Monthly Archives: April 2016

ARARAT Movie Screening

On 5 May at 18.30 in the Gulbenkian Cinema is screening a historical drama `ARARAT` by Canadian-French Director Atom Egoyan. Please for more information visit the below link and feel free to reserve your places online free of charge.
You will not be charged for the tickets, but it is compulsory to register online prior attending the event.

Summary of the Movie is presented below:

“ARARAT“ is a 2002 Canadian-French drama historical film written and directed by Atom Egoyan and starring Charles Aznavour, Christopher Plummer, David Alpay, Arsinée Khanjian, Eric Bogosian, Bruce Greenwood and Elias Koteas.
A film within a film, this is a contemporary story of the making of a historical epic about the Armenian Genocide between 1915 and 1918. Filmmaker Edward Sorayan is making a non-documentary movie recounting the 1915 Armenian Genocide. This movie will be controversial if only because of the denial by the Turkish government that the genocide even exists. Regardless, Sorayan plans on using what he considers real life events and people as the basis for the movie.

Summer School opportunity in Memphis

We can now offer you the opportunity to travel to Memphis USA to participate in the Medway campus and School of Music and Fine Art’s Memphis Summer School!

This is a week of music and arts activities hosted by the University of Memphis.  The Summer School is open to all Medway students on all our programmes.

We have arranged exciting trips and activities to other prestigious universities in the area, such as Rhodes (Memphis) and Belmont (Nashville).  We are also planning to visit famous recording studios and music facilities such as Ocean Way Studios and the Stax Academy, culturally important institutions such as the National Civil Rights Museum, the Memphis College of Art, as well as other activities that we are in the process of finalising. This trip will fascinate students from all disciplines, Nashville is the cultural and recording industry capital of the World and Memphis is important for its place in the Civil Liberties debate that took place in the USA in the 1960’s during the years of segregation.

Expected cost per student is approximately £650, which includes flights, accommodation and transport in the US (you will need to buy food separately).

Dates: 5-12 June 2016

Please contact Alan Mash,, to register your interest or if you have any queries before Wednesday 4 May.

By doing this you are not committing at this stage, but it will nevertheless allow us to plan our activities with a certain number of students in mind.  However, we will need to finalise student numbers by 5 May.

In memoriam – Professor Robert Gibson

Last month we were saddened to bring you the news that Emeritus Professor of French, Robert (Bob) Gibson had passed away.

The School of European and Modern Languages have published a fitting tribute to him on their webpages with contributions by other emeritus members of staff who knew him well.

We will publish the funeral arrangements once they are available.

Important Changes to National Insurance Contributions April 2016 -Reminder

Government changes to National Insurance (NI) contributions will take effect from April 2016 and staff will see the result in their take-home pay this month. This affects you if you are below State Pension age and a member of one of the following pension schemes:

  • The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS)
  • The Superannuation Arrangements of the University of London (SAUL)
  • The Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS)
  • The National Health Service Pension Scheme (NHSPS)

For all other staff, NI contributions will not change.

What does this mean for USS, SAUL, LGPS and NHSPS members?

From 6 April, NI contributions will increase for all members.

NI contributions will:

  • increase from 10.6% to 12% for the proportion of your salary that falls within £8,060 and £40,044
  • remain at 12% for the proportion of your salary that falls within £40,044.01 and £43,000
  • remain at 2% for the proportion of your salary that is above £43,000

You will no longer receive the 1.4% NI rebate.

Why is this happening?

These changes are a direct consequence of a change in the State Pension.

Currently, the State Pension consists of:

  • the basic State Pension
  • the Additional State Pension

The Additional State Pension is also known as the State Second Pension (S2P). It replaced the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS).

Currently members of USS, SAUL, LGPS and NHSPS are contracted-out of the Additional State Pension and so pay NI at a lower rate.

If you 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.  This means all staff will pay the same rate as they build up the new State Pension in addition to their workplace pension.

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

Karen Carpenter story comes to the Gulbenkian

Mark Heller, from SMSAS, has written a stunning stage show about the life and music of the singing legend Karen Carpenter.

The show, which is being staged at the Gulbenkian Theatre on Thursday 12 May, tells Karen’s life story in words, pictures and video, and reveals the poignant truth behind a timeless musical partnership that took the world by storm.

This memorable and moving show also features beautiful piano and vocal arrangements of 14 of the Carpenters most memorable songs, performed by Mark and the highly talented vocalist, Rebecca Robinson.

Tickets (£12, or £8 for students) are available from the Gulbenkian Box Office, or online from:

Calling all Black & Minority Ethnic Students!

Kent Union just launched the BME (Black & Minority Ethnic) Student Voices project which will conduct research into experiences of BME students at the University of Kent in order to identify barriers to academic and social success whilst studying.

We are currently looking for UK domiciled BME students to take part in short one-to–one interviews with the project researcher regarding their experiences at the University of Kent. The project will be exploring the link between social engagement and academic performance. It will also help us establish measures to overcome the attainment and participation gap of BME students within Kent Union, target the issues that need increased support and resources for student led organisation of events like Black History Month (October 2016).

