HUMAN pocket preview
About us Being Human is the UK’s only national festival of the humanities, showcasing diversity within the humanities with an injection of creativity and festival fun. Run by the School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London, in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the British Academy and with support from the Wellcome Trust, we’ve got philosophy in pubs, history in coffeehouses, museum lates and poetry on street corners. In 2014, the festival featured more than 160 events organised across the UK. In 2015, it is proud to return between 12–22 November for 11 days of big questions, big debates and engaging activities for all ages.
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Meet the team Professor Barry Smith, director: Barry is director of SAS’s
Institute of Philosophy. He is also co-director of the Centre for the Study of the Senses and Leadership Fellow for the AHRC’s Science in Culture Theme.
Dr Michael Eades, festival curator: Michael is the cultural
& public engagement research manager at SAS. He often collaborates with artists and community groups and has previously worked with festivals including Birmingham Arts Fest, the Bloomsbury Festival and Glastonbury Festival.
Rosemary Lambeth, partnership coordinator (SAS):
Rosemary coordinates with other higher education institutions and funding bodies, as well as keeping an eye on the School’s central academic initiatives, including its public engagement activity.
Lauren Adams, head of marketing and communications (SAS): Lauren is a former journalist and brings ten years of PR
experience in science and higher education.
Jo Chard, Being Human festival assistant: Jo recently
completed her master’s in art history and political philosophy and has worked in research and engagement in the arts and charity sectors.
Abhay Adhikari, social media strategist: Abhay has
worked extensively with news and media, arts and heritage and government organisations to implement social media strategy frameworks.
A message from the team Being Human is back for a second year! Once again we’ve been amazed by the response to our funding competition and are thrilled to present this overview of the awards. From ‘Shanty mobs’ in Liverpool, cemetery tours in South Wales and architectural reconstructions of Hull using Minecraft – we think that these represent some of the most imaginative and inspiring humanities activities around. We are pleased to be able to facilitate all the events listed in this preview with the generous support of the AHRC, the British Academy and the Wellcome Trust. This year we are also delighted to announce a number of designated ‘hubs’ for festival activity outside London. Universities in Aberdeen, Northumbria, Nottingham, Sheffield and Swansea will 4
not only be coordinating festival activities, but will also be putting forward regional ambassadors to champion the festival...and the humanities! This booklet is designed as a preview of the funding awards made – and all details are subject to change as the programme develops in the run-up to the festival. The programme for the 2015 festival is already looking incredible. But there is more to come. If you’ve got an idea for an activity that doesn’t require funding, we’ll be taking applications right up until 26 June. Join us and get involved in the UK’s only national festival of the humanities! See you at the festival this November!
Hubs School of Advanced Study Hidden and revealed The School of Advanced Study is the national coordinating hub for the Being Human festival. During the festival, the School will be promoting and facilitating events right across the UK, while also programming activities under the theme â€˜Hidden and revealedâ€™. Programming in the heart of London will explore the hidden aspects of the humanities, and reveal other secrets through hacks and tours of concealed locations across the city. In physical and online spaces, events will examine the secrets of humanity from the legal to the cyberworld.
Hubs School of Advanced Study Senate House revealed
The humanity of lawyers
A team of urban explorers will uncover the hidden spaces of Senate House, bringing unseen aspects of this historic building to light. Live updates from the old switch rooms, the utility tunnels, the library stacks and the rooftops will be broadcast so the public can track their progress.
A barrister is a performer on a public stage, clearly identifiable in wig and gown, yet certain aspects remain hidden from view. This event will explore barristersâ€™ roles in representing human life in the courts, and the significance of their own character and beliefs in local history.
Hubs University of Aberdeen Bringing the humanities to life Working with a host of partners, the University of Aberdeen’s programme features radio, café discussions, research SLAMs and digital hangouts to engage with people of all ages and interests. Events will mix topical and global subjects with local heritage to stimulate thoughts around what it is to ‘be human’ for a diverse audience.
Seeing the light
Inspired by the 150th anniversary of James Clerk Maxwell’s Theory of Light and coinciding with the UNESCO International Year of Light, this exhibition will focus on Maxwell’s years in Aberdeen as a young scientist.
Working with local teenagers and young adults, this special radio programme will air on Aberdeen’s SHMU FM and highlight how arts and humanities research is making an impact in some of the city’s priority areas for regeneration.
Hubs University of Aberdeen PechaKucha night
PechaKucha (PK) means ‘chitchat’ in Japanese. Created by two architects fed up with lengthy presentations, PK brings subjects to life through 20 images each shown for just 20 seconds. This event will bring together speakers from art, design and contemporary research and provoke fresh ideas.
Bringing together popular arts and science community café programmes, these events will explore gender from both a medical and a humanities perspective through societal attitudes to gender issues past and present, and how advances in medicine might influence views.
Hubs Northumbria University Cities and citizens An expansive series of events are planned throughout the festival week – at least one each day. Last year, more than 500 people booked tickets for Northumbria’s festival events. This year’s ‘cities and citizens’ theme which includes witchcraft, walks and civil war radicals, promises to match last year’s popularity in the north-east of England.
