Monthly Archives: December 2020

Laoise Gallager

Journalism student hired as Irish Dancing Magazine feature writer

Laoise Gallagher, an undergraduate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Journalism, has been hired as a feature writer for Irish Dancing Magazine – whilst still completing her final year of studies.

During her second year of studies, Laoise designed and wrote an article for the publication as part of a print assessment. After being encouraged by lecturers to pitch it to the Irish Dancing Magazine, Laoise successfully had the article published as a double-page feature. She was subsequently offered the role of feature writer for the publication.

Laoise, who is also a World Championship level Irish dancer, has built up her journalism experience whilst at Kent with placements writing print articles at the Medway Messenger and an internship at broadcast news outlet KMTV. She is now trained in print, radio, TV and online journalism.

After being an Irish dancer from a young age, around six years ago Laoise began competing professionally, training three to four times a week for the Reel Eire School of Irish Dance. Her biggest achievement to date is being ranked third in the Southern Region, which qualified her to represent England at the World Championships in North Carolina last year.

Laoise Gallagher magazine spread

(click to expand)

Laoise said: ‘As a World Championship level Irish dancer myself, I thought that it would be smart to pick a niche magazine to pitch to as I could really immerse myself in the story and show expert knowledge. To make the design as accurate as possible, I contacted the magazine to ask for specific details on how they would lay out a feature piece. They were so helpful and when I submitted my assignment, I also sent it to the editor of the magazine. She was really impressed with the piece and I was delighted to not only have it published but to be offered a role in their editorial team too. This is so valuable to have as experience on my CV.

‘Studying at CfJ has been the best few years of my life. When I joined, I was quiet and shy, the thought of a phone call was terrifying. Now I am in my final year and it feels like I have grown so much as a person and the skills I have developed as a journalist really prepare you for the real world. The lecturers go above and beyond to support you in whatever route you want to take.’




Brexit Short Term Travel and Pay Policy

The University has been working to put plans in place to ensure the University remains operationally viable in the event of a no-deal Brexit. As part of this work, we have a policy to support managers and staff in the event that staff working on campus experience difficulties in getting on to campus due to increased congestion and delays on the roads across Kent after 31 December.

Under the Brexit Short Term Travel and Pay Policy, if you are a member of staff whose agreed way of working is on campus, you are expected to attend work in the normal way during any period of disruption and make all reasonable efforts to identify practical travel routes during a period of travel disruption.

If agreed by your line manager, the University will consider claims for reasonable additional expenses if you have to use public transport instead of your normal road journey in order to get to work.  Staff who are unable to get into work must let their line manager know as soon as possible.

Staff (including timesheet paid staff) who are not able to attend for work due to the travel disruption and who are unable to work from home will have their normal pay maintained for the first day of travel disruption provided this has been agreed in advance with line managers. After this, you will be expected to either take annual leave or TOIL.

Further details about the Brexit Short Term Travel and Pay Policy are available here.

Information to support your travel plans is available on our Transport webpages.


Look after your wellbeing this Christmas

Article from Brenda Brunsdon, Occupational Health and Wellbeing Team Manager:

Change is a constant in life and sometimes, we need to mentally reframe, or redecide our approach to something to be able to accept the change it brings.

One of the major traits of resilient people is how they cope with change and they usually do it by reframing how they see the situation that has developed.

Take Christmas. Once solely a religious festival, in many ways it now represents a family-centric mid-winter fest, with lots of opportunity to party alongside any praise and thanks related to the coming of salvation.

Christmas though is not a season of joy for everyone. If you are one of those people dreading Christmas, for whatever the reason, remember that the University Employee Assistance Programme is staffed to take your call at any time, day or night. The telephone number is 0808 168 2143 and it doesn’t cost you anything to call.

Our relationship with Christmas changes over time. When we are children Christmas means mystery, anticipation and excitement. Teenage years bring the angst of not knowing whether to be a child or a grown up. We then mature into young adults without responsibilities, partying through Christmas; then young parents with children and the cycle begins again. All our family losses are marked at Christmas, the person not at the family get-togethers, the card that doesn’t arrive for 2 years running. They are balanced by the joys of new members of the family, especially children. Our relationship with Christmas shows we can cope with change and have the skill to psychologically reframe as we go through life.

The essence of Christmas is hope. The Christmas Story is that the Child is born, the wait is over; when He grows, He will usher in a time of love, kindness, and forgiveness for all. This year, we really need hope back in our lives. And the glimmers of hope are there on the horizon, with the roll out of the Covid 19 vaccine.

