Author Archives: Wendy Raeside

Stellar HE participants

Applications invited for StellarHE leadership programme

From Martin Atkinson, Director of HR and Organisational Development

We recently adopted our new Antiracism Strategy, one key aim of which is to “Dismantle barriers to racially minoritised staff members’ success and belonging”, which includes an action to provide leadership development opportunities and mentoring for racially minoritised staff.

As a first step towards this aim, we have committed to supporting members of the Kent community to take part in the StellarHE programme. StellarHE enhances and extends the leadership skills of racially minoritised Academic and Professional staff in order to address the under-representation of racially minoritised leaders in senior positions. It has been designed specifically to equip participants with leadership competencies and strategies that reflect the unique challenges and experiences of racially minoritised staff across the HE sector.

The programme is for staff who aspire to operate at a senior, strategic level here at Kent – both academic and professional services, and we are delighted to have secured seven places for Kent delegates, with a dedicated place available to one colleague from each of LSSJ, NatSci and CEMS and four further places available to all colleagues in every area

As places are limited, and there is substantial need in this area, we will be running an internal process, but to minimise additional work will use the StellarHE application form that can be found on the T&OD page under BAME Senior Leadership. (There is no need to complete the additional A4 page or biography unless you are shortlisted).

Applicants need to send the completed form and manager statement to ldev@kent.ac.uk  by 17:00 on Friday 14 January 2022, using the email subject line ‘StellarHE’.

Places will be awarded on a competitive basis – after the deadline, a panel will be convened to review the applications based on the selection criteria in the StellarHE enrolment form. Applicants will also be reviewed on how their applications demonstrate the positive impacts of their participation on:

  • the individual and their career;
  • their team/department/Kent;
  • race equality at Kent.

Applicants will be notified of an outcome via email by Friday 21 January 2021.

Martin Atkinson | Director of HR and Organisational Development

Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries Fellowship Programme 2022 

The Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries Fellowship Programme provides funding for individuals who want to extend the use of their research within the cultural and creative industries.

The fellowship will last for one year and the total funding available is up to £3,000 to spend over the course of the fellowship.  This funding can be used for any activities that:

  • Meet the goal of the fellow and follow our four key thematic areas of research:

– Health & Wellbeing

– Creative & Cultural Education

– Creative Heritage

– Human-Machine Creativity

  • Foster novel ways of working with our Associate Artists and Kent staff; for instance, around technology transfer, impact, grant applications, network building.

Examples of possible activities include travel, hosting of online workshops, running training events, spending towards prototype development, nurturing or contributing to communities of practice, collaborative activity with other Fellows or Associate Artists.

Full details can be found the Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries (iCCi) webpages, but if you have any questions please contact icci@kent.ac.uk

How to apply

Applications for the Fellowship Programme 2022 are now open.

Please submit your CV and covering letter to explain your plan for the fellowship and how it will help you and the Institute to achieve goals together.

Email application to: icci@kent.ac.uk

Key dates: Applications close at midnight on April 4, 2022

Online interview: during the week commencing April 11, 2022.

Professor Karen Cox

Vice-Chancellor’s Update: Best wishes for the Winter Break

From Professor Karen Cox, Vice-Chancellor and President

As 2021 draws to a close, I want to send my sincere thanks and good wishes to you all for everything that has been achieved over the past 12 months. It has been quite a time for everyone, staff, students, family and friends, as we have dealt with a range of issues across the year, not least the continued impact of the pandemic. You have all done an incredible job ensuring our students’ education and support continues to be of a high standard, that our research continues to have impact and make a difference to people’s lives and that we are continuing to play our part in our local communities. The Autumn term has also presented challenges with new organisation structures and ways of working, along with KentVision implementation affecting our workloads. However, I remain humbled by how people have responded to addressing these issues and clear that all of us want what is best for Kent, and that spirit of collaboration remains at the heart of our community day in, day out.

There are so many positives for us to look back on this year already. A second Nobel Prize in Literature winner for Kent with the fantastic success of Abdulrazak Gurnah; powerful international events like The Walk with Amal that connect up our research with innovation and creativity across our campuses; Papin-Prize winning colleagues supporting the NHS; our fantastic Staff Recognition Awards shining a light on the way we all pulled together to respond to the pandemic; and only last week a well-deserved Learning Technologist of the Year Award from our amazing E-Learning Team. We really do have so much to be proud of and build on in the future ahead.

