Monthly Archives: January 2017

Taking the plunge for Teenage Cancer Trust

Ruth Newman from the Centre for English and World Languages swam in near-freezing water at the UK Cold Water Swimming Championships on Saturday 28 January to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust. The water was a bracing 1.5 degrees, but that didn’t deter the 700 or so swimmers who entered races ranging from 30 to 90 metres. The event is held every two years at Tooting Bec Lido in London and attracts swimmers from all over the world. If you would like to support Ruth’s fundraising efforts, please donate via JustGiving:

Book a one-to-one KAR training session

Journal articles and conference proceedings must be Open Access to be included in the next REF.

The Library’s Research Support team can help you with this and with adding any of your research to the Kent Academic Repository (KAR).

Come along to a one-to-one session on Wednesdays 14:00-16:00 in the Templeman Library.

Please email to book a slot and let us know what you would like help with.

For more information see the Open Access webpages.

Happy 30th anniversary Erasmus+

As the UK’s European university, we are proud to be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus Programme in 2017 – a milestone for Europe!

Widely recognised as the most successful EU programme, Erasmus+ provides us with a concrete example of the positive impact of European integration and international outreach, having enriched the lives of nearly two million people from Europe and beyond between 2014 and 2016 alone! The University has been part of the European Commission’s Erasmus programme since its inception in 1987; an engagement that has facilitated the University’s collaboration with a large number of prestigious Higher Education Institutions in mainland Europe.

Erasmus+ has opportunities for people of all ages and background, helping them develop and share knowledge and experience at institutions and organisations in different countries. Erasmus+ experiences help people enhance their skills and intercultural awareness and it enables them to become engaged citizens.This platform for European and international mobility and cooperation brings people from different backgrounds together. It provides them with the competences needed to lead independent, fulfilling lives and helps them find their place in our societies and develop a sense of a European identity – an identity that complements our national, regional, local identities.

Key to the University’s Internationalisation Strategy is the objective to champion and extend the University’s unique position as the UK’s European university. As we mark the start of the 2017 celebrations of this anniversary, we look forward to many more years of strong bilateral links with institutions across Europe, established through student and staff mobility agreements, continued opportunities for inter-institutional cooperation and exchange of best practice, capacity building and joint initiatives covering both research and teaching.

Happy 30th anniversary Erasmus+!

Improving web guidance for research support

There’s a lot of helpful content for Kent academics and research postgraduates on the University website: from how to upload your electronic thesis, to applying for funding or making your research outputs eligible for the next REF.

As these services are provided by different University departments, there is no single starting point from which to find all the services and information that are relevant to researchers.

In the Library’s Research Support team, we wanted to explore if such a one-stop shop would be useful and what it could look like. So in October we ran a card sorting workshop with researchers to understand:

  • what help do researchers want?
  • what information do they need at what point in the research process?
  • should the information be presented differently for PhD students and for staff researchers?

Format of the workshop

On a table, we set out five A3 sheets with the stages (nodes) of the research lifecycle (as we saw it) written on them:

  1. Your idea
  2. Get funding
  3. Do the research
  4. Publish your research
  5. Make the most of your research

We had also written what we thought were the main activities researchers need our help with on around 40 orange Post-It notes.

Then we asked participants to:

  1. place the orange Post-Its onto the nodes they thought were most appropriate
  2. discuss or provide a running commentary throughout
  3. add pink Post-It notes for any elements they thought were missing.
  4. suggest better ways of wording things
  5. mark with a pen the Post-Its for the “services” they have used.

There was lively discussion among the participants. We deliberately refrained from explaining or making excuses for the way our services or web pages work currently.


We had 6 participants for the workshop: current PhD students, a recently qualified PhD student now working in research administration, a senior researcher and two mid-career researchers. They represented a mixture of Science, Social Science and Humanities disciplines.


Some of our orange Post-Its got queried, and the participants added quite a few pink Post-Its for things we hadn’t covered or they felt should be in two different places.

The name we had given our first node “Your idea” didn’t resonate with participants and they suggested improvements. For “Publish your research” they suggested expanding/rewording this slightly. They also added a couple of nodes we hadn’t thought of.

