Monthly Archives: June 2022

Go Blue for Meso – Action Mesothelioma Day

Action Mesothelioma Day takes place on Friday 1 July this year and is designed to commemorate those who have succumbed to asbestos related diseases, and to highlight the continuing issues that exist concerning asbestos. This year, the theme is Go Blue for Meso and buildings are being lit up in blue around the UK to help raise awareness. Around 2,500 people in the UK die each year from mesothelioma, and a further similar number are believed to die from other diseases related to asbestos exposure.

To commemorate this day, the lawns and buildings around the Registry will be lit up in blue at 21:15, courtesy of the team at the Gulbenkian.

Find out more about #GoBlueforMeso and come along this Friday at 21:15 to help put a spotlight on Mesothelioma.

Staff Conference 2022 – We want your ideas!

Following the success of last year’s virtual event, we are excited to announce that preparations are well underway for this year’s Staff Conference. We have already received some wonderful contributions, so thank you to everyone who has already submitted their ideas.

The Conference allows us to mark the start of the academic year together, providing opportunities to learn about each other’s work and giving us a chance to reflect on how we all – whether academic, professional services, technical staff, or otherwise – contribute to achieving the University’s ambitions.

The Conference will take place on campus from 15-16 September 2022 with the theme ‘Building our University Community’. On the Friday afternoon, the event will close with an all-staff barbecue, and we hope it will top off two days spent celebrating our learning and enhancing our connections with one another.

We want you to get involved!

Over the two days, we are planning numerous activities, both informative and informal, that you can choose to join in with or even run yourself. These might include:

  • Seminars about projects, initiatives and activities across the University
  • Talks on what it is like to work in your role at Kent
  • Discussions and workshops on important topics such as wellbeing and support
  • Informal events which you can take part in, either individually or as a team
  • Demonstrations or tours of facilities

However, these are just suggestions – we want to make sure the Staff Conference is all about you. Whether you have been looking for a platform to share something you have been working on or want to run a workshop related to your role at Kent, we want to hear from you.

Please send an outline of your proposed sessions in 300 words or less to our Staff Conference team at by Friday 8 July. We particularly want to hear how you plan to engage and interact with your audience.

We look forward to hearing your ideas soon

Planning on starting unpaid work, a training course of networking experience. You could be entitled to at least £150 towards the cost of travel, training fees and work attire.

Apply for funding to support unpaid work, training or a networking event

Are you planning to undertake some unpaid work experience this summer? Or, are you looking to complete a training course or attend a networking event? You could be entitled to funding to support the costs of your experience!  

The Careers and Employability Service are able to provide funding to current students of at least £150, towards the cost of travel, training fees and work attire for opportunities that will support your employability.  

This is open to current students, who’ll be returning to their studies for at least one term, after the opportunity has taken place. You can claim the funding against costs incurred in the first 3 weeks (or 120 hours) of your opportunity, which will be reimbursed after the experience has taken place. 

Many students have already taken advantage of this; helping them to take part in valuable experiences, to develop their employability. Here are just a couple of the experiences students have undertaken with the help of the funding: 

“The University of Kent Work Experience Bursary has allowed me to advance my experience, technical knowledge and professional skill-set, in the Heritage and Estate Management sectors. I benefitted from the Work Experience Bursary during a two-week period of professional-level work experience at Chiddingstone Castle in West Kent. My time at Chiddingstone Castle has significantly improved my professional skill-set and I believe will enhance my opportunities for employment in the future.”

“Thanks to the University of Kent Work Experience Bursary, I was able to afford travel to and from my unpaid extended work experience placement, along with appropriate work attire. I have had the opportunity to meet and work with established artists from varying backgrounds, see first-hand how seasoned curators organise an exhibition, while learning crucial knowledge about sales, the relationship between a gallery and its artists, how to interact with potential clients, how artwork is displayed within the gallery and on social media.”

“The University of Kent Work Experience Bursary has enabled me to continue on a two-month legal internship at Whitestone Chambers in London, a highly specialised commercial set of Chambers. Attending hearings made me realise that commercial litigation goes far beyond my assumption of big businesses bringing cases against each other, but in fact it is far more personal, and is now an area of the law I will consider for my own career more seriously than prior to my internship.”

To apply, you just need to complete a simple online application form. Requests for reimbursement need to be received by mid-July 2022.   

Access the form and read the full terms and conditions see the Work Opportunities Fund webpage.

We look forward to receiving your application! 

Emma Spiller completed Coppatrek!

Emma Spiller, Education and Student Experience Manager for LSSJ at the University of Kent has completed Coppatrek with Gi in support of the breast cancer prevention charity CoppaFeel!

With ‘I’m a Celebrity winner’ and author Giovanna Fletcher leading the way, Emma and 100 fellow participants trekked 100km of the beautiful, but unforgiving Pembrokeshire coastline navigating rocky terrain and steep accents over 5 days, and 6 nights whilst camping in between treks.

