Monthly Archives: June 2023

Got an idea for a multicultural summer event?

Do you or your society want to run a multicultural event that will foster community building in the University?

The WorldFest Bitesize Fund is open for applications for student-led summer events!

If you’re still on campus over the summer, why not turn your event idea into a reality as a part of PG Summer?

Co-funded by Global and Lifelong Learning and Student Services, the Fund offers University of Kent students the chance to apply for a financial award of up to £250 to help run a multicultural event.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year event

Previous events supported by the fund include Diwali, Chinese New Year, Thanksgiving, Kent African Summit, Newroz, Holi, an African Evening Gala, a Discover Islam event, a Japanese Cultural Festival and a Thai Festival.

Your event can be anything you like, as long as it aims to benefit as wide a part of the University community as possible.

Samba parade of staff and students playing drums

Samba parade

To apply, simply visit the WorldFest Bitesize Fund website to download and complete the application form. You’ll need to explain in the form how the event or activity will foster multicultural learning and community building within the University, as well as how you plan to measure the success of the event.

Then, simply email your completed application to, including as the subject line ‘WorldFest Bitesize Fund Application’.

Group of students smiling at Kent Africa Summit

Kent Africa Summit

All students enrolled at the University are eligible, but applications must be submitted in advance of the event; the fund cannot reimburse events that have already taken place.

Why not apply to the Fund and turn your event idea into a reality? Visit the WorldFest Bitesize Fund page for further details.

Miguel and Maureen sat together smiling

Kent Stars – Nurturing Network 

This month’s Kent Stars are the Postgraduate Network, who have organised events to build a strong postgraduate community, persevering to ensure the postgraduate student voice is heard at all levels.

Maureen – “My name is Maureen Bungei, a PG student pursuing an MA in International Relations with International Law. I have been the Postgraduate Network Chair during the academic year 2022/2023 and handed over to Miquel Santos at the end of my term in April 2023. I was also supporting the College and Community Life team as a Resident Life Assistant in creating a community and sense of belonging for students on campus. As a member of the Kent Model UN Society, I have attended several conferences in London and the World Harvard MUN, a global event in Paris, France.”

Miguel – “I am Miguel Santos, a Master’s by Research student in English. I’m the de facto Chair of the Postgraduate Network, taking over from Maureen Bungei. My research focuses on 20th century Anglo-American experimental poetry. I am also a PGR Student Rep for English; the editor-in-chief of the university’s postgraduate, peer reviewed literary journal Litterae Mentis; and a committee member of the Research Salon. I have contributed to the Templeman Library’s ‘100 Years: T.S. Eliot and The Waste Land’ exhibition. I did my undergraduate at Kent as well, where I was involved as Environment Officer and in the Turing College Committee.”

Tell us about the Postgraduate Network and how you are making sure the postgraduate voice is represented at Kent.

Miguel – “The Postgraduate Network is led by postgraduate volunteers and aims to ensure that postgraduates get the most of their time here. We create campaigns and events, representing the voice of the postgraduate community to the university and Kent Union. 

Our committee members include Megan Brown and Nteteawan Bassey-Duke. We’re proud to have a mix of taught and research students, as well as Ntete acting as our Medway representative.  

Our aim is to ensure that the postgraduate experience is as thriving and vibrant as possible. Kent has an incredible postgraduate community who has shown so much support and kindness to me.  

Group of students at PG Network event

Students enjoying a PG Network event

To support the postgraduate voice, we sit at boards and meetings to represent student feedback. In the autumn term, there was a proposed restructuring of Kent Union’s Officer Team. We organised a student feedback session at Jarman Plaza to gather the views of postgraduates. Because the PG community felt this was a step in the wrong direction, we were able to successfully push Kent Union to drop this proposal in January.

We have hosted events, both in Canterbury and Medway, including socials, study meetings, and a hustings session for the Kent Union elections. With the GRC, we co-organise monthly coffee mornings with guests, including Ben Bradley (Kent Union’s VP Postgraduate Experience), Mark Bass (Careers and Employability Service), and Professor Gordon Lynch (Graduate and Researcher College Director).

