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Testing out a theory

Medieval Chained Books

Project to ‘Reconstruct’ Lost Medieval ‘Common’ Library

Research to be undertaken between the University of Kent and Queen’s University of Belfast is set to investigate a ‘common’ library founded in the 1420s at London’s Guildhall.

The £367,000 project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, will be led by Dr Ryan Perry, senior lecturer in the School of English and co-Director of the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and will be co-investigated Dr Stephen Kelly in the School of Arts, English and Languages, Queen’s University of Belfast.

The library was one of the charitable legacies from the estates of that famously wealthy and most storied London mayor, Richard ‘Dick’ Whittington (d. 1423). This chained library of religious manuscripts was built by Whittington’s innovative executor, the Guildhall clerk, John Carpenter, explicitly for the benefit of London’s citizens and for its poorer priests who could not afford their own books to aid them in their ministrations in the City.  The entire collection was sequestered by Edward Seymour, Lord Protector of England, in January 1549, to fill the shelves of his newly constructed library at Somerset house, and only two books from the library are now known to have survived.

The project aims to ‘reconstruct’ the collection through identifying clusters of Middle English texts that were being repeatedly copied by London scribes in an explosion of pastoral writing in the City that coincides with the foundation of Whittington’s library. It is the project team’s contention that this revolution in religio-literary culture was facilitated through the ‘common’ library.

The project, titled Whittington’s Gift: Reconstructing the Lost Common Library of London’s Guildhall, will produce an anthology of texts sourced from the library and a monograph length account of Middle English religious textual production in the City and beyond.

Organising for Success: Project Updates

Following Tuesday’s email on changes to Organising for Success, we are pleased to confirm all final senior leadership appointments within academic divisions. Kerry Barber will be Director of Operations for the Division of Human and Social Sciences, working with Professor David Wilkinson as Director of Division. Amanda Ollier will be Director of Operations for the updated Division of Arts and Humanities, working with Professor Shane Weller and Professor Simon Kirchin as co-Directors.

This completes all senior leadership appointments within academic divisions, with the full list of divisions and their leadership now on the Organising for Success website.

A number of other areas of the site have also been updated to cover the recent changes, including:

  • Project Timeline: With details of the next steps needed to make changes in professional service areas and launch new divisions by no later than 1 November
  • FAQs: Including more information on the impact of Covid-19, along with explanation of some of the key stages on the timeline such as the ‘staff mapping’ process
Professor Karen Cox

Vice-Chancellor’s Easter Message

As we head into the Easter Bank Holiday, I have been reflecting on the extraordinary events of the last few weeks. You will have seen from my update earlier this week the vast amount of work that has been carried out in such a short space of time, I thank everyone for the part they have played in enabling all these things to happen.

One of things I am immensely proud of is how staff and students are responding to the impact of COVID-19 on our local community and beyond. The link to the webpages shows some of the activity that is going on across all our schools, departments and professional services. A number of you are supporting the work of the Canterbury Foodbank and more than 30 academics, postdoctoral researchers and PhD students in Biosciences have volunteered to help perform testing at hospitals across the county. Kent Hospitality has donated surplus stock to Dover Foodbank and we are working directly with the NHS across Kent and Medway to see how we can provide essential infrastructure support.

We are now all working in an adapted and dispersed way. In such an environment, it’s important to get our communications right and I am aware that, in recent weeks, I have been sending out a lot of emails to you all as well as communicating with TEAMS, Zoom and good old fashioned telephone! As we come back from the Easter break I want to ensure you have the right kind of opportunity to engage directly with me and colleagues across the senior team. We are currently looking at the best way to do this and will come back with further details.

I wish you and your families all the best for the Easter break, and look forward to working with you over the coming months as we all navigate our way through this unprecedented time.


Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President

Philippe De Wilde

Research and Innovation update

The Government has postponed the submission date for the Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF) to allow universities to support research into clinical and health-related fields.  While the new date has yet to be announced, it is likely that this will be in the not too distant future.

As a result, the University has paused all internal REF deadlines and will announce a revised deadline once the situation is clearer. Research Services will continue to support those who wish to continue with their REF preparations.  Work is also underway to adapt the Knowledge Exchange Framework submission.