Celebrity captains including Strictly Professional dancer Amy Dowden, Comedian Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Body Positive Public Figure Megan Crabbe, and Love Island contestant Sophie Piper, led the groups and kept morale high throughout the week bringing laughter, support, and dance warm ups from Amy.

All of the trekkers had been affected by breast cancer either directly or indirectly, and some had only recently finished treatment making the achievement even more inspirational.

Emma has raised £2665, and the whole group together are on track to raise the target amount of £400,000.

The money raised will go towards raising awareness to educate young people on the signs of breast cancer, and how to check themselves regularly to empower individuals to seek help and advocate for themselves should they ever need to.

Whilst undertaking the fundraising Emma connected with Kent Uni Boob society who are also doing fantastic work in fundraising for CoppaFeel! and spreading this important message to University of Kent students.

What’s New in Talent and Organisational Development

Why complete EDI training

Equality and diversity in the workplace have become increasingly important in recent years. While it would be nice to think that both of these aspects of working life would manage themselves in a modern-day environment, they sometimes require a bit of help. In many cases friction in the workplace is based much more on lack of understanding than on actual malice or prejudice.​​​​​​​

​​​​At Kent we provide a wide range of Equality training which is available for all staff to complete either online Via Staff Training Moodle, links within the university EDI webpage, by attending one of the face-to-face sessions which is bookable via staff connect or by contacting

Talent and Organisational Development Survey

As the 2021/22 academic year draws to a close the T&OD team have already started to plan for 2022/23.

We are reviewing our processes, session offering and the method of delivery with the aim to provide as much development as possible in a way that makes it accessible to all

We would be incredibly grateful if you can spare us five minutes of your time to participate in/cascade our survey. This survey will help us understand your needs and enable us to keep bringing you a high-quality service that has value for you.

Please complete your survey by Friday 12th August 

Bag Week Round up

2022 saw us return to more in person sessions for BAG Week, and it was great to see staff getting involved whist being on campus!

We had a varied and full programme, and were able to offer a range of sessions for staff to take part in.

What’s on in June and July

June and July have a number of training opportunities open to all staff, and bookable via Staff Connect.

Evidencing Impact Workshop – 11 July

We would like to invite you to participate in our Evidencing Impact Workshop, on Monday 11 July, from 12.00 – 13.30.


Woolf seminar room 6, Woolf College, Canterbury campus

About the workshop

This workshop provides you with the tools to understand how to evidence impact. We will discuss what does and doesn’t work for different types of impact and what pieces should be part of a good evidence parcel. We will learn how to obtain strong testimonies, and we will have a hands-on breakout session where we have identify strong pieces.

How to sign up

There are limited places available so make sure you book your space as soon as possible. Please visit Evidencing Impact Workshop – Research Policy and Support to book your spot on the workshop.

Home Office computer desk display

Care first fortnightly webinars

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

Due to the stabilising situation of Covid, they’ll be doing a side-range of webinar topics. Here’s the schedule for two weeks:

Week commencing 4 July 2022

Monday 4 July – ‘What is short term solution focussed counselling’– This webinar provides further information on short term solution focussed counselling and ‘in the moment’ support.
Time: 12.00-12.30 – click on this link to sign up

Wednesday 6 July  – ‘How Care first can support you’ – A webinar for awareness and how to access the EAP service provided by Care first.
Time: 12.00-12.30 – click on this link to sign up

Friday 8 July – ‘Talk to us 2022’ -This webinar highlights how talking over how we are feeling about certain situations and life events can improve our overall wellbeing. In association
with Talk To Us Month 2022.
Time: 12.00-12.30 – click on this link to sign up

Week commencing 11 July 2022

Monday 11 July – ‘Practical information and advice through Care first’ – The webinar provides detail about our Information Specialists and their role as part of your EAP service.
Time: 12.00-12.30 – click on this link to sign up

Wednesday 13 July – ‘How Care first can support you’ – A webinar for awareness and how to access the EAP service provided by Care first.
Time: 12.00-12.30 – click on this link to sign up

Friday 15 July – ‘Top tips for a good night’s sleep’ – A webinar detailing how a good night’s sleep can improve your overall wellbeing whilst offering tips how you can sleep better.
Time: 12.00-12.30 – click on this link to sign up

Issues with KentVision

Update: 29/06/22 15:00

We have addressed the intermittent performance issue experienced by colleagues. We will continue monitoring the system, thank you for your patience.

24/06/22 – 15:00

The KentVision system has been stable throughout the day. We are engaged with the system supplier to identify the root cause and to provide a fix for the intermittent performance issues experienced by colleagues. We will continue monitoring the system and will update you on our progress.

For more live updates please follow our Service Status page.

23/06/22 – 15:00

We have continued exploring all mitigations for the intermittent performance issues and assessing the root cause. The KentVision system has been stable throughout the day despite similar levels of usage from colleagues – a further update will be provided tomorrow.

