Category Archives: Strategic projects

KentVision Project Update: January 2022

From Martin Carvey, Project Manager

As we all get back up to speed with the start of the new term, work continues at pace to address the ongoing challenges with KentVision. As I previously updated, we have been working within a more robust project management structure which has helped us more effectively identify the areas where we can make progress quickly. 

Project timelines & resource 

We are focusing our work concurrently on several workstreams, with timelines linked to both business specific priorities and the academic calendar. These are currently being finalised through individual discussions with different stakeholders, filling in any gaps in knowledge and adding their on-the-ground experience so we can show a realistic delivery roadmap for each area during February. We are also continuously assessing resource levels for the project to ensure we have the right people in the right areas, having recently brought on board four additional KentVision team members to support this. 

Stakeholder engagement 

Bringing the right people into the project has been a key priority since we reformed the project structure, with stakeholder group meetings being set up with each functional area alongside the more detailed consultations taking place. This feeds directly into the design of the delivery roadmap, and the expertise we are drawing from across the organisation is proving hugely helpful – thank you for your continued engagement with this at a time when I know many of the challenges involved with using the system remain. 

We have also now introduced our new KentVision service desk workflow to help us better triage and prioritise ongoing issues. Tickets are being assessed and prioritised before being passed onto business analysts and developers so we can maintain a tighter focus on the key deliverables now, while also better managing expectations around work still to deliver. 

KentVision continued delivery 

One area where we have been able to move things forward in some areas is around Extenuating Circumstances. While in some areas there is still work to do to fully support deployment, a list of change requests for features and functionality relating to Extenuating Circumstances are being delivered with agreed Divisions this month.  

Attendance reports are undergoing user acceptance testing ready for delivery. 

A specific KentVision training environment is also being developed as a priority to ensure future deliveries are fortified by an additional focus on training prior to launch. 

This continues to be a complex project with multiple deliverables – however, we are now making clear progress and finalising tangible plans for the remaining deliverables across the University. Thanks to you all of you for your ongoing support with the project and I will provide a further update next month. 

Martin Carvey | Project Manager

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

Staff Webchat: Update on KentVision on Tuesday 9 November

Chaired by Professor Richard Reece, this Staff Webchat on Tuesday 9 November will update on the work actively underway to improve the current situation with our student records system, KentVision.

Supported by the new Project Manager Martin Carvey and the KV Project Board, project priorities include re-designing KV Service Desk to better manage emerging issues; and increasing the size of the KV Project delivery team to ensure the planning, testing and delivery cycles are completed fully, including full engagement and consultation with relevant stakeholders. This will avoid issues impacting staff and students. Some benefits of these changes should start to be realised from December onwards.

Alongside Richard and Martin, the panel will include Anthony Brenton, Lead Business Analyst; Paul Sales, IT Trainer; James McCrea, Head of Enterprise Systems; Anita Jackson, Director of Strategic Planning & Performance; Kyra Harwood-Lucas, Head of Student Administration; and John Crook, Director of Operations in the Division of Computing, Engineering & Mathematical Sciences.

The session will take place on Teams on Tuesday 9 November from 13.00-15.00, including time for questions. You can sign up now, and ask your questions in advance, via this link. A calendar invite will be sent to all attendees by Monday, 8 November, with further information of how to join us.

Sign up to Sustainability Webchat – Tuesday 26 October

Article by Catherine Morris, Environmental Adviser

Sign-up now for our webchat to launch the Sustainability Strategy, taking place online on Tuesday 26 October, from 12.00 – 13.00.

As the world prepares for COP26, next month’s UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, the University is publishing its ambitious strategy for climate and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), setting out our role in addressing these global challenges.

Focused around our key strategic objectives of climate, campus and the curriculum, the strategy provides a framework for us to embed sustainability across all that we do from our operations to our partnerships and our research & innovation.

To find out more and learn how we will be implementing this strategy over the coming years, staff are invited to join this webchat on Tuesday 26 October, 12.00 – 13.00. Introduced by Professor Richard Reece, EG lead for Sustainability, the webchat will begin with an introduction to the new strategy by Dr Catherine Morris, Environmental Adviser. She will present the strategic objectives and how they will be implemented through four major delivery streams.

