Ewelina Ochab

First UN International Day for victims of religious persecution initiated by Kent PhD scholar

Today’s first UN International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief  was initiated by Kent Law School postgraduate research scholar Ewelina Ochab.

Ewelina authored the initiative in 2017 in a bid to recognise the importance of providing victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief and members of their families with appropriate support and assistance in accordance with applicable law. It was proposed at the UN by Poland at the end of 2017 and adopted by the UN General Assembly on 28 May 2019.

 UN Secretary-General, António Guterres said: ‘On this Day, we reaffirm our unwavering support for the victims of violence based on religion and belief. And we demonstrate that support by doing all in our power to prevent such attacks and demanding that those responsible are held accountable.’

In an article for The Conversation, Ewelina lists ‘Five reasons the world needs a wake-up call on religious persecution’ and explains the need to shine a light on “those dark corners where acts of violence based on religion or belief are a daily reality.”

Ewelina says: ‘This initiative is intended to raise awareness and provide a springboard towards an action plan rather than being an end in itself. What will become of this day is up to all states, civil society and individuals. Everyone needs to play their role in making this a meaningful day – one that can bring a change to the lives of the people targeted for their religion or belief.’

A video on Ewelina’s Twitter feed features contributions from academics, politicians and policymakers from across the world affirming their support for the Day’s message.

Ewelina’s thesis focuses on the accountability of medical professionals for their involvement and complicity in torture in American detention centres.

GROUP Photo-workshop Robben island

Workshop on world heritage and sustainable development in Africa

A workshop on World Heritage and Sustainable Development in Africa: Implementing the 2015 Policy, is being hosted this week at the iconic Robben Island World Heritage site, 19 – 23 August.

Organised by Dr Sophia Labadi, Senior Lecturer in Heritage and Archaeology, the African World Heritage Fund, Cape Town University and Robben Island Museum, the workshop aims to better understand how the principles contained in the 2015 UNESCO Policy on World Heritage and Sustainable Development, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been operationalised and localised at and around World Heritage properties in the whole region of Africa.

The 20 presentations of different case studies illustrate the integration of a sustainable development perspective at and around World Heritage sites and different challenges.

The expected results of this workshop include a published e-book with case studies and step-by-step guidelines on how to implement the 2015 policy and related key texts at site level in Africa. Key areas for curricula development by educational institutions on World Heritage and Sustainable Development in Africa will be identified and an Action Plan for the implementation of collaborative projects will be drafted.

Sophia comments: ‘This workshop has revealed the rich, diverse and too often unknown experiences of integrating sustainable development perspectives into the management of World Heritage sites’.

Kent Union To Open Second Campus Co-op

The second Kent Union campus Co-op will open next Thursday 29 August, and you’re invited to join us for the ribbon cutting at 10am!

All staff and students are welcome to pop along and try some samples and check out the new store which promises to make shopping on campus an easier and quicker experience. To celebrate the store opening there are 20 Golden Tickets to be found on campus, to swap at the store for a £5 gift card! Plus there will be some lucky winners in store on the day, you’ll have to pop along to find out what!

The store will stock a wide range of Co-op products, making it cheaper for those with both NUS Totum cards (10% off) plus Co-op members can earn an extra 5%*. Stocking all your usual favourites, the expansion of the store into what was Jobshop, means the larger store has increased range of goods available. There will be an in-store bakery, newspapers – including Inquire, your monthly student newspaper, fresh fruit & veg, alongside a wider range of meal deals and evening offers. And with 16 new self-service till points, long queues should become a thing of the past!

For details on Coop Membership click here.


Research contributes to understanding of lifeways of enslaved people in Caribbean

Postgraduate student Felicia Fricke, who has recently completed her PhD in Classical & Archaeological Studies, has received media attention in the Caribbean islands of Curaçao and St Maarten for the research she undertook for her thesis entitled The Lifeways of Enslaved People in Curaçao, St Eustatius, and St Maarten/St Martin: A Thematic Analysis of Archaeological, Osteological, and Oral Historical Data.

Felicia’s research combined oral history, archaeological and skeletal data to generate a narrative about the lifeways of enslaved people on the Dutch Caribbean islands of Curaçao, St Eustatius, and St Maarten/St Martin.

In an interview aired on television show Prome Enkuentro, Felicia notes the dominant narrative from this period has been developed from accounts given by European colonisers and that it is important that “other voices are heard” when describing the lived experiences of enslaved people in this region of the Caribbean. In combining archaeological evidence with other records including oral histories from those resident on the islands, Felicia has been able to construct a narrative that better describes these lifeways. In continuing her research, she hopes to make the results open access so that the information is made available to the people of the islands.

Felicia’s research has also been featured in local press including the Saint Martin News Network (in English) and in print in a recent edition of Amigoe Nieuws (in Dutch).


