Monthly Archives: May 2024

Gulbenkian with light projection

Events roundup: 28 May – 2 June

We hope you enjoyed the bank holiday weekend! Here’s a few ways you can get creative and relax this week.

Tuesday 28 May: Studying, mindfulness colouring and free breakfast (Medway)

On Tuesday evening you can join the ResLife Ambassadors for a quiet environment where you can do some studying intermixed with mindfulness colouring to help you unwind.

At Medway, you can enjoy a free breakfast between 10:00-12:00 at The Hub. Come together with friends and enjoy a tasty meal.

Wednesday 29 May:  Wellbeing in research and free cinema screening of Wonka

If you’re a PGR student, join this online session about improving wellbeing in research to learn more about stresses and coping strategies for academics.

For students living in on-campus accommodation, you’re invited to the Gulbenkian cinema for a free showing of Wonka. Register on the Home at Halls app.

Thursday 30 May: Painting on the Library Lawn and graduating information session

Take a break from revision and exams and join Kent Union for some painting on the Library Lawn. They’ll provide the paints and canvases, you just show up and enjoy the views.

Graduating soon? Find out how the Careers Service can help you in your next steps at this online session.

There’s another chance for a free breakfast at Medway on Thursday. These free breakfast sessions symbolise our ongoing dedication to tackling food insecurity.

Friday 31 May: Taylor Swift conference, rock climbing (Medway) and Kent Community Oasis Garden

On Friday, Kent will host the first ever European Taylor Swift conference! Swift’s feminist reputation will be explored, while the conference will also host the first ever academic discussion of her new album, The Tortured Poets Department (which has been dismissed by critics but praised by fans worldwide). See the conference programme.

Do you enjoy rock climbing or fancy giving it a go? The Hub is running a trip to a brand new climbing centre at Dockside so you can try it out.

Join an open volunteering session at the Kent Community Oasis Garden near Park Wood. Kent COG is a collection of students, staff and community members working to create a sustainability hub centred around growing food.

Saturday 1 June: 1920s themed afternoon tea

Students living in on-campus accommodation are invited to this special 1920s themed afternoon tea with live music on the lawn by the Registry building. There will be prizes for the best fancy dress. Register on the Home at Halls app.

See more student events.

Opportunities

See more student opportunities.

 

close up photos of tapes

Conserving collective learning from two decades of welcoming refugees in Kent

The University of Kent’s Special Collections and Archives are delighted to be working with the Kent Refugee Action Network on the KRAN Family Matters: Kent Refugee Action Network 20th Anniversary Heritage Project. This is a project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to celebrate the 20th anniversary of KRAN by recording oral histories with the people involved with the organisation.  

The project aims to learn the story of the organisation first-hand, from the people involved in setting it up and realising its vision to support under-age asylum seekers. During the project, KRAN’s Youth Ambassadors will be trained in Oral History techniques, and will interview those involved in the organisation, recording and conserving the collective learning gained from two decades of working to welcome refugees in Kent.  

The oral histories will provide a record of the challenges and successes in KRAN’s history through stories and experiences passed down from founders, volunteers, staff and supporters. The project team will be working to fill gaps, bring in new perspectives and give voice to people excluded from traditional historical records.  

Special Collections and Archives at the University of Kent will be providing a permanent home for the KRAN oral history collection, and ensure they are catalogued and preserved using professional standards, and made accessible according to data protection and confidentiality requirements.  

Do you want to get involved?

We also have a great opportunity for students or staff to get involved with the project by contributing to transcriptions for the oral histories being recorded. This is an ideal opportunity to learn more about KRAN and the work they do with refugees in Kent, and also build skills in oral history transcriptions and producing transcription summaries. All training will be provided and the work can be done entirely remotely. If you are interested in this opportunity please do get in touch with Beth Astridge in Special Collections and Archives: SpecialCollections@kent.ac.uk  

Research awards artwork

Applications for the Santander Universities Research Awards 2024 are now open

About the Santander Universities Research Awards

As part of Santander Universities’ commitment to supporting higher education, they’ve launched this initiative exclusively for postgraduate students and academic staff providing them with the funds they need to support or develop their research.

Santander Universities are giving away 50 awards of £1,000. The funding can be used on resources, equipment, travel, workshop or conference attendance and any other research-based expenses.

Who’s eligible to apply?
This opportunity is open to any postgraduate student (masters, postgrad taught or research, PhD) and academic staff conducting research at any UK-based university. You can be conducting research in any field, but you must be conducting the research in the 2023/2024 or the 2024/2025 academic year.

