Monthly Archives: September 2020

Dr Patricia Novillo-Corvalan

Patricia Norvillo-Corvalan to appear on BBC’s ‘The Forum: Jorge Luis Borges’

Dr Patricia Norvillo-Corvalan, Head of the Department of Comparative Literature, will appear on the BBC’s The Forum: Jorge Luis Borges, on Thursday 8 October at 10.00 on BBC World Service.

Borges’ works have become classics and an influence not just on many Latin American novelists but on countless writers around the world. Yet although he is one of the most analysed figures in literature, even his greatest fans struggle to fully explain his writing. This programme will ask: ‘what accounts for his enduring fame?’

Patricia will be appearing alongside other experts on Borges including Professor Evelyn Fishburn, from University College London, author of Hidden Pleasures In Borges’s Fiction; and Edwin Williamson, Professor at Oxford University and editor of the Cambridge Companion to Jorge Luis Borges.

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Covid-19 – reporting symptoms or self-isolation

If you start to experience symptoms of Covid-19 or have been advised to self-isolate, it is important that you know what to do; how this should be reported and the procedures you need to follow.

Key Covid-19 symptoms are:

  • high temperature (fever) – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • new continuous cough – coughing for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • new loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – you cannot smell or taste anything or things smell or taste different to normal.

To ensure we keep our community as safe as possible, all staff are asked to familiarise themselves with the new reporting procedures.

Guidance for staff

If you display any of the key Covid-19 symptoms, or you need to self-isolate, you should follow our reporting procedure for staff, which includes guidance on:

  • booking a Covid-19 test – we have testing centres on both our Canterbury and Medway campuses
  • what to do if you become unwell while on campus
  • reporting a positive test
  • self-isolating if someone in your household tests positive or you are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace Service
  • how your absence is reported on Staff Connect.

Guidance for managers

Managers are advised to also read the separate reporting procedure for managers to ensure appropriate and necessary action is taken in the event a member of staff reports Covid-19 symptoms, a positive test, or a requirement to self-isolate.

Further information on Covid-19, including updated FAQs on wearing face coverings and visitors on campus, is available on the staff coronavirus webpages.



Student nominated for Outstanding Undergraduate Dissertation Prize

BA English & American Literature and English Language and Linguistics student, Dakarai Bonyongwe, has been nominated for the prestigious Linguistics Association of Great Britain Undergraduate Dissertation Prize.

Since 2017, the Linguistics Association of Great Britain (LAGB) has awarded three prizes annually for outstanding dissertations or long-form essays in any subfield of linguistics written by undergraduates.

The Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics said: “The prize is extremely competitive with an extraordinarily high standard of entries, and we were very proud to submit Dakarai’s excellent dissertation. It reflected a year of hard work and dedication to produce an original piece of work on the phonology of a less-studied language. We are deeply impressed with the quality of Dakarai’s work, and think [she] selected an exciting and relevant topic and implemented it with an impressive level of scientific maturity.”

Dakarai says: “My research is inspired by a childhood frustration of mine. I grew up with non-Shona speakers mispronouncing the alveolar implosive /ɗ/ at the start of my name as the alveolar plosive /d/. Shona, my native language, is tonal and the phonemes can be contrastive.” She goes on to say: “this study had its challenges, but was deeply fascinating and satisfying. I would love to expand on it in future, allowing for a deeper analysis of results…I want to thank SECL and the University of Kent for creating the platform to enable independent research.”

Find out more about undergraduate programmes in Linguistics.


ChalkBoard with the word hello written in different languages

New Language Centre launched

The University is celebrating the launch of a new Language Centre which offers Kent students the opportunity to study a variety of language modules.

The new Language Centre allows students to study language modules as part of their existing degree programme or as an additional extracurricular module.

Nine modern foreign languages – Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish – are offered at different levels to suit students who already have some language knowledge or who are starting as complete beginners.

Dr Wissia Fiorucci, Director of the Language Centre, said: “We’re delighted to launch the University’s new Language Centre, which brings all our language provision together and gives students the option to choose from a range of nine modern languages at different levels; they can strengthen existing skills or pick up something new from scratch!

As we celebrated the European Day of Languages on 26 September, there could not be a better time to promote the benefits of language learning and to give as many students as possible the opportunity to benefit from the enthusiasm and expertise of a dedicated team of language teachers from all over the world.”

For more information, email


Map of Europe

Modern Languages receives support from UCML

Dr Alvise Sforza Tarabochia, Head of the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, and Dr Wissia Fiorucci, Director of the Language Centre, have received a grant from the University Council for Modern Languages (UCML).

The grant supports the Modern Languages Teaching Forum, which aims to bring together teachers of modern languages at all levels to share good practice, discuss the challenges facing the sector, support language teaching and promote the language learning.

The Forum has already met a number of times, discussing themes including grammar, speaking and – most recently – distance learning in modern languages. The group plan to reconvene in late November, once again with a distance learning theme but this time with a particular focus on assessment.

Alvise said: “We are delighted to receive the support of UCML, and to be notified on such an apt day! We have just celebrated the European Day of Languages, which reminds us that linguistic diversity is the best tool to achieve intercultural understanding. The Modern Languages Teaching Forum at the University of Kent, now with the support of UCML, will continue its local, national and international effort to bring together teachers of modern foreign languages, at all levels, in order to promote the wonders of learning new languages and unlocking their cultures.”

