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Being Human returns: events to take place nationwide as part of festival for humanities

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The British Academy will partner with Being Human festival 2019: Discoveries and Secrets, the UK’s largest nationwide festival of the humanities, to bring exciting new research to life for the public.

From 14 to 23 November this year, in hubs across the country from Swansea to Sheffield and from Lincoln to London, researchers will host free exhibits, installations, walking tours and talks.

Small grants of up to £1,500 have been made to 34 universities and research organisations to allow researchers to share their work with new audiences.

This year’s festival theme of Discoveries and Secrets will include a recreation of the Victorian fern craze at Sefton Park Palm House in Liverpool, the uncovering of intriguing historical queer dating ads at The National Archives, and a look at how music shapes Bangladeshi cultural identity in Manchester.

Elsewhere in the UK, 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’ will look past tourist attractions and confront the city’s ‘uncomfortable’ histories of race, gender and class.

Universities have also been awarded additional funding to give the festival more ambitious scope in festival ‘hubs’ across the UK, allowing visitors to:

  • Join a theatrical Jacobean banquet and be immersed in mythological and allegorical journeys as part of the University of Sheffield’s ‘Myth, dream and love’ programme
  • Dig for buried treasure and embark on adventures across land and sea with Swansea University in its ‘Rediscovering Swansea’ series
  • Discover ‘worlds of words’ while beat-making with London-based Moroccan rapper Dizzy DROS and researchers from Queen Mary, University of London and King’s College London
  • Uncover the dark and eerie history of the River Tay in ‘The Aquatic City’ at the University of Dundee
  • Take part in an archaeological dig on a council estate, and a magical lantern parade through the University of Lincoln’s series on ‘Lives lived differently’

Being Human festival is led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the AHRC and the British Academy.

Professor Sir David Cannadine, President of the British Academy, said:

“The humanities are a source of unparalleled fascination for the British public, showing us parts of ourselves and our communities that we have never encountered before. Recent British Academy research showed that subjects such as archaeology, history, languages and philosophy are some of the most popular; the humanities help us make sense of our world and enrich our everyday lives. Being Human provides a wonderful opportunity to discover these subjects in new and creative ways.”

The full programme of events will be announced in October following an open call for events and international partnerships submissions.