As we look towards the Christmas break, I know many will be uncertain or concerned about the latest Covid-19 wave brought about by the Omicron variant. The safety of our staff and students will remain at the heart of all our response to this and we will be keeping a ‘watching brief’ over Christmas for any updates that further affect our community following the recent announcements. However, as we close from Wednesday 22 December until we return on Tuesday 4 January, the most important thing is for everyone to get as much of a break as they can and, where possible, spend time with friends and family – it is fully deserved for all of you. I send my very best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year. 

Karen

Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President

Babatdor Dkhar

Babatdor Dkhar awarded Charles Wallace India Trust Fellowship

The Centres for Postcolonial Studies and Creative Writing have awarded the annual Charles Wallace India Trust Writing Fellowship to Babatdor Dkhar.

Since 1991, the Charles Wallace India Trust has sponsored a Fellowship at the University that enables a writer from India to come and work in Kent for the spring term. Additionally, they have the opportunity to present their work to staff and students in talks organised by Kent’s renowned Centres for Creative Writing and Postcolonial Studies.

Babatdor is a writer and filmmaker who studied Creative Writing at Oxford, has taught English in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, worked as an editor in New Delhi, and is the Founder of Ka Ktien Media and the Chief Editor of Half and One.

The Fellowship will enable Babatdor to live and work in Canterbury whilst writing his novel The Khasi Album which is set in Shillong, a town in the north east of India, and is a work of satire, black comedy, romance and tragedy.

As Babatdor says in his application, the novel tackles “the differences between East and West, nationalism and communalism, small-town mindsets and tribal minority sensibilities in an India that is completely different from the one that is portrayed in mainstream literature and media”.

Dr Matthew Whittle, lecturer in Postcolonial Literature and Director of the Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies says: ‘On behalf of the Centres for Postcolonial Studies and Creative Writing, I’m delighted to welcome Babatdor as this year’s Writing Fellow, and looking forward to fostering a creative voice from an under-represented region in Indian literature such as Shillong.

‘The standard of applicants this year was incredibly high, but Babatdor’s writing really stood out to the judging panel as exceptional. We look forward to his contributions to the rich community of creative writers and postcolonial scholars at the University of Kent, and we’ll be following his writing career with great interest!’

University Winter Break – 22 December to 4 January

With Christmas on its way, don’t forget our rest day on Wednesday 22 December.

The rest day is a thank you from our Executive Group, in recognition of just how busy things have been and continue to be across the University. Colleagues who have already booked leave for the 22nd should cancel it via Staff Connect. If you’re a shift worker scheduled to work that day, you should agree an alternative day with your manager to be taken before the end of January 2022.

Also this year, in recognition of how hard it’s been to take leave while we’re so busy, staff will be allowed to carry over up to 10 days’ leave rather than the usual five. These should carry automatically via Staff Connect at the end of the year. If you have any queries re either the rest day or the extra leave carry-over, please talk to your line manager in the first instance.

You can also find out more on our HR webpages.

Services available

If you do happen to be on campus over the Winter Break, there’s a handy list of services  available, including places to eat, at Canterbury and Medway on our Student webpages.

Emergency contacts

If you’re on campus and require urgent help/advice, our Campus Security team are on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can find them in the Security and Transport Centre (Canterbury) or Medway Building (Medway). Or you can get in touch by calling 01227 82 3333 (emergency)/01227 82 3300 (non-emergency) or via the SafeZone app.

Wellbeing at Work: Tell us your thoughts  

From Nikki Hyde, Deputy HR Director and Chair of the Wellbeing Working Group 

There really is a lot going on at the moment and if you’re anything like me then you’ll have found the last term has flown by – I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling more than ready for the Christmas break! The Government announcements over the last couple of weeks have also been a reminder of what an unusual environment it is we are all still working in. Together with the workload issues we continue to face, this adds pressure on all of us and can have a real impact on how much we’re able to enjoy our work day-to-day. 

Through the JSNCC Wellbeing Working Group, we’ve been working together to try and better understand and address the issues that are impacting us all. We want Kent to remain a great place to work; seeing people back on campus has been a real highlight over the last term, but I know the ongoing workload and wellbeing issues mean that this last term has not been any easier for many of us. All of the recommendations of the Wellbeing Working Group have been accepted and are now being taken forward and I hope that they will soon start to have a positive impact for staff. As part of this in Spring 2022, we’ll also be holding focus groups so we can hone in on the issues specifically driving the high workloads there are right across the University – and, ahead of this,  we’d like to get wider views from across the University to help us focus on the right areas. 