On a personal note, I’m indebted to the phenomenal work of postgraduates when I was an undergraduate here, particularly Rowena Bicknell and Tom Ritchie, who inspired me to care about the postgraduate community. I hope that our contributions will ensure that people feel part of the community in the same way Rowena and Tom made me feel.”

What advice would you give to other students?

Miguel – “I would encourage anyone to get involved with co-curricular activities, volunteering or representation. Be optimistic that every action you take and every discussion you have will inform your personal development.

I should also highlight the mental health challenges postgraduates face; as such, it is important to remember you are part of a supportive community here.

Finally, while being nominated for a Kent Star means a lot to me, being part of the postgraduate community at Kent means even more. Although awards and recognition are lovely, we care about the postgraduate community simply because it is the right thing to do.”

Students chatting at PG Summer Coffee Morning

PG Summer Coffee Morning.

 – “You have the best time now to take part in co-curricular activities alongside your studies. The university has over 250 clubs and societies where you can take part and nurture your soft skills or sports fitness at your comfort. There are exciting opportunities like student representatives, student ambassadors, and Kent Union Network chairs that will give you an exciting experience that will give you an edge in your CV or interview not forgetting the employability points. Please take them up.

Your health and well-being is the most important aspect of your student experience here at Kent. The university provides academic and wellbeing support services that you are free to utilise and enhance your stay at the university.”

What are your plans for the next year?

Miguel – “The entire Postgraduate Network committee will finish our courses in September; we believe we’ve set a strong foundation for next year’s committee to work closely with the Graduate and Researcher College and Kent Union’s Ben Bradley. The GRC Team and Ben are our biggest supporters!

For myself, I hope to have a job prior to applying for a PhD. I would love to work in higher education in a professional/academic-adjacent role. I’m so grateful for my time at Kent and for all the people who have supported me; I can only hope that my involvement has helped make a difference.”

Students at PG Network event

Students sat together at PG Network event

 – “As I look forward to graduating this July, sadly I might not be here at Kent to oversee the network, but I strongly believe that we as the network committee (Miguel, Ntete, Megan  and I) have done our best and created a sense of belonging for PG community. We hope the next network chair/committee sustains the vibrant community as they will be lucky to work with Ben Bradley who actively supported us during our tenure. Personally, I would be considering doing my PhD sometime later, and the University of Kent definitely has a spot in the top 3.”

Do you know an inspirational student or student group? Let us know.

Learn more about the Kent Stars campaign.

photograph of approximately 40 people walking away from the camera along a pathway, wearing a variety of colourful casual clothing

Solidarity and Compassion in Action: Refugee Week 2023 celebrations at Kent

It was wonderful to see different parts of our local community at the University of Kent intersect and celebrate the contributions and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary, at a series of events taking place on Wednesday 21 June 2023 for Refugee Week.

Opportunities for community members, staff and students to come together to learn, share experiences, and expressions of compassion, solidarity and understanding included: a choir performance, a guided walk, a ‘taste of migration’ through a free shared lunch, and a lecture in the library. Running parallel to this was a visit from residents and Friends of Napier Barracks in Folkestone, where migrants and asylum seekers are detained while their applications for leave to remain are processed.

Guided walk: Refugee Tales trail

Around 35 people (an even mixture of staff, students, alumni and members of the wider community) joined a short guided walk through part of the University of Kent campus, stopping to listen to the experience of refugees written in the Refugee Tales book along the way.

People walking outdoors on paved path against backdrop of trees

Before we set off, Natalia Crisanti (Engagement and Communications Officer), who coordinated the Refugee Week programme at Kent, introduced the event and a performance from the Kent Community Choir, who sang ‘Moving‘ , a song written by students and refugees at the Berlin School of Popular Arts at SRH Berlin in Germany.

Kent community choir member: “thank you for inviting us to be a part of it – a moving and humbling experience”

Kent staff member reading an extract from the Refugee Tales outdoors in summer

Along the route, the Refugee Tales extracts were read by Philip Pothen (Director of Engagement), Basma Eldoukhi (PhD student, Migration Studies), and Sam Scott (Philanthropy Manager). We finished at the Kent Community Oasis Garden to reflect and leave a message, before returning to the start point for a ‘taste of migration’ through food inspired by the fusions of flavours that have come about because of the movements of people to the UK.

