Author Archives: Alice Allwright

Linton Kwesi Johnson

Legendary reggae poet Linton Kwesi Johnson to perform at Gulbenkian

On Friday 24 September 2021, the Gulbenkian will host a performance by Linton Kwesi Johnson, whose influential and radical voice made him the first black poet to have his work included in Penguin’s Modern Classics series.

Gulbenkian’s Artistic Director, David Sefton, says; “Linton Kwesi Johnson’s is one of the most important voices in 20th and 21st century spoken word. It is fantastic to think of him performing here in Canterbury, and I am sure our audiences will grab this opportunity to watch a true legend in action.”

University of Kent Drama and Theatre graduate Taylor Sonko-Garvey will support the legendary reggae poet and social activist Linton Kwesi Johnson in a performance at Gulbenkian Arts Centre on 24 September.

Taylor developed her performance poetry on two modules, starting with Popular Performance in her second year and using Johnson as an inspirational subject throughout her studies.

About Linton Kwesi Johnson

Linton Kwesi Johnson’s work has always been political, vital and necessary, drawing attention to topics like systemic racism, police abuse and National Front attacks, calling for government, institutions and society to be held to account.

The legendary reggae poet and social activist was born in Jamaica before moving to London. He was a member of the Black Panthers and the poetry editor of political magazine Race Today, using the platform to introduce important ideas and new voices to the British public.

In 1974 Race Today published Johnson’s first collection of poetry: Voices of the Living and the Dead. In 2002 became only the second living poet and the first black poet to have his work included in Penguin’s Modern Classics series.

Johnson’s first album, Dread Beat An Blood was released in 1978, and since then he has released 14 more albums made with long-time collaborator, dub producer Dennis Bovell. He has been running his own record label, LKJ Records, since 1981, bringing new artists to the attention of wider audiences.

Tickets for the event are £15 (£10 Student/Under 26) and can be bought online

Starting over – A blog by our Occupational Health team

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

The media are reporting that Monday, 6 September, was the busiest rush hour in London since the first national lockdown in March last year. Figures showed 831,000 taps into the Tube network between 07:00 and 10:00. According to Transport for London There were also 860,000 registered passengers on buses which is an increase of 40% compared to the week before. The schools are open and I’ve been told by someone who travelled into campus on Monday morning that there was significant rush hour traffic.

Apparently, it’s the same across the country; read the Business Financial Post article below. That article also reminds us ‘The rise in rush-hour traffic follows repeated government advice for people to return to work. Official “work from home” guidance was dropped by ministers on July 19 and businesses were told that the government “expects and recommends a gradual return over the summer”.’

The University has asked staff to be back in the office working from the week commencing 20 September. Offices will probably not be populated to full capacity as many staff will be taking advantage of Hybrid Working arrangements and continuing to work from home for 2 days a week. This should have a staggered effect on the staff population on campus. Many staff have been back to normal working for some time, eg. those in Housekeeping. Some have never stopped working on campus, ie. Campus Security. I know many departments encouraged staff to come in throughout the summer to get a feel for what it is like to be back. I have already been in a few times, as have most of my team and am going in again this week. Our IT function has asked us all to go into the office to run our computers to ensure that equipment is fully updated.

Many people have felt more productive and at ease working from home and are reluctant to relinquish the pattern of life they have adopted through the difficult pandemic period.  Additionally, many people will be anxious about returning. This is very natural and human. The period of the pandemic has been frightening, from a health perspective, and it can be anxiety provoking to think about giving up the checks and balances we were told to put in place to keep ourselves safe. However, many of us have been getting out and about more, going to restaurants, visiting friends in their homes, going on holiday, some even abroad. It’s a reality that society is opening up and going back to working at our ‘place of work’ is a natural part of that; it is what is expected of us at this time.

