Author Archives: Jessica Thomas

Linton Kwesi Johnson

Black History Month Events at Gulbenkian Arts Centre

Gulbenkian has a fantastic programme of events lined up for Black History Month this year including performances, films screenings and more!

Kicking off Gulbenkian’s Black History Month events, legendary reggae poet and social activist Linton Kwesi Johnson (LKJ) will perform at Gulbenkian Arts Centre on Friday 24th September.

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, including Michael Smith and Oku Onuora. His influential and radical voice made him

Drama grad Taylor Sonko - Garvey performs at Gulbenkian 50th anniversary celebrations

Taylor Sonko – Garvey

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.

Gulbenkian is also excited to announce that University of Kent alumni from School of Arts, Taylor Sonko – Garvey will be opening for LKJ. She developed her performance poetry studying Popular Performance in her second year.

Tickets for the event are £15 (Concessions available).


Respect Film


Screening in our cinema, Respect is the new film from Liesl Tommy following the remarkable true story of Aretha franklin’s career from a child singing in a church choir to international superstardom. Starring Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, and Mary J. Blige, this is one musical sensation not to miss! Screening from Friday 8th October at Gulbenkian Arts Centre. Tickets £8.95 / University of Kent Staff £6.95 / Student £6 / Other Concessions are available.

Babylon Film


See British cult classic Babylon is a film that captures the trials and tribulations of young black youths in 80s London with vivid cinematography, a powerful message and an incredible soundtrack . See it on Friday 29th October. The film screening will be followed by a Q&A with film cast member Beverley Woodhams, and a DJ set in the café from 9.30pm. Tickets £8.95 / University of Kent Staff £6.95 / Student £6 / Other Concessions are available.

Candyman Film


In 2017, Jordan Peele’s Get Out was a watershed moment to horror subverting the genre’s long record of offensive racial tropes, and four years on its legacy can be seen across film and tv. Catch the update of the classic 1990s film that has become the latest black horror hit, Candyman on Tuesday 2nd November. This new take, produced by Jordon Peele and directed by rising star Nia DaCosta, gives the franchise a significant overhaul making Candyman is a brilliant horror that addresses issues such as racial injustice and gentrification. Tickets £8.95 / University of Kent Staff £6.95 / Student £6 / Other Concessions are available.  This film screening is also a 2ForTuesday screening, where Students and Under 25s can get 2 tickets for the price of 1.

For more information and tickets please visit

Gulbenkian season launch

Gulbenkian Arts Centre launches 2021/22 Season

Last night, the Gulbenkian Arts Centre launched their 2021/22 Season.

Artistic Director David Sefton presented this season’s live programme highlights, including the Gulbenkian’s associate artists and exciting upcoming projects.

The evening included presentations from University of Kent Vice-Chancellor and President, Karen Cox, and Director of the Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries, Professor Catherine Richardson. The audience also heard from Head of Music Performance Daniel Harding who outlined the exciting music programme taking place in the Colyer-Fergusson Hall. Two ART31 Kent members also spoke about the positive impact of creative projects for young people in Kent.

The evening concluded with an impressive preview from Battersea Arts Centre Beatbox Academy, who will be returning to perform at the Gulbenkian next year with Frankenstein: How to make a Monster.

Gulbenkian wishes to thank everyone who attended in support of this exciting new season, and invite everyone to take a look at their new season (brochure now available or visit website). We look forward to welcoming you to an event over the coming year.

View the Gulbenkian Season 2021/22 brochure here:

For more information and to book tickets visit the Gulbenkian’s website:

To sign up to the Gulbenkian’s email list please register here: 

Group of students chatting

Making the most of opportunities – Employability

When you start university there is a lot to get to grips with starting a new course, but you may wish to consider making the most of other opportunities while at University.

We offer a range of activity, services and opportunities for students to develop professional skillsets for future employment and broaden experience while studying at Kent.

