Author Archives: Alice Allwright

Steven Allain wins national wildlife award

Congratulations to Steven Allain, from the School of Anthology and Conservation, who won an award at this year’s NBN Awards for Wildlife Recording 2022. Steven won the 2022 NBN Award for Wildlife Recording – Terrestrial.

The winners and runners-up of the NBN Awards for Wildlife Recording 2022 were announced at the Natural History Museum, in London, on Wednesday 9 November 2022.

These national Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions adults and young people are making to wildlife recording and data sharing, which is helping to improve our understanding of the UK’s biodiversity.

Steven has worked hard to both generate and verify records of amphibians and reptiles in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Norfolk since 2016 and in the last two years in Kent.

All of the records that Steven generates are shared with the local Amphibian and Reptile Groups. He is Chairman of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Amphibian and Reptile Group, and also the Norfolk Amphibian and Reptile Group as well as being Volunteer Officer for the Bedfordshire Reptile and Amphibian Group.

Steven is often consulted by Animal and Plant Health Agency regarding the presence of non-native amphibian and reptile species in the UK, and his passion and enthusiasm for amphibians and reptiles, and his unique ways of engaging people helped him to also win the 2022 Anglia Ruskin University Sustainability Champion Award.

Steven Allain says: “The main thing that excites me about recording amphibians and reptiles, is that they are historically under-recorded. This means that it is fairly easy to discover new populations of even the most widespread species that no one knew were present in an area. For me, it is all about putting dots on maps, and trying to cover as large a geographical area as possible, to help maintain up-to-date distribution maps of our herpetofauna.”

Come to the Menopause Café on 23 November

Come join us at our Menopause café on Wednesday 23 November! Head over to the Oasis Lounge, Rochester Building from 13.00 – 15.00 where you can gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss the menopause – there’s no need to book!

At the Menopause café

At a menopause café there is no agenda – you won’t learn facts about the menopause, and there is no intention of leading café participants to any conclusion, product or course of action. The café simply gives space to anyone wanting to chat about the menopause in a confidential, respectful space. We will have lots of treats, teas and coffees available, and a few facilitators hopping between tables to keep conversation flowing.

We are running this menopause café in partnership with Menopause Café, which is a not-for-profit organisation that supports the set-up of the café with some guidelines, and also run their own #flushfest. More info can be found on their website.

How it started

The Menopause Café came about in 2017, in Perth, Australia, created by Rachel Weiss who was inspired to get more people talking about the menopause after watching the BBC programme ‘Menopause and Me’.

She modelled the Menopause Café on the Death Café, which aimed to ‘increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives’.

The menopause café has only one purpose: to gather people, often strangers, in one place to drink tea, eat cake and discuss the menopause.

Roger Cardinal Exhibition in Margate – 23-27 November 2022

Castles are Elsewhere is an exhibition that commemorates the life of Roger Cardinal (1940-2019), whose fascination with the extraordinary led him on a wondrous odyssey upon which he encountered creativity in the most unexpected places.

Roger is probably best known for his seminal book titled Outsider Art, published in 1972 – the first of its kind in the UK which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary. It was followed a few years later in 1979, with the ground-breaking Outsiders exhibition at The Hayward Gallery.

Through the treasures in his private art collection, his books, his letters, and a selection of his fascinating diaries, this exhibition will give an insight into Roger’s life, and we hope fitting
memoriam to a man who encouraged us all to look at art and life differently, to see that ‘castles
are elsewhere’.

The exhibition which was curated Jennifer Gilbert & Vivienne Roberts, will be accompanied by a publication where luminaires of the Outsider Art world have been invited.


Wednesday 23 November. 17.30 – 19.30
Opening hours: Wednesday – Sunday (27 November), 10.00 – 17.00
This venue is wheelchair accessible and it’s FREE admission.


Foyle Rooms, Turner Contemporary, Rendezvous, Margate, CT9 1HG

“Who are the Outsiders? They possess no qualifications as artists. They seem to work on their own, for themselves, for the fun of it. They know nothing of the trends and snobberies of the cultural centre. All prefer the rule of the imagination to the strictures of officialdom. Instinctive and independent, the appear to tackle the business of making art as if it had never existed before they came along. What they make has a primal freshness: it is the product of an authentic impulse to create and is free of conscious artifice.” – Roger Cardinal, 1979

Eastern Arc logo

Eastern Arc Practice as Research Workshop – 10 January 2023

Eastern Arc will be hosting a one day workshop on 10 January 2023 for those working on practice research. It will be led by practitioners from the three EARC universities (UEA, Essex and Kent), and will be a chance to explore the issues and opportunities facing all those whose work involves a significant practice element.

