Monthly Archives: November 2015

Three FREE December concerts showcasing students from the School of Music & Fine Art: everyone welcome!

A wide range of vibrant music making activities is available at The School of Music & Fine Art, from Chamber Choir and jazz ensembles to the World Percussion Ensemble and the large-scale Choir and Band, comprising students from across the Medway campus. In December we will be showcasing the talent and skills of our students in a range of concerts that are free to attend.

On Weds December 9 in the Galvanising Workshop at the Historic Dockyard Chatham, part of the University’s Medway campus, students from the School of Music & Fine Art perform music from a range of traditions. The Jazz Improvisation Ensemble will perform works by Juan Tizol, Fats Waller and Joe Harriott. There will be a performance of Frank Martin’s exceptionally beautiful Piano Quintet in D Minor and the concert will be framed by works with a festive flavour sung by the Chamber Choir. This free concert starts at 19.30.

The following week, you can hear students from the BMus and MA Music programmes studying band and ensemble playing. This Ensemble Performance Lunchtime Concert is Tues December 15 from 12.00 til 13.00 in the Galvanising Workshop, and will include performances of jazz and contemporary popular music.

Finally, from 20.00 until late on Thursday December 17 the award winning bar and bistro Cargo Bar at Liberty Quays welcomes bands from the School of Music & Fine Art to perform sets of original material and covers.The gigs are free to attend and always draw a crowd. Says Director of Music Programmes and Lecturer in Music, Dr Ben Curry, ‘always feel immensely proud and excited when I see our students perform. Whether they are playing innovative pop, soul and jazz or pulling off a challenging work from the classical tradition, they always give compelling performances.’

Call for submissions on Brazilian cinema

Dr Antonio M da Silva, Language Coordinator in Portuguese from the Department of Modern Languages, is co-editing with Mariana A C da Cunha from the Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil, a collection provisionally titled Space and Subjectivity in Contemporary Brazilian Cinema for the publisher Palgrave Macmillan.

The editors are seeking original contributions for the collection, 5,000 to 6,000 words in length, to explore interdisciplinary perspectives of space in Brazilian cinema, that may include perspectives on class, gender, race, and how these are influenced by space and spatial practices.

Approaches engaging with the fields of geography, politics, philosophy, gender studies and urban studies, that will address the implications of their investigation on the relationship between space and subjectivity are particularly welcome.

In the first instance, please send a 250-300 word abstract, with five bibliographic references and a brief biography, to by Tuesday 5 January 2016. The full call for submissions is available at

Modern Slavery Examined in an Open Lecture

There are an estimated 36 million slaves alive today, including in the United States and Europe – more than at any point in human history. In this open lecture, guest speaker, Professor Zoe Trodd will explore how over the past 15 years, a growing antislavery movement has achieved some successes, including new legislation and increased public awareness. But it is repeating mistakes of the past and often starts from scratch, rather than learning from earlier antislavery successes, failures, experiments and strategies. After laying out the facts, figures and definitions for global slavery, Zoe Trodd will examine this contemporary antislavery movement. What might an antislavery usable past look like? What strategies, literary devices, images and opinion-building activities were useful to earlier antislavery generations, and how might they be useful for contemporary abolitionists in adapted form?

Professor Trodd’s lecture takes place on Thursday 3 December at 18.00 in Grimond Lecture Theatre 2. It is hosted by the University’s Centre for American Studies and is open to all.

About the speaker
Zoe Trodd is Professor of American Literature in the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham. She received her PhD from Harvard University and has taught at Harvard, UNC Chapel Hill and Columbia University. She researches protest literature and visual culture, especially of antislavery, and her books include American Protest Literature (2006), To Plead Our Own Cause (2008), Modern Slavery (2009), The Tribunal (2012), Civil War America (2012), and Picturing Frederick Douglass (2015). She recently addressed the European Parliament about its antislavery policy, and works with antislavery NGOs on their campaigns, especially their use of slaves’ testimonies and their visual culture.

University Plan 2015-20

Following a period of consultation with the University community, including academic and professional services staff, and approval by Senate and Council, the University Plan 2015-20 now been published.

The new Plan’s key objective is to secure the University’s position as a top 20 university, and for it to be a globally recognised research institution by 2020.

The Plan comes at a time when there have been significant step-changes in Kent’s national standing and research achievement. There is much to be proud of and I would like to thank all members of staff for their contributions to this success.

It builds on what were the achievements of the previous University Plan 2012-15, and focuses on three main strategic objectives: Research, Education and Engagement. Within each objective, we have set ambitious but quantifiable targets which each school and professional service department will be expected to work towards delivering as part of their own strategic objectives.

There is no doubt we are facing challenging times, but we are committed to protecting our reputation as collegial university.

This Plan sets the direction for the next five years for all members of staff, and I would urge you to read it.  Hard copies are available from Corporate Communications (ext 4343,

David Nightingale
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor

Global Research Opportunities Workshop on 30 November

Staff are invited to the Global Research Opportunities Workshop (GROW), a collaborative venture between International Development, Research Services, the Graduate School and the Dean for Internationalisation.

The workshop will be held on Monday 30 November from 9.30 to 15.00 and will be an interactive way of learning about international funding opportunities to support research, education and training.

After an introduction by Professor Phillippe de Wilde and Dr Anthony Manning, the keynote speakers will lead with their chosen topics. We are lucky to have three excellent speakers to share their expertise; Tania Lima, Assistant Director of Programme and Operations, UK HE International Unit, Universities UK; Lucy Shackleton, Senior Policy Officer, UK HE International Unit, Universities UK; and John Reilly, UK Bologna Expert.

The workshop will provide an overview of international funding opportunities to support research, education and training, including the Newton Fund and Erasmus+ with case studies from both experts at Universities UK and successful award holders at the University of Kent.