The University has done everything that the government has required in terms of risk assessment to ensure as safe a working environment as possible. As an organisation, it values its staff highly and wants to ensure that no-one becomes seriously ill as a result of coming into contact with Covid 19 in the workplace. This link will take you to all the University’s Covid 19 risk assessments which are housed on the Safety area of the University intranet; this includes a mental health risk assessment and additional ventilation guidelines. As you will see from the mental health risk assessment, consider contacting the Employee Assistance Programme at any time if you are experiencing anxiety about returning to work on Campus. You can self-refer to Occupational Health (OH), but if you believe you need adjustments in respect of returning to work, you need to discuss this with your manager and they should do a Management Referral. This is because OH do not produce reports as a result of self-referral consultations. In relation to changes in approach to working, the University has produced the Future of Work Resource Pack. This builds on the supportive structure initiated in the COPE framework which came into being in response to the work changes prompted by the pandemic.

There are positives to coming back onto campus. You will meet your colleagues. In some ways, it will be easier to get things done by having face to face conversations. You can have a meal rather than make something for yourself and you can have company while you eat, if you choose. You can use the University’s electricity to run your computer and make your drinks throughout the day. I’m sure there are many other positives that can be thought of. Let’s hope this is the start of a permanent return to a new form of normality and there are no future set-backs ahead in relation to the threat of Covid 19 infection.

‘Rush-hour traffic returned to pre-pandemic levels in parts of the country yesterday as the end of home working and the start of the new school term led to a rise in congestion’ on

‘Covid: Tube rush hour busiest since start of pandemic’ on

‘Top fears Brits have about returning to the office after the Covid lockdown’ by Alice Hughes & Lucy Skoulding on

‘Covid: Should I be working from home or going back to the office?’ on

‘Returning to work? What to expect from your first day back in the office’ by Alice Hall on

‘Returning to the workplace after lockdown: how to handle anxiety’ by Fatmata Kamara on

A terrific weekend of family fun at bOing! International Family Festival!

Article by Dave Yard, Head of Marketing at the Gulbenkian:

A firm favourite and must-do event of the summer for families, the bOing! International Family Festival 2021 took place at the University of Kent campus on 28 & 29 August.

Over 5,000 people attended the festival across the weekend, with families enjoying free outdoor performances on stages across the campus, including dancing, juggling, puppetry and a global music stage.

bOing!’s Artistic Director, David Sefton said:

“We were delighted to have bOing! back again this year and the response from our audiences was fantastic! This was a smaller bOing! than usual, with some international artists unable to travel, and social distancing in place but despite this it felt like bOing! was back, the atmosphere was brilliant and everyone had a great time.

Plans are already well under way for bOing! 2022, which will be bigger and more exciting than ever.”

Kent Staff Family Day

Over 800 Kent staff members and their families attended the Kent Staff Family Day at bOing! Festival on Friday 27 August 2021, reuniting with colleagues and family while experiencing live performance, music and fun for all, on our beautiful Canterbury Campus. Organised a big thank you from the University to all Kent Staff in recognition for the tremendous effort put in by all throughout the year, the Kent Staff Family Day at bOing! was FREE for Kent Staff and their families to attend.

Reaction from audiences on Twitter included:

@boingfestival Oh Boing!, how we’ve missed you.  Such an incredible, fun filled day with so many new things to experience and enjoy.  Really the very best family festival bar none. So glad to be back, thank you so much!

The boing festival was, as always, fantastic. What a treat to see live performance again. We love the Gulbenkian; embracing exciting new shows and supporting a range of performing arts. Thank you @boingfestival 2021….you make us very happy.

The festival programme had a range of new work, including Jasmin Vardimon Company’s Alice (VR), an incredible virtual reality experience inspired by Alice in Wonderland and Frozen Light’s Night Out In Nature a fantastic new sensory outdoor piece work for young people with profound and multiple learning disabilities.