Wild and wicked women: Newcastle’s witch trials This public talk on Newcastle’s 17th-century witch trials, will include an opportunity to view archival documents on the trials from Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums, and burial records from St. Andrew’s Church. 10
John Lilburne: local boy, leveller, and Civil War radical This public lecture by professor David Walker celebrates Lilburne’s achievements in contemporary debates about public democracy and human rights.
Hubs Northumbria University Stories of migration and home in Newcastle Held at the Discovery Museum, this event comprises of a popup museum of objects representative of local migration stories, to be recorded through a photographed online exhibit. A series of short talks for adults will also be offered, as well as storytelling and craft activities for children.
A walk through Newcastleâ€™s history, 1200-1800 This city centre tour will include Admiral Collingwoodâ€™s School, Blackfriars Convent, Castle Keep, Holy Jesus Hospital and Newcastle Cathedral.
Hubs University of Nottingham Creative city The University of Nottingham, working with a range of external partners in the east Midlands, will hold a series of events focused on the city of Nottingham as a creative space and source of inspiration. The programme will explore the heritage of creativity in the city as well as its contemporary creative culture.
A long tradition of art A series of panel talks will bring to life such things as the Nottingham Alabasters and the Midlands Enlightenment, the history of the Art Museum and the Midland Group of Artists.
Learning a language, learning a culture A programme of city centre based pop-up street classes will bring language and cultural lessons to the Creative Quarter.
Hubs University of Nottingham Photography and poetry From exhibitions to treasure hunts, events will highlight contemporary creative culture in Nottingham. Activities in this area will bring together seemingly disparate professionals such as authors and photojournalists to explore photography and the written word relating to this creative city.
Writing and performance Working with residents and the student body, a community performance project will highlight the city’s ambitions and aims as a creative city. Writing skills workshops will draw from Nottingham’s rich pool of resident writers with special events, such as storytelling from 150 years of performance history at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal. 13
Hubs University of Sheffield Seeing human Events at the University of Sheffield will explore representations and perceptions of the humanities in a variety of different ways across visual arts, music, speech and film. By mixing music with language learning, poetry with film, and art with religion, the programme promises to touch on all aspects of being human in Yorkshire’s ‘Steel City’.
Cyberselves This series of events, including talks and films, will focus on timely questions about how we are transformed by cyberspaces. In particular, they will look at the effect of virtual worlds on
our conceptions of self and how technology in popular media such as film, literature and video games might also contribute to transformations of self.
Hubs University of Sheffield Song and language This series of events focuses on using song to inform our perception and practice of languages and includes workshops, performances and â€˜illustrated conversationâ€™.
Animated poetry Bringing together film and poetry, this event offers young people the chance to work with an animator to animate their own poetry or favourite pieces of prose.
Religion and art Offered in collaboration with Sheffield Cathedral, this art workshop, based on stained glass but including other art methods, will explore the visual representation of religious stories.
Hubs Swansea University Heritage, health and wellbeing Events at Swansea University will utilise a variety of venues for the festival including a farm activity centre and a copper works. These venues on the sandy south west Wales coast, will host all manner of different media, which will explore humanities research â€“ drama, debate, poetry, art and enterprise.
On the banks of the River Tawe, the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks was the largest copper works in the world during the 19th century. From crowdsourcing project ideas relating to the site, to a live piece of painting done inside, there are several events inspired by this heritage site.
Coinciding with the start of Disability History Month, this debate is sparked by prizewinning research by Professor David Turner on the history of disability and will focus on disability and wellbeing in Wales in the past, present and future.
Hubs Swansea University Clyne Farm Activity Centre Held at the picturesque and rustic Clyne Farm Centre, this event will feature members of the cast of Windsongs of the Blessed Bay, a visually startling show bringing together legendary Singaporean puppet master Benjamin Ho and awardwinning dramatist Professor David Britton. The cast will present a poetic narrative and lead participants into an interactive workshop on â€˜Creating drama from heritageâ€™.
Funded events by region
Funded events Southern England London College of Fashion I stood up for (bio) diversity London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, is taking space in an East London shopping centre to stage a live public installation of fashion artifacts, urban projection and knowledge sharing. The idea is to invite public participation to consider how we connect to nature through what we wear.
Proposed events This event is designed to allow conversations between researchers and the public, allowing passers-by to listen and join in, while imagery encapsulating lifeâ€™s diversity and wildlife will be projected on to public facing walls alongside a series of fashion artifacts inspired by biodiversity in London. Anyone wishing to can interact with, and become part of, this installation, while researchers share the outcomes from Habit(AT), a research project exploring fashionâ€™s contribution to a balanced city metabolism. 19
Funded events Southern England University of Bristol Inside arts, Bristol The University of Bristol’s programme of activities includes lunchtime and evening walks, concerts, talks, screenings and performances. As part of its biennial ‘InsideArts’ public engagement festival, some events are on campus while others will be in venues located in parts of the city with little or no connection to academia.