How to apply
To apply, visit the Santander Open Academy platform, where you’ll need to register for an account (if you don’t already have one). After registering, you’ll get a confirmation email. Once you verify your account you can then apply for the Santander Universities Research Awards initiative.

The application process is quick and easy. You’ll need to:

  • provide a valid university student or staff ID number,
  • confirm which university you attend or work at, and
  • complete a brief personal profile which includes your education/employment details and your area of research.

Applications close on 11 July 2024.

Learn more about the Santander Universities Research Awards and apply now here.

photo of woman in headscarf and three men seated at a table looking at a laptop screen

Academics collaborate to enhance higher education provision in Syria

Academics from two Eastern Arc universities are co-leading a collaboration with Sham University to enhance higher education provision in the non-regime-controlled northwest of Syria, as part of ongoing work supported and facilitated by the Cara – Council for At Risk Academics – Syria Programme.   

Sham University is located in the town of Azaz, which has received huge numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) since 2014. Approximately fifty percent of Sham’s students live in IDP camps, and the remainder are drawn from towns in Azaz and surrounding areas. 

HE institutions in northwest Syria face many challenges. The pool of qualified staff is small, resources are severely limited, and security threats are commonplace. Despite these challenges however, Sham is developing a reputation for high quality HE provision and has signed memoranda of understanding with a small number of Turkish universities, which allow Sham graduates to progress on to master courses.    

Since summer 2022, this collaboration has focused on governance, quality enhancement, staff development, and education design.  At face-to-face workshops in Turkey and regular online meetings, academics from Sham have worked closely with UK colleagues to review existing policies and practices and to balance meeting international standards with addressing local challenges and needs. Achievements so far include a committee structure, ensuring democratic decision-making at all levels from individual departments to the University Council, and redesigned undergraduate programmes in selected faculties to support sustainability, optimise resilience to risk, allow for module-sharing across courses and address uneven workloads for students and staff.   

In the current phase of the project, Dr Tahir Zaman (Sussex), Dr Tom Parkinson (Kent) and Professor Aysha Divan (Leeds) are mentoring teams of Sham researchers to undertake small-scale action research projects, each addressing strategic priorities identified by staff, students, and community stakeholders. Areas of focus include addressing gender disparities in participation in higher education in the region, designing curricula that meet the needs of the local community and labour market, and devising university-wide elective modules to enhance transferable skills across all programmes. 

Additionally, Dr Juliet Millican (IDS, based at Sussex) and Dr Luma Tabbaa (Kent) are currently delivering a second webinar series focusing on teaching methods.  Dr Julia Hope (Kent), Dr Fateh Shaban (Kent) and Nidal Ajaj (Kent) are mentoring Sham lecturers to prepare applications for Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).  

The team are always looking for volunteers to contribute as mentors, facilitators, or critical friends.  Please contact Tom Parkinson (t.parkinson@kent.ac.uk) if you are interested.  

If you’d like to know more about the Cara Syria Programme, which supports at-risk Syrian academics to continue their academic work, contact Kate Robertson, Syria Programme Director at robertson@cara.ngo.

Students in Westgate Garden

Events roundup: 20-26 May

This week you can take a break from exams with Chill Zone, Pause for Paws, the Medway Spring into Summer Global Hangout and much more.

Monday 20 May: Reflection session for Finalists

Graduating soon? Join this online session which encourages reflection and helps you identify what questions you still need to answer before making a decision about what to do next.

Tuesday 21 May: Thorpe Park trip (Medway) and “Shut up and write” for PGR students

Based at Medway? The Hub is running a trip to Thorpe Park and the price includes your bus journey to and from the theme park. Enjoy the adrenaline rush of iconic roller coasters like Stealth and Nemesis Inferno.

If you are a PGR student but you’re feeling unmotivated or have writer’s block, come along to the “Shut up and write” event. The idea is that you write in focused, concentrated bursts with short breaks for chats with other researchers.

Wednesday 22 May: Medway Global Hangout, Chill Zone, Pause for Paws

On Wednesday there are lots of chances to have a break from exams and revision. Come and join us for our Spring into Summer Global Hangout in the new Oasis Lounge in the Medway Building on Wednesday 22 May (11:30-14:30) for some fun crafts and activities, snacks and refreshments. You are welcome to come for the whole event or just for part of it.

At Canterbury you can relax in the Chill Zone in DG 01/02 in Templeman Library D block. Have a go at Nintendo Switch MarioKart, relax with arts and crafts and play table football and board games. Plus, refreshments and cookies are provided.

Visit Nexus in Templeman Library 15:30 – 17:00 to meet Coco the therapy dog. She’s a certified Pets as Therapy dog who loves being fussed over.

