website:

April-Louise Pennant

Kent Student Award winners announced at gala ceremony

Annual event celebrates those who have made an outstanding contribution to University life or a positive impact on the community.

The winners of Kent’s annual awards for students who have made an outstanding contribution to University life or a positive impact on the community were announced during a gala ceremony on Friday 8 May.

Held at Darwin College on the University’s Canterbury campus, the Kent Student Awards 2015 were attended by more than 140 students, staff and guests.

The overall Student of the Year Award was won by April-Louise Pennant, a final yearSociology with a Year in Hong Kong student. She received her Award from Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Keith Mander and Tammy Naidoo, President of Kent Union .

Ms Pennant was chosen having won the Outstanding International/Multicultural Initiative of the Year and for being a runner up in the Outstanding Contribution to Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity category. Her achievements include promoting racial equality and black culture on campus and at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Billy Yu Lok Ng

Kent Law School student Billy Yu Lok Ng won both the Chancellor’s Employability Points Award and the Outstanding Fundraiser of the Year Award for his campaigning and fundraising for a new Kent Law Clinic on campus,  alongside other charity fundraising.

The other Awards categories and winners were:

  • Outstanding Contribution to the 50th Anniversary – Campus2Campus runners, for running over 200 miles from Canterbury to Paris and raising over £6,000 for charity in the University’s 50th year. The runners included: George Brodie, Jessica Houghton, Cameron Hutton, Ellie Mason, Matthew Prior and Anh Tran
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community – Gullalaii Yousafzai, a postgraduate student in Reproductive Medicine: Science and Ethics, for helping the homeless, volunteering as an English teacher, raising awareness of hate crime and supporting asylum seekers through being a birth partner
  • Outstanding Contribution to Arts and Culture – Daniel Hards, Drama and Theatre, for establishing a theatre company, volunteering and for developing the confidence and creativity of local school children through youth theatre
  • Outstanding Environmental Champion – Fiona Pedeboy, Politics and International Relations, for promoting sustainable practices on campus and setting-up a free shop where students can donate unwanted items for reuse by others

Two Special Commendations for Overcoming Personal Challenges were awarded to:

  • Dellanie Nash, Medical Humanities, for inspiring fellow students through her dedication and high level of academic achievement, while working full-time to support her family
  • Hannah Beth Ford, Psychology, for her desire to set up a charity to help others after overcoming her own personal difficulties.