Proposed events The list of innovative activities is yet to be finalised, but those confirmed are set to explore philosophy, theology and the classics. A round-table discussion ‘What do we owe to climate refugees’ - will look at philosophy and feature not only experts in the field, but also authorities on global justice and climate change. Through an interactive session on breathing and wellness, visitors will get a glimpse into the mysteries of the mind to examine the cultural and personal 20
meaning of breathing and its connection to mindfulness. Another event, ‘A Buddhist Cosmology in Food’, will look at theology through six short films and a ‘Mindfulness and being human’ panel discussion. Meanwhile, the imaginative history of the ancient and modern cyborgs (part human and part machine, part being and part metaphor) will be revealed at a workshop entitled ‘Are we human or are we cyborg?’.
Funded events Southern England The University of Buckingham Defining digital Dickens Researchers from the University of Buckingham are planning a Dickensian voyage of discovery. Working with partners, among them schools and London’s Charles Dickens museum, their workshops, films, readings, exhibitions and performances will extend a two-year project that uses digital technologies and crowdsourcing to generate interest in the Victorian author’s work.
Proposed events These events, bringing the world of Dickens to global audiences online and offline, will begin with a webinar welcome, broadcast simultaneously from sites in London, Buckingham and Aberdeen. Talks by academics, readings by students and secondary school pupils showcasing Buckingham’s impressive initiative, ‘Dickens Journals Online’, which has online communities of readers in 180 countries, are followed by three days of public
workshops and exhibitions in London (Charles Dickens Museum; Birkbeck College) and the University of Leicester. Activities are designed to stimulate debate about online research, reading practices, and increase digital literacy among ‘Dickensians’. 21
Funded events Southern England University College London Entering the ancient world This event invites audiences to enter the ancient world through the rarely seen, aesthetically rich and immersive silent films set in ancient Greece or Rome. With their enticing use of gesture and looks, exotic sets and extravagant costumes, colour, music and movement, these films are an opportunity to experience a distant past where life is lived differently or to an extreme.
Proposed events ‘Entering the ancient world’ is a product of a collaborative research project undertaken by Professor Maria Wyke and Dr Pantelis Michelakis to investigate the representation of antiquity in silent cinema. As part of that continuing research, they select, screen, and publically discuss films from the archives they have visited in the UK, the Netherlands, France, Italy and the US. The programme of screenings at London’s Cinema Museum will demonstrate how antiquity films of the silent 22
era invite us to experience a world where humanity is at its most extreme – in terms of emotion, action, social organisation and transformation or interaction between animal, human, and the divine. A professional pianist (Stephen Horne) will improvise throughout, replicating the way music once engaged audiences emotionally with cinema’s ancient worlds.
Funded events Southern England University of East Anglia Unlocking the archive: the past in the present Events at the University of East Anglia bring the key to unlocking local archives’ clues about past politics, religion and culture. Multiple academic-led workshops will delve into the past and bring to light universal issues of humanity – from politics to religion and everything in between.
Proposed events This series of workshops will enable members of the public to interpret documents preserved in Norwich’s neglected medieval and early-modern archival holdings. Tied to both the anniversaries of Magna Carta and Agincourt, academics will guide participants through the process of using archival documents to learn about people’s political commitments or how devotion was woven into the fabric of daily life.
Funded events Southern England University of East Anglia Writing human rights With an eye on contemporary human rights issues, a series of events will focus on the challenges faced by asylum seekers and refugees. The programme will centre on how rights have been imagined historically through writing and what we can learn from these in the present day.
Proposed events Through a series of talks, discussions, workshops and performance, community partners and scholars will join up with members of the public and local schools to focus on human rights issues. One highlight will be a creative writing and storytelling workshop during which local young asylum seekers will share their stories with local sixth form students to spark a discussion on the concepts of home, belonging and human rights.
Funded events Southern England University of Exeter Being Human: Devon and Cornwall Magic, witches, music, interactive exhibitions and digital storytelling are set to feature in a series of events organised by the University of Exeter. These collaborations, involving several of the historic cityâ€™s cultural organisations are designed to encourage audiences to see the familiar with different eyes.
Proposed events Audience participation is a key element in a variety of activities and workshops. Those taking part can choose to create modern music using a digital version of a traditional Asian instrument, explore history through performances of ballads from the 16th to 18th century, and examine how gender, race and religion contribute to the stereotypes around those who believe in magic. Participants will also be invited to explore Exeterâ€™s identity as a city and community as it developed over hundreds of years
through participation in digital storytelling on Dartmoor, and observance of the southwestâ€™s intangible heritage and oral traditions through musical performances and readings. 25
Funded events Southern England Goldsmiths, University of London Radical New Cross: protest and dissent 1875-2015 From radical parish priests to anti-fascist resistance, New Cross has a long history of radicalism, as will be demonstrated through a series of events, all based on current research projects.
Proposed events Made possible by a collaboration with local community groups, workshops rooted in a strong sense of place and time will be on offer. They will include exhibitions and panel discussions, and almost all of them are designed to engage the public in an open and collaborative way. Using New Cross as an anchor to explore marginalised histories, groups will be able to start conversations, reveal forgotten histories and demonstrate the relevance of research in the humanities to past, present and future communities. 26
Funded events Southern England King’s College London
Being human / being animal Historians from King’s College London and the Royal College of Surgeons plan to reveal the connections between humans and animals in this open mic event at the Hunterian Museum, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, with pop-up talks on animal specimens and displays, while audience members circulate.