People sitting at bench table outdoors writing

The guided walk and the stories shared during the event helped us to think more deeply about the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers, and the engagement and support contributed to an atmosphere of compassion and understanding, which we will remember and continue to speak about and reflect on.

People at food buffet outdoors

You can listen to or read the Refugee Tales extracts from the walk again online on our Refugee Week webpage. If you would like to read the lyrics from the choir performance you can download them as a PDF.

Many attendees of the event got in touch with their reflections, including:

“I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity today to meet some people from Iran who have come to the UK and to hear some of their stories. I think more events of this kind are needed to allow local residents to meet refugees to build communities, shatter myths and remind ourselves that we are all human and we should support one another.”

“Having people read exerts of lived experiences whilst we were walking freely around the beautiful campus made the experience incredibly moving. At one point a colleague and I had our arms around each other because we were welling up. This event brought the University closer to our local community as we shared a valuable experience together. I had some deep and meaningful chats with members of the public whilst on that walk, and it felt important that we came to learn and to understand together.”

Following the Refugee Tales trail, everyone was welcome to an open lecture by Professor Panikos Panayi, Professor in Economic History from De Montfort University, who spoke about this history of fish and chips, and links to migration and Britishness. We explored the links of the dish with migration and the popularity of fish and chip shop ownership with different migrant communities, as well as historic associations with social class and status. At the end we reflected on how this ‘national dish’ perhaps reflects a vision of a modern, inclusive and diverse Britain, and that over fish and chips we can have many conversations about our backgrounds, and cultural traditions relating to food, sharing our experiences and beginning to understand each other better.

Napier residents and friends receive warm welcome and practical guidance on continuing education

Also on the day, it was a privilege to welcome 25 residents and friends from the Napier Barracks in Folkestone, who joined us on campus for these events and to explore their opportunities for continued education if and when they are granted leave to remain.

Philip Pothen talking to Napier Friends volunteer

Their visit included a welcome introduction from Philip Pothen, Director of Engagement, with refreshments at the Gulbenkian Arts Centre café. We were delighted that some of the visitors took part in the choir performance alongside members of the Kent Community Choir, singing in English and Arabic. After this, the group embarked on a campus tour, finishing in the Kent Community Oasis Garden to join the participants in the guided trail to leave messages of reflection.

The atmosphere was joyful and hopeful, as we shared a multi cultural lunch outside. This included fish and chips, Keralan biryani, and middle eastern dishes including falafel, hummous, baba ganoush, fattoush, fried pitta, flat breads, and Arabic coffee. Some of these dishes were made authentically by our friend and refugee, Hassan Alsoufi, as well as by the catering team at the University. It was fantastic to see everyone eating and sharing this range of delicious food together, sharing stories and chatting in the sun. The group then received information from colleagues with expertise in admissions, immigration and access to Higher Education, and were also given time to ask individual questions about how their existing qualifications might be recognised when applying to continue to study in the UK.

Throughout the day, the conversations between the Napier residents and friends, staff, students and local community members helped bring home the importance of Refugee Week in recognising experiences of migration.

The Napier group were overwhelmingly positive about the visit, commenting:

“Thank you so much for today’s tour. We really enjoyed it.”

“It was very helpful for all of us, had a wonderful campus tour and had the chance to meet very good people.”

“God bless all of you and much appreciate it.”

Student on large deck chair

Application deadline extended for Student Content Creator (closed)

Are you an enthusiastic and outgoing Kent student with a flair for creating engaging social media content? Do you have an eye for the latest trends on TikTok and Instagram?  Are you confident on camera?

If so, we’re looking for Student Content Creators just like you to help bring the student experience at Kent to life online.

As a Student Content Creator, you’ll work across our digital channels to produce a wide range of content from Instagram reels and trending TikToks to vlogs and blogs and everything in between.