Alongside that bOing! presented Half A String’s The Puppet Van: The Lost Colour, Gandini Juggling’s Smashed2, Upswing’s Catch Me, a Global Sounds Music Stage programmed by Music for Change and GTown Talents and much more in a packed weekend of performance and activities.

bOing! is run by Gulbenkian Arts Centre at the University of Kent and is part of a programme of theatre and film for families that runs all year-round.

Further information about the festival is available online at or call Gulbenkian Tickets & Information on 01227 769075.

Staff Conference 2021 banner

Staff Conference: Connect and Collaborate – 13-17 September 2021

Come join us for our Staff Conference: Connect and Collaborate week!

Starting from Monday 13 September and continuing over the five days, we have a number of sessions each day for you to sign-up to and get involved in.

Mainly online and with one or two sessions on campus, each session will be run by colleagues across the University, who will highlight a variety of interesting and important topics showcasing what Kent is all about. From a spotlight on sustainability to discovering what exciting plans are in store for Medway campus, there’s something for everyone!

To say a big thank you to all of you and to finish off the week in style, there’ll be a staff BBQ on Canterbury campus for us all to enjoy.

Feel free to sign-up to as many as you fancy, and don’t worry if you miss one as every online session will be recorded. You’ll find the programme for the week and the sign-up links below:

Staff Conference programme

Monday 13 September

11.00 – 11.30 – WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION – An update on Kent 2025 Strategy & Mid Term Review: Vice-Chancellor Professor Karen Cox will kick off the week with an update on Kent’s 2025 Strategy and where we are after a mid-term refresh. Sign-up to the session.

11.30 – 12.15 – Spotlight on Sustainability at Kent: Led by Dr Catherine Morris, If you want to find out about our sustainability commitments and how we are addressing them, have your say or discover how to get involved in sustainability projects, then this session will be for you. Sign-up to the session.

11.30 – 12.15 – The history of Kent – Farm to University Campus : Learn how the Canterbury campus went from being a farm to the institution we now know from Carole Barron, Head of Knowledge Exchange & Innovation. Sign-up to the session.

12.15 – 13.00 – The Turing Scheme: International placements: a whole new (virtual?) world: Find out what the successor to the Erasmus scheme means for global mobility and explore virtual exchange opportunities at Kent from Hannah McNorton and Emma Marku. Sign-up to the session.

12.15 – 13.00 – An introduction to KMTV and what it can do for you: Want to know more about KMTV and how it can support your work? Tune in to find out more from Sadie Appleby. Sign-up to the session.

Tuesday 14 September

11.00 – 13.00 – RESEARCH AND INNOVATION: Introduction and Overview: Led by Professor Shane Weller (chair). To register for this session or any of the following three presentations, please click here.

  • An introduction to the Signature Research Themes: ‘Future Human’ and ‘Migration and Movement’ are two of the three new Signature Research Themes. Find out more from the theme leaders, Dr Lex Mauger and Professor David Herd.
  • Collaborative Innovation Projects at Kent: Calling all academics and PSD staff! This 30-minute session led by Janine Coomber and Dr Anastasios Tsaousis, is for all colleagues interested in finding ways to collaborate with external organisations, with information, case-studies and Q&As.
  • The KEF and the Concordat – an overview: Find out how two key initiatives are driving change in the way universities engage with businesses. Led by Carole Barron.

11.00 – 11.45 – The Medway strategy: Find out about the exciting plans for the Medway campus from Dr William Collier. Sign-up to the session.

11.45 – 12.30 – QA-ccessibility: How do we incorporate accessibility into our working practices so that digital services are available to all? A session led by Alison Webster and Ben Watson. Sign-up to the session.

12.00 – 13.00 – Tea, Talk and Text – the Staff Reading Group Theme “People and Work: Searching for Meaning” – ON CAMPUS in the Chapel, Eliot College: Led by Revd Dr Stephen Laird, join us for a 50-minute ‘taster session’, where we inform our discussions and reflections with short pieces of text from a variety of religious thinkers and traditions. To register, please email so that reading material can be sent to you in good time.

