Public engagement with research

Who are we working with?

At a University level, we have developed relationships with:

1. University of the Third Age (U3A)

The University of the Third Age (U3A) is an organisation that brings together retired and semi-retired people to enjoy new experiences and gain new knowledge for fun.

Members of the Canterbury and District branch of the U3A have been working with researchers at Kent for some time. Through the establishment of an MOU between our organisations, we are formalising our relationship to help promote further collaborations.

Because of its regional position, a high proportion of the Canterbury and District branch members are former researchers, many of whom are keen to continue their involvement in research whether by informing research priorities, collaborating as researchers themselves, hearing about new research that chimes with their interests. The U3A, given its demographic, is interested in subjects relating to ageing, healthcare, citizenship, heritage, learning, and travel. Our local group has a particularly wide array of interests and are particularly keen to have more involvement with sciences based subjects.

2. Canterbury Cathedral

Staff have been collaborating with Canterbury Cathedral for some time now. The Cathedral hosted the successful Questions of Space festival in June 2016.

The Cathedral have established a new process to enable them to effectively handle approaches made to them for collaboration with external organisations, including HEIs. The first step is an application form called a PPF1 (Project Proposal Form). This gives the Cathedral staff all the information they need to assess approaches for collaboration, in line with their priorities and capacity.

The Cathedral are currently embarking on the Canterbury Journey project, combining restoration and development of the site, and enhancing their engagement with the community.

3. Kearsney Parks

Kearsney Parks at Dover has received funding for its restoration and development. The project team are keen that the site meets the current and future cultural appetite of the local and regional community while attracting new audiences. The re-development is at an early stage and the team are very open-minded about collaborations involving both students and research staff at Kent for projects, public engagement, teaching, or other activities.

A key focus is re-creation/re-invigoration of the cultural experiences of the site's past. They wish to know who is using the site, how they experience it, and to track changes as the site develops. Here are key emerging themes of interest which may help to inspire:

  1. Landscape and gardens
  2. Ecology – bat populations may be compromised by removal of the trees.    
              River Dour runs through the site
  3. Industry and housing
  4. People – previous owners and those employed on site in the past
  5. Change (throughout history and as development changes the site)

The team are at the beginning of what is a multi-faceted programme of regeneration and so this is really the time to engage with them.

Community Engagement Officer Anita Sedgewick invites anyone who is interested to contact her directly. Please copy in Maddy Bell at

5. Local schools

Many research staff at Kent work with local schools in the area. The University’s Partnership Development Office offers support for engagement with schools via a range of local educational partnerships.

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Last Updated: 29/06/2017