Think Kent Live Production

Research communication

Client: University of Kent
Project: Think Kent Live Production


From 2015 to 2018, Slate and Mortar worked with University of Kent on a suite of research communications videos packaged as the ‘Think Kent’ series. Inspired by the ‘TED Talks’ format, Kent wanted to showcase the range and breadth of their research excellence and cutting-edge academia. The talks were a way of getting both of these objectives across, via a simple but engaging format; academics would deliver a twelve-minute presentation on what they were most passionate about, or whatever was the most thought-provoking aspect of their research.

Subjects varied from; ‘Flexible working’ (25,000 views on YouTube), ‘The ten commandments of being a scientist’ (15,000 views), ‘Mind over muscle’ (17,000 views) or even ‘Optimizing endurance performance’ (30,000 views on YouTube) and these research communication films were designed to provoke discussion and open a dialogue with university academics.

Retaining audience engagement throughout the twelve-minute duration was key, so one stipulation of the brief was that the films had to have high aesthetic values and go beyond looking like a simple academic lecture-capture. They also needed to consider contemporary global challenges and issues; such as climate change and the environmental implications, obesity, the war on terror etc.

Using multiple high-end cameras and working with lighting and sound specialists, each twelve-minute talk was recorded in a lit and stage-dressed auditorium. This format allowed the ability to create multiple videos in each sitting, which were then edited and delivered in batches of six, to be distributed by the university’s social media channels over the next few months. Eventually, over 105 films were produced for the series.

These research communication films have gone onto receive excellent recognition within the sector, as well as bringing outside-publications and prospective students to take a closer look at individual departments. In 2017, this series was nominated at the British Universities Film and Video Council for a ‘Learning on Screen’ award and was also shortlisted in 2016 for a HEIST award.