This event will be free to attend and open to all in Darwin Conference Suite. Please register your attendance here; the deadline to apply is Monday 23 November.

We hope you will be able to join us at what promises to be a beneficial and engaging workshop.

If you require any further information regarding this event please email:

Dr Anthony Manning
Dean for Internationalisation

Changes to National Insurance contributions

The government has announced changes to National Insurance contributions from April 2016 as a direct consequence of changes to the State Pension.

Who is affected

  • Kent staff who are below State Pension Age and are members of a ‘contracted-out’ occupational pension scheme such as USS or SAUL.

For all other staff, National Insurance contributions will remain unchanged.

What this means for USS and SAUL members

From 6 April 2016, USS and SAUL members will no longer receive the 1.4% National Insurance rebate and will pay a higher rate of National Insurance, with contributions increasing from 10.6% to 12% on middle band earnings (ie earnings between £8,064 and £40,044 per annum in the 2015/16 tax year).

Why is this happening?

The change in National Insurance contributions is happening as a direct consequence of a change in the State Pension which will also take effect on 6 April 2016.

Currently, the State Pension is made up of two parts:

  1. the basic State Pension
  2. the additional State Pension (often referred to as the State Second Pension (S2P) or previously SERPS).

Members of USS and SAUL are ‘contracted-out’ of the additional State Pension and consequently pay National Insurance at a lower rate.

For people who reach State Pension Age on or after 6 April 2016, a new State Pension will replace the existing basic and additional State Pension, which will end the practice of contracting-out.  As a consequence, all staff will pay the same ‘contracted-in’ rate as they build up the new State Pension in addition to their workplace pension.

How can I check if this affects me?

Members of USS and SAUL will be affected.  For confirmation, staff can check their payslips to find out the rate of National Insurance contributions they are paying. Contracted-out National Insurance contributions will have the letter ‘D’ next to the National Insurance number on their payslip. Payslips could also show the letter ‘E’,’ I’, ‘K’, or ‘L’. Employees are not contracted out if the payslip has a letter ‘A’, ‘C’, ‘J’, ‘M’, ‘X’ or ‘Z’ and their NI contributions will be unchanged.

Further information

A National Insurance calculator is provided by HMRC.  Please note that this provides information based on 2015/16 NI rates but will give an indication of the additional cost.

For further information on the changes and the effect on workplace pensions, see:

For more information, please contact Wendy Green in HR –, ext 4982.

Success at the University’s Human Resources conference

HR practioners across the South East gathered to listen to experts in their field at the University’s Human Resources conference: Fit for the Future.

The event, held at Darwin Conference Suites at the University’s Canterbury campus on Friday November 13 included inspiring presentations from academics from the University’s School of Psychology, Kent Business School and senior managers from some of Kent’s most well respected companies presented current HR ‘hot topics’ which ranged from employee wellbeing to mindfulness and local good practice case studies.

Please visit the event webpage for more information including photos and speaker presentations from the day.

James Fowler to talk at KCL

Dr James Fowler, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Modern Languages, will be giving a talk entitled entitled ‘Words and Things in Voltaire and Newton’ at King’s College London (KCL), as part of a research seminar series in ‘French Studies: Things’, on Wednesday 2 December 2015.

Based mainly on Lettres philosophiques (1734), James’ talk will show how in that text Voltaire exploits philosopher John Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689) in order to frame Newton’s controversial ( and still relatively recent) theory of universal gravitation. It turns out that Voltaire wields Locke’s thought as a double-edged sword. In the Essay, Locke had devoted important chapters to the ‘ill use’ of words (in discussion of things and ideas), and also to the extent or limits of human knowledge. Voltaire implicitly uses Locke’s Essay to disentangle words qua words from things ‘as such’ throughout his discussion of Newton; but also (misleadingly) to suggest that Newton shared Locke’s ‘philosophical modesty’ concerning the limits of what is discoverable by the human mind.

For further details of the talk, please see the King’s College London webpage here:

Tear Me Apart shown at international Film Festivals: Music by SMFA Lecturer Richard Lightman

Composer, producer, sound design practitioner, lecturer and researcher Richard Lightman, Lecturer in Popular Music, in the School of Music & Fine Art, has written the music for Tear Me Apart, the debut movie from Cannibal Films. Described as a post-apocalyptic cannibal love story set on the English coast, and directed by Alex Lightman, the film was shown recently at the International Ravenna Nightmare Horror Film Festival , at the Palazzo del Cinema e dei Congressi, Largo Firenze, Ravenna, Italy after its World Premiere at the annual Austin Film Festival in Texas on 31 October.

Founded in 1993, Austin Film Festival (AFF) was the first organization of its kind to focus on the writers’ creative contribution to film. Past participants of the Festival & Conference include Sydney Pollack, Wes Anderson, and Oliver Stone.

Set in the wasteland of post-apocalyptic rural England, Tear Me Apart tells the story of two young brothers who turn to cannibalism to survive, only to fall for their prey, a teenage girl, and possibly the last girl alive.

Hailing from Montreal, Canada, Richard Lightman has composed for a myriad of artists, films and television series including Eldorado, America’s Most Wanted and The Big Miracle, news and current affairs programs, TV and radio commercials, and contributed to the sound design of a number of Hollywood films including An American Werewolf in London, Herbie Goes Bananas, Superman II, III & IV, Flash Gordon and Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

Chief Executive Officer of the Music Producers Guild, Richard has produced over 35 albums, covering a wide spectrum of music including Heavy Metal, Reggae, Blues, Bollywood, Bhangra, Rock and Roll,New Age, Jazz, Pop and Garage, and played on over 170 recordings and performed in 28 countries on 5 continents.