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Testing out a theory

Sustainability Development Goals logo

Sustainable Development Goals Teach-In

In support of the University’s commitment to embedding Sustainability into our teaching, we are encouraging lecturers and teaching staff to pledge to incorporate the Sustainable Development goals into their teaching for one week.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Teach In is an NUS-coordinated campaign where universities across the UK aim to make links to the SDGs within their taught courses during the week of the 17 – 21 February 2020.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals are 17 ‘global goals’, which set out targets to end poverty, protect the planet, and achieve prosperity for all by 2030. Alongside being a standalone goal, education is also vital for attaining all the other goals. Six years of NUS-led research has found that 60% of students, regardless of discipline, want to learn more about sustainability.

Lecturers and teaching staff interested in getting involved can:

  • Identify one or more sessions where they can teach the SDGs during or after the week of the 17 – 21 February 2020.
  • Pledge to take part on the SDG Teach In website
  • Confirm to sustainability@kent.ac.uk that they are taking part – guidance can be provided to help plan their session

Catherine and Emily of the Sustainability Team are on hand to advise or support you in any way to help you get involved. This could be through case studies, debate, discussion, group work, or simulations and ideally, students will learn the relevance of the SDGs to their course.

urther information and Resources including 5, 10 and 30-minute session plans, can be found on the Estates page.

Lecture talk

2020 John Burton Lecture – Thursday 6 February 2020

‘Parsing the Peace: Citizens in Civil War Peace Processes’ is the title of this year’s John Burton Lecture given by Professor Caroline Hartzell (Gettysburg College)

When: Thursday 6 February 2020 from 15.00 – 16.00

Where: Rutherford Lecture Theatre 1 (RLT1)

A drinks reception will take place afterwards in Rutherford Seminar Room 2, next door to RLT1

For this year’s annual John Burton lecture, the Conflict Analysis Research Centre welcomes the critically acclaimed Professor Caroline Hartzell (Gettysburg College) to hold a talk on Parsing the Peace: Citizens in Civil War Peace Processes. During this event, which continues the long-established series of John Burton lectures, Professor Hartzell will discuss the role of civic engagement in peace processes outside of traditional elite actor involvement. Furthermore, Professor Hartzell will guide the audience towards intricate and informed insights concerning the interplay between peace agreements and citizen involvement. Using her own words, the lecture will cover:

‘Much of what we know about peace processes centres on the interests of elite actors and the groups that they lead.  Seeking to parse the peace, this talk examines citizen engagement with civil war peace processes, focusing in particular on the relationship between citizens and peace agreements. To that end, I explore how citizens perceive and influence peace agreements, as well as how agreements influence citizens’ political behaviour and attitudes toward the peace in the wake of civil war’.

 Professor Hartzell is a Professor in the Political Science Department at Gettysburg College and was the founding director of the College’s Globalisation Studies program. Professor Hartzell teaches courses in International Relations. Her specialisation is in international political economy with an emphasis on issues of conflict and conflict management, development, and globalisation.

The lecture is open to all and free to attend with no booking necessary.

a group of graduates in their graduation clothing

Research Symposium on Graduate Outcomes

You are warmly invited to the Research Symposium on Graduate Outcomes: How can universities best prepare students for life after university?

When: Wednesday 25 March 2020 from 13:00 – 17:00.

Where: Grimond Lecture Theatre 3 and Aphra Foyer

To book your place, please sign up via Eventbrite by 18 March 2020.

While the UK higher education sector has been paying more attention to students’ employability in recent years, HESA’s revised measure of graduate outcomes now enables a broader view of how well students are doing 15 months after university. This symposium explores what academics, staff and students can do to best prepare graduates not only for employability, but for personally-fulfilling careers and lives.  Based on recent research, each speaker will take a different perspective on the symposium’s title question. This event is sponsored by the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Kent, with support from a grant from HECSU.

For further details please visit the CSHE website

The Lion King image from 2020 film

From ‘The Crown to the ‘The Lion King’

The School of Engineering and Digital Arts is delighted to announce its latest public engagement lecture entitled: From ‘The Crown’ to ‘The Lion King’ – the importance of Visual Effects in Modern Film and TV by Dominik Platen, Lead 2D Artist at One of Us and Kent alumnus (Digital Visual Effects, 2013).

