The Summer Festival of Food

The beginning of the Summer term marks the start of a brand-new food festival on the University of Kent campus.

The 6-week-long Summer Festival of Food will take place on the Registry lawn around an impressive stretch tent structure and will feature a dazzling array of street food dishes from around the world.

The festival will run from Monday 10 May to Friday 18 June, and will be open Monday to Friday, 11.30 – 14.30, and Friday evenings 18.00 – 21.00.

The Street Kitchen, Smokeworks, Canvas, and Taste of Thailand will join forces to create the ultimate multicultural foodie experience. Each week, the street food stalls will serve food from a different part of the world, meaning visitors will be able to enjoy vibrant dishes from Europe, Africa, Asia, and The Americas. There will also be a special week dedicated to Kentish cuisine, featuring Kentish Old Spot Sausages, Brogdale beef burgers, beer-battered haddock with chips, and gypsy tart.

Themed weeks:

  • 10 May – 14 May – Flavours of Europe
  • 17 May – 21 May – Flavours of Africa
  • 24 May – 4 June – Flavours of Asia
  • 7 June – 11 June – Flavours of The Americas
  • 14 June – 18 June – Flavours of Kent

On Friday evenings, visitors will be able to enjoy live music, a pop-up bar, and an outdoor cinema (on selected nights).

Screenings for the outdoor cinema will be held on the Gulbenkian lawn. Tickets must be pre-booked in advance via the Gulbenkian box office. Each ticket is for a zoned area which can accommodate up to 6 students. Food and drink can be purchased through the OnTapp app.

Friday 28 May – 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Friday 4 June – Dazed and Confused (1993)

The Summer Festival of Food will be laid out in a socially spacious way, allowing a safe experience for everyone following all government guidelines. Visitors can keep themselves and others safe by respecting all people on site and following all guidelines/procedures that have been put in place, maintain good hand hygiene, and keep a safe distance between other households/groups throughout their visit.

Find out more by visiting the Summer Festival of Food webpage.

Oscar Films Screened at Gulbenkian from 18 May

The University’s cinema at Gulbenkian is opening again from Tuesday 18 May 2021.

From the 18, the Gulbenkian will be screening this year’s Oscar film winners:

  • Nomadland
  • Minari
  • Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Mank and Sound of Metal plus Ammonite
  • The Dig and Rocks and more.

Tickets are only £6.95 for Uni Kent Staff and £6 for Students. Go to the Gulbenkian website for full listings and tickets (note Box Office open for screenings only from 18 May so please book online).

Bluebells at Canterbury campus

Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May) – Nature

This week (10-16 May) is Mental Health Awareness Week with the theme of nature.

Why nature?

During long months of the pandemic, millions of us turned to nature. Research on the mental health impacts of the pandemic showed going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies and 45% of us reported being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health. Wider studies also found that during lockdowns, people not only spent more time in nature but were noticing it more.

What you can do

During Mental Health Awareness Week, here are some suggestions to help you connect more deeply with nature:

  • Take time to experience nature: can you find at least ten minutes each day to go outside and surround yourself with nature? If you go past a green space in your daily routine, try slowing down and really noticing what you see.
  • Look, listen and share: as you notice the natural world around you, you could take a photo, video or sound recording and share with others to remind them to slow down and look more closely? You can use the hashtags #ConnectWithNature #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and look these up on social media if you are stuck indoors and need a nature boost from others.
  • Express what connecting with nature means to you: as you find new ways to connect with nature in your local environment, you could describe this experience in words, or writing, or art – perhaps you can create something that reminds you of the calm nature can bring to keep or give as a gift.

For more information about this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week visit the Mental Health Awareness website or join the conversation on social media using #ConnectWithNature and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

What’s on at Kent?

During this week and the Summer Term there are lots of events you can join to connect with others and support your wellbeing, including:

See more events to support your wellbeing.

How to get help if you’re struggling?

If you feel as though you could benefit from extra support mental health support from the University, you can access services from the Counselling team, check out the self-help resource list or see our Emergency Support.

Remember, our Student Support and Wellbeing Team operate during the Summer Term and vacation period so you can access support when you need it.

