Being Human is an annual festival bringing together museums, artists, charities, community organisations and academics for a celebration of humanities research with a diverse range of events.
Although this year’s Being Human festival will be a little different, there will still be a full programme of activities taking place online. With events including virtual tours, quizzes, exhibitions and storytelling, as well as socially distanced activities and virtual cafés.
Being Human cafés
Being Human cafés invite people to put the kettle on, break out the biscuits and engage with some new ideas. All in the time that it takes you to sip your cuppa.
This year’s virtual cafés include the Forty Winks Café reflecting on contemporary culture, sleep and health, with researchers from Northumbria University; and a Bostin’ Tea Party Virtual Café exploring Black Country dialect with the University of Wolverhampton.
Special Time Machine cafés will help you discover the activists of the 1970s & 80s; and magic’s golden age in the roaring 20s. Topical café events such as the Vaccination Old and New Café and the Plotting Outdoor Worlds Café, will get your brain whirring over your tea and biscuits.
Virtual festival events
But it’s not just about virtual cultural cuppas. This year’s festival will have a New Worlds theme exploring global connections, fantastical worlds and how to create a better future. Join talks, conversations, self-guided walks and activities during this fascinating two-week festival.
Being Human 2020 will enjoy a virtual launch on Tuesday 10th November with historian, broadcaster and festival patron David Olusoga. Olusoga’s thought-provoking talk and Q&A on decolonisation and ‘new worlds’ will be accompanied by a preview of the festival programme.
Other highlights will include Being Human in Conversation: the American Election with Professor Churchwell and playwright and critic Bonnie Greer, discussing the impact of the 2020 American election.
And The Royal Institute of Philosophy asks Can Old Philosophy Help Build our New World? In turbulent times, many are looking for new solutions for our new problems. Is there any benefit still in the wisdom of the ages?
Join Magical Mind: the World of Terry Pratchett with Neil Gaiman and Rob Wilkins as they explore Pratchett’s fantastical Discworld universe in this live streaming event.
And think about climate change in a new way with Weather the Weather, organised by King’s College London. This sensorial artwork recreates weather conditions of past and future years with a four-day journey. It begins in 1816, the year without summer; then moves to 1904, when the link between fossil fuels and climate change was first made; moving through to 1990, when worldwide targets for climate change were set; and ending with the speculative future weather scenarios of 2080.
A chance to join in from home
Sensing Sugaropolis will allow you to step back in time to explore the diverse and complicated history, smells and stories of Greenock, a ‘Sugaropolis’. Greenock’s port was a global hub for sugar refining in the mid-19th century. Hear stories and memories from local residents, and pick up your own free sensory kit to discover the smells and histories at home.
Join archaeologist Carenza Lewis online for Pandemic Survival: Ancient and Modern and learn about the Black Death (bubonic plague), the world’s first pandemic. Snapshot talks will be interspersed with interactive quizzes, card draws and even a ‘battleships’-style game to shed light, bust some myths and find insights relevant to the Covid-19 pandemic.
An interactive project will send a series of letters and packages in the post, which will unfurl the mysteries of The People’s Palace of Possibility. This event will invite you to share visions for the future and commit tiny acts of resistance.
At least 50 miners’ banners are known to have existed in South Wales and many of them are preserved at the South Wales Miners’ Library at Swansea University. Used in protests, marches and demonstrations, Swansea University draws on this collection for an online exhibition to explore the images, colours, slogans and their meanings. Join in by having a go at designing your own banner.
Take a self-guided walk with information boards and podcasts around Whitfield Valley Nature reserve. Hear the stories of Mining Migrations and global connections, in an area where derelict chimneys and winding gear are a defining landmark of the vast North Staffordshire coalfield.
Discover how refugees from Nazi Germany settled in London’s Bohemian district with self-guided audio tour On the Trail of Refugees in 1930s Bloomsbury.
When: 12th – 22nd November 2020
Where: Online. Self-guided walks at various UK locations
More info: beinghumanfestival.org