When: Monday 2 March from 18.00 – 19.00

Where: Jennison Lecture Theatre, School of Engineering and Digital Arts, Canterbury campus

The lecture will cover:

  • Dominik’s study and career path
  • What is VFX? Use of CGI vs. invisible effects/set-extensions
  • Examples/breakdowns: Talking about both types of VFX using the examples of The Crown (Invisible, set-extension type work), and “The Lion King” (Photorealistic, fully-CG)
  • The current state and future of the VFX industry in the UK

For a flavour of the talk, check out these video links:

After the lecture, there will be an opportunity to network and refreshments will be served.

Note that the lecture will appeal to a wide range of ages and backgrounds.  It is free and open to everyone.

Please book via the Eventbrite website

Red Flowers and champagne glasses

Commercial Services Showcase 2020

You are warmly invited to attend the Commercial Services Showcase 2020 on Friday 6 March. Come meet our fantastic teams, all under one roof, to see what we can do for you.

Book your place via the hospitality website and drop in to Darwin Conference Suite between 12.00 and 18.00 to discover our wide range of services and facilities, including:

  • Accommodation – not just for students, our campus offers en-suite, B&B and self-catering accommodation for visitors, rated 4* – 5* by VisitEngland
  • Bespoke Event Management Service – flexible for your needs, this can include delegate registration assistance for your next conference or event
  • Catering – we’re talking everything foody, from our 11 outlets across campus, catering delivered directly to your meeting, bespoke event menus, formal gala dinners and BBQs in the sunshine
  • Group facilities – from summer schools, leisure groups and venue hire for smaller events to international conferences
  • Kent Sport – gym memberships to sports massages, they do it all
  • Gulbenkian and Colyer-Fergusson – plan your next night at the movies and discover the latest line-up on stage and screen
  • KentOne – not just a staff ID card, this can be topped up online to become a cashless payment card, which provides a 10% discount in all Kent Hospitality catering outlets.

So, why wait? Book your free place online now  to hear all about us and what’s going on around campus during this busy conference year; enter our competitions; whizz around campus on our virtual reality headsets; grab some yummy snacks and more!

Further information on the Showcase is available on the Kent conferences website 

Or contact the Conference Office at conferences@kent.ac.uk or ext. 8000 for more information.

Registration closes on Tuesday 3 March 2020.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Portafina Ltd

Funding for project with Portafina Ltd

The University of Kent are celebrating securing funding to work with Rochester based Fintech company, Portafina Investment Management Ltd, on a two year Knowledge Transfer Partnership project.

The two year project will enable Portafina, a specialist pension advice firm targeting the “advice gap” mass market, to apply state-of-the-art machine learning techniques to improve workflow and data processing. This will enable Portafina to increase their efficiency, reduce timescales and enable rapid scalability.

The partnership are looking forward to recruiting a recently qualified postgraduate, known as the Associate, to deliver the strategic project. The Associate will be based at Portafina’s offices in Rochester and work under the guidance and support of a team of  academics from the University’s School of Computing. The academics will be bringing a wealth of expertise in a number of areas including developing algorithms for machine learning and text mining tasks, and techniques in natural language processing.

Jamie Smith-Thompson, MD of Portafina, said:

We are very excited to be working with the University of Kent on a number of innovative projects that will have a real impact on our efficiency. Our intention is to make it possible to provide much-needed financial advice to a wider mass-market client base by reducing our back-office costs. We are confident these projects will also enable us to increase service quality at the same time.

We can’t wait to get started.”

Carole Barron, Director of Kent Innovation and Enterprise believes that Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are one of a range of ways in which the University’s academic experts link up with national and local businesses to offer practical advice based on their research. Carole said:

“We are delighted to be entering into this exciting collaboration with Portafina in the area of state-of-the-art machine learning techniques. We look forward to developing a long relationship with Portafina beyond the two year partnership.”

If you are interested in hearing more or to engage with Kent Innovation and Enterprise as your business & innovation gateway into the University please get in touch with the team on 01227 827376 or at enterprise@kent.ac.uk

Tonbridge Short Courses

Tonbridge short courses

Tonbridge Centre have launched their new programme of inspiring non-accredited short courses for the Spring and Summer terms.

The programme mainly focuses on Art History, Creative Writing, History and Literature as well as Classics and Self-development. Read the full programme on the Tonbridge Centre website,

If you’re new to the programme, and would like to be included in email alerts regarding Tonbridge short courses, please email tonbridgeadmin@kent.ac.uk .