UK Philanthropy Archive: Shirley Lecture – 13 May 2021

From UK Philanthropy Archive:

We are delighted to be holding the inaugural UK Philanthropy Archive Shirley Lecture, and even more delighted that our speaker will be Dame Stephanie Shirley CH – IT entrepreneur, philanthropist and founder of the Shirley Foundation.

An inspirational and engaging speaker, Dame Stephanie will talk about her life and experiences, her charitable interests and philanthropy. She arrived in the UK as an unaccompanied child refugee on the Kindertransport, an experience she describes as leaving her wanting to give something back to the country that became her home. After experiencing sexism and difficulty getting promoted and recognised professionally within the male-dominated IT industry in the 1960s – she went on to found a hugely successful IT software company that specialised in employing women, usually freelancers who often had caring responsibilities and worked from home.

After the sale of her company Dame Stephanie used the wealth she achieved in business to give back to society through her charitable foundation – The Shirley Foundation – which granted more than £60 million to a variety of projects before spending out in 2018. The inspiration for much of her philanthropy was initially technology after her professional interests, and later autism research, after her son Giles was diagnosed as profoundly autistic. Autism research and supporting families and children with autism to live happy and successful lives became the main focus and passion of her philanthropy over many years.

In 2019 Dame Stephanie generously donated the papers of The Shirley Foundation, as well as further archive material relating to her personal life and experiences, to Special Collections & Archives initiating the development of the UK Philanthropy Archive.

This is a not to be missed opportunity to hear from Dame Stephanie herself – so please join us next Thursday! You can book via the EventBrite webpage.

Please email Beth Astridge, Project Archivist at and let her if you would like to purchase a signed copy of one of Dame Stephanie’s books – ‘Let it Go’ and ‘So to Speak’ which will be available to order with all proceeds going to Autistica – the UK’s leading autism research charity.

National Day for Staff Networks

From the Talent & Organisational Development Team:

On Wednesday 12 May 2021 Staff networks in organisations across the UK are celebrating the National Day for Staff Networks.

Also known as Networks Day, it aims to encourage collaboration, support aligned activity and further inspire the voice of network members. Many staff networks provide employees from under-represented groups with valuable guidance and timely advice as they navigate their organisation’s culture and endeavour to offer their authentic best in the workplace. ​

The theme for 2021 is #Togetherness.  

Why not connect with one of our Staff networks?

The Networks provide an opportunity for new and existing staff to meet people outside their own department.

Meetings run termly and dates are advertised on the website Staff Equalities Networks – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent

The EDI Forum

The overall purpose of the EDI network is to represent the views of staff and students, and act as a channel of communication for equality, diversity and inclusivity topics. Membership includes the departmental EDI Representatives, Staff and Student networks, harassment contacts and student union.

EDI Network – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent and join in the conversation on the EDI forum Teams site

The LGBT+ Staff Network

The network aims to raise the profile and promote positive attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) staff and all colleagues in the Rainbow Community across the university. We support LGBT+ colleagues in the workplace, and aim to contribute to the development of relevant university policies and practices so that they are LGBT-inclusive, so that Kent is truly a welcoming space for colleagues of all sexualities and gender identities. It has a Microsoft Teams channel which you can join by using the code skd6691.

LGBT+ Staff Network – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent

The Disability Staff Network (DSN)

The Disability Staff Network’s ambition is to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for colleagues with disabilities at Kent. Its purpose is to support disabled staff and those staff working with disability or with an interest in disability. It provides a forum to share information and consider good practice, providing recommendations to enhance University policy and practice where appropriate.

The DSN has a Teams/SharePoint page. If you experience any issues with accessing this please email to request to be added.

Disability Staff Network – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent

The Women’s Network

The Women’s Network has been running since 2004 and has been a positive initiative over the last few years. At a time when the University is keen to promote the recruitment, retention and recognition of women in higher education, and Kent in particular, the women’s network has been a group that offered valuable support to members, and feedback to the University on priorities for action.

Women’s Network – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent

Harassment contacts

The harassment contacts comprise of individual members of staff who have volunteered to take on the role of the harassment contact. The University has appointed and trained some members of staff as harassment contacts to allow staff a point of contact should they feel they have been subjected to or witnessed any form of harassment.

