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Testing out a theory

Coffin Tales Roadshow is coming to Kent and Medway

The Coffin Tales Roadshow is coming to Kent, Medway and Essex this month with a series of free events that offer creative ways to look at the subject of death and dying.

Dr Julie Hedayioglu, Research Associate at Kent’s Centre for Health Services Studies (and a BPS Chartered Psychologist and Health Psychologist, HCPC Registered) is leading the evaluation of these community events. The aim is to look at the experiences and how people engage with using creative ways of sparking conversations around death, which are known to be beneficial in supporting better choices for end-of-life care.

The Coffin Tales Roadshow, a new series of events funded by Creative Estuary Ideas Lab, gives people the chance to come and look at customs, reflect, and experience traditions around life and death. Each event will have three different workshops led by creative practitioner Natasha Steer, Poet Dan Simpson, and Heritage Scientist/Conservator Dana Goodburn-Brown. There will be investigations into burial artefacts, live cooking workshops relating to funeral food, after dinner games, and creating writing.

Dana Goodburn-Brown said: ‘Some of my favourite and most memorable work is related to the conservation of objects from graves; investigating and sharing stories from our discoveries about the life of the person they belonged to. Finds from graves represent incredible and poignant time capsules revealing the details of ancient lives. It has been my privilege to work with such objects. I rarely get a chance to discuss what these findings mean to people in communities today. It is wonderful to be part of the Coffin Tales Roadshow Team, coming together to focus on what life and death means to us all.’

Dan Simpson said:Poetry is often deployed at significant life events – and, of course, at the end of it: when we come together to celebrate someone who has passed. It is words that outlast us: through stories we tell and lines engraved on gravestones to commemorate the dead. I’m excited to encourage people to write their own words on this topic, and reflect on how to live a meaningful life in the here and now through poetry.’

All are welcome to drop-in events taking place in:

  • Chatham: 18.00 – 21.00, Wednesday 20 October, at Dragon Coworking, St George Hotel, 7-8 New Road Avenue, ME4 6BB
  • Sittingbourne: 14.00 – 17.00, Tuesday 26 October, at The Forum Shopping Centre
  • Southend-on-Sea: 13.00 – 16.00, Thursday 28 October, at Prittlewell Priory, Priory Lodge, Victoria Avenue, SS2 6NB
  • and Gravesend: 10.00 – 13.00, Sunday 31 October, at St Andrew’s Art Centre, 19 Royal Pier Road, DA12 2BD

For further information, please contact: coffintalesroadshow@gmail.com

Books and Computers for Africa

The Division of Natural Sciences has been collecting books to send to Books2Africa (a Canterbury based registered charity 1152599). This drive led by Dr Andrew Wickens from Sports and Exercise Sciences collected 18 decent sized boxes of books which the charity were extremely pleased with.

This October in celebration of Black History Month, they are organising the Kent Computer Drive to collect donations of laptops and desktops to be refurbished and shipped to students and teachers in Africa. Their goal is to raise 500 laptops and 200 desktops and are offering free collections and drop-offs within Kent only. Anyone who wishes to donate their old laptop or desktop in Kent or to find out more, can head to the website to arrange a free collection or drop-off.

A shout out to the Division of Natural Sciences, and to Andrew in particular for collecting so many books for such a worthy cause.

To find out more please take a look at the Kent Computer Drive Poster

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

Staff in library 2

Register of Interests – 2021/2022

All staff are invited to submit new or updated declarations for incorporation in the 2021/2022 Register.

The University Council holds a Register of Interests for members of Council and all staff, in line with the Higher Education Code of Governance and the Office for Students Audit requirements. It is up to individual members of staff what, if any, interests they declare – however, making a declaration provides protection for both you and the University against any possible allegations of impropriety.

For the purposes of the Register, an interest is defined to be any financial or other personal interest an individual may have in any relationship or proposed relationship between the University and an external body. This would include consultancy, employment, directorship or other activity within a commercial concern, shareholding or membership of statutory and public authorities. Other education establishments and companies with which the University has an actual or potential business relationship should be included, as should any interest that a family member might have that could give the appearance of a conflict, even where no actual conflict exists.

Documents, including the Policy and a Declaration Form can be accessed on the Council Secretariat website and on SharePoint. You can also find the University’s Policy on Personal Benefit can be found on our Governance pages.

Colleagues are welcome to contact Council Secretariat for confidential advice if needed.

Lunchtime Concert series returns on 20 October with Jonathan Mayer

The Music department’s curated Lunchtime Concert series returns this month, as we welcome sitarist and composer, Jonthan Mayer, to launch the new series.