Wednesday 15 September

11.00 – 13.00 – CIVIC MISSION – Introduction and Overview: Chaired by Dr Philip Pothen, this session will explore how three different initiatives are demonstrating the University’s commitment to its communities, its external partnerships and its wider civic mission. To register for this session or any of the following three presentations, please click here.

  • iCCi and Creative Kent: Learn how these two initiatives are set to bring creative opportunities to our campuses and communities from Professor Catherine Richardson.
  • The Kent and Medway Medical School: one year on: Find out how KMMS’s first year of operations has gone, and how the medical school is opening-up career opportunities for so many from our region, from Dr Anna Romito.
  • The high street and civic mission: a pop-up shop in Ramsgate: In this interactive session led by Dr Vicky Mason, find out how to engage and get involved in a world outside academia.

11.00 – 12.15 – GLOBAL CHALLENGES SHOWCASE: Hear about how three research projects are making a global impact.  To register for this session or any of the following three presentations, please click here.

  • Meet May & Bay, tackling sextortion and child trafficking in Thailand and Cambodia: Led by Emma Soutar and Professor Jane Reeves .
  • Empowering Women in Science: A Global Challenge: Led by Professor Jen Hiscock (Natural Sciences) and Dr Jen Leigh (Centre for Higher Education).
  • Sustainable Architecture in a Modern World: Led by Professor Henrik Schoenefeldt, Architecture, Arts & Humanities.

12.15 – 13.00 – QUALITATIVE FINDINGS FROM THE BAME STAFF NETWORK ALL-STAFF SURVEY: Come along to this session led by Dr Barbara Adewumi and Dr Bridget Ng’andu where findings of the survey – conducted by the BAME Staff Network – will be revealed. Outlining key themes to improve race quality from recruitment to career progression, this is a great opportunity for us to discuss what we as an institution can do better. Sign-up to the session.

Thursday 16 September

11.00 – 12.20 – LEARNING AND TEACHING AND THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE – Introduction and overview: Led by Professor Richard Reece, find out the latest on our approach to health and safety, teaching spaces, the format of staff-student interactions in the new academic year. To register for this session or the following presentation, please click here.

  • Student priorities for the new year, with the new President of Kent Union, Aisha Dosanjh: Followed by Q&A

11.00 – 12.15 – A cuppa and conversation – for members of staff who are Kent alumni: Were you once a Kent student and are now a staff member? Want to share your memories of your time here? Or do you have ideas about how we should engage with our alumni? Now’s your opportunity to let us know and to help shape our future plans! Sign-up to the session.

12.15 – 13.15 – A Virtual Tour of Special Collections and the Archives: Based in the Templeman Library, our Special Collections & Archives team care for over 150 archive collections. In this virtual tour, you’ll get the chance to go behind-the-scenes, exploring our basement storage areas, and understanding how we care for the historic material in our care. Sign-up to the session.

12.30 – 13.15 – Two highlight sessions from the Medway Festival of Learning and Teaching: the Medway Festival of Learning and Teaching is jointly organised by the Medway universities to share, promote and celebrate best practice in learning and teaching. Sign-up to one or both sessions below.

  • Guided Relaxation for Stress Reduction: Led by Annikki Laitinen.
  • Phenomenal Women: Led by Patmarie Coleman.

Friday 17 September

11.00 – 12.00 – Implementing an antiracism strategy for the University: As an institution, and as individuals, we need to challenge and deconstruct systemic racism. In this session, we will introduce the draft Antiracism Strategy for Kent and suggest how you can get involved in this vital work. Led by Professor Georgina Randsley de Moura. Sign-up to the session.

12.00 – 12.45 – Outreach to schools – our widening participation strategy: Dr Marta Almeida Hill will give examples of outreach work we are currently delivering in schools and how we evaluate and measure impact. Sign-up to the session.

13.00 – 15.00 – Staff Summer Fete/BBQ – ON CAMPUS: Book your place now.

