Category Archives: Events

Darren Griffin: Celebrating a milestone with a good deed

Genetic disease affects 1 in 50 babies, can lead to stillbirth, miscarriage, pregnancy complications and IVF failure. Young researchers working in this field drive scientific progress in this area. One of the ways in which we can promote their careers is by supporting them to visit other labs, to attend conferences and to present their fascinating research.

Sadly, funds are all too short for allowing them to do this, and so Darren Griffin decided to fundraise to support these young people in enhancing their scientific careers in this fascinating and worthwhile area of science.

Darren recently celebrated his 50th birthday, and, instead of presents, asked friends, family and collaborators to donate to his cause.  He said:

“The idea came from the fact that I was having a big birthday party and didn’t want my house filled up with presents from every guest I was inviting.  Bringing opportunities to young scientists is one of the most rewarding parts of my job and I thought there could be no better way to divert any monetary good wishes to and even better good cause.  The just giving page was excellent and I was overwhelmed by the generosity of my friends.  The money is already about to be put to good use with three of my lab going to a conference in Florence later in the year.”

To date, the fund has exceeded its initial target of £4,000 and continues to grow.  You can visit the page at

Meet the new UKA Boston Chair: Scarlet Kim

Scarlet Kim

Where were you raised?

I was born in Nyack, New York. But I grew up in the Bronx in New York City. New Yorker to the core.  After high school though, travelled away from New York and lived international and domestically for many years.

What made you decide to study at Kent?

Head Professor Hugh Miall co-wrote “Contemporary Conflict Resolution” with Oliver Ramsbotham and Tom Woodhouse. I studied with the book during my undergraduate studies. And wanted to meet the man in person. He was the Head Professor of the Department of Politics and International Relations.

What would you like to see the group achieve in the next few years? 

I would like the group to grow and make more happy connections. To network, volunteer, and expand the potential of what the chapter can do for the University of Kent and alumni services. Once we are able to establish a foundation of what the Boston chapter stands on, I am excited to see us grow further.

What was your earliest ambition?

My earliest ambition was surprisingly to be an entomologist and to study insects. Beetles fascinated me, however after a while, I couldn’t handle the cringe factor.

What was your first job?

My mother used to own an old fashion candy shop with soda fountain drinks and spinning stools like the classic Americana style. When my mother realized my maths skills were on par, I was working the counter and serving drinks when I turned eight. It was great, I was managing high school and college part-timers because I was the most experienced. I didn’t get paid though, since it was my mom. But tips were great!

What advice would you give a new student at Kent?

Be open, try everything so that you can figure out what you want to focus on, make friends with everyone because you will find a kindred spirit among them, and look up at the night sky at Kent for the stars are beautiful.

Would you recommend Kent to prospective students? Why?

My experience at Kent in Canterbury was life-changing. The friends, the memories, and the studies. I don’t have any negative things to say. And I want others to experience the same amazing time. Canterbury will always be my second home.

How would you describe yourself in six words?

Not enough words to describe Scarlet.

Meet the new UKA Boston Chair: Natalya Orlando

Natalya Orlando

Where were you raised?

What made you decide to study at Kent?

I pursued my Master’s Degree in Political Strategy and Communication, which was only offered at a handful of universities worldwide.

What would you like to see the group achieve in the next few years? 

My co-chair, Scarlet, and I want to expand the Kent alumni network in the Boston area, connect with the Kent global alumni network, and encourage our Boston area chapter to get involved in local events and volunteer opportunities.

If you didn’t attend Kent how would your life now be different?

I would not have many of the wonderful Kent connections I have, would never have travelled the UK, as I did, nor would I have my Master’s Degree, which I am very proud of!


What was your earliest ambition?


What have you been up to since graduating?

I have worked extensively in issue, and candidate based campaigns, preside over the Boston Austrian Economics group, is a social media consultant, and currently work in the investment banking industry.

What advice would you give a new student at Kent?

Take advantage of everything Kent, and the lovely city of Canterbury offers!

Who or what inspires you?