The concert series, which is open to all and free to attend, brings some of the best performers to Colyer-Fergusson Hall, and this term sees some exciting links with the University’s musical community.

In a change to the normal procedure, entry is by free ticket only, which needs to be booked in advance please see the website for details

The Music department is grateful to Furley Page Solicitors for sponsoring the Lunchtime Concerts.

Christmas parties at Kent 2021 – Book today

Celebrate the festive season in style with us at Kent this year.

We’re excited to announce that Christmas Parties on the Canterbury campus are now open and taking bookings.

We have packages to suit all tastes, from organised Christmas Party Nights on Thursday 9 or Thursday 16 December in Darwin Suite with an indulgent 3-course meal and entertainment, or exclusive use of Darwin Suite for your own private festive event with seasonal menus, drinks and entertainment packages.

Or for something truly different, why not bring some festive wonder to your Christmas party and hold your event outdoors in our large marquee overlooking Canterbury Cathedral? Bespoke packages are available from festive BBQs and hog roasts, to canapés and Champagne topped off with a snow machine for a Winter Wonderland experience.

Plus, our Conference and Events Team are on hand to take the stress out of the organisation for you during this busy time.

So, whatever your plans, support Kent this season by keeping your spend on campus and count on us for fun-filled celebrations and a night to remember.

Find out more on the Christmas Parties webpages or send an enquiry via this form.

E-Learning webinar: Pedagogy and Practice when Teaching Online

The E-Learning Team are pleased to announce that the next event in our series of ‘Digitally Enhanced Education webinars’ will take place on Wednesday 27 October at the slightly later time of 14:00 – 16:30 (BST), with the theme ‘Pedagogy and Practice when Teaching Online’.

Please find the agenda for the event below:

14:00 – 14:05 – Phil Anthony: Introduction

14:05 – 14:20 – Associate Professor Rachel Bolton-King (Staffordshire University): 5 Steps to Rethink your Remote Pedagogy

14:20 – 14:35 – Mary Jacob (Aberystwyth University): Dialogic feedback in online group tutorials

14:35 – 14:50 – Professor Phil Race: Assessment: Do we measure what we’ve taught, or something else?

14:50 – 15:05 – Michael Natzler (Hepi): Thinking about the student voice

15:05 – 15:20 – Chris Douce (Open University): Getting published in a peer reviewed journal

15:20 – 15:30 – Break

15:30 – 15:45 – Vikki Anderson, Susan Onens & Karl Nightingale (University of Birmingham): Audio feedback. A step towards a more inclusive curriculum

15:45 – 16:00 – Zoë Allman (Associate Dean, De Montfort University): Mental wellbeing for all

16:00 – 16:15 – Flower Darby (Northern Arizona University): Practical tips for engaging students via online forums

16:15 – 16:30 – Dr Peter Horneffer (All American Institute of Medical Sciences): Applying Evidence-based Strategies For Effective Teaching in Digital Classrooms

If you would like to join the webinar series, please express your interest here if you haven’t already. We will add you the Microsoft Team linked to the series.  Colleagues from outside the University are very welcome to join and so feel free to circulate.

If you would like to present at a future event, please complete this form and Phil Anthony will be in touch.

We hope to see you there.

Feedback from the ‘Implementing an anti-racism strategy’ session

The final day of Kent’s inaugural staff conference was marked by an important session on our university’s new Anti-racism strategy. GdM (DVC, EDI Lead and Kent’s Race Champion) hosted a staff discussion and Q&A, together with a panel of colleagues instrumental in the development of our strategy.

You can listen to a recording of the event.

Slides to accompany the event – Staff Conference anti-racism strategy slides

Key feedback from the session include:

*making sure that experiences and stories are incorporated into our anti-racism work (along with more quantitative forms of data).

*being as transparent as possible about what we are doing, so that we can get the most out of this living-breathing process and associated work plans.

In response to this feedback we will be continuing to update our Challenging Racism pages so that this can serve as one part of a broader suite of mechanisms for feedback and transparency in our work around EDI. We will also be looking to join up important insights from across the institution, including but not limited to the important experiential information and recommendations which have emerged from the BAME Staff Network’s survey and project.

To amplify work that is already happening across Kent in support of our approach to anti-racism, we’d also like to draw your attention to other key updates at this time:

*Inform Kent (InK) has changed to Report + Support. The Report + Support page can be found on the website. The page gives the option to give an anonymous report or a report with details that Ken can follow up on. In both cases your confidentiality will be respected in-line with our safeguarding policies. This page also collates all of the help and support pages into one, to increase access to the resources that may be most helpful to you at the time.