Proposed events Spanning some 200 years of history, this interactive event will explore the roles of animals in modern biomedical and biological research and education, the methods used to study them, and the social issues that sometimes arose. It will incorporate aspects of the history of surgery, evolution, cognition, behaviour, health and disease to show how ideas of ‘being human’ and ‘being animal’ were forged together in the modern medical and biological sciences. It is also an opportunity to highlight to the richness of the Hunterian
Museum’s animal collections and their place in the history of medicine and surgery. 27
Funded events Southern England University of Kent Cartoon nation Charlie Hebdo aside, the stakes in the game of visual satire have always been high. With two workshops – in London and Canterbury – ‘cartoon nation’ plans to explore the genre’s anarchic British history, and debate whether contemporary graphic satire has the potential to revive political interest and re-engagement.
Proposed events This proposed mini-festival of workshops and public talks is run in partnership with Canterbury’s Beaney House of Art and Knowledge, House of Illustration and The Cartoon Museum. The first discussion plans to feature British cartoonist and author Martin Rowson talking about the history of graphic satire in British politics, and his own debt to the tradition of the 18th-century graphic artists, Rowlandson and Gillray. The second, ‘Doing satire: a cartoon workshop’, is aimed at 15 to 19-year-olds 28
and opens Kent University’s British cartoon archive to the public. Over the course of the afternoon, visitors to this workshop can choose to make their own satirical cartoons using montage creative editing techniques.
Funded events Southern England The National Archives Black British civil rights: revealing the hidden story Londonâ€™s Black Cultural Archives (BCA) and The National Archives (TNA) are hosting two workshops around black civil rights in Britain, engaging young people in this rich but under promoted history. Using original documents, oral accounts and recent films such as Selma, they will spark debates, particularly on Twitter around the #blacklivesmatter hashtag.
Proposed events Workshops will utilise archival material from both collections to inspire young people to learn about the black civil rights movement in the UK. Through a combination of informal sessions and facilitated debates, participants will tap into local histories to reveal the journey toward civil rights in Britain, and introduce the audiences to campaigning organisations like the League of Coloured Peoples, the UK Black Panther movement and the Organisation of Women of African and Asian Descent. 29
Funded events Southern England University of Oxford The Oxford dodo: culture at the crossroads The world’s only preserved dodo remains will make an appearance at Oxford’s celebration of the life and legacy of a remarkable old bird. It is the centrepiece of an event that will combine public discussions, exhibitions and digital displays to showcase the latest scientific, historical and literary research.
Proposed events Using human history’s most famous extinct animal as a focus, even if it is only its mummified head and foot, events intends to examine its relevance to research and contemporary life, through a panel discussion with experts on conservation and extinction. Entitled ‘The Oxford dodo: culture at the crossroads’, this crossdisciplinary conversation will also consider opinions on the representation of the dodo and evolution in literature and theatre, as well as the types of extinction present in 30
modern conservation policy. There will be plenty of time for audience questions and youngsters will have access to hands-on workshops such as that led by the day’s ‘writer in residence’, novelist Jasper Fforde.
Funded events Southern England University of Portsmouth Port city: narratives of migration Portsmouth tends to be associated with the history of the Navy, and there is a mistaken perception that it is a monocultural city. With its lectures, walk, workshop, exhibition and readings on migration, ‘Port city: narratives of migration’ aims to dispel this notion.
Proposed events Drawing on new and ongoing research projects, the university is putting on free and open activities on migration and transient cultures in port towns, focusing on Portsmouth. The list contains a guided walk through the historical ‘sailortown’, a melting pot of urban and maritime traditions and, courtesy of the transient nature of the sailor, a place of continual cultural exchange. It ends in the Spice Island Inn, with the launch of an interactive phone app of the walk, based on the researchers’
electronic mapping project. Other events include a creative writing workshop and a public lecture about Portsmouth’s cultural and literary connections to Asia. These are followed by readings from their work by local British-Asian writers, tea tasting and discussion on the personal, political and collective histories of the tea trade and migration, and a guest lecture on migration museums in port towns.
Funded events Southern England Queen Mary, University of London Humans of east London Queen Mary researchers’ innovative projects with the local community always have an international dimension. ‘Humans of east London’ will showcase their work at the Globe Road Poetry Festival, alongside other projects with the Building People for the Future programme, and the Living through Stories project.
Proposed events Focusing on the culturally diverse people of east London, activities will include readings, screenings, walking tours, oral history sharing sessions, workshops and performances. Local poets and the international networks they represent will be featured at the Globe Road Poetry Festival, while 32
the other projects will highlight work with families, east London water stories, and the First World War. Activities with older adults on the nature of ageing will also be highlighted making sure there’s something for everyone within this varied programme of events.
Funded events Southern England University of Sussex Cringe @ Mass Observation To encourage understanding of how our life writings can be used for research, the Mass Observation Archive at Sussex, established in 1937, is teaming up for an evening event with Cringe UK, which runs public readings of teenage diaries by audience members.
