ARtwork by Abolore - women in colourful headwraps

Celebrating Black History Month

Every October, Black History Month is celebrated across the world, to explore the rich culture, origins, histories, and achievements of African and Caribbean communities and their diaspora.

This year the theme is Saluting Our Sisters, and we have a range of events at our Canterbury and Medway campuses including exhibitions, inspirational speakers, film nights and crafts.

What’s on this month

Together with Kent Union, we’ve got lots planned including:

See all Black History Month events.

Colourful artwork by Abolore Sobayo

Ẹwà: Beauty Exhibition in Keynes, Oct – Dec

Nigerian born artist Abolore Sobayo explores the beauty of sisterhood among Yoruba women through their culture of helping each other. Join the launch event on 4 October.

Living Black at Kent booklet front cover

Living Black at Kent booklet for our Black community

With recommendations from our Black students and staff, the booklet highlights local services and businesses to help our Black students find their feet here at Kent. See Living Black at Kent booklet.

Three students sat laughing together on steps in Westgate Gardens

Events roundup: 2-8 October

We hope you’re starting to settle or settle back into university life as we get into the Autumn Term.

Black History Month has begun, so look out for lots of events throughout the month including exhibitions, inspirational speakers, film nights and crafts!

Monday 2 October: Making the most of your lectures and seminars and decorating notebooks

Find out how to get the most of your lectures (Canterbury) including how to prepare and note taking. This session is taking place in person, or online on request. This is followed by a workshop aiming to help you make the most of seminars so you can perform at your best.

Channel your artistic flair and decorate your academic notebooks and folders in the Venue.

Tuesday 3 October: Making the most of your lectures and seminars (Medway) and how to get a Grad Scheme

Confused about Graduate Schemes? Join this online session all about Grad Schemes to find out what they are and tips on how you can get one.

Find out how to get the most of your lectures (Medway) including how to prepare and note taking. This session is taking place in person, or online on request. This is followed by a workshop aiming to help you make the most of seminars so you can perform at your best.

Wednesday 4 October: Black History Month launch event, Kent Police drop-in clinic (Medway), Study Abroad info session and GOLD programme taster

On Wednesday Kent Police are holding a drop-in clinic at the Drill Hall Library. It’s an opportunity to speak to your local police to ask any questions you may have.

Are you a globally minded undergraduate at Kent? This Global Officers Leadership Development (GOLD) Programme taster session will explain the benefits of the programme, activities you might take part in, and details of how to apply.

If you’re a stage 2 student and your course includes a Year Abroad or you are interested in adding one, please come along to an information session with the Study Abroad Team.

Join us for our Black History Month launch event on Wednesday evening – the grand opening of the Ẹwà: Beauty exhibition by Nigerian born, Lagos and Rochester based artist Abolore Sobayo. Ẹwà explores the beauty of sisterhood among the Yoruba women through their culture of helping each other. The launch features a talk from the artist, a drinks and nibbles reception with Nigerian food and head wrap demonstrations. The free exhibition is taking place in Keynes and will be open from October – December.

Thursday 5 October: Relaxation sessions (Medway) and what skills employers are looking for

Enjoy a relaxation session in the Hub, Medway, with either a 15-minute massage or a gel manicure.

Find out what skills employers are looking for and how you can develop them while at uni. This session from our Career and Employability Team will be delivered in Keynes, Canterbury, and online.

Friday 6 October: Canterbury Cathedral trip and Black History Month film showing (Medway)

Kent Union are running a free trip to Canterbury Cathedral. You will walk as a group down to town and explore the cathedral’s intricate architecture. Just remember your KentOne card as Kent students get free entry to the Cathedral!

On Friday evening you can watch a film as part of Black History Month celebrations in the Mezzanine at The Hub, Medway.

See more student events.

Student opportunities

See more student opportunities.


Student on laptop

Don’t forget to enrol or re-register by 16 Oct

New students, if you haven’t already, please remember to enrol online by 10:00 on 16 October 2023.

Returning students, you also need to complete Returning Registration by 10:00 on 16 October 2023.

