Category Archives: People

Kent Sport staff spotlight: Brighton marathon success

Congratulations to University of Kent Sports Development Officer for Medway, Jemma Whyman, who smashed the Brighton marathon on 14 April 2019 in just 3 hours and 14 minutes. We asked about herself and the experience.

How would you describe your job?

I put on sports and activities for student and staff, to help encourage them to be more active. For details of the May and June Medway activities see the timetable here: https://www.gkunions.co.uk/pageassets/activities/clubs/Team-Medway-Social-May-June_.pdf

Why did you do the marathon?

It helps with my mental health.I like to challenge myself and have a target to aim for. I have never been able to get a place in the London marathon, so I wanted to try and get championship entry by running a good time at Brighton marathon.

What training did it involve?

I have spent about six months training and I have a running coach who writes me a plan each week. Her name is Liz Weeks and she really has helped me to achieve my goals. I was training 5-6 days a week which included running and circuits. I had to increase the volume of food I eat and eat more carbohydrates. Especially before the long runs I would carbohydrate load and take on energy gels. I also stopped drinking alcohol. My endurance and speed increased throughout my training. I did several races in preparation where I placed 2nd and 3rd lady in a couple, which really gave me a confidence boost.

How did you do at the event?

The event went very well. My time was 3 hours 14 minutes which means I will get automatic championship entry into London marathon next year. I came 13th in my age category and 21st lady overall.

Eleni Kapogianni and Christina Kim as invited plenary speakers at Manchester Forum in Linguistics

Eleni Kapogianni, Lecturer in Linguistics and co-director of the Centre for Language and Linguistics, and Christina Kim, Lecturer in Linguistics and Director of the Linguistics Laboratory, both based in the Department of English Language and Linguistics, were plenary speakers at the recent Manchester Forum in Linguistics, an annual conference for early career researchers in all fields of linguistics.

Eleni Kapogianni presented ‘A multi-level approach to verbal irony’, suggesting that a solution to common definitional and methodological problems concerning the investigation of verbal irony is to separate the ironic trope from its functions at the communicative and the interpersonal level. Situated within this framework of analysis, Eleni presented her current empirical findings on the culture-specificity of ironic functions, focusing specifically on the case of positive irony (a.k.a. ironic praise).

Christina Kim spoke on ‘Linguistic distance, social distance, and convergence in dialogue’, reporting on ongoing work with Dr Gloria Chamorro on structural priming in dialogues between native and non-native speakers.

Helen Brooks

Doctor Who, Samuel Beckett and keeping diaries: Nostalgia Podcast with Dr Helen Brooks

In the latest episode of the Nostalgia podcast series, Dr Chris Deacy, Reader in Theology and Religious Studies in the Department of Religious Studies, speaks to Dr Helen Brooks Reader in Drama in the School of Arts.

Imagine receiving a birthday card from Doctor Who – well, this is what happened when Helen celebrated her 13th birthday, a topic of conversation which leads to Helen and Chris talking about Peter Davison (who played the fifth incarnation of the time traveller).

In this inspiring interview, Helen and Chris also discuss the works of Samuel Beckett; why her school teachers had tried to dissuade her from taking Drama at A Level; being exposed to an eclectic range of music as a child (from Motown to Handel’s Messiah); why Helen has returned in recent years to writing a diary (and who it is being written for); how her dream was once to be a serious actor on the stage; and why she tries to live in the present.

Olly Double on BBC South East Today

Dr Olly Double, Reader in Drama in the School of Arts, appeared on BBC South East Today on Thursday 2 May 201, interviewed along with comedian Alexei Sayle regarding the Alternative Comedy Now Festival,which is currently ongoing at Kent.

‘Alternative comedy completely changed British stand-up comedy,’ explains Olly in the interview. ‘Before that there were a few people doing interesting things on the folk circuit, like Billy Connolly, but most stand-up comedy at that point was taking place in working men’s clubs and was based on unoriginal packaged jokes.’

Olly’s interview is followed in an interview with Alexei Sayle, which was recorded in the Gulbenkian Theatre on campus, prior to a show last week.

Student accommodation kitchen

Dr Laura Bailey comments on closing the BAME student attainment gap

A new report released yesterday by Universities UK (UUK) and the National Union of Students (NUS) report into the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) student attainment gap in UK higher education says that universities must work to close the attainment gap (white students are statistically more likely to get a 2:1 or a First than BAME students).

The publication of the report, Black, Asian and minority ethnic student attainment at UK universities: #ClosingtheGap, follows contributions from 99 universities and student unions and six regional roundtable evidence sessions with 160 attendees on how the attainment gap should be tackled.

Dr Laura Bailey, Lecturer in the Department of English Language and Linguistics and Student Success Project Lecturer, comments on these findings: “the School of European Culture and Languages is very fortunate to be one of the seven pilot schools in the Student Success Project, which has been working for the last five years to close this gap. We’ve been gathering data and finding out what works. We’ve begun to develop racially diverse and inclusive environments by evaluating our reading lists, inviting speakers from diverse backgrounds and introducing staff awareness training. We need to have open conversations about race at every level, from individual students and staff to the highest levels of university management, and the School is leading the way on this. The BAME attainment gap is one of the most important issues facing higher education today, and we have to make some changes in the way we do things.”