This is a great opportunity for a student interested in a career in social media as well as Marketing, Advertising, Communications and PR.

View the full job description.

How to apply

To apply, please send a short ‘Day in the life’ video (60 secs max), reel or TikTok. Sharing what your typical day looks like, to give us an idea of what you study, your interests and any extracurricular activities. The more creative the better!

Please note, you will need to be a University of Kent student for the academic year 2023-24.

The closing date for applications is 23.59 hours BST on 25 June 2023 (unless otherwise stated)

Read the full job description and apply.

Medway Gaming Festival 1-2 July

Student volunteers needed: Medway Gaming Festival

1-2 July at the Historic Dockyard Chatham.

In partnership with Medway Council and Fragers, Medway Gaming Festival is back for 2023, promising to be bigger and better than ever before. 80 acres of gaming, cosplaying and family entertainment set against a backdrop of real-life battleships, including HMS CAVALIER of World of Warships fame.

The Medway Gaming Festival are looking for student volunteers to help at the event. Benefits of volunteering include:

  • You get to enjoy the festival for free!
  • Gain show experience and opportunities to get involved in future events across the UK
  • Show T-shirts to keep
  • Networking opportunities
  • Great fun and meet new friends
  • Access to the 18+ exhibitors and staff party.

More information about student volunteering at the Medway Gaming Festival.

Medway Gaming Festival website. 

Kent Law Clinic staff and students deliver advice workshop to Napier Barracks residents

Kent Law Clinic staff and students have been involved in a project to deliver legal advice workshops to asylum seekers residing at Napier Barracks, in collaboration with local charities Samphire and Napier Drop-In.

By Dr Richard Warren, Immigration Law Adviser & Lecturer, Kent Law Clinic

Since September 2020, Napier Barracks on the outskirts of Folkestone in Kent has been used to accommodate male asylum seekers, sometimes for significant periods of time. Residents at the camp come from a number of well-known refugee-producing countries including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Sudan. A recent report by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) [1] has outlined the poor living conditions which residents face, noting specifically the uncertainty faced by those who are unsure what is happening in their asylum claim. The camp was also subject to a scathing High Court judgment in June 2021 in which Mr Justice Linden was unable to accept that the accommodation there ensured a standard of living which was adequate for the health of the claimants.[2] Despite assurances by the Home Office that improvements have been made following that High Court case, the JRS report has documented continuing concerns including difficulties in accessing basic necessities including shoes and winter clothes, inadequate healthcare and barriers to accessing legal advice.

The current historic backlog in the asylum process has been widely reported, with more than a 173,000 applicants’ claims still outstanding,[3] some of whom have been waiting years for a decision. A significant number have received no legal advice since arriving in the UK – again a situation that has been well documented.[4]

As a result, individuals are receiving notices of intent to declare their claims inadmissible, with the possibility of removal to Rwanda[5] without the ability to make representations to the Home Office. The policy of declaring claims inadmissible where an individual has passed through a so-called safe third country has been in place since January 2021 when the UK left the EU and so ended its participation in the Dublin 3 Regulation.[6] In June 2022, s16 of the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 placed the process on a statutory footing.[7] However, that process, arguably an essential part of the government’s aim to ‘stop the boats’, cannot currently be implemented. Currently there are no returns agreements with any major countries of transit, including with any EU country. And the proposed policy of removals to Rwanda is on hold pending the outcome of an appeal against the High Court judgment last year.[8] It is therefore unsurprising that the backlog of undecided cases has risen. For those at Napier Barracks the uncertainty of knowing whether they are even going to have their asylum claim considered is clearly taking its toll.

It is against this background that the Kent Law Clinic agreed to run a legal advice session at a local drop-in centre for Napier residents in need of legal advice. The workshop provided a basic overview of the asylum system, including information on inadmissibility, the decision-making process and rights of appeal. Kent Law Clinic student volunteers assisted with interpreting. The session was well received, and the Clinic plans to run further sessions in the future.

