Student Success

Promoting student equality, diversity and inclusivity

Inspirational Speakers Programme

The inspirational Speaker Programme has been initiated by the central project team as a proactive strategy in developing a conversation across the university around race and belonging within the context of academic attainment. We have been delighted to confirm the following speakers to the programme. Please feel free to email to book or enquire about events.


ASPIRE - Afro-Caribbean Society Student Conference - Keynote Speaker - Dr Miranda Brawn

Multi award winning senior business, legal & diversity executive, barrister, board advisor, patron, philanthropist, social entrepreneur, founder of the Miranda Brawn diversity leadership foundation, media contributor, public speaker and one of the UKs top Diversity Leaders Dr Miranda Brawn will be providing the Keynote speech at this year’s UKC ACS’s annual conference: ASPIRE. In association with the Student Success Project & University of Kent, The UKCACS ASPIRE 2018 conference will focus on employability, CV workshops, start-ups, driving change and will be filled with workshops from both the business and creative sectors, opportunities for networking, includes free food and refreshments, as well as a gift bag!

Date: Saturday 17th March 2018
Time: Doors at 11am
Where: Templeman Lecture Theatre

For more information, contact the @UKCACS social accounts, booking here

An Evening with Lemn Sissay - "Gold From the Stone"

We are delighted to host the International poet/writer, Poet Laureate of Canterbury and Chancellor of the University of Manchester, Lemn Sissay MBE as part of our Inspirational Speaker Series who will be delivering a talk "Gold From the Stone", Monday 26th February 2018, 5.30pm, The Gulbenkian Cafe

Come and join us for networking and free nibbles following the event. Come and meet Lemn.

Date: Monday 26th Feb 2018
Time: 17:30
Where: Gulbenkian Cafe


This event is free and open to all with a valid ticket. For more information on the talk and how to book please visit out EventBrite page

Download the event poster here

Lecture - Professor Karen Cox

We are pleased to confirm that Prof Karen Cox, University of Kent Vice-chancellor and president, delivered a talk "From Pudsey to Professor: How Education Transforms Life" as part of the Student Success Project Inspirational Speaker programme,Tuesday 13th February 2018 6pm, in Grimond.


Education changed the life of Professor Karen Cox; education took her from Pudsey to Professor. Staff and students were warmly invited to hear about Karen’s unique journey to such a senior position in our institution.


Date: Tuesday 13th Feb 2018
Time: 18:15
Where: Grimond Building


This event is free and open to all. For more information on the talk and how to book please visit out EventBrite page

Download the event poster here

Kent Law School - Symeria Hudson - Defying the odds, from Alabama to MBA Harvard to Senior Executive and Global President Franchises and Innovations ConvaTec

Interested in achieving success? Don’t miss the next speaker for the Inspirational Speaker Series brought to you by the Student Success Project.

Recent Senior Executive at ConvaTec plc, Symeria Hudson, will share her story of growing up in Alabama, attending a historically black college, gaining an MBA at Harvard and winning a seat on the leadership team for one of the largest IPOs in the world of healthcare.
Symeria will share her approach to life and career, defeating odds with perseverance to achieve success despite many challenges faced over the years. Symeria’s talk will be followed by a Q&A session and an opportunity to network.


Hear Symeria’s insights:

Purpose: ‘Who you are will determine who you will become’

Passion: Approaching your career with zeal and excitement

Perseverance: Taking grit to a new level, moving forward despite difficulty or delay


Date: Thursday 25th January 2018
Time: 12.30 - 13:45
Where: Moot Room, Wigoder building

Please click on the link below to register for a free ticket:

Kent Law School - Colin Colas Lecture - "What I wish I knew at university: Thinking Globally and Never say Never"

The Student Success Project are delighted to confirm that Colin Colas, Civil Service Fast Streamer at the Ministry of Justice and former applicant to the Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship will be providing advice to students on the Canterbury Campus.

Colin will soon be heading to the Foreign Office, to work on international development projects across Asia-Pacific and East Africa. Colin previously he spent two years studying Mandarin in China having won a scholarship from the Chinese government, where he launched an entrepreneurship event sponsored by the British Consulate in Shanghai and he has valuable experience in business development and marketing communications.

Colin will speak about fresh, new and effective approaches to attract, capitalise and create career opportunities, including the power of networking. He will share his tips for overcoming challenges to achieve success and for transitioning from university into a successful career. 

Date: Thursday 18th January 2018
Time: 12.30 - 2.00
Where: Moot Room, Wigoder building

This event is free and open to all. For further details please contact Sheree Palmer (Student Success Project Officer)

Black History Month Lecture – ‘Contribution of Black and Asian Soldiers to the first World War’ by Junior JD Douglas

This interesting talk, as seen at the House of Commons, covers the contribution of black and Asian soldiers to the First World War.  This contribution includes combatants, non-combatants and resources. The area called the colonies in the lecture, include India, (pre-partition) Africa and the Caribbean.  Images of the different troops, who fought and images of their regiment are portrayed to bring this talk to life.

