Monthly Archives: July 2015

Santander Universities raise money for the Kent Law Campaign by jumping from a 160ft crane!

Sahar Habibmohammadi and Thomas Smith, from Santander Universities worked hard to fundraise for their 160ft bungee jump challenge at the O2 Arena. Leading up to their jump they held a stall full of games such as name the teddy bear, guess the number of skittles in a jar and guess the quote. Players were entered into a grand prize draw to win a bundle of prizes. The lucky winner, Felicity Clifford, was announced earlier this week and collected her goody bag from the Santander Universities branch on campus. Sahar and Thomas also asked their supporters to sponsor their jump through JustGiving; with all their efforts they have so far raised a fantastic £308.00 (including Gift Aid). Santander Universities has pledged to match their sponsorship which will then also be matched by the University of Kent.

On Saturday 25th July, 2015 Sahar and Thomas completed their tandem 160ft crane bungee jump at the O2 Arena. We would like to say a huge thank you to Sahar and Thomas for their commitment and support towards the Campaign, and for taking on this thrilling challenge.

Of the jump, Sahar says:
‘’I never thought I would jump off of a 160ft crane head first towards a car park, this has taken charity fundraising to a whole other level. I’m proud of myself for actually going through with it, it was all for a great cause. Thank you to those who supported our fundraising, please continue to help us raise money for the Kent Law Campaign. This has been such a great experience, I will never forget it nor will I ever bungee jump again. PS: Thank you Tom for hugging me all the way down!’’

Of the jump, Thomas says:
“It was very terrifying to be pushed off a crane attached only with a rope at your feet, hurtling towards the car park below. While the bungee jump itself was scary, I’m glad I had my friends and family supporting what I was doing to raise money for the Kent Law Campaign.”

For photographs of their bungee jump visit the Kent Law Campaign on Facebook.

Kent alumna jumps from a 160ft crane in aid of the Kent Law Campaign

Natalie Salunke, Kent alumna and Chair of the Kent Law Campaign Young Alumni Group jumped off a 160ft crane on Saturday 25th July in aid of raising money for the Kent Law Campaign.

The 160ft crane bungee jump, organised by UK Bungee Club, took place at the O2 Arena in London. Natalie was one of three Campaign supporters taking part; however Natalie completed a solo jump which took courage when facing the height at the top of the crane! To date she has raised a fantastic £325.00 for the Campaign. There is still time to show you support and congratulate Natalie on her JustGiving page:

Of the jump, she says: “So the day finally came when I was expecting to throw myself from 160 ft, on my own, with only a rope attached! I have to say, it was much more terrifying than I thought, and I nearly didn’t do it, but telling myself that it was for a good cause and would be over in a matter of seconds made me jump – all in aid of the Kent Law Campaign and the YAG’s fundraising target.”

Natalie has risen over £7.5k for the Kent Law Campaign by taking part in a variety of challenges ranging from abseiling down the ArcelorMittal Orbit to skydiving; now she can add bungee jumping to her list! We would like to say a huge thank you to Natalie for her dedication, time and support she has shown to the Campaign over the years.

Kent graduate’s first single is ranked in top five songs to hear in Q Magazine

Recent graduate Greg Hummell (Medway 2012), who obtained a BSc (Hons) in Music Technology from Kent in July, has achieved over 100,000 listens for his first single Turning Tides, on general release from Apidae music.

Featuring lyrics and haunting vocals from fellow Kent alumnus and Music Technology graduate Drew York (Medway 2014), the stunning track was featured earlier in the year with a special mention in Q magazine as one of five songs to hear.

Greg’s signing with Dumont Dumont, a record label based in Stockholm, came about after he put Turning Tides up on SoundCloud as a demo, where it was picked up by blogs including HillyDilly and Pause Musicale before being found by the record label.

Greg performs in a number of local bands and co-established and managed a record label for the University in the latter two years of his degree. Founder of electronic project Apidae (the name derives from Greg’s surname, which is German for Bumblebee, and Apidae, a collective term for bees), his joint project with Drew York came into being in 2013, in the first year of Greg’s degree, when he started remixing local bands to hone his skills as a producer. From there, he started writing original material and putting together a live show.

Says Greg, “My music is inspired by alternative rock acts such as Radiohead, Mogwai and Foals, and electronic acts like Bonobo, Four Tet and Shigeto, and I sought to combine and reflect these influences in my individual project EP, which explored the relationship between conventional live instrumentation and electronic instruments, sound sources, and means of production. I composed arrangements seamlessly combining drums, guitars, and piano, with synthesizers, arpeggiators and techniques like sampling, side chaining and filtering. I look to continue writing, producing, and performing original music, and hope to get a job in a studio.”