[1] JRS-UK-Report_Napier-Barracks-the-inhumane-reality_March-2023_WEB.pdf (

[2] NB & Ors, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWHC 1489 (Admin) (03 June 2021) (

[3] National Audit Office report 16/6/23

[4] 628f50a1917c740a7f1539c1_No access to justice- how legal advice deserts fail refugees, migrants and our communities.pdf (

[5] UK-Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership – House of Commons Library (

[6] EUR-Lex – 02013R0604-20130629 – EN – EUR-Lex (

[7] Nationality and Borders Act 2022 (

[8] AAA v SSHD Rwanda judgment.pdf (

Group of students from Destination Success Bootcamp

Reflecting on the Destination Success Bootcamp

The Careers and Employability services are dedicated to empowering students and graduates on their career paths, providing you with the tools and guidance necessary to realise your ambitions. Recent events included a 3-day career-boosting workshop, and there are lots more opportunities to follow during the summer and beyond.

Destination Success Bootcamp: Empowering students for a bright future

The recent Destination Success Bootcamp, hosted by Study Plus, provided a three-day training program to enhance students’ employability skills. With 45 participants from diverse university divisions, the bootcamp focused on collaboration, self-awareness, and practical guidance in areas such as CV writing and job interviews.

Participants engaged in thought-provoking sessions on CV writing, job searching, and interview techniques, gaining valuable insights and refining their employability skills.

Missed the bootcamp? Don’t worry!

Study Plus will be offering similar sessions next term, alongside virtual opportunities like the FDM Career Match and bite-sized video workshops.

In the meantime, throughout the summer break the Careers and Employability Service will provide support through virtual or in-person appointments, including Quick Advice and longer Career sessions. Additionally, a range of workshops will be available to support your career development. Log on to the careers portal with your Kent ID to find out more.

Continued support for graduates

Even after graduation, the careers portal remains accessible for up to three years with an alumni account. Find out more about careers support after you graduate.

24/7 career advice

In addition to appointments and workshops, the Careers and Employability Service webpages offer online resources for CV writing, cover letters, and career development advice which you can access any time.

By Susannah Gilbert, Employability Advisor, 12.06.23

Migrateful: supporting migrants with the power of food

Written by Katherine Moss, Senior Press Officer

As part of Refugee Week, Dora Perera, Immigration Compliance Officer at Kent, shares her experience of working with Migrateful – an award-winning UK charity with a mission to support migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in their journey to integration through food.

Food is more than nutrition. When we cook we create, learn about our history, customs and discover our identity. Sharing food is sharing our inheritance, it is a language we all speak and the best medium to bridge the gap between communities.

A charity integrating refugees and asylum seekers through cooking

Migrateful was founded in 2017, seeking to use the power of food to integrate refugees and asylum seekers arriving in the UK into the community. Displacement creates ‘refugee’ and ‘asylum seeker’ labels and the most emotionally disheartening obstacle faced is long term integration. Migrants can become isolated waiting for their immigration status to be regularised, which can take years, and in some cases are unable to work or access public funds. The act of cooking, making mistakes and sitting down together to have a family-style dinner humanises the current migration narrative, opens the hearts and minds and fills the bellies of everyone involved.

Migrateful offers a 2-year development programme where migrant integration is fostered through practice of the English language, presentation training, improving self-esteem and learning of transferrable skills to use to interact with the UK community and enrich it with their culture. Refugees are supported, encouraged and trained to lead cookery classes, share their traditional cuisine and heritage to make connections. They develop menus based on their personal family recipes, share the social status behind each recipe or the cultural importance of serving a dish in certain circumstances.

Rebuilding lives, finding purpose

Many migrants who arrive in the UK due to conflict in their country were qualified professionals in HR, nursing, firefighting, lecturing or dreamed of working in the food sector. Where qualifications were not transferable or destroyed in conflict, our chefs are rebuilding their lives and finding connections and passion through sharing their country’s food. After their Migrateful ‘graduation’ they lead teams and share their experience. Once their status was regularised, some became head chefs, owners of catering companies or picked up where their education left off.

The Migrateful experience unsettles the traditional narrative of charity by inviting the contributors to learn from migrant chefs and integrate new techniques and ingredients into their daily lives. Tickets are exchanged for a journey in learning customs and breaking down barriers along the way. The food cooked in a family home in Aleppo contributes to the making of a dish in a home in Canterbury.