There will then be a panel discussion and Q&A, chaired by Dr Anthony Manning, Dean for Internationalisation, on the future of Sustainability at Kent and how the strategy will be implemented across the University. The panel will feature staff and student representation from across Kent including; Eske Eilts, a final-year Environmental Social Science student; Dr Sideeq Mohammed, Associate Dean of Education & UG Student Experience for KBS; and Trevor Pereira, Director of Commercial and Facilities Management. Panelists will be asked to describe how the strategy aligns with their area of work and opportunities for the University.

We will finish the event by announcing a range of exciting follow-up activities and events to celebrate the progress divisions and departments are making to implementing the strategy, including a poster series, showcase event and KMTV film.

The session will take place on teams. Please sign-up to this event by filling out this form.

KentVision: Project update and next steps 

Update by KentVision Project Manager, Martin Carvey 

As the new Project Manager for KentVision, I wanted to give everyone an update on where we are with the project and what our next steps will be. As many will be aware, there are a number of issues with KentVision currently which are having a major impact across the University. While there won’t be any quick fixes to this, we know that solutions are needed urgently and are working as fast as we can to identify and deliver them. 

Project management 

Working with Project Sponsor Richard Reece, we have established a new Project Board with more regular reporting to Executive Group. This includes a more robust approach to risk management and revised timelines that reflect our current status. While also making improvements on an ongoing basis, we are working towards having the key aspects of KentVision fully operational by mid-2022. 

Additional support 

While the KentVision project team has worked tirelessly to get us to this stage, greater resources are essential to the future success of the project. We are currently bringing in additional business analysis, development and user support with this in mind. 

Priorities will include setting up a specifically designed Service Desk by the end of November to better manage emerging issues, while also building in additional time into the planning, testing and delivery cycle so more issues are addressed before they impact students and staff, 

Ongoing communications 

KentVision impacts across a number of areas of the University and both Richard Reece and myself want to make sure everyone is kept fully informed of progress in the coming weeks. Along with dedicated workshops for frontline teams, all staff can join a Staff Webchat in November (date tbc) where we will give a full update on the project and answer any questions you may have. 

In the meantime, you can find out more on the KentVision webpages.

Martin Carvey | KentVision Project Manager

Events to launch our Migration and Movement Signature Research Theme

One of our first Signature Research Themes, Migration and Movement has unveiled an exciting programme of research and public engagement events this Autumn.

Designed to showcase outstanding work across the theme and to stimulate new interdisciplinary conversations, the events are open to all Kent colleagues, as well as members of the public.

Dates for your diary include:

Wednesday 13 OctoberLaunch: Countering Hostile Environments’
From 15.00-17.00, School of Arts, Jarman 1, followed by a drinks reception from 17.00-18.00 in Jarman Foyer – 13 October.

To launch the Migration and Movement SRT, and in preparation for the visit of The Walk, Dr Rachel Gregory Fox, Dr Bahriye Kemal, and Dr Jonathan Rock Rokem will discuss their current research projects, each of which considers hostile asylum and immigration regimes and how they can be countered. Chaired by Professor David Herd, this session will address the implications of the new Nationality and Borders Bill and how a politics of expulsion can be resisted through research.

Following the panel, Dr Sweta Rajan-Rankin will lead an open discussion on the question: ‘What does Migration Mean to You?’ designed to help SRT members start shaping the Theme’s work.

The event is free but please book your place via Eventbrite. It will be live-streamed for those unable to make it in person.

Thursday 21 October – The Walk: Welcoming Amal to the University of Kent
Procession from Canterbury Cathedral to our campus from 12–14.00 and Refugee Tales welcome event from 19.00-20.30 in Gulbenkian Theatre.

In collaboration with Refugee Tales and the Institute for Cultural and Creative Industries, the Migration and Movement SRT is delighted to welcome Amal and The Walk (see image below) to the University of Kent. Find out more about joining the procession and/or our evening welcome event in our Staff News story.

Book your tickets now for our Refugee Tales Welcomes Amal event on the Gulbenkian webpages.

Amal and The Walk

 Various dates in October – Just An Other Crossing

You may have noticed a sea container outside Gulbenkian this week – this is a new instillation by Local Foreigner. In this immersive installation you find yourself on a boat travelling the channel through virtual reality film and the live amplification of your heart beat.