I wish everyone who reads this a peaceful, restful and happy Christmas Holiday period. I hope that those who have been touched by sadness and loss over the past 12 months can start to heal and move forward. 2021 is very near and, hopefully, it’s going to bring solutions to the problems of 2020.

‘What is Resilience? Defining Resilience’: by Emma Ogilvie on
‘Reframe Unhelpful Thoughts’: YouTube video by Every Mind Matters
‘The Importance of Hope; How to be more Hopeful’: by Paul Thomas on, article and video Information on the Employee Assistance Programme on OH website

Pilgrims Hospice staff wearing Covid 3D face shields

Kent in Action – University support during Covid-19

The first episode in a new series revealing how University of Kent staff and students have responded to the coronavirus pandemic will soon be airing on KMTV.

‘Coronavirus: Kent in Action’ focuses on the diverse work being carried out in fields such as medicine, business and media (to name a few), not only to combat the virus but also to provide a much-needed lift in people’s spirits.

Teaching and student life has been significantly disrupted, but the series shows how the University community has been hard at work tackling the greatest public health crisis in living memory. In Episode One, we see everything from bioscientists who’ve been working to understand the make up of the disease, to the musical Marsh family whose lockdown-themed rendition of the Les Misérables tune ‘One Day More’ went viral.

Series producer Cameron Tucker wants the series to be a celebration of what happens when people come together. ‘It was really important to everyone involved that we demonstrated the sheer breadth of activity that has been going on. These are stories from a supremely talented group of people who, in their own unique ways, are helping us through these unprecedented times. They are tales which deserve to be told,’ he said ahead of the first episode.

There’s even embroidery featured. Professor Jennie Batchelor, behind the Crafting through Covid project, in the programme says: ‘One of the wonderful things about needlework and other forms of craft is it feels like you’re putting something together when it feels like the sands are shifting from under your feet. It’s very much in the spirit of [The Lady’s] Magazine,” the 18 and 19th century publication which Professor Batchelor is an internationally recognised authority on.

Regular KMTV collaborator Betty Woessner, Research Excellence Manager at the University, is keen for this work to be shared with the wider public. ‘Whether it’s been medical advancements or perhaps having a laugh at a topical take on the current situation, everyone has been influenced in some way or another by what has been going on at Kent throughout the pandemic. These films are an opportunity to acknowledge that impact,’ she said.

The production of more than 4,000 face shields by a team of university technicians is one of many examples cited by Carole Barron, Director of KIE at Kent, and co-commissioner on Episode One, in demonstrating a vibrant research and innovation community: ‘Staff and students from across disciplines have come together through their ingenuity and enterprise, and I hope viewers will be inspired by the achievements showcased in the films.’

Coronavirus: Kent in Action premieres on Friday 18 December at 19.30 on KMTV (Freeview Channel 7, Virgin 159 and online at

You can also watch Episode One now on YouTube.

Picture shows: Pilgrims Hospice staff wearing face shields provided by University technicians.

People sitting around an illustration of a globe

Virtual Kent Global Showcase 2021

All staff are invited to attend our Virtual Kent Global Showcase 2021 Event which is taking place on Wednesday 20 January from 10.00 – 12.00.

Vivienne Stern of UUKi will be opening the event and we will receive key updates from other colleagues and students from across the University.

As usual, this will be an excellent example to share good practice across the divisions and departments, as we prepare for our next steps in internationalisation in 2021

You can sign up to the event now and a joining link will then be emailed to you nearer the time.

The Kent Global team look forward to seeing you there!

Two students chatting and sitting outside Templeman Library

Help promote the virtual Undergraduate Open Day

Kent’s Virtual Open Days are a fantastic way to showcase what the University can offer. Come join the Virtual Undergraduate Open Day on Wednesday 6 January from 16.00 – 19.00.

This will be our fourth undergraduate virtual open day and the first for 2021. We’ve added a Parents and Supporters Zone to our events, to give those supporting prospective students more information about Kent, student finance and how we’re keeping our students and staff safe.

Our last undergraduate virtual event in November had an attendance of over 2300+ with visitors from 80 countries.

We’ve also launched our ‘on-demand’ virtual open events for both undergraduates and postgraduates. These have proved popular as visitors are able to review all our open day content (minus the live sessions and chats) in their own time.

To help maximise recruitment for 2021, it would be a great help if staff could help promote the Undergraduate Virtual event across their platforms, either on their school websites and on social channels. To attend the event, you will need to register for your place – using the link below.

