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The Being Human festival showcase

By Dr Naomi Paxton

Dr Naomi Paxton, our new cultural engagement fellow, has been squirrelling away organising our newest festival venture - the Being Human festival showcase, taking place on 27 June 2016. Read on to find out more about our exciting mini-programme below!

I joined the Being Human team in February to put together an event celebrating and showcasing some of the examples of best practice in public engagement from the 2015 festival. Researching the festival and the breadth of ideas, events and outputs has been a joy – and I can’t wait for you to come and enjoy the day, which will run from 1.30pm to 7.30pm on Monday 27 June at Senate House.

During the afternoon there will be bite-sized versions of just a few of the 300 events organised across the UK last year. The exact programme is still being finalised but I can give you a flavour of the showcase, which will begin with a lunchtime lecture by Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge entitled ‘Why burn books?’, originally part of the 'Writing human rights series' of events programmed by the University of East Anglia. The afternoon will continue with a number of interactive exhibitions in the Macmillan Hall, including 'Cyberselves'  from the University of Sheffield, one of the five Being Human Festival Hubs, in which there’ll be the chance to experience cyber-worlds and robotics with a hands-on demonstration by Dr Michael Szollosy from Sheffield Robotics. The University of Dundee will be exhibiting their 'Frankenstein Begins illustrated comic,  which explores Mary Shelley’s formative experiences in Dundee; and Aberystwyth University’s 'The Quantified Romantics' will bring together gothic paintings and smart technology to see just how much Romantic novels really set pulses racing. There’ll be performances, music, interactive displays, and the chance to draw on the expertise of the exhibitors and ask questions of the Being Human team.

The evening event and wine reception will start from 5:00pm with a talk from Professor Sarah Peverley from the University of Liverpool about what it meant be human in the Middle Ages, followed by some words from our new festival Director, Professor Sarah Churchwell, introducing the theme for 2016. The showcase will finish in style with 'Intoxicants' – in which Lucie Skeaping from BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show, and Dr Angela McShane from the V&A explore drinking, history and song from the 16th to 19th centuries.

It’s great to see so many events and institutions represented – and I hope you can join us for a day that celebrates research, public engagement and the humanities.