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Being Human is back!

From trawling for treasures in archives to discovering secret lives and overlooked histories, the annual Being Human festival is limbering up for November 2019. As ever, we are on a mission to bring the latest humanities research to life in fun, inspiring and socially relevant ways.

Following our funding call earlier this year, awards have been made to 34 universities and research organisations, enabling free public events to take place across the UK. Applicants had to successfully demonstrate the relevance of their research to society, culture and everyday life – coming up with events and activities that throw new light on social issues, explore new discoveries and uncover new sides to towns and cities across the UK. Funding awards are made possible by our festival partners the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy.

Programme snapshots

Events this year will include a recreation of the Victorian fern craze at Sefton Park Palm House in Liverpool, explorations of historical queer dating ads at The National Archives, and a look at how music shapes Bangladeshi cultural identity in Manchester. Researchers in Wolverhampton will be mounting a multisensory exploration of the sights, sounds and smells of one of the nation’s most overlooked cities, while in Oxford, a series of ‘anti-walking tours’ that raise ‘uncomfortable’ discussions about the city and its connections to imperialism, colonialism, and global histories of oppression and inequality.

Festival hubs

We are also delighted to announce our five Festival Hubs for 2019 – in Dundee, Lincoln, Sheffield, Swansea and London.

  • In Scotland, the University of Dundee will be inviting audiences to explore selkies, sea- monsters and flights of fancy inspired by the dark and eerie history of the River Tay in their series ‘The Aquatic City’.
  • The University of Lincoln (a new hub for 2019) will be exploring ‘Lives Lived Differently’, working with local museums and inviting people to join an archaeological dig on a council estate, and take part in a magic lantern parade through the streets of Gainsborough.
  • In London, a joint hub from Queen Mary, University of London and King’s College London will be beat-making with London-based Moroccan rapper Dizzy DROS, storytelling in Waltham Forest and a following treasure trails of lost translations through the Strand.
  • In Yorkshire, the University of Sheffield's programme is rooted in an exploration of ‘Myth, Dream ad Love’. Exploring some unexpected sides to Sheffield’s cultural and industrial heritage. This hub will be mounting Jacobean banquets, digging in to modern fairy tales and inviting people to draw their dreams.
  • Last but not least, in Wales Swansea University will be exploring everything from shipwrecks to copper smelting, and werewolves to Welsh music via a programme of activities geared towards ‘Rediscovering Swansea: from land to sea’.