Category Archives: People

German Life and Letters

PhD student publishes in ‘German Life and Letters’ journal

Stephanie Obermeier, PhD student in German and Comparative Literature, currently in her writing up year and based at the German Literary Archive in Marbach, has published an article in the prestigious journal German Life and Letters.

The article emerged out of research on Felicitas Hoppe, whose 2012 novel Hoppe forms the basis for one of the case studies in Stephanie’s thesis. Her most recent publication, Prawda: Eine amerikanische Reise, deals with similar issues in terms of authorial posturing, playing with genre and canonical texts, and blurring boundaries between fact and fiction.

Dr Heide Kunzlemann, one of Stephanie’s supervisors, commented: ‘We would like to warmly congratulate Stephanie on the fantastic achievement of placing her first major article in such a prestigious journal as German Life and Letters. The academic community’s interest in the topic bodes very well for the success of her thesis which is about to be completed.’

Find out more about postgraduate programmes in Modern Languages and Comparative Literature.

Krysia Waldock

PhD Student from Tizard Centre on BBC local radio stations

Krysia Waldock is a PhD student in the Tizard Centre, researching autism and religious/humanist groups.

She represented Kent in the BBC Radio 2’s Faith in the World Week. As part of this, she spoke to seven BBC local radio stations on the 7 July 2019 (Cornwall, Jersey/Guernsey, Tees, Stoke, Bristol and Sheffield).

Krysia spoke about the research that she has carried out as part of her Masters in the Tizard Centre under the supervision of Professor Rachel Forrester-Jones. Please see the link to one of the interviews here.  It starts at 1:39 in for about 8 minutes.

Cecilia Sayad

Cecilia Sayad interviewed by BBC Bitesize

Dr Cecilia Sayad, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Film, has just been interviewed for the BBC Bitesize site regarding her expertise on the horror genre.

Bitesize is the BBC’s online support service for students studying GCSE level and equivalents.

The article explores how the film Midsommar (2019) fits into the wider history of horror films, what makes them scary, and how the genre has changed.

‘Having taught horror for many years, I see students have very different reactions to some classics: some find The Exorcist, for example, still very scary. The same applies to Rosemary’s Baby, which for some is still a disturbing horror film.’ However, reactions to certain films have changed, even if the story remains relevant: ‘it would be hard to find someone being too freaked out by James Whale’s Frankenstein, from 1931, but this has more to do with the film’s pace than its theme – which has never been more relevant, now that AI is a much bigger part of our lives.’

To read the article, please see the page here.

Catherine Richardson

New role for Catherine Richardson

Professor Catherine Richardson has been appointed as the academic Co-Director for our Institute for Cultural and Creative Industries.

Catherine brings a wealth of experience to the role, including past experience of the cultural and creative industries and her work as Associate Dean (Research and Innovation) for the Faculty of Humanities.

Catherine said: ‘I’m really excited to be taking on this new challenge, working with colleagues across the University and beyond to develop a clear and very distinctive vision for our research and education in the cultural and creative industries, and helping to ensure that our creativity spreads more broadly, right across the University, into every part of what we do at Kent.’

She will start in the role this summer, working with our other Co-Director, Liz Moran. Plans will be formed through Autumn 2019 with more announcements made in due course. We anticipate that the Institute will be a major catalyst for Kent as we build to our 60th anniversary in 2025, with work in education, research and innovation.

Professor Simon Kirchin | Dean of Humanities

University of Kent Identity

Congratulations to awarded Senior Fellows of the HEA

The Centre for the Study of Higher Education warmly congratulates the following colleagues who applied for Senior Fellowship of the HEA through the Route to Recognition for Experienced Staff (RRES) and successfully gained national recognition for their leadership, excellence, expertise and commitment to professionalism in teaching and learning.

Sahar Al-Sudani, School of Computing – Senior Fellow

Maria Balta, Kent Business School – Senior Fellow

David Hornsby, School of European Culture and Languages – Senior Fellow

Sue Tarrant, Kent Business School – Senior Fellow

Jackie Walduck, School of Music and Fine Art – Senior Fellow

Sean Williams, School of Music and Fine Art – Senior Fellow

For further information on the Route to Recognition for Experienced Staff please click here or email


Alumnus Henry Palmer in the Bristol Post

Alumnus Henry Palmer, who graduated with a BA (Hons) in Film and Philosophy in 2016, was interviewed for the Bristol Post last week, as he has authored a non-fiction book Voices of Bristol (Arkbound Press, 2019).

This book is about Bristol’s changing face. Henry grew up in the heart of Bristol’s ghetto, and his book sheds light on the supposed ‘renovation’ that Bristol’s poorer quarters have been undergoing. For his research, he interviewed members of the local community, which revealed the shocking reality that residents face: rent hikes, snobbery, institutional racism, homelessness, and removal from the communities they once loved.

‘When you start to hear that you and your friends can’t afford to live there anymore because house prices have surged so much and it’s now up and coming, it’s a bit bitter sweet,’ he observes in the interview.

