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Testing out a theory

Rock Choir logo

Rock Choir returns!

If you’d like a break from work, tune in to your FREE lunchtime Rock Choir once more this term!

Once you get your head around singing through Zoom, it’s a fantastic way to give your brain a break and to de-stress. Rock Choir will be meeting virtually online and learning some great new arrangements together.

Rehearsals start on Zoom from the 21st of September and for the following Mondays. You can turn up to as few or as many as you’d like. If you’d like to attend (and haven’t joined a session since the start of 2020), please email jonathangrosberg@rockchoir.com to register to take part.

Places are limited, so make sure you sign up if you’re interested!

Neophytus Loizides

Webinar on Covid-19 in the Americas – 21 September

A webinar on ‘Subnational Governments in the COVID-19 Scenario in the Americas’ takes place on Monday 21 September from 14.00 (UK time).

The webinar is organised by School of Politics and International Relations, the Conflict Analysis Research Centre (CARC), the Forum of Federations and the Organisation of American States (OAS).

You can watch it live on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoXLBorRKps or https://www.youtube.com/user/forumoffederations

The webinar will include welcome remarks from:
• Rupak Chattopadhyay, President & CEO, Forum of Federations
• Magdalena Talamas, Director of the Department for the Promotion of Peace, OAS
Neophytos Loizides, Director of the Conflict Analysis Research Centre, University of Kent

Panelists include:
• Matias Bianchi, Executive Director, Asuntos del Sur
• Juan Cruz Olmeda, Associate Professor, Centre for International Studies , El Colegio de Mexico
• Joy St John, Executive Director, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)
• Isaac Alfie, Director of the Office of Planning and Budget of Uruguay and Head of the Covid- 19 Presidential Technical Advisory Committee
• Nathalie Behnke, Professor, Institute of Political Science of the Technical University Darmstadt
• Andreas Kiefer, Acting Secretary General, Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Council of Europe

The webinar is open to all and free to attend with no booking necessary. Feel free to pass on the details to anyone that might be interested.

Picture shows: Professor Neophytos Loizides, Director of the Conflict Analysis Research Centre at the University of Kent.

New coronavirus testing site on the Medway campus

A walk-through coronavirus testing facility is opening this week in front of the Jellicoe Building car park on Medway campus.

Opening times are:
Thursday 17 September – 14.00-17.00
Friday 18 September- 10.00-17.00
And then 08.00-20.00 seven days a week.

Anyone attending an appointment at a walk-through centre will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the test site safely.

Everyone who attends the testing centre must follow a strict set of rules including following social distancing, practising good personal hygiene, not travelling by taxi or public transport and wearing a face covering throughout. There will be clear signage that directs those coming to the testing centre to move around the location in a socially distanced manner and they will be directed to leave as soon as they are finished.

Anyone with coronavirus symptoms, however mild, can get a free swab test that takes less than a minute. Tests should be booked or ordered as soon as symptoms begin at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119 and you can expect your result the next day.

Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts. This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.

Further information on Covid-19 is available on our coronavirus webpages for staff and students.

A medic person in PPE testing someone sitting in their car.

New coronavirus testing site at Medway campus

A walk-through coronavirus testing facility will open at the Medway campus this week as part of the government’s UK-wide drive to improve the accessibility of coronavirus testing for communities. Testing is available for everyone with coronavirus symptoms, with additional support for vulnerable groups and people with disabilities.

The testing facility will be located in front of the Jellicoe building, in the car park accessed by North Road. This area has a low student footfall, and you will not need to walk through main campus to access it.

The site is easily accessible without a car, and those being tested will be required to follow public health measures in attending the testing centre, including social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practising good personal hygiene and wearing a face covering throughout (including travelling to and from the testing centre).

Anyone with coronavirus symptoms, however mild, can get a free swab test that takes less than a minute. The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat, which can be done by the person themselves (self-administered) or by someone else (assisted). Those being tested may experience some mild discomfort but it should not hurt.

Tests should be booked or ordered as soon as symptoms begin at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119 and you can expect your result the next day.

Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts. This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.

Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, advising them to stay at home for 14 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book at test if they develop symptoms.

Professor Karen Cox, Vice-Chancellor

Vice-Chancellor’s update – 16 September 2020

The start of this new academic year is like no other, and more than ever we need to be conscious of our place and role in the communities in which we work, live and study.

Over the last few months, many of our staff and students have worked hard to support the fight against Covid-19. Some contributed through their research or through the production of essential PPE. Others, including those students who remained living locally, were on the frontline of support for the nation as healthcare workers, delivery drivers, supermarket staff or as volunteers in the community helping those who were shielding. I cannot thank you all enough for your efforts and I am particularly proud of the work done by our students.

As new and returning students join our community, Rama Thirunamachandran, the Vice-Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, and I have written a joint letter to the local press and residents’ associations to stress our ongoing commitment to responding to Covid-19 and keeping our communities safe. Both universities have introduced specific measures in support of our pledge, including starting our Street Marshal scheme earlier than usual to provide additional reassurance to students and to the wider community.