If you want to know more or have any queries re the Conference, please get in touch with the organising team at

Introducing KentNet, the new staff intranet

The name for the new staff intranet, as chosen by you, is KentNet!

Thank you to everybody who submitted their votes and suggestions.

We now need your help to develop the new staff intranet over the next months.

KentNet will become the main place to go for:

  • University-wide news (replacing the Staff Guide)
  • University-wide resources
  • Departmental and divisional news, resources, events and information
  • Project information and document sharing
  • Specialist topic areas such as Copyright and Finance

By September 2022 SharePoint 2013 sites will become ’read only’ and will be withdrawn from use by the end of 2022.

Support available

Ahead of setting up your area, the Project Team will be holding meetings with key stakeholders to talk through how the intranet will work and what you want it to do for you. We’ve also put together a KentNet Support site with more information on what you’ll need to build your intranet area.

This includes guides on setting up your community site when it comes to it, where to store your files and data, and examples of early prototype intranet sites at Kent.

For further information contact: Izzy Linthwaite, Collaboration Services Owner, through Teams or email.

Woman working on a laptop

Counter-Terrorism training for managers

As part of our response to both Government guidance and the need to be prepared for any incident response, we will be shortly be hosting Action Counter Terrorism (ACT) Strategic and Operational Counter terrorism training for senior staff and key external partners.

These sessions are intended to give people a better of understanding of the threat from terrorism and the simple security measures that can be taken to protect a business or an organisation. It will give up-to-date training that will make everyone safer, helping those who attend to plan for and/ or respond to an incident or emergency at work.

The training sessions, which are being prioritised by both Executive Group and our wider Senior Leadership, will be facilitated by Counter Terrorism Security Advisors from Counter Terrorism Policing South East. Wider senior staff across the University can also now sign to attend, with two different types of session on offer:

ACT Strategic training is aimed at Executive Group (EG) and Senior Leadership (SL) members. ACT Strategic is a National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) initiative exploring ways to aid businesses in preventing against, managing, and recovering from a terrorist attack.

ACT Operational training is aimed at Operational and Customer facing managers, supervisors and staff in authority. ACT Operational is a NaCTSO initiative exploring ways to aid businesses in preventing, managing, and responding to a terrorist attack.

Training will take place in the Darwin Conference Suite on the Canterbury campus, with measures in place to ensure we meet all Government safety requirements regarding Covid-19. This will take place on the following dates:

  • Monday 06.09.2021        OPERATIONAL
  • Tuesday 07.09.2021         OPERATIONAL
  • Wednesday 08.09.2021   STRATEGIC
  • Thursday 09.09.2021       OPERATIONAL
  • Thursday 16.09.2021       OPERATIONAL
  • Friday 17.09.2021             STRATEGIC

How to book your place on the training:

Please contact Jess Sutherland (Prevent Officer) identifying person(s) attending (first name, family name, job title and email contact details), preferred training date(s), any vehicle details and any specific dietary requirements. This will be on a first come-first served basis and we will try to accommodate preferred training dates and numbers requested.

If you have been invited to attend the training and have not signed up, please do so now via StaffConnect. If you are a front line Manager or Supervisor who has not been invited yet, there are now opportunities for you to attend so discuss with your line manager to get their support and apply via StaffConnect.

To do list

Care first webinars w/c 23 August 2021

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 23 August –  Friday 27 August) webinars are as follows:

Monday 23 August 2021 – ‘How Care first can support you’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Tuesday 24 August 2021 – ‘Ways to reduce your carbon footprint’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Wednesday 25 August 2021 – ‘Compassion fatigue’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Thursday 26 August 2021 – ‘Travelling with unvaccinated children and how to manage the risks’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Friday 27 August 2021 – ‘Has lockdown made you more spontaneous?’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Wooden sign reads: Welcome to community garden

Sustainability team sessions

Throughout September 2021, you can enjoy all things sustainable at Kent. From getting to know our Kent Community Oasis Garden to getting back to nature on a trail walk, the Sustainability team has organised an array of fun activities for you to take part in.

