Author Archives: Wendy Raeside


New website explains USS pensions changes

A new website for staff provides information about current negotiations over the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

The USS dispute is a national one with a large number of organisations involved. Earlier this year, the University and College Union (UCU) took the most recent employer proposals to a ballot of its members, calling for industrial action.

The University of Kent’s Executive Group (EG) has expressed regret over the current situation, but has been working at both national and local level to try and help reach a national agreement and assist employees who have to pay increased contributions.

EG has also been lobbying hard for Universities UK (UUK) to enter into direct dialogue with the UK Pensions Regulator and to involve the UCU in this process.

As well as outlining the University’s position and what EG is doing to help, the new website includes a summary of the current situation and background to the USS pensions negotiations.

Find out more on the USS Pension Changes website.

Hong Kong

Condolences for Sir David Akers-Jones

Staff, students and alumni have expressed their deepest condolences at the recent passing of Sir David Akers-Jones, one of Kent’s most prestigious and important alumni.

During his long career, Sir David Akers-Jones served in many important posts in the Government of Hong Kong. He was the Chief Secretary of Hong Kong from 1985 to 1987, and was also Acting Governor of Hong Kong.

Sir David Akers-JonesSir David started his studies at Kent in 1966, the year following the University’s inauguration. In recognition of his outstanding achievements, Sir David received an honorary Doctor of Civil Law from the University in 1987, and continued to play a very active role in the Hong Kong Alumni Association.

Sir David’s support of the University was both longstanding and far-reaching and included  the foundation of the Sir David Akers-Jones Hong Kong and China Fund in 2010, designed to support students wishing to study at one of Kent’s partner institutions, or to undertake a work placement in Hong Kong or mainland China.

We feel immensely proud to have had the opportunity to benefit from Sir David’s broad experience, wisdom and generosity over the last six decades and we remain committed to continuing to support the important work in internationalisation between the UK, China and Hong which Sir David was so invested in.

Anthony Manning | Dean for Internationalisation

You can see comments from current and former staff, students and alumni on the influence of Sir David’s support for the University on the Development webpages

David Walsh

David Walsh appears on BBC Persia

BBC Persia recently interviewed David Walsh at the Bloomberg  Space to discuss the differences between the Roman Cult and the worship of the Persian Mithra, who looks very similar (and has a similar name), but is also very distinct from Mithras in how he his worshipped.

A recording of the interview (David features at 11:30 approx) is available online.

David also recently appeared at the Mithraeum for the Emerge Festival (pictured below – image by Caroline Lawrence) giving talks on the cult.


Intellectual speed dating at Wimbledon Book Festival

Ben Hutchinson, Professor of European Literature in the Department of Modern Languages, is helping run an Intellectual Speed Dating event as part of this year’s Wimbledon Bookfest (3-13 October 2019).

The event celebrates the publication of the 600th in the ‘Very Short Introduction’ series, published by Oxford University Press.

The Very Short Introductions are a fabulous way to discover a new subject: high-level but digestible overviews written by experts in their field. The audience will be split into small groups who will move around the event, enjoying ten minutes with each author for a snappy introduction to their topic, plus time for questions. When the bell rings, you must move on! It’s speed dating – for ideas.

Ben, author of A Very Short Introduction to Comparative Literature, said: ‘Literary festivals represent an important opportunity for discussing questions of literature with the general public. ‘Intellectual speed dating’ is an ideal format for the Very Short Introduction series, emphasising as it does the virtues of brevity, concision, and wit. Less is more on first dates!’


Access tour

Accessibility Tours are back

An Accessibility Tour of Canterbury campus will take place on Monday 14 October starting at 13.00 from the Student Entrance of the Registry Building.

The aim of the tour is to identify areas which could be improved to provide greater accessibility for our staff and students.

This will be an external tour taking in the Gulbenkian, Library and Grimond building, before crossing over the road by the bank and following the path to the Sibson building and then onto the Sports Pavilion.

Our route back will take us past the Student hub, via Park Wood, coming out by the Sports Centre.

There’s no need to book or to let us know you are coming –  just turn up.

Forest Soundscape

Wellbeing: A Forest Soundscape

Escape into a tranquil forest on campus…

On Thursday 10 October, we will transform Colyer-Fergusson Hall into a calm sensory forestscape with audio and projections.