Staff may be eligible for a discount: for further details, please contact the Tonbridge Centre by email to tonbridgeadmin@kent.ac.uk or call extension 4990.

Elizabeth Akehurst painting exhibition

Kent alumna Elizabeth Akehurst exhibition

Keynes College is delighted to present their latest exhibition ‘Pleasure in Painting’, by local artist and alumna Elizabeth Akehurst, which is on display on two levels in the Atrium until 8th April 2020.

Elizabeth is particularly thrilled to be returning to Keynes once more, as she last exhibited back in Keynes in 2004 and will be showcasing her impressive paintings spanning over the past 16 years.

When: Friday 24 January 2020 from 17.00 – 19.00

Where: Keynes Atrium

All are very welcome to the the Private View.

Elizabeth Akehurst portrait

Elizabeth explains: “Painting is not where I began.  I came to this University in 1969 to study mathematics and it was here I met my       husband Andrew Akehurst (Eliot 1969-1972) who was studying English.  Three years later I left with a first class  degree and went on to postgraduate studies at Cambridge, part of the first cohort of women admitted to King’s  College Cambridge. After I completed an MSc at Newcastle we came back to Kent in 1976 and I went into teaching.  However, a strong interest in painters and paintings has always formed an integral part of my life and having children and giving up full time work provided space.

I began to paint in the 1980’s, first in watercolour, then as the opportunity allowed, in oils. By the 1990’s I was exhibiting widely and able to drop many other commitments and declare myself a professional artist.  I have been with David and Dawn Lilford in Canterbury at the Liford Gallery  since 2000 and they have represented my work at Art Fairs in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. I have exhibited at other galleries across   England and Scotland.

 My paintings are in the collections of the University of Kent, Canterbury and Medway Council and in private collections both in England and abroad.  I was presented with a Kalaimaiyam International Art Award in 2019.

I had a solo show here in Keynes in 2004 so it is real pleasure to have another. This has given me the chance to show work from the last sixteen years.” – Elizabeth Akehurst

Boats in the Early Morning an Elizabeth Akehurt painting Boats in the Early Morning

All artworks are available to be purchased by emailing keynesmastersoffice@kent.ac.uk or by contacting the artist directly on akehurst@btinternet.com. A price list is available from Keynes Reception.






New Year New You Kent Sport Physiotherapy Clinic

New Year New You massage offer

Want to start 2020 feeling refreshed and relaxed? Here’s your chance with this fabulous offer from the Kent Sport Physiotherapy Clinic. From 20 January to 28 February you can enjoy 20% off a 30-minute massage to help you get rid of those nagging aches and pains.

Massage has a number of physical and psychological benefits, these include:

  • Lifting your mood
  • Relaxing tense muscles
  • Reducing stress
  • Relaxing the mind
  • Improving circulation
  • Increase the overall feeling of well-being

Here at Kent Sport Physiotherapy Clinic, we treat people from all walks of life, from all occupations, of all ages, and across every scale of physical activity – even those who answer “nothing!” to that last part! We treat athletes and weightlifters, footballers and lacrosse players, but one of our most frequent patients is the office employee due to the role often requiring them to sit for long periods of time and the impact of being sedentary.

So whether you are a University of Kent student or staff or a member of the public, you can book an appointment by calling the clinic staff on 01227 824375, visiting reception at the Sports Centre, or email physio@kent.ac.uk.

Dr. Cecilia Sayad

Dr. Cecilia Sayad’s article in Esquire

Dr Cecilia Sayad, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Film, was interviewed for an article in Esquire magazine at the end of last month, on the horror film genre.

Esquire is a men’s lifestyle magazine, which is published in over 20 countries.

The article, entitled ‘The 2010s Were The Decade When Horror Got Smart’ by Thom Nicholson, explores the spate of cerebral horror films from the last ten years, including The Babadook (2014, dir. Jennifer Kent), The Witch (2016, dir. Rober Eggers), Get Out (2017, dir. Jordan Peele) and Midsommar (2019, dir. Ari Aster). Such films were presented as the work of ‘auteur’ directors, giving the them a respectability usually reserved for literary works.

‘We like to think about works of art as somebody talking to us or somebody telling us a story,’ explains Cecilia in the article, ‘I think it’s very appealing to think that there is like a human mind behind this, no matter how many other professionals help or contribute to that.’

To read the full article, please click onto the Esquire’s webpage