Proposed events Even the most cringeworthy and whimsical of thoughts committed to our teenage diaries can be of value to researchers, as this event at the Latest Music Bar in Brighton will show. From people’s records of their experiences, relationships, opinions and reactions to world events such as 9/11, humanities researchers have been able to chart the social, cultural and emotional history and sociology of this country. Examples of such research include Claire Langhamer’s charting of the emotional history of 20th-century Britain
and Dr Lucy Robinson’s work on Thatcher’s Britain. Participants will read from their own teenage diaries and there will be performances of a selection of extracts taken from the Mass Observation Archive’s teenage diaries and writings from 1937 to the 1950s, and young people’s directive writing from 1981 to the present. 33
Funded events Southern England University of the West of England Poetry in everyday places Challenging perceptions that poetry is elitist, boring and irrelevant, UWE will take it to the streets of Bristol neighbourhoods in the month leading up to the festival. The ‘Poetry in everyday places’ project is co-organised with the Poetry Can charity, and aims to attract new audiences to the art form.
Proposed events After developing the skills and confidence in workshops to recite poems in a conversational, natural way, participants will perform them in places where they live, work and play, such as a school, college, workplace, café, bar, bus, train, queue, shop or gym. Taking poetry from the private page out into public places will challenge existing prejudices about the art form. People of all ages are invited to take part, accompanied by fellow participants and/or a poetfacilitator. The documentation 34
of the project through video and photography will form the basis of a public celebration event at the Arnolfini art gallery on 19 November, which will also feature live performances.
Funded events Southern England Victoria and Albert Museum Performance artist Bird la Bird is taking visitors on a ‘queer feminist tour’ of the V&A to encourage them to consider it as a place where LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans or Queer) issues feature and can be opened up for discussion. Film screenings and a talk will follow.
Proposed events Bird la Bird, a no-holdsbarred artist, deals with issues surrounding disability, sexuality and ethnicity. Her hour-long tour will look at the history of domestic service and the unseen cleaners of the museum from the 1850s to the present, admiring and critiquing the museum and spotlighting lesser-known stories about working class realities during the period, in particular relating to women’s work. Also on the programme are a selection of Outfest Legacy Project films, and a talk by an academic researcher about methods of exploring LGBTQ
TRUST ME I’M A
histories. Visitors will gain a greater understanding of the importance of recording, preserving, researching and revisiting histories, and how to interpret and ‘read’ objects and spaces to access a myriad of experiences and social histories. 35
Funded events Midlands University of Leicester The sewing bee: ‘unpicking’ contemporary sewing cultures University of Leicester will take over sewing cafés in Leicestershire to combine a hands-on ‘sewing bee’ with a research workshop. Using the café’s machines, participants can work on personal projects, while organiser Dr Jessica Bain, shares her studies on the revival of this once forgotten domestic craft in Britain.
Proposed events The purpose of the ‘sewing bee’ is to introduce Britain’s community of contemporary sewists (a term gaining in popularity) to the interdisciplinary research being undertaken by the organiser on the revival of home sewing in Britain and its implications for feminism and gender studies, as well as the questions it raises about the sustainability of the ‘fast’ fashion industry driven by the high street. While sewing, Dr Bain will discuss her current research, highlighting the academic relevance to the 36
craft. Afterwards, sewists will be invited to ‘stitch and bitch’: to talk as they sew, and to critically reflect on their engagement with the craft of sewing, their feelings, memories, motivations and experiences of this culturally significant practice.
Funded events Midlands University of Warwick In Robesonâ€™s footsteps Looking at Shakespeare through a BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) prism, this project brings ethnic diversity to the fore. Using a combination of performance, exhibition and discussions with established actors including Nicholas Bailey (EastEnders) and Rakie Ayola (Holby City), it will explore what Shakespeare means for a multicultural society.
Proposed events This project uses interviews with British black and Asian actors and directors, compiled as part of Warwick Universityâ€™s multicultural Shakespeare project, to map their role in British cultural life. It aims to correct the omission of this marginalised history and identify the issues that still inhibit diversity of access and representation. These first-hand perspectives will provide insights on the part Shakespeare has played in opening up possibilities for BAME artists. An exhibition of black and Asian contributions
to the performance of Shakespeare over the past 80 years (following the example of Paul Robeson) will provide context for these provocations. 37
Funded events Wales Aberystwyth University The quantified Romantics: arts and biometrics This interactive event will be run with local cultural partner, Ceredigion Museum to explore ‘arts and biometrics’ through hands-on activities and conversations about Romantic literature and gothic art in the 1780s-1820s.
Proposed events ‘Romantic’ audiences in the 18th century believed that art and literature involved the whole body. Even today, our language is permeated by terms like ‘bodice-rippers’, ‘stomach-churners’ and ‘spine-chillers’. By enlisting the services of science and big data, researchers will check whether these terms hold currency. Four at a time, in a darkened area, participants wearing ‘smart’ wristbands that collect biometric data, will view projected images of gothic paintings and pages from Romantic literature. This ‘quantified’ information will 38
be shared live with museum visitors on a large screen as well as via the web and social media. The discussion will highlight ways in which literature illustrates ‘big data’ as well as how their research relates to current trends such as fitness trackers and smart watches.