This is to let us know you will definitely be studying with us this academic year. If you can’t register for financial reasons, visit the Financial Aid team in the Arrivals Hub (Canterbury campus).

Find out more on the How to enrol webpage.

Kent Law Clinic staff and students deliver advice workshop to Napier Barracks residents

Kent Law Clinic staff and students have been involved in a project to deliver legal advice workshops to asylum seekers residing at Napier Barracks, in collaboration with local charities Samphire and Napier Drop-In.

By Dr Richard Warren, Immigration Law Adviser & Lecturer, Kent Law Clinic

Since September 2020, Napier Barracks on the outskirts of Folkestone in Kent has been used to accommodate male asylum seekers, sometimes for significant periods of time. Residents at the camp come from a number of well-known refugee-producing countries including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Sudan. A recent report by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) [1] has outlined the poor living conditions which residents face, noting specifically the uncertainty faced by those who are unsure what is happening in their asylum claim. The camp was also subject to a scathing High Court judgment in June 2021 in which Mr Justice Linden was unable to accept that the accommodation there ensured a standard of living which was adequate for the health of the claimants.[2] Despite assurances by the Home Office that improvements have been made following that High Court case, the JRS report has documented continuing concerns including difficulties in accessing basic necessities including shoes and winter clothes, inadequate healthcare and barriers to accessing legal advice.

The current historic backlog in the asylum process has been widely reported, with more than a 173,000 applicants’ claims still outstanding,[3] some of whom have been waiting years for a decision. A significant number have received no legal advice since arriving in the UK – again a situation that has been well documented.[4]

As a result, individuals are receiving notices of intent to declare their claims inadmissible, with the possibility of removal to Rwanda[5] without the ability to make representations to the Home Office. The policy of declaring claims inadmissible where an individual has passed through a so-called safe third country has been in place since January 2021 when the UK left the EU and so ended its participation in the Dublin 3 Regulation.[6] In June 2022, s16 of the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 placed the process on a statutory footing.[7] However, that process, arguably an essential part of the government’s aim to ‘stop the boats’, cannot currently be implemented. Currently there are no returns agreements with any major countries of transit, including with any EU country. And the proposed policy of removals to Rwanda is on hold pending the outcome of an appeal against the High Court judgment last year.[8] It is therefore unsurprising that the backlog of undecided cases has risen. For those at Napier Barracks the uncertainty of knowing whether they are even going to have their asylum claim considered is clearly taking its toll.

It is against this background that the Kent Law Clinic agreed to run a legal advice session at a local drop-in centre for Napier residents in need of legal advice. The workshop provided a basic overview of the asylum system, including information on inadmissibility, the decision-making process and rights of appeal. Kent Law Clinic student volunteers assisted with interpreting. The session was well received, and the Clinic plans to run further sessions in the future.

[1] JRS-UK-Report_Napier-Barracks-the-inhumane-reality_March-2023_WEB.pdf (

[2] NB & Ors, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWHC 1489 (Admin) (03 June 2021) (

[3] National Audit Office report 16/6/23

[4] 628f50a1917c740a7f1539c1_No access to justice- how legal advice deserts fail refugees, migrants and our communities.pdf (

[5] UK-Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership – House of Commons Library (

[6] EUR-Lex – 02013R0604-20130629 – EN – EUR-Lex (

[7] Nationality and Borders Act 2022 (

[8] AAA v SSHD Rwanda judgment.pdf (

Compassion in Action: your clothing donations are making a difference

Following our initial round of clothing collections for Refugee Week at the Kent, we were able to donate eight large bags of much-needed men’s clothing to the Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group (GDWG). These clothes have gone on to make a difference in the lives of detainees who have experienced hardships on their journey to safety.

Anna Pincus from GDWG highlighted the significance of providing good-quality second-hand clothes, stating:

“People are frequently detained in only the clothes they are wearing and do not have a second set of clothes. Sometimes people arrive in detention in clothes that are not dry after having crossed the channel. People may face deportation in clothes that are inappropriate for where they are being sent to. Providing good quality second-hand clothes meets practical needs and also counters dehumanisation and gives people basic dignity.”