Its free! You can just turn up on specific dates in October – details can be found on the Gulbenkian website.

Friday 12 November – Suppliant Women by The Foreign Office
Pre-show drinks from 18.00-19.30 in Gulbenkian Café and post-show talk from 21.15 in Gulbenkian Theatre.

Centring on a community chorus of women fleeing Egypt and seeking refuge in Argos to escape forced marriage, Suppliant Women is one of the oldest surviving Greek plays. This captivating production by The Foreign Office revives a remarkably contemporary tragedy about migration and the ethical dilemma of hospitality, blending music, dance and drama in a distinctive stage language that will strike audiences as both strange and familiar. It is an opportunity to engage with themes of migration in ancient Greece and its present-day resonances. Book your tickets now on the Gulbenkian webpages.

Wednesday 17 November – Head2Head: Migration and the non-human: Thinking about symbiotic assemblages of movement
From 15.00-17.00 online.

Dr Sweta Rajan-Rankin chairs this dynamic session, which steps away from traditional academic presentation formats and embraces the “Head2Head” approach highlighting the importance of rapid fire, synergies-in-action discussion. Being truly inter-disciplinary can be difficult and using H2H enables blue sky thinking by decoupling ideas from disciplinary confines. Migration has often been linked to human movement, but what about non-human agents such as migration of blood and tissue, knowledge systems and curating of migrant spaces?

Using Joanne Latimer’s concept of post-human assemblages, we pay attention to the migration of objects, bodily and fleshy parts, memories and curated objects, as a way of making sense of the political assemblage of migrant subjectivities. Speakers will include: Dr Matt Whittle (School of English) Dr Jill Shepherd (School of Biosciences) and Dr Sukvinder Bhamra (Medway School of Pharmacy). A registration link will be circulated nearer the time.

Wednesday 8 December – ‘Migration and Creative Practice’
From 15.00-17.00 in the Dockyard Church at Medway campus.

This final Migration and Movement SRT event of the Autumn term explores different ways in which notions of cultural intimacy, hybridity and appropriation are perceived in the fields of poetry, theatre and music. Three practice-based researchers – Minna Jeffery, Drama by Practice as Research PhD candidate in the School of Arts; Winsome Monica Minott, a poet and Creative Practice PHD candidate in the School of English; and Richard Lightman, record producer, composer, musician and Head of the Centre for Music and Audio Technology at Kent – will present and discuss their ongoing creative projects. A booking link will be circulated nearer the time and the event will be live-streamed.


We look forward to you joining us to help shape the work of the Migration and Movement SRT. Please feel free to get in touch with us at:

Professor David Herd (School of English), Dr Margherita Laera (School of Arts, Drama), Dr Tom Parkinson (Centre for the Study of Higher Education) and Dr Sweta Rajan-Rankin (School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research)


Get involved with The Walk!

The University’s Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries (iCCi) is excited to be hosting The Walk on 21 October, one of the biggest international community arts projects ever produced. 

The Walk is a travelling outdoor performance consisting of a giant puppet of a Syrian refugee girl named Amal, created by Handspring Puppet Company, walking from Turkey to the UK via Greece, Italy, France and other countries. Amal is a 9-year-old girl who wants to find her mother, travelling across Europe and meeting people along the way to highlight the plight of refugees. Colleagues in our Migration and Movement Signature Research Theme will join iCCi in hosting a series of events to accompany her arrival. 

Kent is the only university in the UK to host little Amal. We will be welcoming her to the University with a procession, walking from the Cathedral to the Canterbury campus, starting at midday on Thursday 21 October. We will be joined by 350 local school-children and a marching band. She will also be welcomed by a giant red fox (see sketch below), a puppet that Kent Drama students will operate under the supervision of Kent alumnus, Peter Morton, of Half a String and Sam Westbury, our Drama Workshop Manager. 

David Sefton, Director of Culture and Creative Projects for iCCi: ‘I am delighted that The Walk is the first major community event to be produced by the University’s Institute of Cultural & Creative Industries. The fact that this is such a significant public art event nationally and internationally based around a crucially important theme, and that it is able to incorporate the activities of multiple university departments as well as our own outreach initiative, makes The Walk the perfect demonstration of what iCCi is uniquely set-up to deliver for the University and the whole of Kent.’ 