We also have lots of comments to work through

It became quite clear that the research lifecycle looks different for PhD students as opposed to more mature researchers, so we will design a separate entry page for both.

Next steps

  1. In the coming month, we will analyse the findings in detail.
  2. We’ll develop prototypes for separate research support web pages for PhD students and staff researchers.
  3. We’ll test the prototypes with researchers in another workshop, planned for March.

If you would like to be involved in the next workshop or have feedback, please email

Kent to host major international conference on fundraising

People tend to be supportive of charities but annoyed by fundraisers. As charities need money to do their good work, this is a rather perplexing state of affairs which deserves greater scrutiny.

On Monday 13 February the problematising of fundraising will be a key issue addressed at a major conference on ‘Understanding Fundraising’ which is being held on the Canterbury campus. The event will be opened by Prof Philippe De Wilde, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, and is supported by Kent’s Public Engagement with Research Fund, enabling 150 practitioners and academics to gather to discuss a range of issues including whether racial identity matters in fundraising, and the role of fundraising in Higher Education and state primary schools.

The keynote speakers are Adrian Sargeant, the world’s first professor of fundraising, and Sarah Nathan, who is associate director of the renowned Fundraising School at Indiana University in the USA. Additional speakers and attendees are joining us from the Netherlands, Ireland and all across the UK.

Further information and the programme are available here:
To enquire if a place is available please email the organiser, Dr. Beth Breeze (pictured), director of the Centre for Philanthropy at


Mathilde Poizat-Amar publishes on French travel writing

Dr Mathilde Poizat-Amar, Lecturer in French in the Department of Modern Languages, has just published a new book on French travel writing entitled L’Eclat du voyage: Blaise Cendrars, Victor Segalen, Albert Londres (Peter Lang, 2017), based upon her PhD thesis undertaken at Kent and at Paris-10.

The monograph examines different interactions between travel and literary writing in the works of three early 20th-century French travel writers: Blaise Cendrars (1887-1961), Victor Segalen (1878-1919)and Albert Londres (1884-1932).

By looking at a large range of primary material including novels, essays, poetry, diaries, and journalistic reports this book establishes how these texts, written in the midst of a Modernist boom across Europe, present us with trailblazing ways of thinking and writing about travel.

In doing so, it argues for the necessity of thinking together literature and travel, travel and fragmentation, and at last, literature and fragmentation.

For more details, please see the publisher’s website.

John (Horsley Russell) Davis 1938-2017

The death has been announced of John Davis, on 15 January. John was on the anthropology staff of the University of Kent from 1966 to 1990, and Professor of Social Anthropology from 1982.

Between 1958 and 1961, John read history as an undergraduate at University College Oxford, after which he moved to the London School of Economics for postgraduate studies. It was here that he met three individuals who were to shape his enduring preoccupations. The first was Paul Stirling, who was at the time undertaking pioneer work in Mediterranean ethnography; the second was Raymond Firth, who influenced his thought in the area of economic anthropology; and the third Lucy Mair, whose sharp mind and no-nonsense concise writing style he much approved of and actively emulated. Under Stirling’s supervision he undertook fieldwork in southern Italy, completing his PhD in 1969.

In 1966 John moved to Kent, part of a group of other LSE staff and students who were to form the nucleus of a board of studies later to become the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology. John often said that he was ‘made at Kent’, and certainly this was where his best work was undertaken: his influential essays on exchange, his synthesis of Mediterranean ethnography and his ground-breaking work on long-distance traders in Gaddafi’s Libya. In the early days at Kent, John both benefitted from, and contributed to, the intellectual synergy between his own work and that of his colleagues in sociology, such as Ray Pahl (with whom he shared an interest in the informal economy) and Derek Allcorn (whose theoretical acumen and sense of humour he much admired).

As a teacher, John will be remembered for his innovations to the curriculum, such as ‘Understanding other cultures’ (a joint course with philosophy), and instructively entertaining several cohorts of students during the 1980s with his creation of ‘Potlatch’, a simulation game that sought to capture the dynamic properties of the eponymous Kwakiutl institution of competitive exchange. It was also John Davis who founded the Centre for Social Anthropology and Computing in 1985, which was to place Kent at the forefront of innovations in computing applications that have now become standard throughout academia.