Funded events Wales University of South Wales Graveyard voices: the heritage of Cathays Cemetery Some Cardiff heritage walks are a near-death experience. But thankfully not in terms of health and safety. Itâ€™s their setting, historic Cathay Cemetery, and the activities taking place there, extended this year for a dramatic contribution by the University of South Wales (USW) to the Being Human festival.
Proposed events Since 2011, the drama division at USW has produced numerous performances in partnership with Cardiff City Council. A 2014 collaboration with the local council for the Cathays Cemetery Heritage Walk brought in costumed performers to enact short dramatic scenes and monologues relating to stories of the people buried there from the rich, heroic or esteemed to the profoundly tragic, mysterious and emblematic. Working with its partners, the university plans to give them a â€˜voiceâ€™, via podcasts, in a series
of anywhere, any time listening audio Heritage Walk dramas. Three podcasts will be recorded as part of the Heritage Walks (June) and a further two in October. The final audio drama will be recorded live in November in front of a public audience at the university. 39
Funded events Northern England Durham University Reaching out: collaborative humanities research Durham Universityâ€™s programme of events highlights collaboration bringing together modern scientific investigations with humanities research on culture â€“ both past and present. Through workshops and a public concert, events feature physicists, clergy, musicians, historians, archaeologists and composers.
Proposed events Led by the universityâ€™s Institute of Advanced Study, these activities are divided into two strands. The first is an afternoon event on understandings of light from the middle ages to modern science. The afternoon will close with a concert of music on the theme of light, from the Renaissance to modern periods, including 20th-century female composers from the northeast and a local chamber choir. Meanwhile the second strand comprises a daylong workshop featuring 40
research on gifts in the Christian tradition, with a public exploration on the broader theme of what it means to make offerings in contemporary religious practice. Findings from an international research project will also be presented and include an open discussion forum led by Durham Cathedral.
Funded events Northern England Edge Hill University Life is short Events at Edge Hill University present a celebration of all things small and perfectly formed. From the hadron to the haiku, the boson to the butterfly, events will focus on how we perceive and capture moments in time; on miniature objects and microscopic life forms, and on the short form in art, literature and music.
Proposed events Inspired by Edge Hill’s reputation as a champion of the short story form, this day-long mini-festival will stimulate intellectual debate and creative engagement with ideas about how human beings experience and represent temporality. With contributions from the creative arts, biology, history and literature, the day will also include readings of short stories, poems and monologues, and a screening of short films. Participants can contribute their own
‘thumbnail sketch’ in words or images as a record of the day’s events and their responses to them. Run in partnership with The Bluecoat Arts Centre, these sketches will be put on display at the Bluecoat gallery. 41
Funded events Northern England University of Hull Rebuilding Marvell’s Hull with ‘Minecraft’ Hull History Centre will bring long forgotten landmarks to life through an interactive digital workshop using the building video game Minecraft. This hands-on approach to archival resources and academic processes will help participants build an understanding of the city, its history, and the life and literature of one of its most significant poets, Andrew Marvell.
Proposed events This event will bring together Dr Stewart Mottram’s AHRC–funded ‘Representing ruins’ project and HullCraft, a collaborative initiative between the History Centre and the University of Hull. Participants will be assigned one of four landmarks from Marvell’s Hull to rebuild. Guided by researchers from the History Centre, participants will use the wealth of archival material held at the History Centre, combining Hollar’s map of Hull, Marvell’s poetry, 42
and contemporary material from the City and University Archives for the digital reconstructions. Technical support and guidance from Minecraft experts will ensure participants develop a range of digital literacy skills.
Funded events Northern England Lancaster University After dark: sleep and sleeplessness in the modern world Lancaster University’s programming will focus on the most universal – and sometimes elusive – of human activities: sleep. Talks, creative writing workshops, night walks and film screenings will showcase state-of-the-art research on how sleep has been imagined, represented and regulated over time.
Proposed events This series of interactive talks will investigate how writers and artists imagine sleep and the sleeping body, analyse the 20th-century history of twin beds and examine the effects of sleep and insomnia on creativity, learning and memory. Through a creative writing workshop, participants will be prompted to write about sleep and insomnia and their thoughts and dream recorded. The recordings will be edited into a groupsourced sound/image collage and screened during the festival. Meanwhile, in a part lecture, part theatrical
performance immersive after-dark walk through Lancaster’s historic streets and buildings, participants will be introduced to a different way of experiencing and understanding the city at night. 43
Funded events Northern England University of Leeds How culture matters: a four-fold exploration A multi-event programme focused on various aspects of culture will cast new light on the everyday. From the exploration of medical interventions to the complex relations between artistic culture, these events aim to stimulate fresh insights through hands-on workshops, film screenings and even a performance of puppets.
Proposed events A participatory ‘We are what we keep’ session and interactive talk on curating family archives will offer attendees the chance to contribute to a communal family archive with photos, drawings, or descriptions of items they feel are key to their family’s identity. Moving to the complex relations between artistic culture and violence – the programme will include a national short-film competition followed by a screening-plus-discussion of the shortlisted films. To 44
round off the programme, an innovative evening at the Thackray Medical Museum with playwright and Professor Jane Taylor is planned. With help from theatrical performers using puppets, she intends to explore issues around cultural values in her play Newse from the Dead, about the true story of a woman in 17th-century England who revived on the anatomy table.