The event is free and open to all. However, it is primarily intended for colleagues at the Eastern Arc universities. Those at other universities, research institutes and organisations are welcome to apply and, if there is capacity, their place will be confirmed by 17 December at the latest.

The draft programme is available on the Eastern Arc webpage. The location will be a short walk from Chelmsford mainline station, the midpoint of the EARC Consortium, and the venue will be confirmed shortly.

To take part, please complete this short form. If you have any queries, email Phil Ward, Director of EARC.

Plate of food

£3.60 meal deal in Rutherford Dining Hall

To help with the rising cost of living, we have introduced a £3.60 meal deal in Rutherford Dining Hall (Canterbury) at lunch (12:00-14:00) and dinner time (17:00-20:00), every day of the week!

For staff the meal deal is £3.60 as this includes VAT.

You can choose from two options, including a vegetarian or meat option. Both come with freshly cooked vegetables, sides and salad.

You can see all the financial support available to staff on our Cost of Living Support webpages.

Sign up to Leading Routes workshops

Building an inclusive postgraduate community is an important priority for the University and one of our specific goals is to reduce the gap between proportions of white and black students undertaking PhDs.

To support this work, the Graduate and Researcher College is hosting two online workshops for staff led by Leading Routes on increasing the representation of black students in doctoral training and creating more inclusive research cultures. Leading Routes are leading contributors to this work and their report, The Broken Pipeline, is playing a key role in shaping national policy debates.


Both workshops are open to all Academic, Research and Professional Services staff.

The first workshop, ‘The Pipline: Challenging Meritocracy and Acknowledging Structural Barriers for Black Students’ will run on Monday 14 November.

Book your place by visiting this webpage.

The second workshop, ‘Changing Cultures: Practical Steps Towards Long-Term Change’, will run on Wednesday 16 November .

Book your place by visiting this webpage.

Professor Shane Weller, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation has welcomed this initiative saying,  “I am delighted that the University of Kent is working with Leading Routes to support the next generation of Black academics. This initiative lies at the heart of our commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive research culture both at Kent and across the UK.”

The workshops come alongside the announcement of a new set of University scholarships for BAME and ‘First in Family’ Kent graduates who wish to study for a taught postgraduate programme here – each worth £5,000. Further details on these will be available on the University’s scholarships pages soon.

Join our Community Catch-Ups

Building on this year’s Staff Conference in September, our staff webchat programme returns this month with regular sessions planned throughout the year. This is a chance for everyone to come together and hear updates on key areas of activity across the University, while also giving you the change to ask questions and have your say on our wider plans

This year’s first session is on Thursday 17 November at 12.30 – 13.30, which will be focused on the Cost of Living. Senior representatives from HR, Estates & Commercial Services and Finance will talk through work going on to support students and staff with rising costs, plus what this means for us as a University more widely.

Save the date for this session and watch out for the sign up form next week.

Future sessions will follow in December on our new brand, with a full programme to follow throughout 2023.

If you’ve got an idea for a Community Catch Up theme then get in drop us an email at

Catch up on our Staff Conference

If you missed any of our Staff Conference back in September you can catch up on recordings from the main sessions by visiting our Staff Conference pages.

You can also watch recordings from the breakout sessions, including Outreach and widening participation and Making content and learning accessible via this link.

Lunchtime Concert: Glyndebourne Touring Orchestra and Pit Perfect Scheme Players

Come join us for a special lunchtime concert on Weds 9 November at 13.10 at the Colyer-Fergusson Hall.

Before they head down to the Marlowe to perform as part of the Glyndebourne Touring Opera production that evening, players from the Touring Orchestra Pit Perfect scheme will present a Lunchtime Concert featuring music by Puccini, Torelli and Schubert.

After the performance, members of the touring orchestra will lead a workshop with students in the University String Sinfonia, which people are also welcome to watch.

For more details please visit the website.

Admission is free, with a suggested donation of £3. The Music Department’s Lunchtime Concert series is generously sponsored by Furley Page Solicitors.

What is Sanctuary? seminars

This year the University Kent is applying for University of Sanctuary status. As part of the City of Sanctuary movement, the Universities of Sanctuary network aims to ‘make Higher Education institutions places of safety, solidarity and empowerment for people seeking sanctuary’.