Thursday 23 May: Career Mentoring and drama festival

Find out about the benefits of having a career mentor and how you can get one through the Careers Mentoring Scheme.

If you want to enjoy some free theatre, support our first year Drama, Theatre and Performing Arts students at their First Year Follies Festival on Thursday and Friday, as part of our Creative Canvas event series.

Friday 24 May: How to write an academic CV and Scratch Art

If you’re an aspiring lecturer or researcher, then an academic CV is vital for landing your first academic job. Discover what an academic CV is and what you should include in this online session.

If you live on-campus and want to get creative, join the ResLife Ambassadors for some Scratch Art. Use this black scratch off paper as a doodle pad, to write thank you cards or to play tic tac toe.

Saturday 25 May: Nature walk and trip to White Cliffs of Dover

On Sunday you can explore the local area with the ResLife Ambassadors by going for a nature ramble in beautiful nearby Blean Woods, or go further afield for a trip to the White Cliffs of Dover.

See more student events.

Opportunities

See more student opportunities.

Colour run

Kent Sport Student Activity Survey

Let us know how we can shape our services to allow you to be active

We all know that there are many physical and mental benefits to leading an active lifestyle. We also know that for some, there are barriers that can prevent us from being active.

Kent Sport is keen to understand the barriers to exercise for students on campus, and how we can improve our service to allow more of our audience to get active.

So, whether you’ve never used the sports and fitness facilities on campus before or you’re a regular user, we want to hear from you!

The Kent Sport Student Activity survey is online, and accessible for desktop, tablet, and mobile users. The survey should take between 10-15 minutes to complete.

By filling out the online survey, you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win a £250 Amazon voucher*.

The survey is open now until 17:00 on 13 June 2024, with the winner of the Amazon voucher being announced on 14 June.

Complete the survey online

Email us at sportsenquiries@kent.ac.uk if you have any questions.

*One prize of a £250 Amazon voucher available. One entry per person. No cash alternative. Winner announced during the week of 10 June 2024.

The Sanctuary Collective words and logo - blur circle with three silhouette birds flying and the Uni of Kent logo underneath

Join the Sanctuary Collective – Use Your Skills to Make a Difference

Do you want to do something helpful and productive for asylum seekers and refugees in our University and local community but don’t know where to start?

Join Kent’s new Sanctuary Collective, meet other staff members from across the university, and help us drive the Sanctuary programme forward.

What can I get involved with?

The projects within the Sanctuary Programme at Kent are varied and so all kinds of skills and availability are welcome to take on remote tasks and on campus tasks.

Initiatives that might benefit from staff volunteering input include: 

  • Helping to welcome and give guided campus tours to visitors such as those seeking asylum housed in the local area, groups of unaccompanied migrants, cohorts from our Ukraine twinning programme;
  • English conversation/ social groups online;
  • Communications and events support for fundraising events;
  • Volunteering with Sanctuary-themed library archive projects;
  • Organising and promoting clothing donation drives;
  • Collaboration with student volunteers and groups such as STAR (Student Action for Refugees);
  • Collaboration with nearby charitable organisations supporting those seeking Sanctuary in our community

This list is just the beginning! Together as Kent staff, we will continue to identify and embrace new opportunities and initiatives that we can meaningfully address as a collective.

What’s in it for me?

Be a part of the University’s civic mission in your paid Kent volunteering hours, and spend some time in your working life doing something that has a real practical impact on a part of our society that’s often overlooked or even stigmatised.

Grow your transferable skills and contacts as you meet people from across the university and work together on projects that give you another perspective, as you share and gain knowledge with colleagues about civic mission, philanthropy, events and communications.

In agreement with your line manager, you can use your staff volunteering hours to do this meaningful socially useful work as part of the 25 hours’ of volunteering time you get per year (pro-rata for part-time staff.) More information on volunteering and how to record your volunteering hours can be found on the People and Culture SharePoint site.

I’m interested – what next?

Join our sympa mailing list via our online form to be invited to meetings and activities, and participate in our first in-person launch meeting in Refugee Week:

The Sanctuary Collective Launch, 2-3pm on Thursday 13 June, in Rutherford Lounge – an informal meeting to see who we are and discuss ideas about what we can do to shape and mobilise the collective. By signing up via the form, you will be invited to this and future events.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Dolche Vita sign

Help us rename Dolche Vita

Calling all University of Kent students and staff! We need your help to rename our beloved campus restaurant, Dolche Vita.

For over a decade, Dolche Vita has been a familiar name on campus, but it’s time for a refresh! We want a new name that reflects our changing menu and isn’t tied to a specific cuisine. This will give us the freedom to offer exciting new dishes based on current food trends and what you, our students and staff, want.