The impact of your support can be seen through the words of those who have directly benefited from your donations. Mohammed said:

“I needed clothes and had only flip flops when I left detention. Thanks to GDWG for clothes I could not buy for myself. We are not allowed to work after detention but we need shoes and clothes.”

Ali said:

“When you have nothing, any clothes are a big gift. Thank you for helping us.”

There are still many more in need, and if you have not yet donated there is still time to make a difference.

Keep the Donations Coming

If you have any of the following clean items to spare, please consider contributing clothing:

  • Men’s trainers, especially sizes 8 and 9.
  • Men’s jogging bottoms.
  • Men’s jeans.
  • Men’s t-shirts.
  • Men’s jumpers.

Your donations can be placed in collection bins located at various spots around campus.

The Power of the Refugee Tales Trail Walk

In addition to clothing donations, we want to remind you of another impactful way you can make a difference, by learning more about the stories of refugees and asylum seekers on our Refugee Tales trail walk. On the trail you can read or listen to the real-life stories of individuals who have experienced the UK’s immigration system, offering a powerful opportunity to engage with their narratives.

The trail was launched for Refugee Week back in June, but remains in place on campus.

For more information on the trail and how you can get involved, please visit the Refugee Week webpage.

Sanctuary fund

We at the University of Kent believe that everyone should have the opportunity to study at a university irrespective of their background. We are proud that our campus is a welcoming and inclusive space for everyone.

In committing to become a University of Sanctuary in 2019, we set up Sanctuary scholarships to give three refugees and asylum seekers every year the opportunity to receive a University of Kent education. The scholarships cover a full fee waiver for an undergraduate programme as well as small maintenance grants.

 Find out more about Kent’s work to become and University of Sanctuary, and donate to the fund to empower refugee students at Kent.

photograph of approximately 40 people walking away from the camera along a pathway, wearing a variety of colourful casual clothing

Solidarity and Compassion in Action: Refugee Week 2023 celebrations at Kent

It was wonderful to see different parts of our local community at the University of Kent intersect and celebrate the contributions and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary, at a series of events taking place on Wednesday 21 June 2023 for Refugee Week.

Opportunities for community members, staff and students to come together to learn, share experiences, and expressions of compassion, solidarity and understanding included: a choir performance, a guided walk, a ‘taste of migration’ through a free shared lunch, and a lecture in the library. Running parallel to this was a visit from residents and Friends of Napier Barracks in Folkestone, where migrants and asylum seekers are detained while their applications for leave to remain are processed.

Guided walk: Refugee Tales trail

Around 35 people (an even mixture of staff, students, alumni and members of the wider community) joined a short guided walk through part of the University of Kent campus, stopping to listen to the experience of refugees written in the Refugee Tales book along the way.

People walking outdoors on paved path against backdrop of trees

Before we set off, Natalia Crisanti (Engagement and Communications Officer), who coordinated the Refugee Week programme at Kent, introduced the event and a performance from the Kent Community Choir, who sang ‘Moving‘ , a song written by students and refugees at the Berlin School of Popular Arts at SRH Berlin in Germany.

Kent community choir member: “thank you for inviting us to be a part of it – a moving and humbling experience”

Kent staff member reading an extract from the Refugee Tales outdoors in summer

Along the route, the Refugee Tales extracts were read by Philip Pothen (Director of Engagement), Basma Eldoukhi (PhD student, Migration Studies), and Sam Scott (Philanthropy Manager). We finished at the Kent Community Oasis Garden to reflect and leave a message, before returning to the start point for a ‘taste of migration’ through food inspired by the fusions of flavours that have come about because of the movements of people to the UK.

People sitting at bench table outdoors writing

The guided walk and the stories shared during the event helped us to think more deeply about the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers, and the engagement and support contributed to an atmosphere of compassion and understanding, which we will remember and continue to speak about and reflect on.

People at food buffet outdoors

You can listen to or read the Refugee Tales extracts from the walk again online on our Refugee Week webpage. If you would like to read the lyrics from the choir performance you can download them as a PDF.