Jesus Christ

Earl Okin is a triple threat. One of the finest of Jazz/Bossa Nova singers around anywhere. (not forgetting the legendary ‘vocal trumpet’ solos). A world-class songwriter and one of the top music-comedy comedians on the circuit.  He has performed over 500 shows at the Edinburgh Fringe since 1983! Most importantly, however, Earl is one of the ‘First 500’. He took his degree at Kent in Philosophy 1965-68.

While studying at Kent in 1966, he was signed to the same company as The Beatles and recorded his first single at Abbey Road in 1967. Some of his songs were covered during the 1960s by Cilla Black, Georgie Fame and Helen Shapiro.

During the 1970s, Earl started to perform in large venues, beginning with folk acts such as Ralph McTell and Fairport Convention. He progressed to open for such varied performers as Jean-Luc Ponty and Van Morrison. However, it was the 1979 tour with Paul McCartney and Wings which prompted him to pursue his musical career full-time.

In 1981, he appeared on The Parkinson Show and was invited by Nigel Planer to perform at The Comic Strip. This led to his second career on the “alternative comedy” circuit where he remains a headline act.

Earl continues to work as a songwriter and jazz singer/musician, with a particular interest in Bossa Nova. He gives concerts in Brazil from time to time, as well as touring his one-man show, a mixture of music and comedy, worldwide. He has performed in New York at Birdland, The Apollo and other jazz venues. In addition, he toured India, Singapore, and other nearby countries. He has also performed at most major venues in London, including the Royal Albert Hall and Royal Festival Hall, The Palladium and Wembley Arena.

In February he will be returning to campus to play at the Gulbenkian!  You can book tickets online.

A Wonderful Week of Words


As part of the 2016 Student Project Grants scheme, the UKC Hogwarts Society and Kent Union applied for funding to support J.K Rowling’s charity, Lumos.   Lumos works with underprivileged families abroad and in the UK to help them get back on their feet and build solid foundations for a better future. The goal was to raise monehogwartsy but also make an impact in the community.

Local primary schools with a high percentage of underprivileged children, were targetted and invited to a day at the university to listen to a children’s author and participate in workshops designed to inspire and boost their confidence, and encourage a love of reading.

Three days of children’s authors and workshops took place, and ticketed events with authors to raise money for Lumos. Other Kent Union Societies also got involved and ran music, poetry and other workshops run by to help raise money, and so the whole university involved.

 Rebecca Chidgey of St Stephen’s School said “all the children that attended the workshops during World Book Week at the UKC thoroughly enjoyed it and found it all very interesting and informative. I would like to thank you for inviting us, it was a real privilege.”

A Year 4 student from St John’s School commented; “My favourite part was when we went to the drama room.”

Applications for the 2017 Student Project Grants Scheme are open until 16 December 2016! Apply now!

Opening ceremonies


The 50th anniversary celebrations began with an opening ceremony on 1 October in Canterbury and 2 October in Medway. Members of the local Kent community joined our students, staff and alumni for an evening of live music, entertainment and spectacular fireworks.

At both events, bands played songs from the last 5 decades, covering many famous acts who have played at Kent!

Guests at Canterbury had the chance to ride the Kent Wheel for stunning views of the University and the city of Canterbury as the sun set.

Both campuses did themselves proud in the big #WeAreKent selfie, and many guests raised a glass of Old Templeman ale to toast the start of the anniversary year! Students from the School of History took guests for a walk down memory lane and heard many happy memories of Kent – here’s to making many more throughout the year ahead!

Following these events we will celebrate with our staff, students, alumni and supporters in our local, European and global communities as part of our regular international activities. Find out more about the events taking place.

Congratulations to our new graduates!

Congratulations to our new alumni who graduated in Medway and Canterbury over the last two weeks!

Graduation day is a celebration of all that our new graduates have accomplished at the University. Your graduation isn’t the end of a story but the beginning of a new chapter. Today you are joining over 135,000 Kent alumni worldwide, and we hope that you stay in touch.

We will be holding some fantastic events in the next academic year to celebrate our 50th anniversary year, so we hope that you will come back to join in the festivities and mark this important milestone. We will be holding an amazing alumni reunion weekend on 4-6 September 2015, which will give you the perfect opportunity to return to the University and take a trip down memory lane with your fellow alumni. Have a look to see who might be coming, and register your interest!

