Category Archives: creative events

School of Music and Fine Art alumni and students take key roles at Alexandra Palace parade

Day of the Dead Parade, 2016. Photo by Elise Berdah.


Two School of Music and Fine Art graduates from the BA (Hons) Event & Experience Design (formerly Creative Design & Production), played key roles the production of Day of the Dead Parade at carnival of the macabre, Dia Del Los Muertos as part of the Alexandra Palace Fire Show on 4th & 5th November.

Musician/Creative Producer/Performance Artist Kerri Layton directed the Day of the Dead Parade and Holly Greenhall was the production manager.

Day of the Dead Parade, 2016. Photo by Elise Berdah.


Another graduate, Charlotte Harding, volunteered to work on the shows alongside current students, 3rd years Elise Berdah, Kylie Lee, Shushi Wong and 1st years Lauren Thynne and Sophia Going.

Deputy Head of School Peter Hatton, Programmes Director for Event and Experience Design, Event and Experience Management, and Fine Art commented, “The programme has been running for ten years, and I am increasingly being sent opportunities for work experience from graduates who are working in the events industry in various areas, freelancers like Kerri and Holly through to event designers with marketing and branding agencies. This is a very exciting development for current students, being able to work alongside former students is inspiring and extrely informative.”

Day of the Dead Parade, 2016. Photo by Elise Berdah.


To find out more about the highly successful Event and Experience Design programmes in the School of Music and Fine Art, please visit our Taster Day on Saturday 26th November at the Historic Dockyard Chatham.  Book your free place here:


Further information: 

Kerri Layton:

Holly Greenhall:

School of Music and Fine Art at UCAS Design Your Future in London



On Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th November, 10am-3pm, The School of Music and Fine Art will be exhibiting at Design Your Future at the ExCeL Centre, London. Organised by UCAS, the event brings together over 100 exhibitors, workshops and demonstrations and is specifically for those interested in the creative arts and related subjects.

We are on stand 77 – come and chat to us about what the School of Music and Fine Art has offer and discover more about developing a career in the creative industries.

Visitor Guide here:

ExCeL London
S8 Entrance
One Western Gateway
Royal Victoria Dock
E16 1XL
Sat Nav: E16 1DR


More info here:

X factor vocal coach launches community pop, rock and soul choir

SMFA Concert 2016, Photo by Stacey Cooper.


A new University Pop, Rock & Soul Choir has been launched in the School of Music and Fine Art, led by choir director and vocal coach Kelly Fraser, Deputy Head of Vocals at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM), who is currently working on this year’s X Factor.

Said Kelly, “The choir will work together to create vibey, innovative arrangements of existing popular music repertoire. Everyone is welcome, and choir sessions are guaranteed to be up-lifting!”

Singers are needed! This is a fantastic opportunity to work with one of the top names in the music business. Rehearsals are 1 – 2pm Fridays in the Galvanising Workshop, Historic Dockyard Chatham

To find out more contact:  Tel: 01634 888980.


Info on Kelly Fraser

Simon Ling launches new season of Visiting Artist Talks on the 11th October 2016

Simon Ling, ‘Untitled’ 2012, oil on canvas. Photo by Marcus Leith. Courtesy of Greengrassi, London


The School of Music and Fine Art is delighted to announce the first event in the Autumn term Visiting Artist Talk series, welcoming painter Simon Ling on Tuesday 11 October at 6.15pm in the Royal Dockyard Church.

Born in 1968, British artist Simon Ling studied at Chelsea College of Art & Design and then at the Slade School of Art in London. His practice in involved in a deep engagement with painting and his subjects can often appear banal street scenes, still lifes, rocks, stones or patches of scrubland – but through a process of sustained and rigorous looking, his works transcend the ordinariness of their initial appearance, taking on a strange and at times unsettling quality.

Looking and seeing are of profound importance in Ling’s work. This might seem an obvious statement with regard to an artist, particularly a painter, but for Ling the operations and effects of perception are of particular centrality. Looking is always an extraordinary act rather than simply a process of passive observation – an active and deliberate thing that not only produces the world, but alters and disrupts it.

Many of Ling’s works are made ‘en-plein air’: painted in the streets around his London studio, in more rural locations in the British countryside, as well as in parks and wasteland. However, he also works in the studio, sometimes from models (which he constructs himself); sometimes from sketches or memory. In this way, his paintings take on a composite quality, accumulating and collapsing together different kinds of experience, perception and time.

