When: 15th – 24th November 2018
Where: Taking place across the UK
£: Many events are free. Booking is required for some events
What is it?
This month, the annual Being Human festival will take place with a range of unusual and thought-provoking events across the UK. Now in its fifth year, the festival will see universities open their doors to share their innovative humanities research with the public.
Run by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, the festival will take place from Thursday 15th to Saturday 24th November. This unique national celebration of the humanities will for 2018 have a theme of Origins and Endings, featuring a programme of unusual events that draw on innovative and engaged humanities research.
There will be six festival ‘hubs’ in the universities of Dundee, Exeter, Newcastle, Nottingham, Queen Mary London and Swansea. Activities will range from the topical to the ‘out there’ and all aim to be thought-provoking, entertaining and enriching. The ten-day festival will have more than 250 UK-wide events, suitable for all ages and all walks of life.
This year’s events will include a number 29 Routemaster bus journey, tracing the 50-year movement of London’s Greek Cypriot community, through their voices and stories, from the city’s West End through Camden Town, Finsbury Park and on to Enfield Town. It’s a tale that chimes closely with the origins and endings theme of this year’s Being Human festival.
If you are looking for suspense, mystery and horror, the University of Dundee will be running a programme exploring Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein blockbuster and other connotations of ‘monsters’, including the creation of a Frankenstein Returns comic, full of fantastic artworks by local artists and competition winners. They will also be publishing a new Dundee edition of Frankenstein, celebrating Shelley’s links to the city, which will be distributed free to local schoolchildren.
Transforming complex ideas into sound-only can be a massive challenge. So how can anyone turn data on police violence into a sound installation? Well, that’s exactly what Queen Mary University of London will be attempting with Other Registers; an immersive sound installation that uses software to transform official data about police violence in Rio de Janeiro, into sound. Visitors will be able to listen to the statistics played through eight loudspeakers arranged in a circle.
Other programme highlights will include Feminists Eat Your Greens! from the University of Strathclyde and Glasgow’s Women’s Library. Visitors will be invited to join researchers for a feast at a recreated Edwardian vegetarian restaurant and hear the untold history of non meat-eating suffragettes. Guests will discover why so many feminists identify as vegetarians and what lentils have to do with the vote.
Once Upon a Time, The End, organised by the University of Swansea, is a creative writing workshop for children aged 8–12 (and parents). The workshop will look at the shape of stories, how to open a door on to a new world and how to draw the curtain in a dramatic fashion.
The Historical Death Café and experts from Northumbria University will examine how we preserve family memories through stories and objects. And in Glasgow, Drawing to a Close, will provide the first public exhibition of Norman Gilbert’s drawings of his wife at the end of her life. It will demonstrate how the humanities help us to tackle difficult subjects and explore death and terminal illness in a way that the sciences cannot.
Finally, The Sisterhood of the Ring will peruse the role of race and gender in the circus and the rise of contemporary circus art. Talks will be interspersed with performances from contemporary female artistes.
More info: beinghumanfestival.org