Greg, who has been greatly inspired by the local music scene, credits his time at University as a big factor in supporting his career launch, thanks to the incredible experience of meeting like-minded people and being inspired by lecturers and speakers.

To keep in touch with further exciting developments for Apidae, follow @ApidaeUK on Twitter

Kent Law Campaign student volunteer wins Fairweather Prize

We were thrilled to hear that our very own Kent Law Campaign Student Group Fundraising Officer (2014/15), Andrew Wilson, was awarded the Fairweather Prize for outstanding contribution to the Kent Law Clinic at this year’s Kent Law School prize-giving reception.

After the Kent Law School graduation ceremony on Tuesday 14 June, a drinks reception was held on the Canterbury campus, hosted by Kent Law School. Head of School, Professor Toni Williams welcomed visitors to a marquee overlooking the city where 30 prizes were presented to Canterbury law students in recognition of their academic successes. A further eight prizes were awarded to Medway law students who graduated at Rochester Cathedral earlier this month.

Of the prize, Andrew says: “Having the opportunity to work within the Kent Law Clinic made my final year at university the best experience that I could ask for. Spending my time helping others, gaining vital experience and working alongside my friends has been a great way to wrap up three very good years working toward my Law degree. Winning the Fairweather prize has been wonderful, it’s an amazing feeling to be awarded the prize for my work within the Law Clinic, all of us have worked very hard this year on the cases coming to the Clinic and I can’t be more grateful for the recognition.”

For more information on this year’s prize winners visit the Kent Law School website.

Sarah Armstrong (Keynes 1994) publishes debut novel

Sarah Armstrong (Keynes 1994), who was awarded an MA in Modern Literature from Kent in 1995, has recently published her debut novel, which follows on from the short stories she has already published in magazines and anthologies.

Published by Sandstone Press, The Insect Rosary is the story of two sisters on holiday in Northern Ireland, who discover that their family are involved with disappearance and murder. The book follows two strands, both of which speak of secrets and silence. The first looks at the sisters’ relationship as children in 1982, whilst the other shows them as adults in the present day. British crime writer Elizabeth Haynes has described the novel as ‘an atmospheric, cleverly written exploration of the intensity of sibling relationships, a story full of dark humour, unexpected tensions and unanswered questions, leading to an unbearably tense conclusion.’

After graduating from Kent, Sarah, who lives in Essex with her husband and four children, obtained a bursary to pursue a PhD at the University of Greenwich in 1996, where she studied the work of Sidney Keyes. She began lecturing with the Open University in 2002, where she currently teaches creative writing, but it was with the birth of her third child that she remembered her aspiration to become a writer.

‘This novel wasn’t my first, but it was the first one where I made a conscious use of autobiographical material’ says Sarah. ‘I spent every summer in my childhood on my gran’s farm in Northern Ireland, which I loved, and went back twice as an adult. The farm, which is still in the family, had changed a lot in some ways (not at all in others) and I wanted to preserve it as I remembered it. The use of it as a setting in this novel was vital as I tend to use houses in my writing that I know well, and this house suggested a story of its own.’

As an author, the best advice Sarah says she received was never to use a semi-colon. ‘As a lecturer, it is something I detest. My publisher, Moira Forsyth, is trying to start a campaign to eradicate them from writing, and I think I agree!’

When thinking about the advice she would give to aspiring writers, Sarah explains that there are three things for which she is grateful to have as an author. ‘The first is friends. I have been lucky enough to create a small group of friends whose writing I admire and whose feedback I value. In a time where it seems so inevitable that you must pay for advice, this is a wonderful thing to have. Secondly, it is important to have confidence in what you are doing. Just because it isn’t right at the moment doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. However, sometimes you need the confidence to let something go that will never work. Thirdly, you need a lot of patience. I’m still struggling with this one.’

Fulbright scholar thanks alumni for their support

On 20 June 2015 the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow, hosted the University’s annual Benefactors’ Garden Party at Canterbury, to thanks all those who have supported Kent over the past year. Around 180 guests attended the event, including alumni and friends of the University. Rebecca Monteleone was invited to speak to the assembled guests about her experience as a Fulbright postgraduate student at Kent, studying for a Master’s in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Rebecca said: “While at the Ohio State University, I developed a passion for disability rights, particularly for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Because the field of disability activism is a relatively new one, I had the incredible opportunity to develop my own Bachelor’s program, pulling from the humanities, psychology, social work, and speech and hearing, to become the first ever undergraduate to earn a Disability Studies degree at the University. My interests extended beyond the classroom and, in my final year, I became the founder and co-chair of Ohio’s first disability pride parade and festival. As much as I had become involved in the disability rights movement in the state of Ohio, I was eager to develop my skills and widen my perspectives as I pursued a higher degree.