It is worth remembering that the REF and KEF are only indicators of research and innovation. The main challenge is to keep research and innovation going in these difficult times and I know that many of you are currently juggling childcare and other domestic responsibilities with your work commitments. For those that are able to find the time, I would also remind you that gaining external funding for our research is still of paramount importance for the institution, and again, central support remains available for those wishing to apply for external funding.

I am keen to speak with you to hear how you are coping, and how the University can help. In 2015 I visited 650 academics, researchers and research professional staff for 20 minutes each.

I am keen to speak with all of those who are submitting to the REF and with those who are working to support them on this. From mid-April onwards, I will be setting up 10-minute ‘Teams’ meetings with each of you. It will be good to talk with you although I am fully expecting to also meet many pets, young children and others who are currently at home with you!

Philippe De Wilde | Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation

Brigitte-Aphoridites Massive Family Rave Party

Gulbenkian’s Massive Family Rave Party online

Join Gulbenkian on their Facebook page for Brigitte Aphrodite’s Massive Family Rave Party on Saturday 11 April 13.30 -14.30. Suitable for all ages to get you movin’ and groovin’!

Featuring guitar rock out with feminist rock god Quiet Boy and chill-down with Drag Kween Story Time. They will be taking requests by the comment section on Facebook – any prequests – post them on @TheGulbenkian on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram or add them to the Gulbenkian’s spotify playlist.

And they will also be taking requests on the day too so you won’t miss out. Grab your brightest dancegear, turn up the volume and as David Bowie said, let the children BOOOOGIE!!

Set a reminder on Facebook

The Gulbenkian

Gulbenkian – What’s online this April 2020

Given current government advice the Gulbenkian has taken the decision to postpone their event programme, including the cinema, until after 30 June 2020.

In the meantime, they’ve provided us a round-up of what’s happening online, so take a look!

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber Musicals At Home

Every week a full-length, smash-hit musical will be released to watch for free! It will be available for 48 hours, so you can tune in whenever you like over the weekend! Watch on The Shows Must Go On! YouTube channel.

Schedule includes Jesus Christ Superstar on Fri 10 Apr, 19.00.

National Theatre At Home

National Theatre At Home

Every Thursday much-loved National Theatre Live productions will free to stream on YouTube for seven days as part of #NationalTheatreAtHome.

Next up is Jane Eyre on Thu 9 Apr.


Royal Opera House

Check out the schedule of free broadcasts and live content on ROH’s Facebook and YouTube channels as part of #OurHouseToYourHouse. 


BBC Culture In Quarantine

Bringing arts and culture into your home.  A virtual festival of the arts rooted in the experience of national lockdown, with more to be announced over the coming weeks.

Amongst others it will include: Northern Ballet’s Digital Dance Season

Globe online

Shakespeare’s Globe At Home

Enjoy a Shakespeare-filled movie night, as from Mon 6 April, Shakespeare’s Globe release six free films. More Info on the Globe Player website. 

Cheek by Jowl - The Winter's Tale: photo Johan Persson

Cheek By Jowl: The Winter’s Tale

Breathtaking performance of Shakespere’s The Winter’s Tale available to watch on YouTube for free until Monday 27 April 2020.

21 Chump Street

21 Chump Street

A mini-musical from Lin-Manuel Miranda and Anthony Ramos based on a piece of reporting.  Watch it on YouTube for FREE.


MYTH: The Rise & Fall of Orpheus

Watch Sam Cassidy’s musical Myth: The Rise and Fall of Orpheus, a modern retelling of the ancient Greek story of Orpheus and the underworld on YouTube for FREE.

The Show Must Go Online

The Show Must Go Online

Weekly readings of the complete works of Shakespeare by a global cast on YouTube.

Fancy taking part?  Find out more via the The Show must go on website. 

Cirque Connect


Cirque du Soleil has released an hour-long special on their YouTube.

The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest

Curve and The Birmingham Rep’s co-production of Oscar Wilde’s comic masterpiece is available to watch online for FREE until 12 April.

GOLKK Theatre Company

GOLKK are creating a space where you can share your work of art in ANY form in an online e-exhibtion. Find out more on the GOLKK website. 