Many attendees of the event got in touch with their reflections, including:

“I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity today to meet some people from Iran who have come to the UK and to hear some of their stories. I think more events of this kind are needed to allow local residents to meet refugees to build communities, shatter myths and remind ourselves that we are all human and we should support one another.”

“Having people read exerts of lived experiences whilst we were walking freely around the beautiful campus made the experience incredibly moving. At one point a colleague and I had our arms around each other because we were welling up. This event brought the University closer to our local community as we shared a valuable experience together. I had some deep and meaningful chats with members of the public whilst on that walk, and it felt important that we came to learn and to understand together.”

Following the Refugee Tales trail, everyone was welcome to an open lecture by Professor Panikos Panayi, Professor in Economic History from De Montfort University, who spoke about this history of fish and chips, and links to migration and Britishness. We explored the links of the dish with migration and the popularity of fish and chip shop ownership with different migrant communities, as well as historic associations with social class and status. At the end we reflected on how this ‘national dish’ perhaps reflects a vision of a modern, inclusive and diverse Britain, and that over fish and chips we can have many conversations about our backgrounds, and cultural traditions relating to food, sharing our experiences and beginning to understand each other better.

Napier residents and friends receive warm welcome and practical guidance on continuing education

Also on the day, it was a privilege to welcome 25 residents and friends from the Napier Barracks in Folkestone, who joined us on campus for these events and to explore their opportunities for continued education if and when they are granted leave to remain.

Philip Pothen talking to Napier Friends volunteer

Their visit included a welcome introduction from Philip Pothen, Director of Engagement, with refreshments at the Gulbenkian Arts Centre café. We were delighted that some of the visitors took part in the choir performance alongside members of the Kent Community Choir, singing in English and Arabic. After this, the group embarked on a campus tour, finishing in the Kent Community Oasis Garden to join the participants in the guided trail to leave messages of reflection.

The atmosphere was joyful and hopeful, as we shared a multi cultural lunch outside. This included fish and chips, Keralan biryani, and middle eastern dishes including falafel, hummous, baba ganoush, fattoush, fried pitta, flat breads, and Arabic coffee. Some of these dishes were made authentically by our friend and refugee, Hassan Alsoufi, as well as by the catering team at the University. It was fantastic to see everyone eating and sharing this range of delicious food together, sharing stories and chatting in the sun. The group then received information from colleagues with expertise in admissions, immigration and access to Higher Education, and were also given time to ask individual questions about how their existing qualifications might be recognised when applying to continue to study in the UK.

Throughout the day, the conversations between the Napier residents and friends, staff, students and local community members helped bring home the importance of Refugee Week in recognising experiences of migration.

The Napier group were overwhelmingly positive about the visit, commenting:

“Thank you so much for today’s tour. We really enjoyed it.”

“It was very helpful for all of us, had a wonderful campus tour and had the chance to meet very good people.”

“God bless all of you and much appreciate it.”

photo of 3 young people smiling sitting on the grass, one young white woman in profile in the foreground, a young black man with a short afro and a young white woman with long dark hair facing forwards, all in casual clothes

6 weeks to wellbeing: group to support new students in their university journey

Are you struggling with the transition into University and needing some help with healthy habits and routines? Feeling overwhelmed with the new changes and dealing with independence? Sign up to our 6-week wellbeing programme delivered by expert mental health advisers in Student Support and Wellbeing.

What is it?

This six week course is designed to support students with a healthy transition into university life, where they can meet friends, discuss issues in confidence, and learn strategies and share ideas to stay well and connected during their university journey.

Each of the weeks has a specific theme, and the small group (maximum of 12 student participants) will meet for an hour and be facilitated by two friendly and experienced mental health advisers, Alex, and Tara. There will be an opportunity for discussion and all are invited to participate as far as they feel comfortable doing so. You don’t need to bring anything with you, but are asked to commit to all 6 sessions if possible.

Sessions are on the Canterbury campus (location tbc) on Wednesdays from 2pm to 3.30pm.