Dora’s experience

I come from two war-torn islands and grew up seeing the impact of war on communities; in Cyprus and Sri Lanka. When I emigrated to the UK, I specialised in immigration law and work as an Immigration Compliance Officer at the University of Kent. By day I help international students comply with the terms of their visas while realising their dreams. By night, as the Canterbury Migrateful facilitator, I advocate for impactful and far-reaching opportunities for displaced individuals. Through Migrateful, I am honoured to support asylum seekers, refugees and migrants from across the world on their journey to independence and contribute positively towards the migration discourse by encouraging an inclusive community.

Get involved: cook and support Migrateful in your area

Tickets for the cookery classes include ingredients you need to make a traditional dish with a choice from over 30 countries. In 5 years, Migrateful has hosted over 3,000 cookery classes with 30,000+ participants across London, Bristol, Canterbury and Brighton. Migrateful’s Canterbury classes are hosted at St Martin and St Paul’s CT1 – find out more about Migrateful classes.

Help these classes run: Each Migrateful cookery class relies on a small team of volunteers to run successfully. Find out more about volunteering to assist in cooking classes.

Join an online cookalong for Refugee Week!

On Wednesday 21st June, 5.30 – 7pm, UNHCR (the United Nations Refugee Agency’s national charity for the United Kingdom) have teamed up with Migrateful Syrian refugee chef, Amani, and for an evening of culture and cuisine to celebrate Refugee Week. You can register online to join the free, virtual cooking class on Wednesday. Amani will be taking us step by step through how to make a delicious Syrian Mousakaa (Aubergine & Tomato Mezze) and Fatosh (Arabic Flatbread, Vegetable & Herb Salad).

Refugee Week at Kent

To see what’s on at the University of Kent for Refugee Week an beyond, check out our Refugee Week website for ways you can get involved and contribute, and look for #KentRefugeeWeek on social media – together, we can make a difference in our communities.

National Windrush Mueseum

Free tickets to Windrush 75th Anniversary International Conference

To mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush ship to the British Isles, in conjunction with #Black History 365, the BAME Staff Network are delighted to offer 10 FREE tickets to the Windrush 75th Anniversary International conference on Friday 23 June at the Park Plaza Hotel London.

To acknowledge and recognise the history of Caribbean heritage and the contribution of the Windrush generation, we are excited to be funding FREE conference tickets for five staff* and five full-time students* plus travel expenses. To facilitate attendance from 9am, we are funding travel expenses up to £90PP** to cover higher Peak-time Travel costs.

FREE tickets can be booked via our Eventbrite page

Please direct queries to the or the BAME Staff Network Teams channel.

*Open to University of Kent staff and students on a first come first serve basis.

**Please retain your original proof of travel for reimbursement.

Womxn and non binary gym opening hours

Womxn and non-binary only gym hours

Starting 20 June 2023 Kent Sport will be introducing womxn and non-binary only hours in the gym!  

In collaboration with Kent Union, Kent Sport are supporting the initiative to remove barriers for womxn looking to use the gym and create a non-judgemental space which will motivate and empower womxn to be physically active, giving them the confidence to go into the gym and exercise on their own. 

These sessions start on Tuesday 20 June 2023 and will run weekly at the following times; 

  • Tuesdays between 10:00-12:00 
  • Thursdays between 17:00-19:00

These sessions will be open to all who self-define as women, including those with complex gender identities which include ‘woman’, and those who experience oppression as women. We believe that self-definition is at the sole discretion of the individual in question and as such Kent Sport will inform all members of the detail above and therefore will not challenge those entering the gym during this time. 

These sessions are for access to all areas of the gym at the Sports Centre including the ground floor weights and functional zone, and the cardio area on the first floor. All other facilities including exercise classes and changing areas will remain open and accessible to all during these times.  

*Womxn is an intersectional term intended to signal the inclusion of those who have traditionally been excluded from white feminist discourse: Black women, women of colour, and trans women.