Category Archives: People

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Dreams, sailing and exotic places – Nostalgia podcast

In the latest episode of the Nostalgia podcast series, Chris Deacy, Head of the Department of Religious Studies, interviews Dr Patty Baker, Senior Lecturer in Classical & Archaeological Studies and School Equality, and Diversity and Inclusivity Representative.

Patty, who is originally from Pennsylvania, has been at Kent for 18 years. In this episode, the pair talk about Pennsylvania, the concept of ‘home’, running into people from your past, the different dreams that we chase, visiting exotic places, Patty’s love of the sea, sailing and flower arranging, gardens in the ancient world, the History teacher who made the subject come alive, voting in the UK and US, marching in Washington, why Patty likes reading obituaries, her dream trip to the South Pacific, what her 15-year-old self would think about what she is doing now, and why Patty is a looking forward type of person.

On Friday 22 November, Chris will be running ‘Nostalgia Night’. This will be a free evening of live music, readings, clips, interviews and interactions celebrating the pull of Nostalgia in shaping us as human beings – which will be taking place in the Colyer-Fergusson Hall at 19.30.

Patricia Novillo-Corvalan

Patricia Novillo-Corvalan talks ‘Institutions of World Literature’

Dr Patricia Novillo-Corvalan, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Comparative Literature, was invited to speak at the ‘Institutions of World Literature’ workshop in London on Tuesday 29 October.

This workshop investigated the twin processes of institutionalisation and internationalisation of literary studies. What was the relationship between them in different nations and at different times? What is the influence of migration and international collaboration in the institutionalisation of letters in a national context? How are theories of world literature shaped by institutional histories? And how can sociological approaches, in particular Bourdieu’s field theory, help us navigate these questions? We aim to discuss these issues in a comparative and global context. This event is part of the TORCH Global South Fellowship scheme.

Patricia says: “The workshop created a productive dialogue between the global North and the global South, a dynamic exchange made possible through the interaction of truly transnational research networks. These transcontinental multilingual dialogues enabled the recovery of neglected literary histories, especially by situating global South spaces at the foreground of these debates, creating meaningful interactions that can overcome the homogenising and monolingual tendencies of world literature approaches”.

Patricia will also be holding another workshop on ‘Modernism and Translation: A Workshop’ at the University of York on Friday 22 November.


Tom Baldwin awarded Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professorship

Dr Tom Baldwin, Reader in French in the Department of Modern Languages, has been awarded a Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professorship to bring Professor Suzanne Guerlac, Professor of French at the University of California, Berkeley, to Kent during the autumn term 2020.

Professor Guerlac’s research focuses on articulations between nineteenth- and twentieth-century French literature and visual culture, and on European literary theory and philosophy from the eighteenth century onwards. Her publications include the monographs The Impersonal Sublime: Hugo, Baudelaire, Lautréamont and the Esthetics of the Sublime (Stanford University Press, 1990); Literary Polemics: Bataille, Sartre, Valéry, Breton (Stanford University Press, 1997); Thinking in Time: An Introduction to Henri Bergson (Cornell University Press, 2006); and a co-edited volume, Derrida and the Time of the Political (Duke University Press, 2009). She has also recently completed a monograph entitled Proust and the Time of Life: Photography, Money and Desire in ‘À la recherche du temps perdu’ (Bloomsbury, 2020).

Professor Guerlac’s visit will be hosted by the Centre for Modern European Literature (CMEL). She will work with academic staff and students affiliated with CMEL and with other research centres and Schools at the University to share the knowledge and expertise developed through her interdisciplinary research projects. Her visit will include lectures and research seminars at both Kent and other UK universities, as well as workshops in undergraduate and MA seminars related to her expertise.


Research council logo

Kent Professor appointed to AHRC Advisory Board

Kent Law School Professor Diamond Ashiagbor has been appointed to the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Advisory Board for a three-year term.

The AHRC funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects including history, archaeology, law, digital content, philosophy, languages, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts. Its 15-member AHRC board is made up of senior academics from across the arts and humanities together with leaders from the ‘GLAM’ sector – representing galleries, libraries, archives and museums.

The Board advises the AHRC Council on developing strategies and programmes to support and fund research, to respond to the challenges facing arts and humanities research, and to articulate the value of arts and humanities research to a range of audiences.  This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98 million to fund research and postgraduate training, in collaboration with a number of partners.

Other members of the Advisory Board include leaders from Opera North and the Science Museum, and academic experts in performance, dance and technology; literature; classics; and social history.

Professor Ashiagbor’s research seeks to bridge social science-influenced legal scholarship (on labour, markets and economic governance) and humanities-inflected legal scholarship (on history, development and the post-colonial). Her most recent book, Re-Imagining Labour Law for Development: Informal Work in the Global North and South (Hart Publishing, 2019) was published in July.

Kent Talks- empowering and uplifting students

Miray Has, a third year Biomedical Science student, and her team were successful with being awarded a Community Scholarship for a new project aimed to empower and uplift students of the University of Kent – Kent Talks.

At Kent Talks, the objective is to help enrich students by gaining knowledge on diverse subject matters that can be easily overlooked. Whether you are an undergraduate or a postgraduate, a bold public speaker or a nervous speaker, Kent Talks will provide you with the necessary guidance and support to become an orator on stage.

There will be four events throughout the academic year with three speeches taking place at each event. The Kent Talks platform ensures every individual within the university has access to a framework where they can talk about an interest or expertise, identify problems or simply share personal experiences that they believe others will benefit from.

The first event will be held on Monday 11 November at the Gulbenkian Theatre from 17.00-18.00. This is a great opportunity to collaborate with your friends all around campus, meet like-minded people and deepen your educational and social values.