Across all of Ling’s paintings we see an intense engagement with objects (in their broadest sense) – their relations, realities, and our mutable experience of them. Each canvas might be read as a kind of ‘event’: between the artist and the world, as it appears in that moment, as well as through the vagueries and distortion of recollection and reverie. Ling’s paintings might be seen to exemplify this unstable, contingent quality of the visible, the withdrawn and flickering thingly-ness of things, the way objects seep and pulse with the mute but exuberant fact of their own materiality.

In 2015, Ling had a solo exhibition at Kunsthalle, Bergen, and London art gallery, greengrassi, as well as taking part in numerous group exhibitions including Tate Britain, Camden Art Centre, and CAPC Bordeaux, France.

The talk is from 6.15pm-7.45pm and FREE to attend.  Future visiting artists include Martin Clark, Erica Scourti, Maria Fusco and Heather Phillipson. 


Venue: Royal Dockyard Church
University of Kent
Historic Dockyard Chatham

Congratulations to all 2016 School of Music and Fine Art Graduates

School of Music and Fine Art "Class of 2016". Photo by Stacey Cooper.
School of Music and Fine Art “Class of 2016”. Photo by Stacey Cooper.


On the hottest day of the year, talented students from the School of Music and Fine Art from the University of Kent enjoyed their graduation award ceremony in the stunning Rochester Cathedral followed by celebrations in the sun with the spectacular backdrop of Rochester Castle.

Duncan MacLeod, Director of Recruitment & Lecturer in Music commented: “This year’s graduation ceremony was a huge success, offering the opportunity for staff, alongside family and friends, to come together in celebrating our students’ achievement, and recognition of their hard work over the past three years. We wish all of our 2016 graduates every success in the future and look forward to hearing about their future achievements!”


Click here to view photos from the graduation ceremony online:

Please feel free to share, crediting our photographer Stacey Cooper.

Top National Design Prize for University of Kent Student

Cripa - 4th from left - with models
Cripa (4th from left) with her award winning fashion collection.


A student on the University of Kent’s BA (Hons) Fashion course, a School of Music and Fine Art franchised course delivered at the Tonbridge campus of West Kent College, has won a top national design prize. Cripa Yangkhrung won the Hainsworth Statement Award, worth £1,000, at the prestigious New Designers expo in London with her handmade fashion collection inspired by nature and its elements, Earthen Solidity, chosen from amongst the thousands on show.

Commented Cripa: “I never dreamed I’d be selected – and am beyond happy and honoured. I’ve always worked really hard and now feel this has paid off. I hope the fact they picked me offers inspiration to subsequent students.” 

The award is for the most creative and innovative used of a cloth or fabric in a finished product, demonstrating a flair for fresh new ideas. In addition to the prize of either cash, Hainsworth cloth or a combination of both to a value of £1000, the winner is invited to visit the prestigious Hainsworth Mill, whose cloth is used for the ceremonial uniforms worn by the Royal Family during state occasions and the military uniforms worn during the Charge of the Light Brigade.

Cripa with award
Cripa with her Hainsworth Statement Award.


The judges cited imagination, innovation, versatility, and good use of fabrics as reasons for selection, saying: “Cripa’s work shows excellent vision and concept, complimented with exceptional attention to detail and craftsmanship, resulting in a capsule collection that speaks of a longevity within the fashion industry and a bright and exciting future.”

Her collection consists of androgynous garments created by free-form pattern-cutting. Using locally-sourced wool fabrics with buttons she made out of wood, the collection promotes and supports a sustainable fashion industry.

Cripa Yangkhrung wasn’t the only student who sparked interest at New Designers. Heather Thunstrom was approached by Wilkinsons for their textiles department; Charlie Bidois was selected to the final three from hundreds of entries in a competition to design a label for Absolut Vodka, a major sponsor of New Designers. Curtis Ferris was approached after the College fashion show by a costume design company, who have offered him an internship.

School of Music and Fine Art Lecturer and Partner College Liaison Officer, Tim Meacham said, “This is a huge achievement – the awards are a testament to the students, the quality of teaching and the dedication of the staff.”


Links for more info:

A Portrait of Europe – new exhibition starts 19 July

A Portrait of Europe: Euro Stars.