To help ensure that the University’s application process is properly reflective and self-critical, the Migration and Movement Signature Research Theme is holding a series of seminars throughout the year that address the question ‘What is Sanctuary?’

Speakers from a range of disciplines, career stages and backgrounds will discuss what sanctuary means and entails. Contributions will be a mix of academic talks and reflections on lived experience.

All sessions are online. Everybody is invited to join the conversation.

 Seminars timetable 

What Is Sanctuary 1 – on 9 November – 16.00-17.00

Sheona York, Reader in Law and Clinic Solicitor (Kent Law School)

This paper will present a history of recent sanctuary movements in the US and the UK. It will show that where true sanctuary is offered it is frequently as protection against the State itself and the State’s unjust laws. The paper will conclude by considering what it can mean for a university to offer sanctuary and how the University of Kent can support people whose status in the UK is rendered precarious by current immigration laws.

Dr Julia Hope, Lecturer in Higher Education and Academic Practice (Centre for the Study of Higher Education)

Building on research funded by the Migration and Movement Signature Research Theme, this paper focuses on Syrian academics exiled in Turkey. It considers the form of professional development support that can be offered to communities of displaced academics and the connections and intercultural exchange that arise from such opportunities. The paper thus considers what sanctuary means when working remotely with people who have experienced displacement.

Thomas Tegento, Student on the MA in Physical Theatre (Department of Drama and Theatre)

Thomas has been a student at the University of Kent for 4 years and has recently completed an MA in Physical Theatre. He is a refugee and came to Kent from a care service background. He published his first book, The Seventh Neck, in 2020 and is now doing dance and movement related creative practices with community theatre companies. He is interested in what total arts, physical and movement practices can offer in building the wellbeing of communities. He will speak about the meaning of sanctuary from the perspective of his lived experience.

Click this link to join the zoom meeting

What is Sanctuary 2 on 7 December – 16.00-17.00

Dr Lucy Williams, Senior Visiting Research Fellow (School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research)

This paper will consider sanctuary in a time of ‘crisis’. East Kent, and especially Dover and Manston, are yet again in the eye of the migration storm. In this fevered atmosphere what is the role of ‘sanctuary’? Policy makers rely on closely prescribed (yet flexible) categories to sift the worthy from the unworthy but in forcing people to prove their lives fit into these categories, experience is simplified, and the person is lost. Can encouraging sanctuary in our communities and workplaces be a way to bring attention back to the individual to challenge both policy and public portrayals of migration?

Dr Rachel Gregory Fox, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow (School of English)

This paper will consider the subject of the camp as presented in Yousif M. Qasmiyeh’s Writing the Camp. While refugee camps, in some respects, represent places of apparent safety, community, and shelter, they are also contingent and precarious. The paper will consider how these two aspects of the camp call into question the possibility of its status as a place of sanctuary. Qasmiyeh’s poetry sets institutional oversight and international charitable aid within the camp alongside what Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh identifies as ‘refugee-refugee relations’. The paper considers how Qasmiyeh thus disrupts more centralised views of host-relations, hospitality and sanctuary.

Basma El-Dhouki, GCDC Doctoral Candidate (School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research)

Basma is a Palestinian refugee living and working in Lebanon. For twelve years she has been active in humanitarian and development work with refugees and asylum seekers within UNHCR, UNRWA and international NGOs in Lebanon and Syria. Her work has focused on sexual and gender based violence, child protection and general protection, prevention and response programs. Basma’s PhD focuses on “The role of Refugee-Led Organisations in providing protection and assistance for displaced communities in the Lebanon, Syria and Jordan”. The project explores the nature of refugee-led organisations, the factors conditioning their impact and interventions, and the inclusion of refugees in their own development. Basma’s talk will address the question of sanctuary from the perspective of her professional background.

Click this link to join zoom meeting

For more information on the Migration and Movement Signature Research Theme contact

Attend our Research Sandpit

Growing Kent and Medway (a collaborative research and innovation cluster) has developed special focus topics aiming to pull together the region’s academics and experts to promote innovation and find solutions for the current technical challenges.

Sustainable Packaging is one of the special focus topics, and the first industry forum was held in September. Find out more about how the event went.

On Tuesday 8 November, we are bringing together researchers who have some research interests that could contribute (directly or indirectly) towards developing sustainable packaging solutions.

This research sandpit will focus on Sustainable Packaging, Biorefining, and Biomass, and aims to explore how our organisations can work together and help develop future ideas.

If you would like to attend, please email Dr Lori Fisher, who can register your details.