Want to sign up?

Places are limited, so it it sounds like you could benefit from this, or have questions about the course, email Alex at with a subject line of ‘6 weeks to wellbeing’.

Weekly themes:

  • Overview & Introduction – Week 1 (Wednesday 18th October)

Explanation of the course including an ice breaker. Beginning discussions on self-care & what this looks like for you. Includes a breathing mindfulness exercise.

  • Exploring Self-care – Week 2 (Wednesday 25th October)

How can you develop healthy routines and structure whilst at University.Includes a drawing mindfulness exercise.

  • Boundaries & Communication – Week 3 ( Wednesday 1st November)

What do we mean by healthy boundaries & how do we create healthy boundaries.Includes a drawing mindfulness exercise.

  • How to develop social support systems – Week 4 (Wednesday 8th November)

Includes an ‘eating’ mindfulness exercise.

  • Brief introduction to managing emotion – Week 5 (Wednesday 15th November)

Includes a listening mindfulness exercise.

  • Future goal setting – Week 6 (22nd November)

A focus on your positive traits and attributes.Includes an observation mindfulness exercise.

Booking details

Please email email Alex at with a subject line of ‘6 weeks to wellbeing’ to confirm you can attend all sessions and say you’d like to be allocated a place.

What else is on for wellbeing?

If you’re looking for more wellbeing events and opportunities, check out the Student Support and Wellbeing calendar, and follow @UniKentSSW on Instagram for the latest on what’s on, resources and reminders to stay well and connected. Got a question? Email

Anna Woods

Business Start-up Journey launch: hear from five business founders, 11 Oct

The Business Start-Up Journey Launch 2023: Wednesday 11 October 2023, 14:00-15:30. Sibson LT3, Canterbury, with FREE BUFFET.

Be inspired at the launch of this year’s Business Start-Up Journey where five amazing business founders share their start-up stories.

  • Social entrepreneur Anna Woods went from a highflying career as a buyer for top high street fashion brands, to becoming the founder of her own sustainable fashion business, Positive Retail, tacking the retail industry’s waste issue.
  • Sport and Exercise Science graduate Sophie Broom, the founder of The Awesome Anatomy Co, turned her artistic skills into a thriving business.
  • Computing graduate, Tomiwa Sosanya, the founder of Do You Customs, has won collaborations with big brands with his customised trainers and accessories.
  • Mathematics and Statistics student, Seth Mashate, discovered a gap in the market and plans to revolutionise data usage in the dental industry.
  • Law student, Munya Mwaijumba is launching Glimmer, an app which empowers freelance hairdressers.

Anna of Positive Retail shares:

‘I started this entrepreneurial journey because I knew in my heart the industry needed a solution to overstocks and customers needed to be a presented with a way to shop ‘pre loved & resale’ on the high street that felt compelling.  Resale already had lots of online options ‘vinted/ eBay/ vestiere’ etc but there was no bricks and mortar equivalent that honoured the product properly.  I spotted a gap in the market to create stores where quality and value were honoured, along with the customer experience.  Everything is expertly and thoughtfully curated, we have done the hard work for you- you’re not rummaging in samples sales, or bidding online.  We’re here for you to have a chat and to try on in a premium environment.’

What started as a 6 week popup 2 years ago is now 3 stores with a massively bright future.  We want to be the ultimate destination that brands think of for their surplus stocks and shoppers come for resale.

Being an entrepreneur has felt like a pleasure.  Yes, it’s incredibly tough but after years of bucking against the system and being frustrated with the status quo, I get to bring my own brand to life. It’s thrilling, fun, exhausting and magical.  It’s a gift every day to be able to use all my skills & wisdom to give something to the world I am very very proud of.  I know this is only the beginning.’

Hear from Anna and the other business founders at the launch event, plus find out more about how ASPIRE can support you to start your own business and develop entrepreneurial skills to enhance your career and employability. There will also be a free buffet lunch provided.

See full programme of Business Start-Up Journey events.

All students are welcome to attend.

Email to book your spot.