On Tuesday 19 July, A Portrait of Europe: Euro Stars will be opening at The Historic Dockyard Chatham. The exhibition is being held by the Kent-based IMOS Foundation under its founder and creative director, Briony Kapoor, in conjunction with the University of Kent and hosted by The School of Music and Fine Art.

The artists’ brief was to identify one individual from each of the 28 EU member states who would become the subject of a painting – the challenge for visitors is to identify the different nationalities of the subjects of the paintings.

It opens from 10am to 4pm daily on Tuesday 19 July until Wednesday 10 August.  Admission is free but visitors must print a ticket.


More information is available here:

The exhibition will also be returning for welcome week so that students can enjoy it.


Three of the Design Factory Winners - L-R James Li - Ricardo Olmos - Jonathan White -
2016 Design Factory Winners: (Left to Right) James Li, Ricardo Olmos and Jonathan White.


Six students, from the University of Kent’s HND and BA (Hons) Top-Up courses had their designs selected from thousands of entries to make the winners’ list of 40 in the national Design Factory competition, the annual multi-disciplinary project for BA design students set by the Design Museum in London. One design, by James Li, appeared in the top 10 of all entries. The winners get to spend the day networking at a workshop and seminar held at the Design Museum, where they will benefit from collaborative experience with other winners and designers.

In previous years, the School of Music and Fine Art franchised courses, based at the Tonbridge campus of West Kent College, have also produced winners. The student classes spent a month working on the Design Factory brief: ‘Make It Different’ – rethinking the way designs are made in order to help produce a better and more sustainable future.

The three winners from the BA (Hons) Top-Up course were:

  • Jonathan White designed an app that helps contact the nearest wildlife rescue centre. He consulted rescue centres and vets during his design process and hopes that the app can be made into a fully-functioning one as soon as possible.
  • Kirsten Herpe, also a winner in last year’s competition, invented a game-like points system for encouraging the choosing of healthy school meals. Kirsten is going to train as a design teacher when she graduates later this year.
  • Fred Sirman invented a collectible bootleg toy that is made from old Simpsons dolls mixed with superhero figures. Fred has won twice before.

There were two winners from the HND Year 2:

  • Ricardo Olmos, who mocked-up a virtual reality visualiser that shows beach-goers the dangers of littering.
  • James Li, who produced a design for a skin-thin smart device screen that is embedded in the hand.

Finally, the winner from HND Year 1 was Ed Clarke, who designed an eco-friendly shoe that produces energy as it is worn.

School of Music and Fine Art Lecturer and Partner College Liaison Officer Tim Meacham said, “This is a fantastic achievement, particularly as the courses are competing nationally against much larger institutions. The awards are a testament to the students, the quality  of teaching and the dedication of the staff.”

School of Music and Fine Art students visit Tennessee as part of the Delta Project

SMFA students visit Tennessee as part of the Delta Project, 2016.


As part of a transatlantic music project, University of Kent students spent a week in the American state of Tennessee, exploring the musical history of Memphis and Nashville, as part of the Delta Project –  one of many initiatives in the School of Music and Fine Art (SMFA) which recognises the University of Kent’s commitment to internationalisation and wider participation, leading to greater opportunities in collaborative research.

The trip, from 5 – 13 June, was organised and led by University of Kent lecturer Alan Mash, with participating students from a range of degrees including business, journalism, music, creative events and social science.

Noel Chambers, 2nd year BMus (Hons) Popular Music commented, “It was great to experience Memphis culture – we travelled a lot and saw lots of different sites like the civil rights museum, the blues museum and Sun Studios. It was really inspirational to see the studios where Elvis Presley recorded.”

Sophie Cawsey, another SMFA student, who graduated this year with a BA (Hons) Event and Experience Design, agreed, “It was a really good trip. We crammed everything in and learnt a lot about the history of the place. From an events perspective, it was really interesting to see how the different places create different experiences for their visitors.”

The School of Music and Fine Art and The Delta project have signed agreements with Wisconsin University, Indiana University (Jacobs School of Music), University of Tennessee Knoxville and Memphis University, with 3 others in Nashville and Memphis awaiting finalisation.

From September, two students will also be studying at Memphis University for a year, which will provide them with the opportunity to explore new cultures whilst enhancing their own curriculum vitae.