Remember to check your emails and the Student News regularly for opportunities and events.  We’ve also put together a list of opportunities worth considering below.

Careers Service
The Careers and Employability Service is open and free for students to access for advice and support, including career planning, and support creating CVs.

During your time at Kent there are many ways to get involved and earn rewards and recognition for your efforts. It also looks great on your CV and helps improve your employability.

  • Employability Points
    The Employability Points Scheme rewards students for their active engagement with co-curricular activities with experiences of work. For each co-curricular activity completed, students can claim ‘Employability Points’, which can be cashed-in for the chance to apply for exclusive internships, work placements, training and more!
  • Study Plus
    Provides a range of free short-term courses and workshops which can enhance your graduate employability skills alongside your main subject specialism.

Interested in a year in industry, an internship or studying aboard?
Placements, internships or studying abroad, can be an excellent way to build knowledge, develop skills and gain experience of another culture.

Student jobs
Looking for a part-time job to support your studies?
Find advice and vacancies on the Careers and Employability website.
Sign up to Kent Union’s Jobshop for local and part-time work opportunities.

Students reading and note taking on a picnic bench taken from above.

Reading and note-taking – top tips

Having located, bookmarked and borrowed (from the library) a range of useful and relevant sources, you are now ready to extract the information you need through effective reading and note-taking.

Effective reading

 You can’t read everything on your subject. The following process will help you to locate and select specific information you need for your assignment, quickly and efficiently

  • Be clear what you need to find out about

Identify key words or terms connected to the information you need from your assignment question or task.

  • Skim read to identify useful sections of text

Read fast, looking for key words in contents pages, abstracts, introductions, conclusions, headings and index pages to identify chapters or sections of text that are most likely to contain the information you need.

  • Scan selected sections to locate the specific text you need

Let your eyes wander around the page searching for the key words or terms, concepts, data, figures, dates and events that you need to learn about. Mark selected passages of text (e.g. using mini post-it notes) for detailed reading later.

  • Read in detail using ‘active reading’

Read your chosen texts carefully, line for line, aware of what you need to understand and analyse e.g. background information, facts, theories and ideas.


 Notes are a written summary of the academic information that you read or listen to on your course. You will need to refer to your notes as you undertake assignments, revise for exams, prepare for presentations or seminars. To ensure that your notes work well:

  • Find a note-taking style that works for you, then stick with it

– There are many different note-taking techniques – from writing bullet point lists to drawing spidergrams. For advice and examples go to the SLAS website.

  • Ensure your notes contain key ingredients

Reference details of the source you are using (author, date, title etc)

– Summary of key facts, terms, theories, points made by the author

– Key evidence/examples used by the author to support their ideas

– Your observations about the strengths/weaknesses (critical analysis) of the arguments or ideas contained in the text

  • Write notes mostly in your own words (paraphrased*), but also…

– Jot down short quotations from the author to use later as evidence, or to emphasise key points (noting the page number on which they appear)

– To avoid confusion later, use quotation marks or a highlighter pen to clearly distinguish an author’s exact words from your own in your notes

  • Make sure your notes are legible, for future use

– Use readable fonts/clear handwriting

– Tidy up your notes or redraft, as necessary, to make them easy to follow

  • Ensure your notes are clearly titled (module/topic/title of publication), dated (when you made the notes), and filed with other related materials e.g. assignment brief, for easy retrieval

For guidance on all the topics mentioned above – including Understanding the question, Effective reading, Note-taking, Referencing and Critical analysis – the Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS) provides 1-1 appointments, workshops and study guides.

Making the most of opportunities – extra-curricular activities

When you start university there is a lot to get to grips with starting a new course, but the key to a great student experience is striking a balance between study and play. Time away from your books also helps to maintain a healthy life balance and can really benefit your studies.

Remember to check your emails and the Student News regularly for opportunities and events.  We’ve also put together a list of extra-curricular opportunities worth considering below.