In 1990 he moved to Oxford as head of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, became Warden of All Souls College in 1995, where he remained until his retirement in 2008. His retirement was unfortunately plagued by ill-health and a premature withdrawal from mainstream academic life. He will be remembered as a clever man, by turns charming, funny, intellectually incisive, and always supportive of students, friends and colleagues.



LGBT History Month 2017

LGBT History Month 2017 starts on Wednesday (1 February)!

The LGBT+ Staff Network, in association with Student Services, Kent Union and the LGBT+ Student Society, have organised a number of events and activities to celebrate the LGBT community at Kent. All events are open to all and guests are welcome.

Some of the highlights:

  • Friday 3 February: Screening of ‘The Pass’, followed by a post-screening discussion at the Gulbenkian
  • Tuesday 7 February: LGBT+ Staff Network Lunch, Medway campus
  • 13-20 February: LGBTQ Writers’ Week, in association with the Centre for Gender, Sexuality and Writing. Various events held
  • Friday 17 February: LGBT+ Staff Network social, Canterbury campus
  • Wednesday 22 February: Researching the Rainbow Conference, with a variety of speakers from different research disciplines


  • Rainbow badges will be available (for donations to Stonewall) at a number of locations around the Canterbury campus
  • The Rainbow flag will be flying over each college on the Canterbury campus and at the Medway campus
  • Rainbow cupcakes will be available at the Gulbenkian Café Bar
  • Kent’s Varsity team will be wearing rainbow laces to support their LGBTQ team-mates

Further information on all events, including those organised by the LGBT+ Student Society and the staff network at CCCU, is available on the (newly re-designed) Staff Network blog.

Happy History Month!

Anna Strhan co-edits book on religion and childhood

Dr Anna Strhan, Lecturer in Religious Studies in the Department of Religious Studies has co-edited a new book The Bloomsbury Reader in Religion and Childhood (Bloomsbury, 2017) with Stephen Parker (University of Worcester) and Susan Ridgely (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA).

From recent sex abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church, to arguments about faith schools and religious indoctrination, this volume considers the interconnection between the actual lives of children and the position of children as placeholders for the future. Childhood has often been a particular site of struggle for negotiating the location of religion in public and everyday social life, and children’s involvement and non-involvement in religion raises strong feelings because they represent the future of religious and secular communities, even of society itself. The Bloomsbury Reader in Religion and Childhood addresses the wider questions about the distinctiveness of childhood and its religious dimensions in historical and contemporary perspective.

Divided into five thematic parts, it provides classic, contemporary, and specially commissioned readings from a range of perspectives, including the sociological, anthropological, historical, and theological. Case studies range from Augustine’s description of childhood in Confessions, the psychology of religion and childhood, to religion in children’s literature, religious education, and Qur’anic schools.

The book includes chapters by other Kent academics, including Professor Jeremy Carrette, Professor of Philosophy, Religion and Culture in the Department of Philosophy, entitled ‘Religious Minds: The Psychology of Religion and Childhood’ and Professor Gordon Lynch, Michael Ramsey Professor of Modern Theology in the Department of Religious Studies, entitled ‘Historical Abuse, trauma and public acts of moral repair’, as well as Anna’s chapter on ‘Children in Contemporary British Evangelicalism’.

For full details of the book, please see the publisher’s page.

Novel approach to running final-year research projects

A novel approach to running final-year research projects: empowering students to manage their own projects through embedded employability is the title of a workshop taking place on Tuesday 7 February 2017, from 12.45-14.00, in the UELT Seminar Room (Canterbury Campus).

The workshop will be presented by Dr Chris Shepherd from the School of Physical Sciences and winner of a Sciences Faculty Teaching Prize 2016 as part of the Developing Teaching for Experienced Staff at the University.

A novel work-based learning approach to running undergraduate science projects is presented here, using the University’s Forensic Science programme as a case study.

This session aims to suggest how a range of transferable, non-subject-specific skills can be embedded within final year research projects to dramatically increase the employability of graduates. The approach presented requires the students to project manage their work from start through to completion, whilst also enhancing the students’ understanding of their subject area. This process has also increased marking consistency and overall student satisfaction and so is a viable alternative to typical STEM project processes.

To book a place, please email