23/06/22 – 09:40

Yesterday, additional computing capacity was brought online to help mitigate the intermittent performance issues with KentVision. We have continued to monitor the system and we are aware some colleagues are still experiencing issues. We apologise for the impact this is having, especially given the tasks currently underway. We are working urgently with the supplier to provide a fix – a further update will be provided by later today.

22/06/22 – 16:00

We have brought additional computing capacity online to mitigate the performance issues experienced by colleagues today – this appears to have made a positive difference. We will continue to monitor the system and gather live feedback from users.

22/06/22 – 13:30

We are aware of the performance issues being experienced with KentVision; this is currently under urgent investigation. Users will be informed when the system issues have been fixed – a further update will be provided later today.

Hearstopper characters Nick and Charlie

A love letter to Heartstopper

By Dr Lindsey Cameron, Kirsty Gravestock [PhD student], Hannah Bassom and Abigail Lugg [undergraduate students], School of Psychology.

We can’t stop thinking about Heartstopper.  

Heartstopper has opened a ground-breaking new chapter in LGBTQ+ representation. This beautiful, unapologetic, boy meets boy love story follows two 15- and 16-year-old boys as they become friends, fall in love, and discover who they are. The boys are surrounded by their close circle of friends, each on their own journeys to understand their LGBTQ+ identity. But Heartstopper is much more than a love story – Dr Lindsey Cameron and Kirsty Gravestock research diversity in young people’s media, and can tell you that this new Netflix series, and the books it is based on, is nothing short of radical and just what the world needs right now.  

The characters refer to homophobic and transphobic bullying they have experienced in the past, and there are several instances of homophobic victimisation depicted in the series, but the show focuses more on the positive relationships and lives the characters are building for themselves. This fictional, and somewhat rose-tinted view of life for LGBTQ+ young people may bring about complicated feelings for some in the LGBTQ+ community, but Heartstopper provides a joy and hope-filled view of what life could be like for LGBTQ+ young people today.  

Heartstopper is a breath of fresh air – a book and TV series specifically created for young viewers. When myself and my girlfriend were growing up, we were surrounded by dominant heterosexual norms, but perhaps greater exposure and diversity in relation to LGBTQ+ media would have helped me work out my sexuality a lot earlier.” – Abigail Lugg 

So here is why you should stop what you’re doing and watch (and read) it now – not just because it’s wonderful, but because decades of psychological research help show why it’s essential viewing for everyone. 

1.Representation matters – Heartstopper’s positive role models smash gay stereotypes and provide a much-needed shot of LGBTQ+ diversity, and we need more diversity in young people’s media. We need our young people, including LGBTQ+ young people, to see themselves reflected back in books, TV and film, to feel validated, valued, seen, and accepted. Mainstream shows featuring positive, life-affirming LGBTQ+ story lines send an important message: representation matters, equality matters, LGBTQ+ people matter.  

2.We need positive LGBTQ+ storylines for a younger audience –Whilst the show depicts 15- and 16-year-old characters, the storyline, characters and key messages will appeal to both younger and older audiences alike. It’s a show that younger adolescents, as well as older teenagers and their parents can watch together without too much cringe. And that is important: from a young age, parents are a crucial source of information for children as they learn about their social world. By watching Heartstopper with their children, parents will have an opportunity to talk about the LGBTQ+ community and identity (whether their child is part of the community or not), and maybe even inspiring their child to open up about their experiences. 

3.Challenging prejudice and stereotypes – Victimisation based on sexual orientation emerges mainly during early adolescence, when homophobic name-calling is common. Decades of research on diversity in books, films and TV tells us that that the simple but immersive act of reading and watching characters that are different to us in some way, and who we connect with, can reduce prejudice and stereotyping, build support for equality, and increase openness to diverse friendships. 

Researchers from Psychology holding Heartstopper books smiling

4.Being a good ally – Heartstopper models constructive ally behaviours by providing examples of how parents, peers and teachers can support and create comfortable environments for LGBTQ+ young people, as well as demonstrating potential ways of standing up for and supporting victims of LGBTQ+ bullying. Research tells us that viewing, and forming attachments to LGBTQ+ characters, as well as observing or engaging in cross-group friendships with LGBTQ+ peers, fosters empathy and constructive ally behaviours, helpful bystander reactions to homophobic bullying, and support for social change and equality. 

“As a Gen-Z-TikTok-addicted-bisexual, it was shocking to see how accurately the plight of discovering one’s own sexuality was portrayed.  From Nick’s confusion over suddenly liking a boy, to panic-searching BuzzFeed quizzes to determine his sexuality for him, to more serious topics such as homophobic bullying, Heartstopper truly shows people what it’s like to not be straight. Heartstopper works by showing us it’s okay to love who you love and be who you want to be unapologetically.” – Hannah Bassom

Heartstopper gives us a view of what life could and should be like for young LGBTQ+ people. And this is why Heartstopper is so important, and so radical: we need more unapologetic, joyful, positive stories like this for young people, filled with optimism, love and Pride.  

To see all the research references and find out more about the blogpost authors’ areas of study, please view the full blogpost on the Psychology website.