Using Data and Econometrics for the Public and Private Good: Q&A with Prof. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge

Event: Wednesday 15 May, KLT1 Keynes College, 18.00 to 19.00

On Wednesday 15 May, The School of Economics will have the pleasure of welcoming Prof. Jeffrey Wooldridge from Michigan State University (author of Cengage textbook Introductory Econometrics: A Modern Approach). He will deliver a Q&A session led by Dr Olena Nizalova, which will examine his work in finding answers to real life questions.

Audience participation is strongly encouraged, please email any questions you may have to econstudentexperience@kent.ac.uk prior to the event.

The Q&A session will focus on:

  • Education and what is needed to truly evaluate teachers and schools
  • The challenges that analysts face in situations that involve large amounts of money
  • His consulting work for the U.S. government
  • The challenges of obtaining empirical findings which go against your political beliefs

The Q&A session will be followed by a book signing and drinks reception hosted by Cengage, where Professor Wooldridge’s book will also be available for purchase at a very special 20% discounted rate! You can reserve a copy of Introductory Econometrics: A Modern Approach here.

Please note that due to the popularity of this event, spaces will book up quickly, so tickets will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Book for your space here.

Waves in the sea

Aylish Wood Inaugural Professorial Lecture

Professor Aylish Wood, Professor in Film, will be giving her Inaugural Professorial Lecture, entitled ‘Making Waves: Taking a software approach to Moanaand what it tells us about digital culture’, on Wednesday 8 May 2019 at 5pm.

The Disney animation Moana‘s release was accompanied by celebrations of animation software and the ingenuity of VFX practitioners. Frequently focussing on the feature’s quite fabulous looking water animation, these commentaries are a valuable starting point for challenging the extent to which simulations in cinema are, as is so often claimed, ‘realistic.’ Given their scale and increasingly detailed textures, it is easy to get caught up in the visual appeal of simulations created with VFX software. Aylish’s purpose in exploring Moana is to step around the power of this visual appeal, and map a route through to the computational and cultural influences that inform and shape simulations.

Aylish’s lecture will take place on Wednesday 8 May 2019 at 5pm in Keynes College Lecture Theatre 1, and will be followed by a drinks reception in Keynes College Atrium at 7pm. Attendance is free, but please book your place here.

Natalia Sobrevilla Perea

Natalia Sobrevilla Perea made member of Bolivarian Society

Natalia Sobrevilla Perea, Professor of Latin American History in the Department of Modern Languages, has been made an official member of the Bolivarian Society.

The Bolivarian Society was set up in Lima in 1927, after the Centennial of the Wars of Independence and brings together intellectuals and people interested in the legacy of liberator Simon Bolívar. Natalia was incorporated into the society in July 2018. At the official ceremony, she was presented with her membership diploma and gave a presentation on Simon Bolívar and the Peruvian Army, which forms a chapter of her forthcoming book on the Army and the creation of the State in Peru.

Photo of Paul Allain

Paul Allain to deliver keynote address

Paul Allain, Professor of Theatre and Performance in the School of Arts and Dean of the Graduate School, will give a keynote address at an international theatre forum and conference in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, held between Friday 10 and Sunday 12 May 2019.

The conference is titled ‘Out of the Frame’ and will explore street/open space theatre, its funding and role in society. The conference is organised by the Shoshin Theatre Association and the Committee on Theatrical Sciences of the Regional Committee of the Magyar Tudományos Akadémia [Hungarian Academy of Sciences].

Paul will be delivering the keynote address on Saturday 11 May, with a paper titled ‘Space Invaders or Alien Friends? Close Encounters of a Theatrical Kind’.

Paul’s talk will briefly trace key aspects of a theatre history which depicts the movement of certain key experimental theatre directors and groups from cities into the countryside, across Europe and in Asia too. The list is long, but Polish company Gardzienice and Japanese director Tadashi Suzuki stand out. Paul will ask what made these pioneers move to the country, what they sought, and what lessons we might learn from them for theatre-making today. How did other spaces and ‘new natural environments’ change training and acting, group dynamics, understanding of and encounters with an audience? Are such Romantic models still desirable and do artists still have such a choice? Or has choice now become urgent need in this age of mass migration?

The conference is part of the Rural Inclusive Outdoor Theatre Education 2 (RIOTE2) project, co-founded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

More information about the conference can be found here.

Photo of Srivas Chunnu

Consciousness, growing up in India and Pink Floyd: Nostalgia podcast with Srivas Chennu

In the latest episode of the Nostalgia podcast series, Dr Chris Deacy, Reader in Theology and Religious Studies in the Department of Religious Studies, speaks to Srivas Chennu from the School of Computing.

In this insightful interview, Srivas talks about how we are today able to ask questions that the ancient Greeks could not, how his research intersects with Chris’s own work in near-death experiences (NDE) and he talks about how his collaborators are studying what happens in the brain when someone has an NDE. We also discuss how films are often better at conveying these techniques than academic papers.

Srivas reflects on how a decade ago to study consciousness would have been laughed at as it was deemed to be so amorphous, and how and why that has now changed. Srivas also discusses his background, growing up in India, having a Hindu priest for a grandfather, Pink Floyd and the Alan Parsons Project, cultural changes between India and the UK, BBC 6 Music, Monty Python, what would have happened if Srivas had stayed in India (the ‘Sliding Doors’ phenomenon) and how he feels his friends think about him!