Being Human Festival 2018

It’s time for the annual Being Human festival, now in its fifth year, when universities throughout the UK open their doors to share their innovative humanities research with the public.

Run by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, the festival will take place from 15–24 November. Now embedded as the UK’s unique national celebration of the humanities, its reach is now global with related events in Melbourne, Singapore, Paris, Rome, and in Princeton, New Jersey, USA.

This year’s theme is ‘Origins and Endings’, and has inspired unusual events that draw on innovative and engaged humanities research. Activities range from the topical to the ‘out there’ and they’re all thought provoking, entertaining and enriching.

One example is the number 29 Routemaster bus journey, which traces the 50-year movement of London’s Greek Cypriot community, through their voices and stories, from the city’s West End through Camden Town, Finsbury Park and on to Enfield Town. It’s a tale that chimes closely with the ‘origins and endings’ theme of Being Human.

At SOAS you’ll be able to experience a 3,000 years old Zoroastrian ritual in which the viewer will be immersed by means of VR glasses. Originating in ancient pre-Islamic Iran, the ritual was filmed in Mumbai 2017 with cutting edge spherical video technology. Visitors can also experience contemporary Zoroastrian Iran via the digitised oral testimony of over 300 interviewees. Displays of manuscripts, costumes, paintings and artefacts provide additional information about this ancient religion.

Many of our partners are taking part with events. Be sure to check out the festival calendar.

With more than 250 UK-wide events suitable for all ages and all lifestyles, the vitality and relevance of this ten-day festival knows no bounds.

‘It’s hard to believe that this is already the festival’s fifth iteration, and that in such a short time we’ve spread so far – not only across the UK, but now internationally as well,’ said Professor Sarah Churchwell, the festival’s director. ‘We are enormously excited about our new collaborations with Princeton and Melbourne Universities, as well as our returning partnerships in Singapore, Paris and Rome, not least because it’s a testament to the appetite for presenting humanities research to engaged audiences around the globe.’