Funded events Northern England Liverpool John Moores University Liverpool shanty mob Liverpool John Moores University, in collaboration with the Merseyside Maritime Museum, brings Liverpool’s history as one of the world’s most important port cities to life by mixing old and new musical activities: sea shanties and flash mobs. In addition to invading the city’s pubs, events will also involve educational elements based on academic research to provide historical and musical context for the shanty tradition.
Proposed events Mersyside’s shanty group will ‘shanty mob’ four pubs in Liverpool’s city centre. Drawing on numerous call-and-response shanties associated with Liverpool during its heyday as a port city, the group will break into spontaneous song for customers. Each ‘shanty mob’ will last no longer than 15 minutes before the group moves on to the next venue and audience participation will be strongly encouraged. Later, members of the group
will perform a concert of material selected from the canon of Liverpool-related sea-shanties at the city’s Maritime Museum. 45
Funded events Northern England University of Liverpool Fantastic humans: monsters and machines The University of Liverpool takes the Being Human concept a step further by exploring the boundaries of humanity. Whether a fictional character or a supernatural being, we learn something about what it means to be human through them. The event will highlight the ways in which historical works can have relevance to our everyday lives and trace how ideas of being human have shifted over time.
Proposed events This event will involve two public performances of Marie de Franceâ€™s twelfthcentury Breton lai, Bisclavret (The Werewolf) by the Liverpool University Players, a troupe of student-actors and production assistants who specialise in bringing medieval and early modern works to life. Performed in the medieval gallery of the Walker Art Gallery, the performers will be surrounded by relevant paintings. The performance will pave the way for talking 46
about what it means to be human â€“ in both the past and present â€“ by looking at how medieval literature uses fantastic and imaginative realms to talk about the human condition.
Funded events Northern England Museums Showoff We make history Museums Showoff, a recurring open-mic night for curators, librarians, collectors, museum studies students, archaeologists and everyone else associated with museums and library special collections, is travelling to Manchester for a cabaret-style event at which historians tell the audience about an aspect of their research in ten minutes or less.
Proposed events Museums Showoff enables people from across the museums sector to share their ideas, projects and ambitions. This event in Manchester will bring historians of all flavours to present their work to a public audience in a fun, informal setting. Researchers from universities, museums, archives and local history groups will have 5â€“9 minutes to tell the audience anything about their work in any format they like. This is not a stuffy networking event â€“ there are no name tags and awkward
introductions. Not only will this show the breadth of historical research, but also the variety of locations in which itâ€™s undertaken and different ways in which it is used. Come along, be entertained, learn something, meet people and have fun. 47
Funded events Northern England University of Manchester
Digital Women’s Archive North (DWAN) Drawing from the hidden archives and collections held by museums, galleries and others, events will unearth the often neglected histories of women. They will contribute to the early stages of a new online archive, Digital Women’s Archive North (DWAN), which will test the role of digital heritage and digital humanities in bringing women’s histories, narratives and archives to the fore.
Proposed events During the festival, events will include a pop-up archive space to encourage public contributions and donations to the new women’s archive in the form of narratives, images, ephemera or oral histories. Local secondary schools and cultural partners will be involved in educational workshops aimed at creating co-producers for DWAN. Contributions to the archive will highlight the importance of gender history and no doubt spark debate and shed light on issues facing today’s 48
society. The final day of the festival will be a celebration and showcasing of collected materials accompanied by guest speakers.
Funded events Northern England Manchester Metropolitan University Feeling human Events at Manchester Metropolitan University bring a focus on sensory and creative responses to race issues. From music to urban slang, the event will result in lively debate about what it means to â€˜keep it realâ€™, as well as new works for performance and exhibition.
Proposed events Aimed at exploring how perceptions of race, ethnicity and cultural identity are produced and mediated by popular youth culture, activities will include the original commission and worldwide premiere of new composition for Dubstep, Gamelan and Strings. The performance piece created in collaboration with local MCs and singers from black and minority ethnic communities will then be used in workshops with young adults to inspire discussion and MC-ing, rapping about BME representation in popular culture. 49
Funded events Northern Ireland Queen’s University Belfast Learning from the ‘oldest old’
Ninety-year-old siblings will star in Queen’s University’s series of workshops and exhibitions of portraits looking at ageing, in particular to understand how to ‘age longer and how to age well’. Accompanying audio files and digital stories provide a glimpse beyond the anonymised laboratory test tube or mathematical model of ageing.
Proposed events Understanding how to ‘age longer and age well’ is a personal priority, as well as an issue for populations globally and for government policy. This project uses text and portraits to tell the life-stories of older people, some of whom have lived through two world wars. The stories will give insights about their ‘successful ageing’, the resilience and the psychological wellbeing of a unique group of people. Schoolchildren, medical and healthcare students 50
and older people, will be encouraged to reflect on their views by posting two-line texts on ‘I see’, ‘I am’ and ‘I hope’. The aim of the event is to challenge the thinking of young people and help participants see their own ageing in a positive way.