Harassment Contacts – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent

The BAME Staff Network

The BAME Staff Network launched in October 2019 to support the University’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusivity and provide an active forum for BAME staff to discuss issues and share experiences important to them. The network bring a range of experience and knowledge related to both staff and students – critical to a nuanced contextual understanding of BAME experiences at the University. It creates a community for academic and professional staff who identify as being part of a Black Asian Minority ethnic group.  The aim is to help each other connect in ways that will create a sense of belonging through sharing our experiences and providing support that will drive progressive equitable change. Email:

BAME Network – Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity – University of Kent

Other networks – Contact for further information 

WREN – Women’s Researcher Network

Inclusion Allies and Mental Health Allies

Allyship is an active, consistent, and arduous practice of unlearning and re-evaluating, in which a person in a position of privilege and power seeks to operate in solidarity with a marginalized group

Meet the new President of University of Kent in America

Alex Gharagozlow, Rutherford ’88, fell in love with the University of Kent the moment he stepped on campus. He was captivated by the international culture and warmth of the University community.

After receiving his Bachelor of Science (BSc) with honours, Chemistry with Management Science he has pursued a career in life sciences with start-ups and multinational organizations including Danaher and Amgen. Alex is an expert at helping organizations develop and implement complex performance improvement transformations. In commercial and operational roles in Europe, US and Asia he has pivoted between line responsibility and internal consulting. He holds a dual MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management, and National University of Singapore.

Alex has long maintained connection with the University, faculty and alumni. He has served on the UKA board since 2016 and in collaboration with the UKA board has helped develop its 2021-2023 strategic plan. “It has been enormously rewarding to give back to an institution that was so instrumental in my development and one that continues to be a beacon in advancing thought leadership in global issues.

At a time of unprecedented transformation in higher education, the UKA board is working closely with regional chapter chairs and the Kent alumni organization to further strengthen the special relationship between the University of Kent and its thriving alumni community in the US.

The University of Kent in America Inc (UKA) was established to connect its U.S based alumni to the University of Kent. It’s also a US registered charity (501(c)(3)) which raises funds for exciting student-focused initiatives.

The UKA aims to reach as many of our alumni and friends across the States as possible, to connect them with professional networks, and to foster involvement with the diverse range of events and activities the University arranges for alumni.

The Gulbenkian with red flowers at the forefront of the image.

Covid-19 update: Staff returning to campus

As the Government continues its easing of lockdown, we have a roadmap for staff returning to campus from 10 May 2021 onwards.

Roadmap for return

You can find an accessible version of this image on our Roadmap for staff returning to campus webpage.

What’s changed

Starting from 10 May (the start of our Summer Term), our criteria for staff returning to campus is changing. As well as essential staff (eg, those who provide practical support for students or work in a lab), those staff who cannot work from home for various reasons will be able to return to work on campus. This might apply if you:

  • need access to lab equipment
  • perform critical activities unable to be done remotely
  • would benefit for physical/mental health
  • are unable to work from home effectively due to eg, lack of space/Wi-Fi issues/childcare close to campus

Working on and off campus

As highlighted at our recent Covid-19 Staff Webchat, flexible working will become more and more of a feature of how we work as more staff come back onto campus. From September onwards, this will become University policy under our new Hybrid Working Scheme. Further details will be shared with colleagues shortly.

Staying safe

On return to campus, it is important that you help everyone stay safe by following latest guidelines (subject to Government review), including:

  • Following the two-metre social distancing rule and room occupancy limits
  • Using the hand sanitiser on entering a building and wearing a face covering (unless exempt) at all times, unless in a single occupancy office
  • Opening windows, if possible, when sharing a room with others
  • Not dropping your guard in informal settings

The University has an Asymptomatic Test Site on campus and all staff and students are eligible for two free Covid tests per week. Everyone regularly on campus is strongly encouraged to take up this opportunity or, if attending on an occasional basis, arrange a test before coming in. Where facilities are available closer to home, you may prefer to be tested regularly at a local symptom-free Community Test Site.