Come along for a free, drop-in meditative session with a natural forest soundscape accompanying projections of tranquil forest images in a dimly-lit environment. You are free to come and go as you wish at any time during the event.

Leave the chaos behind and step into calm; part of a series of university events for World Mental Health Day 2019.

Event details are available on the Music Matters blog.

walking netball

Walking Netball is back!

The University will be hosting a monthly walking netball session at the Canterbury Campus Sports Centre.

All sessions will take place on a Wednesday, from 10.00-11.00. The dates are:

  • Wednesday 16 October 2019
  • Wednesday 20 November 2019
  • Wednesday 18 December 2019

All sessions are indoors at: University of Kent Sports Centre, Canterbury Campus, CT2 7NL.

The sessions are aimed at 55 year olds plus. No experience is necessary. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear for indoor activity and don’t forget your water bottle!

A minimum of Kent Sport Community ‘Pay to Play’ Membership is required, with £4.50 per session (plus annual £5 membership fee). See website for all membership options.

Pay and display parking is available at the back of the Sports Centre (£2 parking fee can be refunded at reception).No need to book, just come along.

The sessions are an ideal opportunity to be active in a fun, enjoyable and social environment. You can see what is involved here. You can join us for some well-earned refreshments in the Sports Centre Café after the session.

For further information call 01227 816391 or email:

Funny Rabbit logo

October’s Funny Rabbit

Funny Rabbit, the comedy club created by Dr Oliver Double, Reader in Drama in the School of Arts, returns this month in the Gulbenkian café on Friday 11 October 2019.

Funny Rabbit is Gulbenkian’s monthly comedy club – radical and exciting, but also warm and snuggly as a bunny rabbit. October’s line-up includes comedians Nathan Caton  and Mark Simmons.

Two students will be performing from the School of Arts: Lauren Carroll, who graduated with a BA (Hons) in Drama and Theatre this year, and Fauzia Boakye, who is in her third studying Drama and Theatre.

Tickets cost £5/7, with the event starting at 19.30. To book, please visit Gulbenkian website.

George Turner

Film student selected for essay award

George Turner, currently studying BA (Hons) Film at the School of Arts, has had his essay, entitled ‘The Spectacle of (In)Justice: The Ethics of the Judicial System in Documentary Cinema’, selected as ‘Highly Commended’ by The Global Undergraduate Awards 2019 in the category Music, Film and Theatre.

The Global Undergraduate Awards is the world’s leading undergraduate awards programme which recognises top undergraduate work, shares this work with a global audience and connects students across cultures and disciplines. George says ‘to be selected was an exciting and humbling surprise’. George’s essay was originally written for the Documentary Cinema module which George took in his second year, and says of his teachers: ‘Dr Maurizio Cinquegrani and Dr Zahra Tavassoli Zea’s inspired teaching helped push me to write the essay the way I did’.

The essay examines how we consume contemporary documentaries. The huge responses to crime/investigation documentaries such as Making a Murderer or Conversations with a Killer raises ethical issues concerning the production and distribution of such films. George’s essay brings these various complications to the fore by examining the styles, subject matters and consequential effects of three documentaries; Capturing the Friedmans (2003, Andrew Jarecki); Titicut Follies (1967, Frederick Wiseman); Sisters In Law (2004, Kim Longinotto).

In addition to winning this award, another of George’s essays, enitlted ‘”Thy Shall Bear Witness!”: A Case for the Continued Admiration of Early Cinema’, has recently been published by independent online film publication Electric Ghost Magazine.

In this essay, George puts forth an argument for the creative virtues of silent cinema and notes ‘silent cinema should not be disregarded as an underdeveloped version of the same cinematic attraction. In contemporary viewing, early silent cinema serves a different purpose; it is not an inferior predecessor to a superior successor, but an alternative form of film altogether’.

George’s essay can be seen in Electric Ghost Magazine.

David Herd

Professor David Herd wins British Academy research grant

The project is for an international network to make a comparative study of the effects of and responses to different hostile environments, and to propose urgently needed changes to national and international asylum practices.

Co-applicants from Kent, including Dr Matt Whittle, from Birmingham, Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge, and from the Refugee Tales project, including Anna Pincus, will collaborate with a team of international academics, activists and people with lived experience of hostile environments. Among the outputs will be briefing papers to the governments of the UK, Italy, Canada and USA, and to international agencies.

You can find out more about the project on the British Academy’s website.