Book covers for: The Slave Trade Abolition and the Long History of International Criminal Law and The Exclusionary Politics of Digital Financial Inclusion

Online launch for books by Kent academic and PhD alumna

A launch event for books authored by Kent international law expert Dr Emily Haslam and PhD law alumna Dr Serena Natile will be hosted online on Wednesday 18 November.

The Slave Trade Abolition and the Long History of International Criminal Law, by Dr Haslam, and The Exclusionary Politics of Digital Financial Inclusion, by Dr Natile, are both published by Routledge.

The event, from 16.00 – 18.00, will be hosted jointly by the Law School’s Centre for Sexuality, Race and Gender Justice (SeRGJ), the Centre for Critical International Law (CeCIL), and research group Social Critiques of Law (SoCriL).

Dr Haslam’s book will be introduced by Professor Michael Lobban (LSE) and Dr Christine Schwobel-Patel (University of Warwick), and Dr Natile’s book will be introduced by Dr Luis Eslava (Kent Law School) and Professor Kate Maclean (University of Northumbria).

Dr Haslam’s book offers a close and critical examination of litigation that arose from British efforts to capture slave ships in the nineteenth century. It shows how the slave trade and abolition has influenced (and continues to influence) international criminal law in multiple ways.

Dr Haslam  is a Senior Lecturer at Kent Law School. Her research interests lie in the field of international criminal law, specifically the treatment of victims and the role of civil society, and in international legal history.

Dr Natile’s book (developed from her PhD thesis) focuses on Kenya’s path-breaking mobile money project M-Pesa to examine and critique the narratives and institutions of digital financial inclusion as a development strategy for gender equality. It argues for a politics of redistribution to guide future digital financial inclusion projects.

Dr Natile is Assistant Professor at the University of Warwick’s School of Law. She completed her PhD thesis at Kent in December 2016.

Please register on Eventbrite.

Virtual Exchange Opportunities at Kent

Would you like to develop a solution for a real-life problem alongside other students at the University of Calgary?  Or maybe you would be interested in joining a common reading experience with students across the world at West Virginia University?

These are just a couple of the opportunities we have available for Kent students to engage with virtual activities at our partner universities across the world.

Virtual exchange allows students to engage in meaningful, cross-cultural experiences as part of your education.  These projects are becoming ever more important in offering students an international learning experience.  With recent events preventing traditional study abroad, these projects provide the framework for students to develop their cross-cultural attitudes, skills, and communication in addition to improving their digital literacy skills valued by employers.

For more information and to sign up, please visit the Global Education webpage.


Nominate yourself to run in the Student Networks election!

It’s that time of year! Kent Student Union are now open for nominations and elections to their Student Networks!

Student Networks are student-led spaces where students who share an interest or identity can discuss issues relating to their group, and collectively work on events and campaigns to build a community of students and make change to your student experience and beyond. Networks exist to represent and act as the voice for all defining students, to feedback key issues that affect their student experience to both the University and Kent Union, and to lead campaigns to affect positive change for students at Kent and beyond.  

Students can get involved with running this student network, by standing in this election to become part of this student network team.

Each network is led by a team of up to five elected students, with a designated chair who is a member of the Union Executive Committee.  

If you are interested in running for the network teams then you can nominate yourself here.

HR Conference 2020

The University of Kent invites you to the 6th annual Human Resources Conference: Employee Engagement and Productivity, on Friday 20 November 09.30 – 17.00.

Sponsored by HR GO and hosted by the Knowledge Exchange and Innovation team. “Brilliantly organised as ever. Great blend of speakers and subjects covered. Loads of action points to apply. Thank you!” (Attendee to the HR Conference 2019).

The 2020 annual HR Conference will address both staff engagement and productivity in context to both Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. This digital event will provide HR professionals the chance to gain insight from academic expertise present at the University of Kent, whilst also listening to diverse group of industry experts.

“Excellent and will recommend to colleagues for 2020” (Attendee to the HR Conference 2019).

Register for this annual event. Tickets can be purchased for this online event for £49.00. Registered Charities and University of Kent students can purchase tickets for £24.50.

Find out more about the HR Network and the support they provide to HR professionals or contact the team at

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Kent signs up for Race Equality Charter

Vice-Chancellor Karen Cox has formally submitted Kent’s application for membership of the Advance HE’s Race Equality Charter.

The Race Equality Charter provides us with a framework to enable a significant step-change at the University, and through signing-up we reaffirm our commitment to race equality.

Professor Georgina Randsley de Moura, Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Academic Strategy, Planning and Performance will lead on this, working with colleagues and students across the University to ensure that the work required is understood, resourced and advanced appropriately.

Vice-Chancellor Karen Cox comments ‘On behalf of all of the Executive Group, I would like to thank colleagues and students who are working tirelessly to tackle racism through education, research, evaluation and engagement. I am confident that we have amongst us all the skills, knowledge and drive to make this step-change.’

We acknowledge that there is still much to do. We will update you on the next steps the University will be taking shortly and how you can get involved.