Felicia is pictured below (centre) in St Maarten with Dr Jay Haviser, the archaeologist in charge of the St Maarten Archaeological Center, and Jennifer Yerkes from the St Martin organisation Les Fruits de Mer, which runs the Amuseum Naturalis on the French side of the island.


Blood pressure checks on campus 9-13 September

Our Occupational Health team will be offering blood pressure checks at Canterbury and Medway campuses to mark Blood Pressure UK: Know Your Numbers Week 09-13 September 2019.

Do you know what blood pressure is?  More importantly, do you know what YOUR blood pressures is? Having your blood pressure taken is a simple and excellent way of gauging the health of your cardiovascular system, that is, your heart and your blood vessels.

Blood Pressure UK campaigns to increase knowledge of how to stay healthy and manage blood pressure. Each year they run a Know Your Numbers campaign encouraging people to have their blood pressure checked. Occupational Health has engaged once again with this campaign and is offering blood pressure checks for staff at both Canterbury and Medway campuses.  The checks are only available on certain days across the week of 9-13 September – for details see the Blood pressure checks poster

A check is straightforward, doesn’t involve any invasive testing or needles and only takes 5-10 minutes of your time. You’ll be advised straightaway of what your blood pressure reading. If it is higher than expected you will be recommended to visit your GP to have it checked again.

If you are interested in booking on a Campus Blood Pressure check please contact Occupational Health either by ringing Pat Armstrong, the OH Technician, on extension 4691 or by emailing occupationalhealth@kent.ac.uk

For more information on blood pressure, follow these links:





Nostalgia interview with Judith Francis

In the latest episode of the Nostalgia podcast series, Chris Deacy, Reader in Theology and Religious Studies, interviews Judith Francis. Judith shares her experiences of being an evacuee in the Second World War, moving to Pembrokeshire, where she still lives today.

Judith talks about air raid shelters and gas masks and a tragedy she witnessed on the beach during the War. Judith also talks about growing up listening to ‘Workers’ Play Time’, receiving a signed photograph from comedian Tommy Handley, why she learned Welsh and trained to become a teacher in the 1970s, the difference between being a student then and 25 years later when she returned to undertake a degree in Theology and Religious Studies, the relationship between having a faith and studying religion, the political heat around Welsh nationalism in the 1970s, and whether Judith is a looking back or a looking forward type of person.

Open dome - Observatory - Beacon Project

Condolences for Kaz Krynicki

Sadly Dr Kazimierz Krynicki died of a heart attack on 18th July at the age of 88. Kaz was lecturer in Physics at Kent from 1964 until his retirement (about 1995) although he continued to be associated with The School of Physical Sciences as an Honorary Fellow well into his retirement.

He came to London in 1962 on a rare visiting postdoctoral scholarship from an Iron curtain country, having grown up during the war in occupied Poland and graduated from Krakow University. He would tell us of his friendship at his University with a young colleague who was then Chaplain, later to become Pope Paul. His research blossomed with Dr Powles at QMC London and he moved to Kent with him when Powles became the foundation Professor of Physics at Kent in 1964. His research throughout his career was concerned with exploring the liquid state and studying molecular motion using the techniques of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Relaxation. He also helped to set up the first physics and chemical physics courses at Kent and subsequently taught widely across the undergraduate curriculum, contributing significantly to the development of our astrophysics teaching. For many years he was a leading light in the student astronomical society and looked after the first observatory on the roof of the original Physics building as well as other campus facilities for observational astronomy. He will be remembered as a kind and most enthusiastic colleague and teacher.

Professor J.H.Strange

Emeritus Professor of Experimental Physics, University of Kent

Directors of Division and divisional Directors of Operations: Update

We are currently recruiting for our new Directors of Division and divisional Directors of Operations roles. As part of this, we recently held briefing sessions for prospective candidates offering more detail on the recruitment process.

For those unable to attend the briefing session for the divisional Director of Operations, the presentation slides and FAQs from the session are now available on the recruitment page here:

In addition, the FAQs for the Director of Division roles have been updated to provide clarity around research or academic contributions within the role. More information on this and the role itself is available here: https://www.kent.ac.uk/human-resources/ofs-opportunities/directordivision.html.

Photo by redcharlie on Unsplash

DICE talks

Condolences for Jessica Ashdown

Friends and colleagues at the University were sorry to hear of the death of Jessica Ashdown, who died on 4 August 2019.

Jessica started to work at the University in 1988 as Secretarial Assistant in the Registry, Academic Division.  In 1990 Jessica was appointed as Personal Assistant to the Registrar and by the time that she left the University, in 2000, Jessica had worked for three different Registrars.

Jessica will be remembered as a wonderful colleague and a kind and gentle person who will be greatly missed.

Jessica’s funeral is on Tuesday 27 August 2019 at 12.30pm in Blean Church, with a reception afterwards at the Tyler Hill Memorial Hall.  The Registry flag will be flown at half-mast on that day.