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Introducing the Being Human Festival 2023 Hubs 

Five flagship hubs across the country will run exciting programmes of activity as part of Being Human Festival 2023. Let’s meet this year’s Festival Hubs! 

Introducing the Being Human Festival 2023 Hubs 

Five flagship hubs across the country will run exciting programmes of activity as part of Being Human Festival 2023. 

The Being Human Festival Hubs lie at the heart of Being Human Festival, bringing together a range of local perspectives that celebrate the histories, cultures and communities of their area. The hubs each run an action-packed programme of events inspired by the festival theme, and work together with local partners to engage a wide variety of people in their region. 

Let’s meet this year’s Festival Hubs! 

Canterbury Christ Church University 

In Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University is celebrating the work of women writers, and bringing their extraordinary literature to life through all five senses. 

Taking inspiration from Aphra Behn, the Canterbury-born literary pioneer and first English woman to write professionally, the programme will investigate the diverse ways in which women writers have made sense of the world. 

Sea Junk Jars and Monsters will use the junk that is washed up on Thanet beaches to inspire new stories about the UK coastline and the changing climate. Cook Like a New Woman will provide a hands-on opportunity to whip up the recipes of Victorian novelist and celebrity Henrietta Stannard. Meanwhile, a Mary Shelley Graphic Novel Workshop will embark on an exciting journey into the world of comics, where the words of a classic tale by Mary Shelley will be turned into pictures. 

Find out more about Canterbury Christ Church University’s Festival Hub

Woman sitting down, cooking and reading a book
'Cook Like a New Woman', 14 November

Cardiff University and Amgueddfa Cymru | National Museum Wales 

Cardiff University is teaming up with Amgueddfa Cymru | Museum Wales to explore Welsh society and culture – from the Palaeolithic to the futuristic – through creative and playful events. 

The programme draws on a range of fascinating research spanning archaeological excavations, artwork conservation, artificial intelligence, fungi collections, veterans’ mental health stories, and colonial and industrial Welsh history. 

Uncover histories of labour within Wales and globally, discover the life stories of veterans at Coming Home, and analyse archaeological treasures found in Wales at Mapping the Metals!  

Find out more about Cardiff’s Festival Hub

Edge Hill University 

Inspired by the Ancient Greek concept of sacred hospitality, Edge Hill will lead a programme of events titled ‘Be My Guest’. 

Holy Hosts will celebrate the staff and volunteers who work in soup kitchens and homelessness charities. A screening of Panah Panahi’s award-winning feature film Hit the Road will consider themes of migration and belonging. And a comedy quiz hosted by drag act Stephanie Legs will get to the bottom of what it means to be a guest – or a pest!  

Dr Zayneb Allak, who is leading the hub, said: “the events all respond to xenia, the Ancient Greek concept of sacred hospitality, and xenos, the foreigner to whom that hospitality is extended. 

“At the heart of this programme is the conviction that a creative conversation about hospitality is what we need.” 

All the events will be held in hospitality venues in Liverpool city centre, directly supporting the local hospitality industry and bringing visitors to a sector that has experienced a multitude of challenges in recent years. 

Find out more about Edge Hill’s programme of events

University of Essex 

The University of Essex is dishing up a treat for the tastebuds at their 2023 Festival Hub! 

The Hungry Human project focuses on food and stories, and reveals how what we eat helps us understand who we are, on a personal and global level. 

The programme includes a tantalising spread of discussions, workshops and interactive tasting (and sniffing!) sessions. 

The Tasting Menu will present a curated experience of food, poetry and performances from local musicians. A Sniff-and-Share-History-Workshop will dig into the flavour profiles of different ingredients and navigate their aromatic associations with historic life, medicinal uses, or special occasions. Meanwhile, at The Sauce Speaks, a pasta dish will be served up as inspiration for a creative writing session, exploring memory and taste. 

Find out more about The Hungry Human project at the University of Essex

Illustration of fruits, flowers, leaves and a spoon
'Food for Thought: Lightning Talks', 16 November

University of Nottingham 

Finally, the University of Nottingham will uncover past and present local stories that celebrate the creativity and innovation of the city. 

The programme comprises a variety of weird and wonderful events that reflect the diversity of Nottingham’s literary, scientific, spiritual and industrial histories and people. From cheese to lace and bears – Nottingham’s programme has something for everyone! 

Get your teeth into the history of Nottingham’s Cheese Riots at an interactive discussion and cheese tasting. Hear the voices of the city’s world-renowned lace makers and have a go at making your own lace. Or trace the presence of bears in the city, from street names to 17th century entertainment. 

Find out more about the University of Nottingham’s Festival Hub

Beyond the Hubs 

The eclectic experiences run by the Festival Hubs are just the tip of the Being Human iceberg! There are over 220+ free events taking place during Being Human Festival in venues all across the UK, from 9 to 18 November. 

Head over to the Being Human Festival website to see the full event listings, where you can also filter by event type, region and country, and by accessibility features.