We’re open to all suggestions, but ideally the new name should reflect Keynes College, John Maynard Keynes, the university, or its beautiful surroundings.

You can be a part of this exciting project by clicking the button below. And here’s the cherry on top – if your suggested name is chosen, you’ll win £50 on your KentOne card!

But before you submit any names, please consider the following:

  • Is the name unique?
  • Does it connect with the college, university, or surroundings?
  • Is it easy to say and spell?
  • Is it timeless, not tied to a particular trend?
  • Is it short and snappy (no more than 3 words)?
  • And most importantly, is it free from profanities or offensive language?

We want everyone’s voice to be heard, so make sure to submit your suggestions by the end of term, Friday 14 June 2024.

Why the change, you ask?

Well, while we’ve all grown fond of the name Dolche Vita, it no longer fits our evolving menu and catering strategy. We want a name that gives us the freedom to be creative with our menus. Plus, we’ve been spelling “Dolce” wrong all this time – sorry Italians!

So, thinking caps on – it’s time to come up with a name that truly captures the spirit of our vibrant university community!

Submit your name suggestion.

campus sign

Student encampment on campus

Since Friday last week, the Palestine Solidarity Student Society has been staging a protest on the lawn outside the Templeman Library. This is to raise awareness of the continued war in Gaza and follows a number of similar encampments on University campuses across the world. I have visited the encampment on a couple of occasions and have had constructive and useful discussions with the organisers; I will provide a further more detailed update shortly on things the University will take forward as a result of that.

Supporting peaceful protest

As always, the University of Kent respects and supports our students’ right to peaceful protest and freedom of speech with the law. I would like to thank the students involved in organising the protest for the proactive way they have engaged with both Kent Union and our Campus Security team to ensure it is well-managed and that we maintain a safe and respectful environment for all of our students and staff at all times. This includes giving consideration to how to minimise disruption to our day-to-day activity and ensure students can prepare for and attend exams as normal.

The University also has a continued commitment to ensure our campus remains an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment for all. This is especially true at times of tension, when we work with our community to balance the critical importance of people being able to share their views free from censor, with allowing people space to disagree respectfully. It also goes without saying that freedom of speech has to be within the law, and we will never tolerate racism, harassment or abuse in any form.

Ethical Investment at Kent

The University has an established Socially Responsible Investment Policy that guides how and where we invest our money. As part of this, we do not, and will not, invest in companies whose major business is weapons and armament or who are complicit in the violation of international law. The policy also includes not investing in companies whose activities cover a range of other topics, including gambling, tobacco and fossil fuels among others. We believe our investments have a responsibility to match our priorities and values, and regularly review this to ensure we do not knowingly invest directly or indirectly with companies that run contrary to this.

Advice and Support

This continues to be a very upsetting for many in our community, while we also appreciate and understand that protests can themselves cause worry and concern.

If you are worried about the current situation, please get in touch with our Student Support and Wellbeing team who will advise you on support available to you – they are also running drop-in sessions for students where you can access support and advice directly. If you experience any discrimination, please use our Report + Support tool so that we can quickly connect you with appropriate support within the University. You can also download and use the SafeZone App, while Kent Union also have specific support and resources available to all students.

from Richard Reece, Deputy Vice Chancellor Education & Student Experience

Sports Students Unite Against Racism

With Black Inclusion Week starting soon, we wanted to highlight some of the great work being done by Kent Union and Christ Church Students’ Union, who joined forces to show racism in sport the red card by running a ‘Tell Your Story’ campaign.

Sports teams from the universities held their annual Varsity competition at the end of March, and this year there was more at stake than just who would claim the title of champion. Students came together in solidarity not just for the love of the game, but also to take a stand against racism, prejudice, and discrimination.

Launched on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, this anti-racism campaign centres around a two short films, featuring eight student athletes from racially and ethnically marginalised (REM) backgrounds share their stories, speaking about how their experiences have been shaped by racial discrimination and prejudice in sport. Watch the films here.

“REM students are underrepresented in our sports clubs by 12%,” says Toni Abiodun, Kent Union Vice President Student Engagement, who spearheaded the campaign alongside Max Elvin, her counterpart at Christ Church Students’ Union. Toni continued, “I wanted to run a campaign which was bold, supportive, and inclusive. It was clear there was a lack of participation and representation amongst our REM students in our sports clubs and committees, an issue that couldn’t be ignored. Varsity is the biggest sporting showcase event of the year, so I used this opportunity to hold ourselves and our sports teams accountable.”