Professor Simon Thompson School of Computing

Farewell to Professor Simon Thompson

Simon Thompson, Professor of Logic and Computation retired from the School of Computing on Monday 6 April after more than 36 years at the University of Kent, having joined in 1983 .

Simon has had a distinguished academic career with his research mainly focusing on functional programming, most recently in designing tools to help people to write and test programs more effectively. In particular, together with Huiqing Li, Reuben Rowe and many others, he has been working on building refactoring tools for functional programs in Erlang, Haskell, and, most recently, OCaml, supported by EU and EPSRC funding.

He has also published many books on functional programming including Erlang ProgrammingHaskell: The Craft of Functional Programmimg and Type Theory and Functional Programming.

Professor Richard Jones said ‘Simon has made an enormous contribution to the School and the University. He was an inspirational Head of School for many years and transformed the School in often very difficult times. The continuing success of the Kent IT Consultancy is a tribute to him. He has also been a fabulous mentor to so many staff in the School.’

Simon said ‘it has been a pleasure to work with generations of students, researchers and academics at Kent, and I look forward to seeing the School of Computing flourish in the years to come’.

We wish Simon well for his retirement.

BCEM Conference Online

Brain Cognition Emotion Music (BCEM) Conference online

We are pleased to invite you to a one-and-a-half day conference at the University called Brain, Cognition, Emotions, and Music (BCEM) — The Quartet With a Missing Link.

When: 20 – 21 May 2020
Where: Online

The purpose of the conference is to bring together evidence from psychology and neuroscience (broadly defined), to clarify how it is that music can convey and induce emotions so powerfully. We have a fantastic group of invited speakers:

– Prof David Huron, The Ohio State University, USA
– Prof Stefan Koelsch, University of Bergen, Norway
– Prof Joydeep Bhattacharya, Goldsmiths University of London, UK
– Prof Andrea Halpern, Bucknell University, USA
– Dr Marcus Pearce, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Both short talks and posters are encouraged and there is no registration fee. For more information please visit the the BCEM website

Deadline for poster submission: April 10
Deadline for free registration: May 15

Please contact Amir-Homayoun Javadi at info@bcem.uk if you have any questions.

Hope to see you there!

Professor Richard Jones - Head of School of Computing

Farewell to Professor Richard Jones

Richard Jones, Head of School of Computing and Professor of Computer Systems retires today after 35 years at the University of Kent. He joined Kent as a member of staff in 1985 after doing a Master’s programme, with a project supervised by Simon Thompson, who also retires today.

Dick has had a distinguished academic career with his research mainly focusing on dynamic memory management and has published the definitive books on garbage collection. His teaching has mainly been around the area of programming languages and systems.

Dick has received external recognition for his work and was made a Distinguished Scientist of the ACM in 2006, and an Honorary Fellow of the University of Glasgow in July 2005. He received IBM Faculty Awards in 2003, 2004 and 2005 and was elected to AITO, Association Internationale pour les Technologies Objets, in 2014.

In 2017 Dick was appointed as Head of the School of Computing and he has led the School through times of great change with purpose and integrity. He said: ‘I had hoped to be retiring under different circumstances, but I’d like to thank you all for the support you have given me.  We are undoubtedly facing difficult times, both as a university and as a country. However, I retire in the knowledge that we have a fantastic School with talented, hard working and convivial colleagues in every role. I wish you all the very best for the future.’

We wish Dick well with his retirement and the extra time he has to spend on his outside interests of cycling, sailing and grandchildren. We hope to give him a better send off when we are allowed to meet in person again.

Food cupboard

Kent Hospitality donates stock to local food bank

Kent Hospitality has donated over 500 items to Dover Foodbank amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

With only one of its ten catering outlets currently open on the Canterbury campus, Kent Hospitality decided to donate their surplus stock to Dover Foodbank to ensure the supplies went to those in need.

The team donated items including canned drinks, crisps, flapjacks and toilet rolls –all of which were gratefully received by the food bank volunteers during this current shortage.

Food banks across the county are still relying on donations from their local community. If you want to find out how you can also support them in this time of need visit the Trussell Trust website.