*The staff reporting tool can still be accessed via links found on the “Reporting Incidents” page.

Just a reminder that this reporting tool is for any sort of incident that occurs, irrespective of whether the incident involves another member of staff.

We hope that staff and students will feel encouraged to report incidents and that the experience of doing so feels helpful and supportive.  Where sufficient information is shared, we hope to enable effective, timely resolutions and support.  Your experience at Kent is important to us.  If for any reason you have concerns about reporting, do please speak to a Harassment Adviser or someone you trust within the institution, as we’d like to ensure you get the support you need.

VC Cup staff sports event

On your marks, get set for this year’s VC’s Cup

Want to get active and have some fun too? Enter a team for this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Cup, a light-hearted competition for staff across Kent, regardless of ability.

Once a month, departments compete activities ranging from rounders and volleyball to ultimate Frisbee, pub games and more! Most activities take place during the lunch hour (12.00-13.00 or 13.00-14.00) and span the academic year, starting with ‘It’s A Knockout’ on Tuesday 2 November 2021 and culminating in The Quiz event on Monday 12 September 2022. The Quiz event will be followed by a closing ceremony, usually held in the Pavilion Café Bar with a buffet for all attendees to enjoy food and drinks in between quiz rounds and crowning event winners.

Charlie Dast, Sports Development Officer, says: ‘Not only is the VC’s Cup a great opportunity to get up, move around and break up your work day, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to meet staff you may have never encountered in different departments across the University.’

Charlie, together with his colleagues Karen, Billy and Amy, will be on hand throughout the contest to look after participants. To date, 15 teams/departments have signed up, including: Research Innovation Services, Kent Business School, HR, Estates, Natural Sciences, Campus Security, Human and Social Sciences, Kent & Medway Medical School. But there’s still time to enter your own team! Deadline for entries is Friday 15 October 2021 at 17.00 – get your entry in now by emailing sportsdevelopment@kent.ac.uk.

You can find out more about the Vice-Chancellor’s Cup, what’s happening and when, on the VC’s Cup webpages.

The Sports Development Team looks forward to hearing from you!

World Menopause Day – Monday 18 October 2021

Monday 18 October 2021 is World Menopause Day. At Kent, we support staff as they go through different stages of their life.

Menopause is a natural life event that many of our colleagues will experience.  We want to ensure that staff are supported throughout this time, now and in the future. We have curated a range of resources (see below) to help individuals and managers gain a deeper understanding of how to support colleagues before, during and after menopause, including making necessary provisions and adjustments if and when symptoms necessitate this.

If you are currently experiencing symptoms and feel this is impacting on you at work speak to your manager who may decide you would benefit from advice from OH on appropriate adjustments and complete a Management Referral

If you are a manager and have a member of staff who is experiencing symptoms that are impacting them at work, we encourage you to avail yourself of the resources below and to have supportive conversations, to ensure colleagues have the necessary adjustments to help minimise the impacts to them at work at this time. Please be led by staff and their needs – which may fluctuate.

Resources

As part of our membership with Inclusive Employers, we have access to a number of resources including the menopause tool kit

The tool kit aims to equip workplaces with the necessary information, guidance and resources to improve how they support colleagues (including women and some men, trans and non-binary people) before, during and after the menopause.

We also have additional guidance on the Occupational Health webpages, which has details of the EAP and OH referral and the link to the  Women’s Staff Network, which has some further resources relating to the Menopause, as well as the Inclusion passport.

In addition, a virtual Menopause awareness session, delivered by Positive Pause is planned for Wednesday 20 October from 13.00-14.00 and bookable via Staff Connect. As part of the session, you will:

  1. Learn about menopause symptoms and the potential impact of menopause, plus the range of self-care and management options available.
  2. Find out what support is available and how to access it, both in, and outside of, the workplace.
  3. Develop confident conversation frameworks to help with discussions at work, at home and with GPs

Helping everyone

From the resources, you will see that there are some general adjustments that could be considered to ensure everyone feels more comfortable, such as:

  • Ventilation systems in rooms as well as individual/desk access to fans.
  • Engaging providers that use breathable fabrics and materials – for any staff that require a uniform or prescribed work wear.

Some of these changes may support staff who are also experiencing menopause symptoms.  The changes could also usefully be considered in environments in which we hold events.

It’s helpful to note that, while menopause is not in itself a disability, severe symptoms may constitute disabilities.