Category Archives: Awards

iese certificate of excellence

Excellence award for Kent Digital Inclusion Initiative

Kent Digital Inclusion Initiative has been recognised with an iESE certificate of excellence 2019

The certificate recognises the wide-ranging partnership and collective commitment to accessibility between the University and Kent local authorities.

The certificate follows an award of £20,000 Local Government Association (LGA) funding last month (September) for an Initiative-led project to embed digital accessibility and productivity skills training in the wider community.

The University has been working in partnership with Kent Connects (a partnership of Local Authorities across Kent) and Kent County Council (KCC) for the past year. The aim has been to align key strategies around meeting the requirements of the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations (2018) with a single approach to Accessibility Statements, training, procurement, auditing and use of assistive technologies within both organisations.

The partnership work has been led by George Rhodes and James Church from KCC and Ben Watson from University of Kent Student Support and Wellbeing.

The value of this type of cross-sector working includes sharing and learning from different experiences and skills. Through the shared expertise of the two leading organisations, an initial plan of deliverables was devised focusing on:

  • Shared resources for improving accessibility made available to all partners
  • Awareness raising through conferences and training for staff
  • Engagement with a variety of partners that cover diverse services including Libraries and the NHS
  • Engagement with central government to represent the concerns of our sectors and to work together to agree common sense approaches to new regulations.

Kent Accessibility Statements

Among results so far have been an accessibility statement published by both KCC and the University – an easier-to-read guide to getting the best from our sites, as well as advice on potential accessibility issues.

The University and KCC were among the first public sector organisations to publish these statements using the new model and our collective statements had over 9,000 hits between June and September 2019. Lessons learnt from publishing the statements were also shared with the Government Digital Service (GDS) which informed the development of their subsequent guidance.

Digital Accessibility Toolkit

All of the Kent Digital Accessibility Initiative’s collective knowledge has now been published in the nationally distributed LexDis Digital Accessibility Toolkit.

Please contact opera@kent.ac.uk if you would like to find out more.

Dr Rocio von Jungenfeld wins the BCS AI Award

Congratulations to Dr Rocio von Jungenfeld, Lecturer in Digital Media at the School of Engineering and Digital Arts on winning the BCS AI Award at The Lumen Prize awards in London on 24 October. The BCS AI Award is conferred for excellence in the use of some form of artificial intelligence to produce an outstanding piece of art.

Her project – Lichtsuchende – was a collaboration with Dave Murray-Rust (University of Edinburgh). The project can be accessed at the Lumen Prize website.

The Lumen Prize for Art and Technology celebrates the very best art created with technology through a global competition, exhibitions and events worldwide.

Photo credit: Chris Scott @chrisdonia

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.

 

TESSAs – 2019-20 applications

The Teaching Enhancement Small Support Awards (TESSAs) are small grants introduced during 2017-18, to support colleagues in enhancing teaching, learning and the student experience.

The TESSAs offer funding of between £500 and £3,000 per award, with up to £5,000 for large, high-impact, collaborative awards operating across Schools and ideally in more than one Faculty, or across Schools and PSDs. During our first two years of operation, we have awarded over £76,000 to 46 successful projects. The total funding available across both rounds in 2019-20 is expected to be up to £50,000.

Applications should be submitted by 12 noon on Tuesday 26 November 2019 for projects to start during the Spring or Summer Terms 2019-20 (with notifications of outcomes by Tuesday 10 December). There will be a second round for projects to start during the summer of 2020 or in the Autumn Term 2020-21 (for comparison and planning, the closing date last year was Tuesday 14 May 2019). Your project should not take more than one year in total.

For more information on how to apply, please visit the UELT TESSA webpage.

Medway Learning and Teaching Collaborative Projects Initiative

The Medway Collaborative Projects Initiative provides funding for staff of the three Universities at Medway and their partner colleges to collaborate on projects that will benefit all Medway students.

The funding may be used to:

•       Invest in pilot equipment/software

•       Invite external speakers or workshop facilitators

•       Activities to support collaboration.

The call for applications for funding for 2019-20 is now open. Please see our page.

The submission deadline for applications is Friday 15th November 2019.

Professor Jan Loop

Celebrating our academic excellence

Our academic staff continue to lead the way in outstanding research and teaching, and this has been recognised in our latest promotions.

Fifty nine academic colleagues are celebrating promotion to professor, reader, senior lecturer or senior research fellow across our Faculties of Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences, with effect from 1 October 2019.

