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2021 programme announcement

The 2021 Being Human festival programme is here! Read on for more information and a few highlights from this year's programme. 

New for old – rethinking our world with Being Human 2021 

From Caribbean food and shebeens to environmental storytelling and sustainable burials to climate change, the UK’s only national festival of the humanities returns from 11 to 20 November, with hundreds of free events taking place across the UK. 

As you may already know, this year the festival turns its attention to the pertinent theme of ‘Renewal’. Whether it’s in relation to our political systems, health and wellbeing, the cities and towns in which we live, how we work and spend our leisure time, or our relationship with the planet and the natural world, the current historical moment offers opportunities to rethink, to do things differently, to renew. 

Following a largely digital festival in 2020, with online audiences exceeding 30,000, many event organisers are returning to in-person events this year, from walks and tours to workshops and talks – all designed to make research fun, appealing and relevant to all.  

The festival will kick off with a virtual launch event on 9 November with a special guest – writer, poet and broadcaster Lemn Sissay OBE – who will share a few thoughts on the importance of the humanities. 


In fitting with the ‘Renewal’ theme and to coincide with the UN COP 26 climate conference taking place in Glasgow in November, a COP26 Hub is being led by the University of Glasgow with special support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council and UK Research and Innovation. Its programme will provide a renewed focus and approach to the climate emergency and how the humanities enrich our understanding of the issues and challenges, and their continued relevance to our everyday lives.  

Events include a Greener gaming hackathon, looking at ways to create a more environmentally conscious gaming industry, and an exploration of how poetry might help us with the climate crisis

What's on

We believe that research in the humanities speaks to many of the big issues and challenges we are faced with today, which is why we've put together some lists of events that speak to some of the big themes of our time - from health and wellbeing, to nature and the environment. Browse events by themes below.

You can also browse events by series, including our festival Hubs in Coventry, Glasgow, Lincoln and Swansea.

We'd also like to thank our partners once again for their support. Being Human is led by the University of London’s School of Advanced Study in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the British Academy. Special additional support has been made available by UK Research and Innovation and the AHRC for the COP26 festival Hub in Glasgow. 

Find out more about how the festival is run here.

Browse the programme here

Hundreds of free events taking place 11-20 November 2021.

Browse all events