Workload and Wellbeing survey

With that in mind, working together with staff and Trade Union representatives, we’ve put together a Workload and Wellbeing survey which is open from today. The survey itself should take no longer than 15 –20 minutes to complete; we do recognise though that asking you to complete a survey on workloads when you are all already very busy is another thing to add to your to-do list. We also want you to have time to reflect on the questions in the survey and have some space to be able to answer them. Managers have therefore been asked to allow all staff up to 45 minutes during work in the coming weeks to complete the survey.  Do take a look if you get a chance before Christmas so you can have a think if you want to over the break, and we’ll then follow up in early January with a reminder on how to add your views. The survey will remain open until 21 January. Given how busy we all are I know this may feel like ‘one more thing to do’, but I really appreciate you taking the time to complete the survey as your views will really help us address the issues that are currently holding us back. 

Lastly, I want to wish you all the best possible Christmas, whatever you have planned, and I hope those that can have a bit of festive fun with friends and family over the next fortnight. I appreciate Christmas isn’t always an easy time for everyone though, so do read our blog from our Occupational Health and Wellbeing Manager, Brenda Brunsdon, on looking after yourselves over the festive period. Do get some rest if you can and I look forward to working together to make life at Kent as positive and rewarding as it can possibly be when we get back. 

Nikki Hyde | Deputy HR Director and Chair of the Wellbeing Working Group 
On behalf of the Wellbeing Working Group 

plane

Covid-19 – Updated travel guidance

The University has updated its travel guidance and suspended bookings to countries that were announced as Red List Destinations in late November. Whilst these countries were removed from Red List status at 4am on 15 December, travel to these countries is still high risk and cannot be booked via Key Travel. 

Until further notice, travel bookings are suspended for countries including Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This will be reviewed in early January 2022.

University Travel Policy

Our University Travel Policy states that you should only travel for work when absolutely necessary and unavoidable. If you are attending an international conference, and the conference offers online participation, you should attend virtually for all bookings until otherwise advised. International travel is still a very high risk activity and should be minimised.

If travel is unavoidable, you should always book flexible tickets that allow for time/date/name changes and cancellations. Cheaper, but non-refundable, tickets should not be purchased.

At all times, colleagues should ensure they’re following our University Travel Policy. The policy includes guidelines on continuing to stay in a destination beyond work-related activity. Extending your stay for more days than the work-related activity, or by more than a maximum seven days (whichever is shorter) is not permitted.

Find out more

Further information on our travel guidelines is available on our Finance webpages.  

ACT (Action Counters Terrorism) e-learning training module

From Mark Ellis, Director of University Operations

The University takes the safety of our students, staff and visitors very seriously. Following the ACT (Action Counters Terrorism) Strategic and Operational training sessions with front line managers, supervisors and senior staff, the University has been provided with an ACT e-learning module that is now available for staff to complete.

Devised by counter terrorism officers and security experts, the ACT Awareness eLearning package provides nationally recognised guidance on how to spot the signs of suspicious behaviour and understand what to do in the event of a major incident. This guidance is not only useful while you are on campus, but is also relevant when going about your daily lives. It has been proven to save lives both in domestic (eg the London Bridge attack) and overseas (eg Tunisia beach attack) terror incidents.

To complete the module please select this link: Course: Action Counters Terrorism (ACT)(kent.ac.uk). The module should take around 45 minutes to complete. It is broken down into a number of sections that you can return to and resume if you can’t complete in the whole module one sitting.

Please do see if you can find the time to complete this module – it may just save your life or those of your family, friends or colleagues.

Mark Ellis | Director of University Operations

human hand holding robotic hand

Future Human SRT – Sandpit debrief

A two-day intensive research Sandpit, held by the Future Human Signature Research Theme (SRT) in November, has resulted in two PhD Studentships and two seedcorn funding projects.

The Sandpit event brought together academics from five Divisions, who participated in facilitated discussions aimed at developing new inter-disciplinary research ideas and projects relating to human augmentation.

On the first day, participants discussed their hopes and aspirations for the Sandpits, introduced their experience and expertise, and exchanged initial ideas about exciting themes to develop. On the second day, the group prioritised research themes and spent much of the day refining these and working towards well-shaped projects that were shared with the wider cohort and benefited from their feedback.