Want to learn a language alongside your studies? 

  • The Language Centre offers Kent students the opportunity to study a variety of language modules as part of your existing degree programme or as an additional extracurricular module.
  • Language Express offer evening courses from beginner’s level.

Have you thought about volunteering?

Volunteering can be a good way to gain experience, build skills and network.  Find more about volunteer opportunities while at Kent.

Student Activities

At Kent, there are numerous student activities including sport, societies and more!

Student Societies
Societies bring people together with common interests and can help you make new friends with people you might not meet on your course. And don’t forget, a CV packed full of experiences and activities shows potential employers that you like to get involved. See the wide range of clubs and societies at Kent:

Get Active with Kent Sport
Whether you play competitively or just for fun, sport is an important part of the student experience. Accessible facilities, inter-college sports programme and over 50 sports clubs run by Kent Union. Find out more about sport at Kent.

Make Music at Kent
Do you sing or play an instrument? Join the Chorus, Symphony Orchestra, Concert and Big Bands, Chamber Choir or one of the many other bands and ensembles formed each year. Find out more about making music at Kent.

Get Creative on Campus
As well as numerous creative societies, Kent offers exceptional opportunities for you to enjoy the very latest in film, art, music, history and architecture.

A student walks amongst the stacks in the library

Starting your research

One of the purposes of assignments is to show that you can increase your knowledge through independent reading and research. To identify and seek out information you will need to:

  • Be clear on what you are looking for

– Make sure you understand your essay question, or task, and what you need to investigate.

– Note down key words from your essay question or task and relevant lecture notes to use in your search for information.

  • To find the information you need

– Always start with reading lists provided by your course; these can then lead you onto other texts.

– Examine core textbooks, scanning contents pages, index pages, introductions and sub-headings for key words indicating sections of text relevant to your assignment or task.

– Look through the bibliographies (of your textbooks) for other relevant book titles.

– Undertake a key word search of library databases or the internet. Visit the library webpages to find out how to use the university library services and facilities You might also try searching for academic information on Google Scholar.

  • Consider the most authoritative voices in your subject

– Identify and use well-respected sources in your work e.g. industry experts or organisations, professional journals, recommended textbooks.

– You will need to justify your choice of reading material.

  • Always take notes and keep a record of the sources of your notes

Having located, bookmarked and borrowed (from the library) a range of useful sources, you are now ready to extract the information you need in a process of effective reading and note-taking.

For guidance on all the topics mentioned above – including Understanding the question, Effective reading and Note-taking – the Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS) provides 1-1 appointments, workshops and study guides.

Girl wearing a black and white stripey jumper smiles at camera while studying, book open in front of her

Learning at Uni – how is it different from school?

At university you will have to: take personal responsibility for your time and your studies; think for yourself, questioning, evaluating and drawing conclusions about what you hear, see, read and do; and reflect on your experiences, making changes accordingly to improve your performance. To do all this involves the following:

Independent learning

This means being pro-active and taking personal responsibility for:

  • Understanding how your course works

Carefully study the information provided to you. Keep a checklist of things you still need to know and find them out from your tutors or appropriate university services.

  • Seeking help when you need it

Create your own contact list for your tutors and university support services. This list should include:

– Find or establish a quiet, comfortable workspace in which to study.

– Make sure you have the files (physical and/or digital) that you’ll need to organise all your course and assignment information.

– Set up the IT you’ll need and familiarise yourself with the university’s online learning systems.

– Use a diary, termly or year planner to plan your studies around your other activities. Find termly and weekly time planners under Time Management on the SLAS website.

– Create and build your own glossary of subject terms and definitions.

– Arrive on time, prepared, notes to hand, and having read any background material requested.

– Listen carefully throughout, taking notes of key points, theories and ideas.