As the youngest of four children in a family that relied on food stamps for much of my early childhood, the thought of receiving a degree abroad seemed impossibly out of reach. I had worked to support myself through my undergraduate degree, and had never even been out of the country. All I had in my favour was a passion for supporting people with intellectual disabilities and determination to succeed.

When I found the University of Kent’s Tizard Centre, which is producing world-leading research in the field of intellectual disability and actively working to shift perspectives toward embracing individuals with disabilities as valuable and irreplaceable members of our communities, I had mixed emotions. Here was an academic institution doing work that truly resonated with me, and there was no way I could possibly afford to study here. Thanks to the support of the US-UK Fulbright Commission and the ever-generous University of Kent alumni and donors, my dream to study and contribute to this field has become a reality. My current work, under Dr Rachel Forrester-Jones, explores how adults with intellectual disabilities understand disability and how they identify themselves in that context. We are seeking to develop a functional definition of disability for this population, and inform services to provide more person-centred care based on these findings. This month we will travel to Belfast, Northern Ireland, to present our study at the Social Policy Association annual conference.

As my Master’s program draws to a close, I am looking ahead. Next year, I will be interning in Washington, DC with a non-profit organisation that researches best practice for students with intellectual disabilities transitioning into the community. Following this, I will be entering a PhD and continuing my work on how social identity affects care outcomes for adults. In the long-term, I am determined to lead an international rights initiative for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Kent cares about students like me, and I cannot express how much that has altered my research career and my life trajectory. I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to anyone who has supported the University and, by extension, students who may not have the means to study in the UK, but have the talent, drive and passion to succeed. Kent’s commitment to excellence in research sets it apart in the academic sphere, but its commitment to its students is what makes Kent truly unique.

Thank you.”

Rebecca has been supported by the University of Kent in America (UKA). For more information, please visit our website.

Ground breaking ceremony for new Kent Law Clinic

A ground breaking ceremony for the new Kent Law Clinic building took place on Wednesday 1 July, the hottest July day on record! The ceremony was conducted by the Honourable Charles Wigoder, after whom the building will be named, and the University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow.

Guests included: Elizabeth Wigoder; Her Honour Judge Adèle Williams, Canterbury Combined Court Judge; His Honour Andrew Patience QC; David and Alicia Pentin; Elizabeth Tullberg; and Professor John Fitzpatrick, Director of the Kent Law Clinic.

The £5 million building, which is located at Kent’s Canterbury campus, has been funded entirely from donations and sponsored fundraising events, each of which have been matched pound for pound by the University. These include transformational gifts from the Honourable Charles Wigoder and Dr Kennedy Wong both of whom are Kent alumni. You can see a full list of donors on the Kent Law Campaign website and how you can get involved with the Campaign.

Alumna wins emerging director award

Mel Hillyard (Eliot, 2002), who graduated from Kent with a Master of Drama and Theatre Studies in 2006, has won the JP Morgan emerging director award 2015, reports The Stage.

Mel will now have the opportunity to stage a three-week production at the Orange Tree Theatre in south-west London in April 2016, and will receive a £16,000 bursary to fund the project. She will also begin a six-month placement in August at the National Theatre (NT) Studio, as resident director in the new work department.

Mel told The Stage: ‘To be working at the NT Studio at this particular time is hugely exciting. Developing new work is where my passion lies, and I feel privilege to join the team under Rufus Norris’ helm. Being able to direct my own show at the Orange Tree is an honour.’

Speaking to The Stage, Artistic Director at the Orange Tree Paul Miller, described Mel as ‘an exceptionally gifted young director with very exciting ideas’.

Image courtesy of The Stage

Supporters of the Campaign prepare to bungee jump at The O2

On Saturday 25th July, Natalie Salunke, Chair of the Kent Law Campaign Student Group, Sahar Habibmohammadi and Thomas Smith from Santander Universities will be jumping from a 160ft crane located at The O2 Arena.  If they are brave enough to take in their surroundings they will be able to see magnificent views of The Thames, Canary Wharf and Central London.

Sahar and Thomas will be taking part in a tandem jump and brave Natalie will be jumping solo. All three will be raising money for the Kent Law Campaign so please show your support by sponsoring them on their JustGiving pages.

If you have been inspired by Natalie, Sahar and Thomas’ bungee jump challenge please contact Felicity Clifford for information on how you can get involved and take on your own challenge for the Kent Law Campaign.

Sponsor Sahar and Thomas at
Sponsor Natalie at