Please do forward on to friends or family members who may be interested in an Undergraduate course at Kent. Please see further information about the event on the Virtual Open Day webpage.

Illustration of people social distancing and wearing masks

COVID-19 and Social Justice

Join us for a live Zoom webinar from 10.00 on Thursday 21 January – open to all!

Kent Law School is extending an open invitation to all for a live webinar on Thursday 21 January that seeks to critically explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on social justice at home and overseas.

The programme runs from 10.00 – 13.15 with panels on: COVID-19, Health and Social Justice; Courts, Justice and COVID-19; and COVID-19 and Precarity


10.00: Welcome from Professor Helen Carr (Kent Law School)

Panel 1: COVID-19, Health and Social Justice

  • 10.10: Professor Sally Sheldon (Public health, social justice and COVID-19)
  • 10.25: Dr Gowri Nanayakkara (COVID-19 and health inequalities)
  • 10.40: Ms  Leanne Taylor (COVID-19 and the mental health tribunal)
  • 10.55: Open forum via the Q&A function. Please join and ask our panellists questions, or share information and ideas
  • 11.05: short break

Panel 2: Courts, Justice and COVID-19

  • 11.10: Bernard Richmond QC, Honorary Professor University of Kent (virtual hearings – a practitioner perspective)
  • 11.25: Professor Rosemary Hunter (Access to justice and virtual courts – domestic abuse)
  • 11.40: Professor Shaun McVeigh (governing conduct and civil relations in COVID-19)
  • 11.55: Open forum via the Q&A function. Please join and ask our panellists questions, or share information and ideas
  • 12.05: short break

Panel 3: COVID-19, Informality and Precarity

  • 12.10: Ms Sheona York – Migrant ‘Covid heroes’ and the hostile environment
  • 12.25: Dr Luis Eslava (Informality in times of COVID-19 – a view from Colombia)
  • 12.40: Professor Lydia Hayes (public health consequences of absence of occupational sick pay in the care sector)
  • 12.55: Open forum via the Q&A function. Please join and ask our panellists questions, or share information and ideas
  • 13.05: Closing remarks, Professor Helen Carr

Register now via Eventbrite



Man working on his laptop and iphone with Christmas tree in the background - Unsplash

Care first webinars over the festive period (Dec 2020 – Jan 2021)

Our official Employee Assistance Programme provider, Care first offers a numbers of services and provide useful advice and support, including weekly webinars.

Over the festive period they will still be putting on webinars for you to attend.

To find out the webinar schedules over the next four weeks (the week commencing 21 December to the week commencing the 11 January) please see below:

W/c 21 December 2020 Care first Week 21 Dec webinar schedule

W/c 28 December 2020 – Care first Week 28 Dec webinar schedule

W/c 4 January 2021 Care first Week 4 Jan 2021 webinar schedule

W/c 11 January 2021 – Care first Week 11 Jan 2021 webinar schedule

Someone posting a posit-it note on a laptop, sitting on a table, next to a notepad and iphone

Care first webinars w/c 14 December 2020

Our official Employee Assistance Programme provider, Care first offers a numbers of services and provide useful advice and support, including weekly webinars.

This week’s (Monday 14 December – Friday 18 December) webinars are as follows:

Monday 14 December 2020 – ‘How Care first can support you’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link.

Tuesday 15 December 2020 – ‘Tips to boost immunity this winter’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Wednesday 16 December 2020 – ‘The emotional impact of lone working’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Thursday 17 December 2020 – ‘Financial wellbeing & the pressures of buying at Christmas’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Friday 18 December 2020 – ‘Protecting and Supporting Mental Health this winter’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

woman using laptop

KMTV recording on One Hour Degree

Last month (November 2020), the University of Kent  won the Digital Innovation category of the Guardian University Awards 2020, for their innovative and highly acclaimed One Hour Degree.

Launched in 2019, One Hour Degree is an online simulation game designed to provide the complete university experience for those contemplating taking the three-year academic route. Created by the University’s Student Success Team, it enables prospective students to take an immersive series of “quests” designed to give authentic insight into the university experience, all within one hour. Players are able to choose to participate via either Kent’s Canterbury or Medway campuses.

Project Leader Alison Webb, Systems Development Manager for Student Success discusses the computer game on KMTV and the idea that lead to the simulator being launched. 

For more details on the One Hour Degree please read the news article on the  Guardian University Award 2020 for Digital Innovation.