Funded events Scotland University of Dundee Mary Shelley’s Dundee: re-animating a city Through exhibition, performance, screenings and walks, the university plans to re-animate Mary Shelley’s Dundee. Drawing on the famous Frankenstein novel and its local connections, events will connect the city’s past with its present: a UNESCO City of Design in the midst of a substantial civic regeneration.
Proposed events An illustrated comic based on Shelley’s experiences in Dundee as a teenage girl will be produced in partnership with the Scottish Centre for Comics Studies. Afterwards, a play based on the comic will be performed in Dundee Science Centre. Dundee’s art cinema will also screen film versions of Frankenstein from the 1930s to the present, and re-animate them by encouraging staff and the audience to dress for each screening, such as 1930s clothing for James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931). And for those interested in retracing
the steps of Mary Shelley, there will be a walking tour revisiting places she would have known and sites that might continue to inspire gothic writers and artists such as The McManus gallery and museum, RSS Discovery, the Gothic Revival Cathedral, the eerie River Tay, and ending at the atmospheric Howff Cemetery. 51
Funded events Scotland University of Edinburgh Being Human in the city: living Edinburgh The Institute of Advanced Study, University of Edinburgh, takes the city itself as its inspiration for a series of events over a wide range of subject areas including urban design, architecture and architectural history, geography, literature, social history and policy. Drawing on Edinburghâ€™s unique history and spatial arrangement, events will focus on divisions in place and space across the city and the contradictions and inequalities of urban citizenship today.
Proposed events The programme will bring together humanities researchers, creative practitioners and residents to discuss, dissect and document what it means to inhabit Edinburgh today. While details of the events have not yet been finalised, plans are in the works for a digital exhibition that will feature vacant spaces, ruins and strange places across the city. The exhibition will feature images, mini-films and other multimedia aspects that 52
could be tagged and pinned to geographic locations. Public participation will be encouraged from those attending researcher-led walking tours. These tours will juxtapose Edinburghâ€™s UNESCO World Heritage locations with its modern day ruins and post-crash regeneration sitesâ€” landscapes pregnant with the latent significance of neoliberalism and speculative economies.
Funded events Scotland University of Glasgow All in a fankle: a workshopping of exuberant failure There is little in this life that is more human that failure: we fall down, we get up again. And yet, there is little discussion or action around how failure works within the creative practice. In response to this void, a multi-day workshop will foster useful and energetic discussion of failure in the everyday experience leading to better creative practices and work.
Proposed events Workshops will test whether, if we deal with and approach failure in a more direct and daring way, we will be more outrageous in approaching the difficult and complicated in our work and find new and more exciting, effective, and ineffable ways to communicate this. Designed for those from a range of practices and disciplines who are â€˜stuckâ€™ or in the midst of failure, the workshops will push at and test the boundaries of creative
outputs. A feedback session one week later will give participants the opportunity to present where they are with their work to the other workshop participants and to discuss the impact the workshops have had. 53
Funded events Scotland University of Glasgow Wait, weep and be worthy? Women and the First World War Reporting from France for the Saturday Evening Post in 1914, journalist Cora Harris concluded: ‘What men suffer through war is written in histories...but what women suffer is never written.’ The University of Glasgow will offer a one-day symposium to explore the often neglected role, contribution and output of women during the First World War and its immediate aftermath.
Proposed events While the first year of the centenary has perhaps inevitably focused on the boys and young men fighting and dying in the trenches, the second year of the centenary offers a chance to turn attention to the other, long neglected side of events and untold stories: the experiences, role, contribution and output of women. Offered in partnership with Glasgow Women’s Library in the heart of the city’s East End, the event combines talks and roundtable discussions by well-known speakers, 54
such as novelist, Sarah Waters, alongside a pageant representing women of the war, literature workshops, and ‘votes for women’ workshops.
Funded events Scotland University of the Highlands and Islands A landscape of change: exploring the Rousay Clearances The University of the Highlands and Islands joins the festival with a focus on the Highland Clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries. Guided walks and workshops will engage with the material traces of the Clearances, and of the lives, economies and communities that were changed.
Proposed events A guided interactive walk will bring participants to the Clearance Township of Quandale, one of just two such townships in Orkney and the focus of ongoing archaeological investigations. Quandale is a ‘landscape monument’ to human struggles of ruined crofts, strip fields and prehistoric mounds. During the guided walk, participants will be given handheld GPS and notebooks, and asked to bring cameras to record their own interpretations of, and engagements with, this landscape. Later, a creative
workshop will draw together the results of the guided walk’s participatory mapping, experiences and narratives and combine them with oral histories of the Clearances. 55
Call for non-funded activities Deadline: 5pm, Friday 26 June It’s not too late to take part in this year’s Being Human Festival. We are looking for great ideas for events for November 2015, and particularly welcome ideas that might help us to: • engage with diverse audiences • explore imaginative venues for festival activities • engage well-known speakers Possible formats include (but are not limited to): • workshops • exhibitions and installations • performances • film screenings • hackathons • debates • ignite sessions • walks and tours For full details on how to apply see www.beinghumanfestival.org or contact our curator firstname.lastname@example.org
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