Former staff share their memories

The Former Staff Association held their annual summer event and AGM on Thursday 19 June. The event gave members the opportunity to share their memories of Kent with students from the University as part of the History Projects, who collected some fantastic memories and memorabilia.

We were joined by Ann MacDonald, the University’s new Archivist, and by students and staff from the school of History who are co-ordinating a series of projects to document the history of the University and its campuses.

Alison Coles, the Director of Development, also gave a presentation about the upcoming 50th anniversary celebrations, which will launch on 1 October in Canterbury this year.

Open lecture: CHSS Anniversary

Attend the Centre for Health Services Studies’ (CHSS) 25th Anniversary Open Lecture on Friday 4 July, 4.30-6.30pm, in the Colyer-Fergusson Music Hall.

The Open Lecture, titled ‘Health services research: the gradual encroachment of ideas’, by Professor Nick Black, will discuss the need to demonstrate the value of research and how it threatens the future of health services.

Read the full abstract

There is increasing pressure on researchers and research funding bodies to demonstrate the value of research. Simple approaches, consistent with the biomedical paradigm, based on relating the cost of research to its supposed impact are being investigated and adopted in laboratory and clinical research. While this may be appropriate in such research areas, it should not be applied to health services research which aims to alter the ways policy-makers and managers think about health, disease and health care or, as John Maynard Keynes put it, ‘the gradual encroachment of ideas’. By considering six fundamental assumptions about health care that have been successfully challenged and overturned over the past few decades, the profound and sustained impact of health services research can be demonstrated. The application of economic models of ‘payback’ would fail to recognise such contributions which, in turn, could threaten future funding of health services research.


  • 4.30-5pm: Drinks reception in the Colyer-Fergusson Building Foyer
  • 5-5.15pm: Welcome by Professor John Baldock
  • 5.15-6pm: Open Lecture by Professor Nick Black
  • 6-6.15pm: Questions and answers
  • 6.15-6.30pm: ‘Looking forward’ by Professor Stephen Peckham


The lecture is open to all and free to attend.

Open lecture: Why and how should we commemorate the centenary of the First World War?

Grimond Lecture Theatre 2

Friday 30 May 2014


An event organised by the German Department in the School for European Culture and Languages and the School of History at the University of Kent

Why and how should we commemorate the centenary of the First World War?

During this event at the UK’s European university, we will compare the symbolic importance attached to the First World War across Europe using the examples of the UK, Austria and Belgium. What do governments, archives and museums hope to achieve with their commemoration programmes over the next four years and are European trends discernible across national borders?

You are warmly invited to attend a discussion with our panel of international experts, followed by an illustrated lecture presenting visual documents from both sides of the conflict. This aims illustrate what we can learn from the similarities between these artefacts, and how family and public histories are linked in the ‘great seminal catastrophe’ (Kennan) of the twentieth century.

The event will end with the launch of Gateways to the First World War, an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded centre for public engagement with the First World War.

3.00-4.30pm: Panel Discussion – Grimond Lecture Theatre 2

Dr Emil Brix (Austrian Ambassador to the United Kingdom)
Prof Wolfgang Maderthaner (General Director of the Austrian State Archive, Vienna)
Dr Suzanne Bardgett (Director of Research, Imperial War Museum, London)
Dominieck Dendoveen (Flanders Fields Museum, Belgium)

Chaired by Dr Deborah Holmes, Head of German at the University of Kent

5-6.30pm: Illustrated lecture – Grimond Lecture Theatre 2

Prof Mark Connelly (School of History, University of Kent)
Dr Heide Kunzelmann (Lecturer in German, University of Kent)

6.30-7.30: Drinks reception

Launch of Gateways to the First World War, the AHRC World War One Engagement Centre hosted by the School of History at the University of Kent (director: Prof Mark Connelly)

For more details and to register, please visit:

If you require any further information please email:

This event is also supported by the Austrian Cultural Forum and the Ingeborg Bachmann Centre for Austrian Literature (Institute of Modern Languages Research, University of London).