Making the Puppet until 8 October – Sign up asap!

We need you! Can you help us build the giant fox puppet? The puppet-making workshops have started in the Arts Workshop (Marlowe Building) with Sam Westbury and Peter Morton. Visit to sign up to a slot.

Coming along to the procession on 21 October

Join us at the Cathedral at 11.30 on 21 October. We will walk via Westgate, St. Dunstans, Forty Acres Rd, and up one of the footpaths on to campus. More details will be announced nearer the time via the Gulbenkian webpages.

Attending the Refugee Tales evening event on 21 October

On 21 October at 19.00, an event hosted by Refugee Tales will feature tales and music by refugees who have experienced indefinite immigration detention. Amal will also be in attendance. Book your tickets now, priced £10 and £5 for students, on the Gulbenkian webpages.

Posting on social media

Our tags are #AmalatKent and #littleAmal – do feel free to share.

Telling your students

Please feel free to highlight The Walk in class to your students by forwarding this email to them. 


We’re looking forward to you joining us in our preparations to welcome Amal! Find out more about The Walk with Amal webpages. You can read more about Amal’s journey in The Guardian. If you have any questions, please get in touch with Margherita Laera. 

human hand holding robotic hand

Get involved with our Future Human Signature Research Theme

One of our first three Signature Research Themes – Future Human – is inviting applications from staff for our Vice-Chancellor PhD Studentship selection process, as well as ideas for cross-disciplinary collaboration and innovative research.

The Future Human theme explores the use of science and technology to improve human performance either temporarily or permanently. Its transdisciplinary approach will help us understand the opportunities, limits, challenges and risks of using scientific and technological advancement to restore or improve performance and to overcome current limits of body and mind.

Theme co-lead, Dr Lex Mauger says: ‘Future Human is much more wide-ranging than many might think. By focusing on four sub-themes – Healthy Human, Everyday Human, Working Human and Super Human – our aim is to go much further than just understanding the science and technology. We want to know how enhancing human capability cuts across different fields from business and commercial to ethical and legal.’

You can find out more about Future Human on the Signature Research Theme web page.

PhD Studentships available

As part of its start-up resourcing, the Future Human Signature Research Theme is offering two Vice-Chancellor PhD Studentships for the 2022-23 academic year. The studentships will be allocated to named supervisory teams running a pre-determined project.

To select these supervisory teams and projects, the Future Human leadership team is running a Sandpit event, which will involve 20-30 academics from a range of disciplines and result in up to 15 project proposals. From these project ideas, two supervisory teams will be awarded the PhD studentships, and a further three project teams will be awarded seed-corn funding of £1500 for further development of their idea.

Staff will need to apply for one of the limited places on the Sandpit event, which will be held on 9 and 10 November 2021. More information on the Sandpit sessions, including an application for attendance to be completed by 17.00 on Friday 15 October 2021, is available here.

Share your views

The Future Human leadership team – comprising Dr Lex Mauger, Dr Sarah Hotham and Professor Aylish Wood – is committed to offering opportunities and activities to promote transdisciplinary collaborations and development of innovative research bids. They’re keen to hear from colleagues across the University about current and future plans for providing this. Complete the 10-minute survey to tell the team what you think.

Signature Research Themes

Signature Research Themes are a key part of the University’s strategy to further develop its global research profile. The themes bring together a wide range of ideas and approaches through cross-disciplinary collaboration, and they enhance the excellent practices and activities, highlighting the cutting-edge and innovative research that goes on at Kent.

Life on Campus

From Nikki Hyde, Deputy Director of Human Resources

Celebrating our campuses as more of us come back to Kent

After such a long gap, it’s hard to believe it’s now nearly time for those who’ve been working off-site to return to their desks. When we first started thinking about our roadmap for staff coming back, it still felt a bit like planning with our eyes closed – and let’s face it, none of us thought it would take this long when we first learnt the language of Teams back in March 2020. 

