Being Human festival - University of London hub

Being Human festival - University of London hub

Being Human Festival is back!

The UK’s only humanities festival, held over 8 days will run over 250 events across 45 cities, with the overall theme of ‘Hope and Fear’.

Between November 15-24 the UK’s only national festival of the humanities will be popping up in libraries, pubs, museums, galleries and community spaces across the country. The festival aims to bring cutting edge humanities research to public audiences in ways that are accessible, exciting and above all fun.

Find out about the latest Being Human festival

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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’s theme this year if ‘Origins and Endings’. Now embedded as the UK’s unique national celebration of the humanities, its reach is now global with related events in Melbourne, Singapore, Paris, Rome, and in Princeton, New Jersey, USA. The international programme can be viewed here.

Being Human, is back for a triumphant third year!

Back in the UK, the festival has six national festival ‘hubs’ in the universities of Dundee, Exeter, Newcastle, Nottingham, Swansea, and our very own Queen Mary, University of London. Activities range from walks and talks to some truly weird and wonderful ways to encounter something new in the humanities – from art history to literature, history to philosophy, classics to cultural studies.

Between 17-25 November activities in 45 towns and cities across the UK will be bringing humanities research to life with over 250 free events. The 2016 programme is themed around ‘Hope and Fear’ and features everything from Martian autopsies in Dundee to ‘phantasmagorias’ in Exeter.

There are over 250 free events across the country, but some London highlights include:

Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy – this year Being Human features activities organised by over 70 universities and Independent Research Organisations across the country. This includes seven ‘festival hubs’ in Dundee, Exeter, Swansea, Liverpool, Leeds, Nottingham and London.

Weaving Women’s Stories Join the Institute of Classical Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London to explore the connections between storytelling and textile-making in women’s lives. In this hands-on activity day in Bethnal Green, drop by in the morning to try your hand at spinning fleece into yarn, or at weaving on a replica loom. Make artefacts – from clay and cloth – inspired by archaeological evidence from ancient Greece and Rome.

University of London Hub – ‘Ministry of Hope and Fear’
Senate House is Being Human HQ and the London festival hub. Playing on Senate House’s history as home to the WWII Ministry of Information, but also on Holden’s vision of the building as a unifying beacon of knowledge in a global city, we are planning to transform it into a ‘Ministry of Hope and Fear’.

Exploring Under the Skin At UCL Art Museum, join an interactive investigation of how the humanities, arts and sciences have separately and collectively come together in the endeavour of exploring under our skin and our own reactions to this, from artworks, both beautiful and shocking, to the curiosity cabinets of the 1700s and through to modern ways that medicine and the humanities collide.

Funded by an award from the University of London’s Convocation Trust, we have brought together a packed programme of activities that includes contributions from the School of Advanced Study, UCL, SOAS, Goldsmiths, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Senate House Library and the University of London Institute in Paris.

Heritage Hack How can the humanities work with tech to develop solutions for cash-strapped local archives and history groups? Join Hacksmiths, the tech society at Goldsmiths, University of London, for a two-day invention marathon to create novel tech solutions that breathe new life into Lewisham’s past.

Programme highlights

The Last of the London Queen Mary, University of London invite you to an evening with the ghosts of the former Royal London Hospital. Currently standing derelict on Whitechapel Road, the Royal London will be reanimated with the ghosts of its past, using archive texts and spectacular photographic projections on the building’s façade.

There will be a huge amount of activity around Senate House and local area during the festival.

Beautiful Confusion in Senate House Beautiful Confusion Collective are a female-led performance group who specialize in exploring movement, gender, power and the built environment through site-responsive interventions. During the festival they will undertake a mini-residency in Senate House, University of London – the building through dance, movement and documentation.

Our festival launch on November 17 features pop-up performances from the national programme, a live ‘Hope and Fear’ a Theremin performance from ‘Miss Hypnotique’, mermaids, and Hope and Fear themed food and drink.

There’s lots more happening across London, the UK, and around the world!

We will be offering daily tours of the building, based partly on research into the Ministry of Information being undertaken in SAS. We will be hosting Sound and Fury: an installation will use vintage wireless machinery to bring to life WWII recordings from the British Library’s Sound Archive.

Find out more about the festival and follow the latest news on Twitter at @BeingHumanFest.

Over at the Warburg Institute, you can experience Humanity and humanities: crisis, rescue and renewal, an exhibition that explores the stories of academic migrants involved in the founding of this unique institution; whilst back in Senate House you can contribute to a living sound archive of the building using artist Hannah Thompson’s Memory Hole Machine.

On Friday 18 November there will be a ‘Night at the Library’ treasure hunt through the stacks of the Art Deco Institute of Historical Research Library, whilst on Saturday 19 there will be a Street Art Workshop that will bring young people into London’s educational hub to create a mural with London-based street artist James Titchnert, and a chance to relive a First World War era Shakespeare Hut with SAS’s own Dr Naomi Paxton.

During the second week of the festival you can go to Archive to Blockbuster – which will see four BME historian pitch ideas for films, based on their research, to film industry experts and a public audience. You can also go to Conceiving Histories, to explore the history pregnancy with artist Anna Burel and Birkbeck literary historian Isabel Davies.

On Thursday 24 we recommend that you indulge in some ‘Gastrophysics’ – a night of food, philosophy and physics courtesy of the Institute of Philosophy and the Institute of Physics.

These are just a few of the amazing array of activities on offer. The full programme is available here.

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