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.
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.
There are over 250 free events across the country, but some London highlights include:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There’s lots more happening across London, the UK, and around the world!
Find out more about the festival and follow the latest news on Twitter at @BeingHumanFest.