The new professors are:

Professor Vybarr Cregan-Reid, School of English; Professor Sophia Labadi, Professor Axel Stähler and Professor Ellen Swift, School of European Culture and Languages; Professor Karen Jones and Professor Jan Loop, School of History; Professor Scott Wildman, Centre for Higher and Degree Apprenticeships; Professor Dan Mulvihill, School of Biosciences; Professor Patricia Lewis and Professor Jesse O’Hanley, Kent Business School; Professor Bob Smith, School of Anthropology and Conservation; Professor Alastair Bailey, School of Economics; Professor Adrian Pabst, School of Politics and International Relations; and Professor Michelle McCarthy, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research.

Alison Ross-Green, Director of HR and Organisational Development, said: ‘The University is dependent upon the personal growth and career attainment of its academic staff to refresh, develop and strengthen our organisation for the future. Congratulations to all those promoted in 2019. Your hard work and focus on excellence help to ensure the outstanding student experience, research achievement and funding that is so important to our success going forward.’

You can see a full list of Academic Promotions 2019 here.

Picture shows: Professor Jan Loop, School of History.

"Licthsuchende" collaborative project

EDA collaborative project shortlisted for Lumen Prize

The collaborative project “Licthsuchende” by Rocio von Jungenfeld, Lecturer in Digital Media at the School of Engineering and Digital Arts and Dave Murray-Rust, Lecturer in Design Informatics, School of Design, University of Edinburgh, has been shortlisted for the Lumen Prize.

Lichtsuchende is an interactive installation, built using a society of biologically inspired, robotic creatures who exchange light as a source of energy and as a means of communication. The robotic creatures are reminiscent of sunflowers, turning their heads to face the sun in order to absorb its light. However, at the same time they also generate light in order to engage with others. Each creature is relatively small, but when a group of Lichtsuchende are brought together in an installation they form an expanding photo-kinetic social environment in which visitors can become immersed.

Based on simple cybernetics combined with human and animal psychology (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs), the Lichtsuchende sleep, dance with each other and with visitors while constantly seeking light sources to play and communicate with. They are curious and, when awake, they are keen to interact with any source of light and to exchange photonic information.

Visitors are invited to engage with the installation by using high power torches. With these torches they can explore the environment of the cybernetic light seeking creatures, influencing their movements and provoking reactions. The embodied algorithms give rise to emergent behaviours which have communicative and emotional resonance, allowing a duet between the humans and the cybernetic beings.

The Lumen Prize for Art and Technology celebrates the very best art created with technology through a global competition, exhibitions and events worldwide.  Winners will be announced on 24 October 2019.

Staff from Kent Hospitality holding their TUCO award infront of the University of Kent sign

Success at TUCO Awards for Kent Hospitality

Congratulations are in order for the catering team at Kent Hospitality as they were awarded the prestigious ‘Member of the Year’ Award at the 2019 TUCO (The University Caterers’ Organisation) Annual Conference earlier this month, held at the University of York.

The award recognises the institution that has made the most significant contribution to the work of TUCO with Kent praised for their support of framework agreements, attendance at events, training courses, tender working parties and other activities. The other two shortlisted Institutions were the University of Manchester and the University of St Andrews.

Head of Trading, Keith Williams said on the win: ‘Our team are delighted to have won this award reflecting the efforts put in to bring a quality service to Kent. We have played an active role in TUCO over the last few decades, recognising it as the perfect platform to benchmark against competitors, train and develop our team and benefit from leading market research and trend data by remaining up to date on industry standards and contributing to the work of TUCO. To have this recognised is a great honour.’

TUCO is the leading professional membership body for in-house caterers operating in the higher, further education and public sector. They are committed to advancing the learning and development of catering and hospitality teams, and work to provide quality standards, advice and information to those working in in-house catering.

Disability Confident Employer logo

We are a disability confident employer

Learning & Organisational Development are pleased to announce that the University has achieved Level 2 of the Disability Confident Grading Scheme and we are now accredited with ‘Disability Confident Employer’.

Through Disability Confident, we will work to ensure that disabled people and those with long-term health conditions have the opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations. Recognition of this scheme will help us to recruit and retain the widest possible pool of talent and help develop our valuable skills and experience.

As a Level 2 Disability Confident Employer, we have committed to all elements of Level 1 and also commit to:

  • getting the right people for our business
  • keeping and developing our people

Disability Confident Employers are recognised as going the extra mile to make sure disabled people get a fair chance.

The certification is valid for two years and we can now display the Disability Confident Employer badge on University stationery, correspondence and websites.

Please review where and how you can use this badge within your own processes.

Over the next two years, we will continue to review the criteria for the Level 2 certification ‘Disability Confident Employer’ to improve services and the experience for all employees. We will also review the next level of the Disability confident scheme ‘Disability Confident Leader’ and understand requirements to move forward.