Here at Kent, we are running information campaigns to remind our students of their responsibilities in helping to reduce the transmission of the virus in our region and in acting as our ambassadors in the areas in which they live. We will let them know of any changes to government guidance and legislation as well bringing to their attention our Code of Conduct and Student Disciplinary Procedures.

We are also working with local public health authorities to support the NHS Test and Trace, including hosting local testing sites on our Canterbury and Medway campuses for students, staff and the local community. This is a key part of the strategy of early identification of cases, to enable the prevention of onward transmission.

As well as the public health authorities, we are working with the NHS, and regional and national government to ensure we have appropriate safety measures, guidance and regulations in place across our universities. We will continue to work with other community partners through the HE/FE Community (strategic) Group, which includes representatives from local authorities, the Police and landlords. We will also continue to liaise with our local residents’ associations on a regular basis to ensure we understand their concerns and respond appropriately.  Both Rama and I are confident that the steps we are taking will support the health and wellbeing of our student, staff and local communities as we continue to work together to minimise the impact of Covid-19.

I hope you and your families are keeping well and I wish you an enjoyable start to the beginning of term.

Yours sincerely,


Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President



Covid-19 update – 16 September 2020

Welcome back to the staff who have returned to work on campus. If you would prefer to work back on campus, you will need to discuss your plans and circumstances with your line manager as part of the health and safety protocols now in place.

We know increasing numbers of staff are now seeking to work from campus, but we ask that you do comply with these essential protocols. However, we want to make it as easy as possible for you and we will be sending out new information for staff and managers to explain the return to campus procedures later this week.   

The Government has published new guidance concerning meeting others. The new ‘rule of 6’ states that you can meet up to 6 other people indoors or outdoors providing you socially distance from each other. This means staying 2 metres apart where possible. Please adhere to the ‘rule of 6’ when engaging socially with others; for example during breaks, lunchtime and walking around campus.   

There are some exemptions for University settings including seminars and households which include more than 6 individuals. This may be the case for some student residences. Further information can be found in the newly added FAQs on the Student Coronavirus webpages and Staff Coronavirus webpages (Safety on Campus section) .   

A new FAQ has also been added to the Staff Coronavirus webpages concerning room bookings on campus (in the What Will Happen on Your Return section). This confirms the process for booking a room and that all interviews should be carried out remotely until Government guidance changes. 

Dan Harding with Julie Wassmer, Dominic King and Michelle Harris, image credit Olivia Harding

The Whitstable Pearl Mysteries and Music

Turn on your radio and listen to the Dominic King show on BBC Radio Kent for a two-part series featuring Daniel Harding, Head of Musical Performance at Kent.

In the series, Dan will be in conversation with the Whitstable-based crime writer, Julie Wassmer, about the use of music in her ‘Whitstable Pearl’ series of crime novels, which are set in Kent.

The first episode will be broadcast Wednesday 16 September at 20.12 and the second episode will be going out Thursday 17 September at 20.12.


Monday – Thursday  18.00 – 21.00

The Arts Show for Kent

Social Media channels: @bbcradiokent @DominicKingBBC #TDKS



Nostalgia interview with Reverend Dr Justin Lewis-Anthony

In the latest episode of the Nostalgia podcast series, Dr Chris Deacy, Head of the Department of Religious Studies, interviews Reverend Dr Justin Lewis-Anthony who did his PhD in Religious Studies at Kent from 2008-12 and was Chris’ first PhD student to complete.

Justin talks about how he ended up doing a PhD with Chris, and why the topic of leadership was something that made him angry. He talks about how cinema is the functioning mythological delivery system of this age and how many people expect Church leaders to function like John Wayne, while Justin would rather teach people to be disciples.

Justin also tells us why he’s bored by dark superheroes, and we find out about the problem with thinking of authenticity as an empirical standard and why it’s not a goal for human flourishing. Justin reveals why he isn’t crippled by memories of the past and having a sensitivity to one’s surroundings and history in the context of having a Welsh father. He talks about ‘disasters survived’ and recognising one’s responsibilities to others rather than introspection.

At the end of the interview, Justin talks about what it is that justifies his own existence, and the danger of living one’s life through one’s children.

University of Kent shows support for trans communities

The University of Kent is one of many organisations who are standing up for trans equality. Yesterday, in solidarity with Stonewall, 136 major UK companies came together in a show of support for trans communities.

This campaign has been created in response to the Government’s legislative action that will  negatively impact the lives, safety and careers of trans individuals. A few months ago, the government scrapped long-overdue plans to allow trans people to self-ID.

Stonewall is Britain’s leading lesbian, gay bi and trans equality charity. The University has added its name to a public statement to say trans rights are human rights, and highlight our support for trans colleagues, employees and customers.

As part of the campaign, many of these organisations have also written to the Prime Minister directly to call on the UK Government to honour its commitment to protect trans people’s rights and reform the Gender Recognition Act.

Library staff

Library services update for staff

Information Services and the Library Academic Liaison Team are here to help staff with providing the resources you need, information literacy skills training, teaching and research support and lots more.

We hope to support you and your students in the best way possible during this challenging time.

[Picture showing members of the Library team was taken by Hannah Chamberlain prior to lockdown in March 2020.]