To thank you for your participation, all interviewees will be given a £5 Kent Union voucher redeemable in Essentials, Woody’s (Coopers in Medway)and the Library Café.

For more information or to sign up for an interview please contact Krys at
Sign up here or join us here BME Student Voices Project(

Breakin’ Convention

Sat 28 May 19.00 & Sun 29 May 15.00 at Gulbenkian

Breakin’ Convention is Sadler’s Wells’ ground breaking festival of hip hop dance theatre featuring a line-up of jaw-dropping performances by companies from around the world and around the corner.  Hosted and curated by UK hip hop theatre legend Jonzi D, he brings some of the world’s best poppers, lockers, b-boys and b-girls together to dance alongside local crews.

This year the international line-up features high octane antics from world bboy champions, The Ruggeds(Netherlands), Antoinette Gomis (France) with a poetically emotive solo performed to Nina Simone’s Images and Iron Skulls Co (Spain) where b-boying merges with contemporary for an apocalyptic showpiece. Breakin’ Convention is more than just a show – the building will come alive from 17.00 Sat/13.00 Sun when our front of house spaces will be taken over by DJs, dancers, live aerosol art, MCs and freestyle sessions in an ultimate celebration of hip hop culture.

Book and find out more.

TedxUKC Event: May 14th 2016!

TedxUKC are proud to announce that our annual event will take place on May 14th at the Gulbenkian Theatre!
Our theme this year is all things ‘Beneath the Surface’ – a topic that will surely take you on journey breaking beyond emotional, physical, or social norms. We will be showcasing nine very talented speakers who cover issues ranging from seeking identity, to accepting vulnerability and even in finding solutions to security in the nighttime economy and to terrorism.

Join us for fun activities and some light refreshments before the event at 10.00 and sit back and enjoy the programme from 11.00-17.30. We will also be hosting a drinks reception afterwards so you can network to your hearts desire.

Follow us on Facebook for updates:
Email us if you have any questions at:
Check out our speakers from last year’s event on YouTube and get inspired!

Brussels School of International Studies Hosts Annual International Conference

Story written by Katie Rowan

On the 7th and 8th of April, the Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS) opened its doors to host an International Conference titled Conflict Termination to Conflict Recurrence: a multidisciplinary approach to analysing post­-conflict societies.  This student-led initiative invited 27 leading academics and practitioners from Brussels and beyond to discuss the factors that lead to conflict recurrence in post-conflict areas.

Reflecting the multidisciplinary spirit of the Brussels campus, 6 panel discussions and 3 keynote speeches examined the issues facing post-conflict societies from the perspectives of specialists in several fields, including law, migration, gender, development, and conflict.  Notable speakers included the Canadian Ambassador to Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, H.E. Denis Robert, Dr. Jamie Shea of NATO, and Dr. Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group.

The content of the conference attracted 175 attendees from a wide-range of backgrounds, including the European Parliament and Commission, Embassies, think-tanks and academic institutions from across Europe.  Throughout the conference, attendees and panellists had the opportunity to continue these important discussions during the networking breaks, lunch, and closing receptions.

The event highlighted the programmes offered at the Brussels campus and received a positive reception from the community.  One of the speakers, Dr. Walt Kilroy, took to Twitter to praise the organisers for putting together “one of the best conferences…[he has]…attended”.

Due to its success and recognition, BSIS is already looking forward to planning next year’s annual event.

A post-conference report will soon be made available at and social media coverage can be followed at #BSISconf16.

Successful launch of Shadow Matching Scheme

Wednesday 20 April saw the launch of the Shadow Matching Scheme intended to provide professional services staff with job shadowing opportunities across the University.

The pilot scheme works on the basis of a reciprocal arrangement over the course of three half-days between professional staff in academic schools and colleagues in central service departments. This will allow colleagues to break down some of the silos in which we too often operate and help them to better understand the work of other parts of the University, as well as provide them with a fresh look at their own professional practice.

The event on Wednesday 20 April was the first of these sessions:  all the matches were revealed and each pair was able to meet and start discussing their roles and what they were hoping to get from the reciprocal shadowing visits. The event was extremely successful with an impressive total of 76 people, across both academic schools and central services, having signed up for this pilot scheme.

The informal feedback we have received so far has been extremely positive. A more formal feedback gathering will take place in a couple of months – when most shadowing visits will have been completed – which will inform the way this scheme will be taken forward in the future.

This new scheme is part of the “Excellence through partnerships” enhancement theme of the ‘Excellence Initiative’, which the Academic Division has been running since 2012 for professional staff in the University’s schools and faculties   More information about this scheme and others is available on the Excellence Initiative website, the go-to place for all professional staff in schools to learn about the various projects which have been put in place under the Excellence Initiative since its launch.

If you have any question or suggestions about this scheme, please contact