What to do next

In the first instance, you will need to talk to your line manager about the nature of your role and how this affects when you might return to campus. You should also discuss whether in the future, you may be eligible and wish to work partly at home. Once you have agreed a return date to campus, you will need to return any office equipment you have been using to work from home eg, chairs, computers, screens, keyboard/mouse.

You should also ensure you are aware of current safety measures, including the University’s Risk Assessment.

Find out more

You can keep up-to-date with latest Covid-19 changes and guidance on our staff coronavirus pages.

With best wishes,


Professor Richard Reece | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience

Help promote the next Postgraduate open event

We are hosting our next Postgraduate Virtual Open Event on Thursday 20 May 2021, from 16.00 19.00 

It’s been a year since our first virtual open event in May 2020, we’ve come full circle and will be hosting our next postgraduate event this May. The virtual open events invite prospective students to come along and talk to specialist academics and admissions staff about postgraduate study at Kent. As well as finding out more about the Graduate School and funding opportunities.

We continue to see positive attendance numbers at our live open events, for both undergraduate and postgraduate, ranging from 600 – 2000 attendees per event.

Preparations for the event are underway and those who are taking part have been informed by the Recruitment team

Our undergraduate open day is still open to review on-demand

It would be a great help if colleagues could promote the virtual event across their platforms, either on their school websites and on social channels.  As well as forwarding on to friends or family members who may be interested in a postgraduate programme at Kent.

For further information about the event and find out how to register please visit the Postgraduate Events webpage.

Belong and Grow Week 2021!

From the Talent & Organisational Development Team:

We are happy to share the details for our upcoming Belong and Grow week, which will be coinciding with Learning at Work week, running 17-21 May.

Like last year, to ensure safety, we will be taking a virtual approach to BAG week, and the main aim is to encourage you to take time during the week for your personal development and well being.

Each day we will have a theme, and share resources via the Teams Channel, such as blogs, internal staff pages and Ted talks that tie in to the theme of the day, and promote learning.

Full details of the schedule can be found on our latest blog but we are happy to announce the following additions to the schedule for BAG week:

Monday 17 May:

The Coronavirus Pandemic is taking Gender Equality back decades – How can we address this as an organisation and individual? External Keynote: Catherine Mayer, 10am -11am (bookable via Staff Connect)

Tuesday 18 May:

  • Creative Writing  Facilitated by Steve Cope, 11.00 – 12.00 (bookable via Staff Connect)
  • Apprentice Information Session Facilitated by Loretta Izod, 10.00 -11.00 (bookable via Staff Connect)
  • Exploring Neurodiversity  an open and safe space to talk with colleagues, supported by the Disability Staff Network, 14.00 – 15.00  (This will be a Teams meeting, and our blog contains the Teams joining link)

Thursday 20 May:

Domestic Violence Awareness Facilitated by Rising Sun, 10.00 – 12.00 – register directly with Rising Sun via the Eventbrite link.

Friday 21 May:

  • Writing for Wellbeing Facilitated by Steve Cope, 11am-12noon (bookable via Staff Connect)
  • Balanced Breathing Session  Facilitated by Rebekah Osborne, 2pm-2.30pm (bookable via Staff Connect)

All Week:

  • Coffee with a Mystery colleague building on the successful initiative, Kent Colleagues Connect
  • 1:1 Coaching with Rebekah Osborne – a 90minute coaching session. Rebekah specialises in anxiety but is more than happy to explore anything that anyone wants to bring to coaching (email if you would like to book a session)

If you want any further information, or to be added to our Teams channel, please get in touch via email,

laptop set up

What’s on: 4–9 May

The Summer Term starts next week – so with exams getting closer, check out our Exam Calm webpages and catch up on Kent Union’s Instagram Live Q&A session about online exams with your Kent Union Officers. Also, don’t forget to vote in the Kent County Council and Police and Crime Commissioner elections taking place on Thursday 6 May.

It’s time to apply for student finance!

Student Finance England and EU full-time undergraduate applications are now open for the 2021/2022 academic year. Continuing students should apply before Friday 25 June.

Apply now to make sure you have your student finance sorted for the start of your course.

Postgraduate and part-time undergraduate student finance applications will open in the summer.

Events for you to try this week:

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