Beyond the battle field the lecture looks at the social political back ground in England and the Colonies. The Lecture is interactive as it consist of slides and film, to demonstrate what is narrated.
Date: Wednesday 18th October 2017
Time: Doors open at 18:00 for talk to start at 18:30.
Where: Mess Deck, Chatham Historic Dockyard  (see here for map)

This is a free event and open to all. Please RSVP here.

Historic Dockyard Chatham and The University of Kent - Black History Month Art Exhibition

The Historic Dockyard Chatham and The University of Kent proudly presents its Black History Month Art Exhibition Launch Event on Wednesday 18th October 2017 at the Historic Dockyard’s Mess Deck. The theme of the exhibition this year will be ‘Celebrating Black Professors in Kent’s Universities.’

Situated within the context of Higher Education, this exhibition aims to highlight and celebrate the academic achievements of black Professors in Kent’s universities. This will feature artistic recreation of images of black Professors in Kent’s universities by students of the University of Kent’s School of Music and Fine Art, along with a synopsis of their research interests and contribution to scholarship. Come and meet the artists on the evening and celebrate the achievements of our black Professors. The exhibition will run from October 1 to 31, 2017.

To come along to a private viewing of this new exhibiton, meet the artisits and the black acadmics who inspired them Please RSVP here.

Date: Wednesday 18th October 2017
Time: Doors open at 17:30
Where: Mess Deck, Chatham Historic Dockyard  (see here for map)

This event is free and open to all.

Student Success Black History Month Event – Anne Marie Imafidon MBE Lecture - Canterbury Campus

It is with great pleasure that the Student Success Project can confirm that Anne Marie Imafidon MBE will be visiting the University of Kent School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science in October 2017. Anne Marie Imafidon MBE is a mathematics, computing and language child prodigy, her achievements include passing two GCSEs aged ten (Mathematics & ICT), being the youngest girl ever to pass A-level computing (aged 11) and being one of the youngest to be awarded a Masters’ degree in Mathematics & Computer Science by the University of Oxford, aged 20.  She is also CEO of STEMettes - an award winning social enterprise inspiring the next generation of females into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics roles.

Date: Wednesday 18th October 2017
Time: 4pm
Where: KLT1

This event is free. Booking for this event is now open. Please RSVP here

Student Success Black History Month Event – Akala Lecture - Canterbury Campus

The Student Success Project were thrilled that MOBO Award winning Artist, Rapper, Poet, Academic, Historian and Activist Akala visited the University of Kent in October 2017 to deliver a lecture and interactive session. This formed the core of our Black History Month Events 2017 here at the university.
The theme of Akala’s lecture was “Critiquing epistemology: A history of Black Britain.”

Akala touched on race, class, sexism, history, war, hip-hop culture and what it is to live in a world one knows to be inherently unequal, yet rounds it all off not with accusations or anger but inward self-analysis. “The only way we can ever change anything, is to look in the mirror and to find no enemy.”

This event was free and open to all

School Sport Exercise Science - Professor Keven Hylton Lecture - Medway Campus

We were delighted that Professor Kevin Hylton, the first black Professor of Equality and Diversity in Sport, Leisure and Education and Head of the Research Centre for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion visited the University of Kent School of Sport and Exercise Science, 4th October 2017.

This presentation was a key part of our Black History Month Events 2017. His research focuses on the nature and extent of 'race', racism and racialization in sport, leisure and education. He spoke to both staff and students about race and belonging.

This event was free and open to all.

ASPIRE - Afro-Caribbean Society Student Symposium

March 2017 - The Student Success Project collaborated with the Afro-Caribbean Society to host the ASPIRE Student Symposium, March 18th 2017. Dr Lez Henry, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, The Ealing Law School, University of West London and Dr Carlton Brown of City University, London were invited by the Central Project Officer to speak at the event.

Dr Henry used Critical Race Theory as a framework and explored the subject of race and beloinging to deliver a workshop, within which he provided a narrative of his journey in academia. 

Dr Brown used the forum to provide insight into the process of starting a business. In addition, he spoke about his journey through academia and through the business sector, as well as the implications of race and belonging on his professional/academic success.

Lecture - Professor Robbie Shilliam - 'The aims and methods of liberal education: Notes from a 19th century Pan Africanist.’

October 2016 - Professor Robbie Shilliam, Professor in International Relations of Queen Mary University of London delivered a critical lecture 25th October 2016 entitled ‘The aims and methods of liberal education: Notes from a 19th century Pan Africanist.’ The event was hugely successful and presented a forum in which ‘race and belonging’ was explored and discussed among our culturally diverse student body.



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Student Success, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (01227) 816513

Last Updated: 05/03/2018