Speaking of his time at Kent, Henry told us: ‘For some reason, my time at Kent is grouped closely in my mind with imaginings of a young, studious Scrooge – though admittedly less grey. Not all universities harvest this sort of independence of learning, and this carried me through the enterprise and continues to do so.’

To read the interview with Henry in the Bristol Post, please see the page here.

Helena Torres

AUA Trustee role for Helena Torres

Congratulations to Helena Torres, Central Administration Manager, Brussels, on her appointment as an AUA Trustee.

The AUA – the Association of University Administrators – is the professional association for higher education administrators and managers. The AUA promotes excellence and professionalism and is run at local, regional and national level.

Helena is a long-standing member of the University’s local AUA network, which is part of the Southern Region and currently has around 60 members of staff employed in different areas across the University. The Board of Trustees, as the AUA’s governing body, leads and executes the overall vision and direction adopted by the Association at its Annual General Meetings.

Helena has overseen administration at our Brussels centre for the past 22 months. Before that, she was School Administration Manager for the School of English.

Commenting on her new AUA role, Helena said: ‘Having benefited from being a member and fellow of the AUA throughout my career in Higher Education administration, I am delighted to have the opportunity to take on this significant voluntary role.’

Melissa Mulhall, the AUA lead for Kent, highlighted that this is the second time that Kent has had a member of staff serve as an AUA Trustee, which shows the commitment of our staff to engage with the AUA nationally. Melissa said that she is absolutely delighted with this fantastic news and congratulates Helena on her appointment and wishes her every success with her new voluntary role.

Further information on the AUA, including how to become a member, can be found on the Association webpages or via Melissa Mulhall.

Patty Baker

Dr Patty Baker awarded funding for EDI conference

Dr Patty Baker, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Classical and Archaeological studies, has been awarded TESSA funding to host an online conference/workshop entitled ‘Overcoming Challenges in the Development of Diversity, Equality and Inclusivity Initiatives in Higher Education’ on 8 July 2019.

TESSAs (Teaching Enhancement Small Support Awards) are grants to support the enhancement of teaching, learning and the student experience, and Patty’s event brings together American and UK deans and chief diversity officers to discuss the problems and solutions they faced when setting up their EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity) programmes.

The project is specifically about sharing knowledge with various groups at the University of Kent, such as the Decolonising the Curriculum Committee and Student Success Project, working towards the development of a cohesive EDI plan. Patty commented: “This is a significant workshop that will help to build the University’s EDI training and plans.”

This workshop developed out of an INSIGHTS (Senior Women’s Leadership Training Group) project Patty developed when asked to suggest an area for University development. She recognised the need for staff training to encourage difficult classroom discussions, inclusive seminars, and microaggressions, for example. She researched how EDI training is undertaken elsewhere, and contacted EDI Deans/Chief Diversity Officers in universities and liberal arts colleges in the United States to discuss their programmes. July’s event is building on this network.

To reserve your place for this conference, visit the Eventbrite page.

Broadcast Digital Awards 2019

Congratulations to Drama alumna Zoë Carey-Williams

Congratulations to alumna Zoë Carey-Williams, who graduated with a BA (Hons) in Drama and French in 2017, who worked on the comedy TV movie Death on the Tyne (2018), which has been nominated for Best Comedy Programme at the Broadcast Digital Awards 2019.

Death of the Tyne was produced by UKTV, and saw Zoë starring alongside comedy legends Johnny Vegas and Sue Johnston. The film is a follow up to Murder on the Blackpool Express (2017), and follows a mystery on an Amsterdam cruise ship crossing the Tyne.

Explaining her background, Zoë said: ‘I studied Drama and French at Kent and the teaching on the acting modules I chose for second and third year were outstanding. We were really pushed and taught so many tools to apply to the craft.’

Following her study, she wanted to pursue acting professionally – which swifty led to her getting the role of Hen in Death on the Tyne: ‘I got the role from a self-tape audition. It was only a couple of lines but it was my first professional speaking role on-screen and I was ecstatic – and very nervous – because the cast featured many brilliant and hilarious actors who I’d grown up watching, and the director Ed Bye had directed my favourite comedy show as a kid, After You’ve Gone.’

Has Zoë any advice to current students? ‘Sometimes we take our time at university for granted – the access we have to brilliant minds ready to impart their wisdom. I still go back to the notes from my courses. I will always be grateful for my time at Kent!’

To see the full list of nominations, please see the page here.


Creative writing, video games and ‘Slender man’: Podcast with Chris Deacy

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 Vivian Asimos.

Vivian recently achieved her PhD on theology and virtual storytelling at Durham with Douglas Davies (next week’s guest), with ‘Slender Man’ (a fictional monster created on an internet forum) as her main case study. The pair discuss blurring the line in horror between fiction and reality.

She and Chris go on to discuss video games; Florida; wanting to be a creative writer; ‘stumbling into’ Religious Studies; playing the piano; funk; listening to the charts on the way to church; ‘Lord of the Rings’; working in a food bank and on President Obama’s re-election campaign; the comfort of not belonging; what her childhood version of herself would expect she would be doing now; and using the past as a learning experience for future situations.