– Be prepared to take part in discussions, if requested.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking means:

  • Questioning what you hear, see, read and did (e.g. a method you used) and assessing how convincing, or efficient, or valuable, or useful it is.
  • Going beyond pure description, so that:

– As well as giving facts or data, you say what they show and challenge the methods by which they were gathered – e.g. ‘The survey does not take full account of…’

– As well as describing a theory or process, you discuss its strengths and weaknesses, advantages and disadvantages – e.g. ‘This method has several benefits…’

– As well as summarising a piece of text, you say what it shows, identify the key points it makes, and explore its accuracy – e.g. ‘The main weakness of the author’s argument is…’

  • Reflecting on your own learning to create a cycle of improvement

– Read and consider assignment feedback to identify areas for improvement, then take action to improve your performance next time, including seeking help if you need it.

– Keep a learning journal in which you consider a specific learning experience (e.g. a deadline missed), reflect on how and why it happened, and plan how to avoid similar problems in future

– Reflect on what went well, as well as what didn’t. This will help you repeat good performances.

For guidance on all the topics mentioned above – including Lectures and seminars, Critical and reflective thinking and Time management – the Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS) provides 1-1 appointments, workshops and study guides.

journal with September calendar written out and highlighted in yellow

Managing your studies

Good organisation is key to staying on top of your studies. You will need to plan your time and your assignments, maintain a good filing system for all your study materials, and ensure that you keep pace with your course.

Plan your time

– Plot and organise your studies (lectures, seminars, reading and assignments) around all your other activities (work, social, holidays etc) throughout the year. Try colour coding different activities on your planner to help keep track of them. Allow time for breaks, exercise, and social activities to maintain a healthy work/life balance

– Start each assignment as early as possible. Working back from the deadline, consider the stages of work needed to complete each one and plot them on your time planner. Complete each stage of work on time to avoid last minute panics and meet your deadlines

  • Set achievable goals and prioritise tasks

– Divide individual days into bitesize chunks of time and allocate an achievable task to each session e.g. 9-11am – Read/make notes on Journal article x; 11-12am – Draw up essay plan for assignment y; 12-1pm – Proof-read report z… etc. This will keep you focussed and productive, and ensure constant progress

– Consider which tasks are both important and urgent – e.g. Proof-read and submit assignment x – and prioritise these on your daily schedule

Find termly and weekly time planners under Time Management on the SLAS website.

Set up a filing system

  • Group, organise and store information and work

– Think about where and how you will group, organise and store course information, handouts, research and your notes so you can find them easily e.g. ‘Module X: Topic A/B/C/D’ or ‘Assignment Y: Research/Notes/Drafts’

– Number assignment drafts (essays, project reports etc) to keep track of the most recent version

– Use ring binders with labelled dividers, computer folders/files or a mixture both to stay organised and save time.

  • Back-up work regularly on your computer to avoid any risk of losing it

Keep on top of your work

  • Be pro-active

– If you find yourself falling behind with your studies don’t ignore it. Reflect on the reasons, consider solutions and take action – action can even be seeking advice if you are struggling or not sure of what you are doing

  • Seek help if you need it

– Ask your lecturer or seek advice from relevant university services which may include:

For guidance on all the topics mentioned above – including Getting organised and Time management – the Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS) provides 1-1 appointments, workshops and study guides.

Staff Day at bOing! Festival – Friday 27 August

Gulbenkian Arts Centre are offering Kent staff and their families an opportunity to see Jasmin Vardimon Company’s new virtual reality performance ‘Alice’ for free at the University of Kent staff day at bOing! Festival.

The experience is sold out over the weekend, but we have a limited number of timeslots on Friday 27 August for University of Kent staff and their families to experience Alice (VR).  Step out of the ordinary and into the unexpected, fantastical and fearless world of Jasmin Vardimon’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ VR experience. Tickets must be booked in advance for Alice.

University of Kent Staff Day at bOing! Festival is an extra special day before the festival weekend kicks off just for University of Kent Staff and their families on Friday 27 August!