So, while the impact of the pandemic has thankfully lessened, we recognise what a big impact it’s had on us all. That’s why we’ve put together our Life on Campus programme from 23 August – 17 September to help everyone prepare for our 20 September target of everyone being largely campus-based again. 

I’m sure many will have a few mixed feelings about the return, including those of you who’ve been working on campus throughout – it’s about to get a whole lot busier! It’s going to take time for everyone to adjust and we’ll all need support as we come back; plus a reminder of how special our spaces are and what they mean to us all as a community. 

Something for everyone

We hope there’s something for everyone. All staff can bring their family along to a special day for staff at bOing! on Friday 27 August, including a fantastical VR performance of Alice in Wonderland. Teams can get together for a free game of bat and trap or petanque throughout the month or use our tented village on the Registry Lawn for outdoor meetings, while our Sustainability team will be running special tours that showcase our beautiful surroundings. You can even grab a free coffee with a colleague as a good excuse to get chatting in person again. There are also some more practical things to think about – getting up to speed with what we’ll have in place to keep everyone safe or making sure you’ve popped back to reboot your computer in good time. We’re all going to be learning together, which is the main message in the guidance we’ve put together in our new Future of Work Staff Resource Pack. 

All of this will culminate in our first Staff Conference, where we want to start bringing our community back together after so much disruption. Everyone is also invited to either the Medway Summer Fete on 8 September or the Canterbury Summer Fete on the 17th, so we all get a chance to be together in person for a BBQ on our lawns before the next term begins. 

Having been on site recently, our spaces really are looking beautiful and more than ready to welcome you all, bringing life back onto our campuses before our students join us for the next academic year. I look forward to seeing you there. 

Nikki Hyde | Deputy Director of Human Resources

Changing how we work: End of year update 

From Jane Higham, Chief Financial Officer

As we head into the summer after an especially challenging year, I wanted to give everyone an update on the work to embed the new structures put in place over the last 12 months. It’s been a challenging year for everyone and we really do hear what many of you are saying about the impact the changes have had on many people’s workload and wellbeing. As Chair of the Project Strategic Group overseeing implementation, I fully appreciate there is a lot still to do to get this right. In particular, our processes and ways of working are making it hard to realise the benefits of the new structures, and both these and the initial challenges with KentVision are vital issues for us to address to help make things easier.  

Actions are much more important than words with this and we are prioritising a number of immediate changes to start alleviating workload pressure as we head into next year. This is on top of accompanying work to clarify academic governance structures and to identify opportunities for short-term support where its impact would be most felt.

How We Work: Process Improvement

Activity led by the Project Management Office to fast-track process improvement university-wide is pushing ahead, with initial scoping work having identified a number of both quicker wins to work on along with some longer-term change initiatives that need to be prioritised. A number of the more immediate opportunities for improvement are already being addressed, with the PMO supporting teams and process owners to get changes in place quickly – thank you to everyone you sent in suggestions for this via the How We Work pages.

Framework Agreements 

The relationship between Divisions and central Professional Services teams is key to the success of our new structure. Those relationships are defined within framework agreements which cover how the different teams work together, where accountability sits and who leads on which areas of activity. The majority of the frameworks are now in place and are forming the basis of ongoing collaboration between Divisions and central teams – the remainder will be agreed by October at the latest. 

Heads of Profession 

Supporting this will be Heads of Profession who will provide leadership, training and support for colleagues working in their professional areas across the University. It has taken time to develop this role and the expectations for interaction between different areas that come with it – again, these will be in place in line with the final framework agreements by October. 

Ongoing Engagement 

Bringing new communities together while working remotely has been a challenge, and we are currently developing plans for ongoing engagement in different areas to help with this. This is to ensure there are regular opportunities for different key groups to come together, supported by a broader programme of staff engagement activity throughout the year opening with the proposed Staff Conference in September.  

Whilst I can’t promise things will get better quickly, I hope this reassures you that the pressures staff are experiencing are recognised and that actions are being taken to address what we can as quickly as possible. In the meantime, while I know it remains a busy time for many – and particularly those involved in the huge Clearing efforts this week – I hope colleagues can take advantage of reduced email traffic and some time off over the summer and I look forward to continuing to improve how we work together in the year ahead. 

Jane Higham | Chief Financial Officer