Here’s what in store:

Wednesday 1 September, 12.30 – Sustainability trail and (optional) picnic lunch at the Kent Community Oasis Garden

Location Leaving from the Senate and finishing at the Kent Community Oasis Garden

Environmental Advisor Catherine Morris will be leading a tour of campus following the Sustainable Development Goals trail. Hear about everything Kent is doing for Sustainability, from our net zero carbon targets to our plans to embed sustainability into the curriculum. On
the tour, you can find out how to get involved, ask questions and have your say on
what you think Kent should be doing. The tour will take approximately one hour and finish at
the Kent Community Oasis garden in Parkwood where you are welcome to stay and enjoy a
picnic lunch (bring your own).

Thursday 9 September, 13.00 Campus Nature Trail

Location – Leaving from The Venue Nightclub and finishing at Beckett Court

Sustainability coordinator Emily Mason will be giving staff a guided tour through part of the
campus nature trail. Find out more about the species you can expect to see on campus, how we
manage the campus for Biodiversity and how our new landscape and biodiversity strategy
will be implemented. The tour will take approximately one hour and include walking on trails
and uneven surfaces so please wear appropriate footwear.

Thursday 16 September, 13.00 – Central campus nature walk (accessible)

Location – Leaving from the Marlowe Building entrance and finishing at Darwin college

Sustainability coordinator Emily Mason and Environmental Adviser Catherine Morris will be
giving staff a guided tour focusing on the natural environment of central campus. Find out
more the species you can expect to see on central campus and how to identify trees and
birds. Hear about how we manage the central campus for Biodiversity and how our new
landscape and biodiversity strategy will be implemented. The tour will take approximately
one hour.

Wednesday 22 September, 13.00 – Introduction to the Kent Community Oasis Garden

Location – Kent Community Oasis Garden (Parkwood)

Sustainability coordinator Emily Mason will be giving staff a guided tour of the campus
garden and talking about the plans over the next year. Find out more about what the garden
does and the benefits for the University and wider community. The tour will take
approximately 20-30 minutes and then there will be an opportunity for anyone who wishes to
stay and do some gardening.

To book onto any of these sessions, please email clearly stating
which event you would like to join.

Activities for you and your team to enjoy

As you return to campus, be sure to make the most of our outdoor space, including a Tented Village. With additional seating now available in the village and across Canterbury campus for the rest of the year, you and your team can get together outside and enjoy informal in-person meetings in the fresh air.

From 23 August – 20 September there will also be a range of  team-building initiatives to help bring new and old teams back together.

Options available include: 

At Canterbury:

  • Petanque, Bat and Trap, Ladder Golf, Mollky and a range of group activities – provided by Kent Sport
  • Tombola
  • A selection of ‘pub games’ (giant Jenga, skittles)

To book activities at Canterbury, use this Outlook link

At Medway:

  • Giant Chess
  • Giant 4 in a row
  • Giant Jenga
  • Raffle Drum
  • Shootout Hoops
  • Bex Ladder
  • Rope Deck Quoits
  • Croquet set
  • Skittles
  • Rounders

To book activities at Medway, use this Outlook link.


Coffee with colleagues

As we return to campus there’s plenty to look forward to and catching up with our colleagues over a nice cup of coffee is one of them!

From 23 August – 20 September, there will a Buy One Get One Free offer available at both Canterbury and Medway campuses!

On Canterbury campus visit the Gulbenkian and Dolche Vita café , where if you buy two hot drinks, you’ll get the cheapest one free. All you have to do is show off your staff ID card!

On Medway campus visit the Starbucks café located in the Pembroke Building to claim your free coffee with the Buy One Get One Free offer. Show your staff ID card and add your name to the list that the café staff will provide.

Be sure to make the most of this offer and enjoy seeing your colleagues in-person!