If you have ever felt strongly about an issue or topic and wanted to raise awareness, then this is the perfect opportunity for you. All you need is a thirst to overcome barriers and a passion to continuously self-evolve. The project members will be here to prepare and mentor you for your upcoming talk.

Learn more about Kent Talks online or email Miray Has for more information.

Canterbury Horrorfest 2019

Horrorfest 2019 is the first of an annual Halloween tradition here in Canterbury. Setting the table for an All Hallows Eve feast for years to come. A festive carnival of ever-changing horrific tricks and treats.

To begin the tradition this year CSRfm are hosting the very first Horrorfest event: a comedy murder mystery radio production called “DeadAir”. It will be an interactive experience, with listeners being able to call, text and get involved through CSRfm’s social media to figure out the identity of the murderer as the show progresses.

The first scene is laid in CSR’s Studio Red as a few presenters attempt to put on a live Halloween special, only it all goes wrong when the first thing they see is Derek dead on their freshly hoovered studio floor. Follow them as they become ‘secret’ murder detectives and hopelessly and hilariously fail to keep the ever-growing number of deaths a secret from the authorities, all whilst not at all keeping calm and carrying on…

All main actors are current CSRfm presenters with featured guest roles by past show guests and a special interview with Dr. Michael Goodrum, Senior Lecturer of History and Superhero and Gothic Horror Specialist at Canterbury Christ Church University.

The show will air on CSRfm and 97.4fm on Halloween between 9am to 6pm.

Afterwards there will be a special creative hour after the show between 6pm and 7pm featuring local poets, spoken word artists and story tellers, such as: Sam Tate, Henry Maddicott, Alys Parsons, Thomas Cleary, Alex Brand, Claudia Volpe and Isabella Poretsis.

Topology- a story of doughnuts, power lines and the London Underground

The School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science are giving a public lecture open to all.

Topology is a new form of geometry that looks at things quite differently compared to the classical, Euclidean approach. The lecture will explore how this can be applied to the world today as well as how it can be used to solve problems that have been open for several thousand years.

When: Tuesday 19th November 2019, 18:00-19:00

Where: SIBLT1

Who: Dr Constanze Roitzheim, University of Kent

Tickets are free so just come along!

Alumna Dr Lucy Scott-Moncrieff awarded Lifetime Achievement Award

Kent Law School alumna Dr Lucy Scott-Moncrieff has been presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award  at the prestigious annual Law Society Excellence Awards for solicitors in England and Wales.

Dr Scott-Moncrieff, a former Law Society president, graduated with a degree in law from Kent in 1975. She is a former patron of the Kent Law Campaign (to raise funds for the Wigoder Law Building) and was made an Honorary Doctor of Laws at Kent in 2009.

As a solicitor specialising in mental health and human rights, Dr Scott-Moncrieff has been widely recognised for her contribution to society. She was named Mental Health Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year in 2005; won the Association of Women Solicitors’ award for best manager of a legal aid practice in 2011; was invited to attend the 2013 Women of the Year Lunch in October in recognition of her work with detained patients; and was awarded the CBE in January 2014 for her services to legal aid.

Earlier this year, in her contribution for Kent Law School’s commemorative 50th anniversary book, Dr Scott-Moncrieff said: ‘I was at Kent from 1972/5, and it changed my life. I learnt that the law could be used to challenge social injustice and give power to people who are often powerless, and that lawyers could be agents for change, rather than for conformity.’

Dr Scott-Moncrieff currently sits as the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards. Appointed in 2016, she is responsible for the independent and impartial investigation of alleged breaches of the House of Lords Code of Conduct. This includes investigating breaches of the rules on the House’s system of financial support for members. She is also the managing director of Scott-Moncrieff & Associates Ltd.

Technology can now tell if you like someone’s shoes

Dr Caroline Li‘s research in using brain imaging technologies and AI to generate images could be transformative in the way in which humans interact with technology to signal their preferences in design.

Caroline said; ‘We are now capable of using technology to understand and visualise what a person may be thinking using the brain’s EEG signals. So for example, if someone is unable to verbally communicate, we can tell that they are thinking about wanting to sit in a chair with deeper cushions. Or, using this technology I could also tell if you liked my shoes but would prefer them in red. This is something that could transform the ways that we use technology to personalise design to our wants and needs.’

Caroline is a collaborating supervisor of the paper ‘Human-in-the-Loop Design with Machine Learning‘ which looked into a design method where brain EEG signals are used to capture preferable design features, such as those for fashion or furniture.

The paper was recently recognised with two awards at the International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19). The conference’s theme was Responsible Design for our Future and explored the impact designers impact may cause in a complex world we do not fully understand.

The paper was given The Design Society Distinguished Paper Award, which recognises papers distinguished for their quality of scholarship, creativity, or contribution to design practice. In addition, it also received a Reviewers’ Favourite award which acknowledged it was the top 10% of papers presented at ICED19, based on the scores given by the reviewers.

Shane Weller on ‘Europe: The History of an Idea’

Professor Shane Weller, Head of School and Professor of Comparative Literature, has given a talk titled ‘Europe: The History of an Idea’ at St John’s College Old Divinity School in Cambridge as part of this year’s Cambridge Festival of Ideas.

The 2016 referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union triggered a passionate debate about the advantages and disadvantages of EU membership. However, in that debate, the distinction between the European Union and Europe more generally was blurred. What exactly do we mean when we refer to ‘Europe’?

In his talk, Shane sought to answer that question by considering the long history of the idea of Europe, which extends back to ancient Greece. He says: ‘I believe that, as we attempt to imagine possible futures for Europe, we have much to learn from the past.’