Category Archives: 50th anniversary

Dan Simpson

50th anniversary crowdsourced poem

University of Kent alumnus Dan Simpson is crowdsourcing a poem for the University of Kent’s 50th anniversary. A crowdsourced poem is created entirely from words submitted by the public, which Dan will then cut up and combine to create a poem by and for the people who took part. That means you!

You can contribute to the poem in many ways: by tweeting to @dansimpsonpoet using #WeAreKentPoem, sending your words by email to, in person with Dan at the 50th Festival, or by filling in one of cards available at the festival on Friday 4 or Saturday 5 September!

The poem will be read out at the gala dinners in Eliot and Rutherford on Saturday 5 September and subsequently shared across our social media channels, in the next edition of the Kent alumni magazine and on

Kent Bunny parties at the Summer Ball 2015


This year’s Kent Union ‘Party in the Car Park’ had its share of VIPs, including our own Kent Bunny.

It’s safe to say Kent Bunny had a great time at the special 50th anniversary edition of the summer ball. Check out the video to see what Kent Bunny got up to on the night!

Students running 300 miles for charity


A team of students and alumni runners is taking part in a 300-mile ultra marathon from Canterbury to Amsterdam to raise money for charity.

The University of Kent Athletics and Cross Country Club runners will complete ten marathons in ten days. They are raising funds for the British Heart Foundation and the Kent Opportunity Fund, which supports scholarships, extra-curricular projects and bursaries for our students.

The runners left Canterbury on 15 June to a rousing send-off by Kent students and staff, including Dame Julia Goodfellow, Vice-Chancellor; Graham Holmes, Kent Sport Director; Kim Brophy, Fundraising Volunteer Manager at British Heart Foundation; and Nina Mehmi, Kent Union Vice President (Sport). The Kent Bunny also made an appearance.

Runners from the Athletics and Cross Country Club are well-known for taking on big challenges and, in 2014, completed eight marathons in eight days running from Canterbury to Paris. The Cants2dam run is their biggest challenge yet and one of many exciting student projects taking place during Kent’s 50th anniversary year.

You can support the team by making a donation via Just Giving  or by texting TEXT CDAM50 £5 to 70070 to donate.

For further information, contact Tim Farrow.

University is worth £0.7 billion to the local economy


A new report reaffirms the University’s role as a major economic, cultural and social force in the region and the positive contribution of its students.

In 2014, the University commissioned an economic impact study for the financial year 2012/13.

Among the key findings, the report shows that:

  • The University is worth £0.7 billion to the economy of the south east and directly or indirectly supports just over 7,800 jobs in the region
  • it generates over £520 million per year for the Canterbury area and over ten per cent of all Canterbury jobs
  • it generates over £80 million per year in the Medway area and 830 full-time local jobs
  • its student off-campus spend in the region is estimated to be almost £250 million, generating £283 million for the region and creating 2,532 full-time equivalent jobs
  • the estimated off-campus expenditure of its international students from over 140 countries was £60.3 million
  • the University’s total export earnings are £111.9 million, making an important contribution to the UK balance of trade
  • the University is the largest conference venue in the south east, handling more than 2,000 residential events and 145,000 overnight stays
  • during 2013 alone, 97,786 visitors attended events at the Gulbenkian and Colyer-Fergusson Music Building.

The report, produced by Viewforth Consulting , also shows that the University’s students delivered a total of 104,868 volunteering hours in 2013/14 with an estimated economic value of between £527,000 and £640,000, benefitting more than 50 local organisations. 16,000 of those hours were delivered by Medway students.

In collaboration with Canterbury Christ Church University , the University also commissioned a report on the joint impact of the two universities on the region.

A report commissioned by Universities UK  on the economic role of UK universities is also available.

Freddy Kempf to perform at Colyer-Fergusson Concert Hall


The internationally acclaimed pianist will give a recital of works by Beethoven, Chopin and Tchaikovsky on Wednesday 24 June.

The performance will start at 7.30 pm. Tickets, priced  £15 (student concessions £7), are available from the Gulbenkian Box Office .

A former pupil at St Edmund’s School, Canterbury, and an Honorary Doctor of Music at Kent, Freddy Kempf is one of today’s most successful pianists, performing to sell-out audiences all over the world. Exceptionally gifted with a broad repertoire, he has built a unique reputation as an explosive and physical performer not afraid to take risks as well as a serious, sensitive and profoundly musical artist.

Since his rise to prominence on the international music scene he has worked with some of the world’s most prestigious musical institutions and conductors. He often appears on many of the world’s most important stages, including the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire, the Berlin Konzerthaus, Milan’s Conservatorio’s Sala Verdi, the Sociedad Filharmónica Bilbao, London’s Cadogan Hall, Sydney’s City Hall, Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, the City Concert Hall in Hong Kong and numerous others.

The Colyer-Fergusson Concert Hall is one of the region’s premiere and most distinctive concert venues. Located within the Colyer-Fergusson Music Building, its construction and equipment purchase, including its Steinway grand piano, were made possible entirely from philanthropic donations. It opened in 2012.

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.

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.

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.
Students and staff in 1971

Share your photos for 50th anniversary book

Staff, students and alumni are invited to share photos from their time at Kent for inclusion in the 50th anniversary photo book.

The photo book will showcase Kent’s first 50 years, from the 1960s through to 2015.

Many memories and photos have been gathered by the 50th team. They have heard about pianos racing along Eliot footpath, the University challenge team which defeated Oxford in 1983 and received photos from alumni living around the world.

The book is being prepared for sale at congregations this July, so please forward any photos to the 50th team before 25 May.

Electronic images should be emailed to Printed images can be delivered to the 50th team in the Development Office, Rutherford Annexe, Canterbury campus, who will arrange for them to be scanned.

You will be credited in the book if your images are printed.