From the two-day Sandpit, ten project proposals were developed and pitched to a selection panel comprising of the Future Human Theme Leads and Dr Tim Hopthrow from the Graduate and Researcher College. The standard was amazingly high, with all ten of the pitched projects demonstrating huge potential and exciting opportunities for follow-up.

The Panel identified two of the project teams to receive the two Future Human PhD Scholarships for the 2022-23 academic year, and a further two teams to receive seedcorn funding to run more contained projects. The projects are:

Future Human PhD Studentships

Decision design ecology and deciding whether or not to treat Simon Bailey, Larry Duffy, Raza Mikelyte, Connal Parsley, Daniel Soria

Taking a combined technology driven and patient-centred approach to the development of next-generation bladder cancer treatments Michelle Garrett, Jennifer Hiscock, Katrina Taylor

Future Human Seedcorn Funding projects

Exploring the use of static transport: its role in the life of the future human Samuel Smith and Katrina Taylor

Establishing user-led priorities for use of immersive technologies in palliative care Project team: Jim Ang, Rasa Mikelyte, and Samuel Smith

Quotes from Sandpit participants

‘As a new member of staff at the University of Kent, I was excited to be selected to take part in the Sandpit days. It was a great opportunity to network, and I enjoyed hearing first-hand about diverse areas of research colleagues at Kent are engaging in. Through the sandpits, I have become part of an interdisciplinary team, researching within a field I hadn’t imagined a few weeks ago. The Sandpits encouraged me to think outside the box and explore ways to apply my interests and expertise beyond my own academic discipline.’

‘As an interdisciplinary researcher, I often wonder if there are colleagues across the University who I could be collaborating with on ‘big questions’ beyond our individual fields. The Sandpit offered a concrete process for finding those colleagues and identifying questions in common. Over the course of two days, I ‘went with the process’ and became part of a collaborative group with diverse expertise, but a clear set of shared research interests—enabling us to frame a PhD project in the multi-dimensional way that is so important today. I also met many people I would like to talk to more in the future.’

Find out more

The Future Human Theme Leads will be running another research Sandpit, specifically for Early Career and Mid Career Researchers on 4 and 5 May 2022. More seedcorn funding will be available for the teams and projects formed at this Sandpit.

Please watch out for further communication and watch for updates on our website. The Future Human Blog provides more details about the projects that were pitched at the November Sandpit.

Dr Lex Mauger, Dr Sarah Hotham and Professor Aylish Wood |Future Human Leadership Team

Professor Clive Church PolIR

Condolences for Professor Clive Church

The University was very sorry to hear of the death of Clive H Church, Emeritus Professor of European Studies.

Clive joined Kent from the University of Lancaster in 1981 as Senior Lecturer in European Studies, affiliated with the then European Studies unit in the School of European Culture and Languages. He was promoted to a professorship in 1992 and became a member of the Department (now School) of Politics and International Relations in 1996. Upon his retirement in 2003, he was appointed Emeritus Professor.

A historian by background, Clive became a leading scholar of Swiss history and politics and of European integration. Among his numerous works are The Politics and Government of Switzerland (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Understanding the European Constitution (Routledge, 2006 – with David Phinnemore), A Concise History of Switzerland (Cambridge University Press, 2013 – with Randolph Head), and Political Change in Switzerland (Routledge, 2016).

He was an active member of the Channel Tunnel Research Unit from 1986-1993, a co-founder of the Kent Centre for Europe (a Jean Monnet Centre), which was in operation from 2000-2010, and of the Centre for Swiss Politics, in operation from 2003-2016. He remained very much active past his retirement and was planning to write on external views of Swiss politics at the time of his death.

Outside academia, Clive was much involved in the local community. He was the founder of the Alliance of Canterbury Residents’ Associations, an organisation which is still important and active today. He was also a key member of the Campaign for Democracy in the Canterbury district, where his understanding of political issues and processes made a valuable contribution. As the same time he was active in Thanington, the part of Canterbury where he lived, writing a history of the area and contributing to the parish council.

He will be fondly remembered by all those who knew him.

We express our deepest condolences to his daughters, Hilary and Joanna, and partner, Clare, and their families.

Dr Paolo Dardanelli | Deputy Head of School of Politics and IR

Picture shows: Clive with his granddaughter, Claudia