Being Human festival returns in November 2021. Amidst continued uncertainty, we still aim to deliver a national celebration of the humanities that inspires people and shows the resilience, creativity and imagination in communities across the UK.

To enable planning to begin, we are committing to a hybrid-delivery festival this November that combines the best of online engagement with safe in-person activities. Together we will build on the best elements of Being Human 2020 to offer a national festival of public engagement taking place both in-person and online. Although digital delivery helped expand the festival’s horizons, it will continue to champion its core principles: Being Human remains a place-based festival that emphasises interaction, working with communities outside academia and those less typically engaged with humanities culture (people who might not normally go to a public university event, or an exhibition in an art gallery, for example).

Whether digital, or in-person (socially distanced), we will support innovative, participatory, and creative activities that foster genuine, two-way connections with people not usually engaged with academic research. As ever, events should be designed to facilitate mutual learning between researchers and publics. Our festival theme in 2021 is ‘Renewal’ which can be used as broad inspiration for shaping events around research and will help promote connections within a very diverse programme. More on the theme can be found here. We are especially interested in how humanities research might help us to ‘renew’ our understanding of what it means to be human in 2021, including our relationships with the places around us, how we work and play, how we understand identity and culture, and how we interact with the planet and nature.