Organised as 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 Staff Family Day at bOing! is FREE for Kent Staff and their families to attend.

Whether you’ve been working on site or remotely, this is an opportunity to reunite with family and colleagues in person for an amazing summer day on campus filled with FREE live performance, music and fun for all!

Everybody’s invited, so say a proper farewell and invite colleagues who have left while we have all been working remotely.

Free refreshments will also be on offer with a £5 credit loaded to Kent Staff KentOne cards that can be redeemed at any University of Kent catering outlet on campus.

All events are free to attend, but please register your attendance by following the booking link.
Tickets for Alice (VR) must be booked separately.

Friday’s Schedule

12 – 5pm (timeslots throughout the afternoon) – UoK Staff timeslots for Alice (VR) – BOOK TICKETS

12.30 – 12.50pm – The Puppet Van: The Lost Colour

Outdoor chaos 2m in the air featuring clowning and puppetry from Kent Alumni company Half A String.

1pm – 1.30pm – Gandini Juggling’s Smashed2
Funny and inventive juggling performance featuring a lot of fruit.

2 – 2.20pm – UPSWING’s Catch Me
A playful mix of dance, circus and chairs.

3.30 – 4pm – Gandini Juggling’s Smashed2
Funny and inventive juggling performance featuring a lot of fruit.

4 – 4.20pm – The Puppet Van: The Lost Colour

Outdoor chaos 2m in the air featuring clowning and puppetry from Kent Alumni company Half A String.

4.30 – 4.50pm – UPSWING’s Catch Me
A playful mix of dance, circus and chairs.

5 – 7pm – Global Sounds Music Stage
Programmed by Music for Change, enjoy some summer sounds under the sun.

Find out more about bOing! Kent’s Family Arts Festival

bOing! Kent’s Family Arts Festival is open to the general public on Saturday 28 and 29 August 2021 with a range of free and ticketed events. Funded by Arts Council England and the University of Kent, bOing! welcomes the most innovative and exciting performers from across Europe to the Gulbenkian Arts Centre and our beautiful Canterbury campus. All events at bOing!2021 will be performed in line with Government guidance on Covid-19. 

Watch the bOing! Festival trailer

Become a bOing! Volunteer

Follow in the paw prints of our amazing volunteers of previous years, don a pair of ears and become a bOing! Volunteer. Find out more about volunteering at bOing!

Outdoor screening 2

Gulbenkian announces FREE outdoor cinema screening for students with action-packed 80’s hit Top Gun!

The Gulbenkian Arts Centre and Gulbenkian Uncovered feel the need, the need for speed and invite you to be up there with the best of the best for a FREE, special outdoor screening of Top Gun that will Take Your Breath Away, on Tuesday 21st September during Welcome Week 2021. Adrenaline packed and incredible entertaining, Top Gun has become an iconic ’80s action film – don’t miss seeing it on the big outdoor screen on the lawn outside Gulbenkian.

Starring Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, and Michael Ironside, the cast is pretty good but the real stars of the film are the F-14 fighter jets, and director Tony Scott does an excellent job at capturing the intensity and excitement of the aerial manoeuvres. The soundtrack is also especially well-done, and features such hit songs as “Danger Zone” and “Take My Breath Away”, which picked up the Oscar for Best Music, Original Song.

As an outdoor event, bring a blanket, something to sit on and dress for the outdoors – we recommend dressing warmly – even bring a hot water bottle as the temperature drops.  Make yourself comfortable and settle in for an evening of film under the stars.

Bar service will be available and a range of snacks and hot food will be available to buy at the screening.

Tuesday 21st September, 7:30 pm: Student Event: Outdoor Cinema Screening – Top Gun (12A)
Gulbenkian, Gulbenkian Lawn
Tickets: Free for Students of the University of Kent as part of Welcome Week 2021
For more information and tickets please visit