Professors David Olusoga and Gary Younge to headline British Academy Summer Showcase 2024

24 Apr 2024

The British Academy Summer Showcase logo against a colourful background

British Academy Fellows and Honorary Fellows, including historian and BAFTA-winning filmmaker Professor David Olusoga Hon FBA and sociologist and journalist Professor Gary Younge Hon FBA, will be joined by leading thinkers such as disability activist and broadcaster Dr Shani Dhanda, at a free public festival on 12–13 July 2024.

The British Academy’s annual Summer Showcase is an interactive festival of ideas rooted in the humanities and social sciences. Each year, it connects leading thinkers and researchers with the public, to engage and inspire them with ideas that fundamentally shape the world we live in.

The 2024 Summer Showcase is the most ambitious since the festival began in 2018, including a relaxed ‘Friday Late’ and family-friendly day. Highlights include:

  • An exhibit created collaboratively with a homelessness charity and academics to highlight how people experiencing homelessness cope with extreme daily challenges
  • Two dancers performing together in the 3D space of the metaverse, despite being miles apart – and the public can try composing their own dance moves in a virtual dance studio
  • ‘The Books That Made Me’ – a talk with British Academy Honorary Fellow Professor Gary Younge
  • A workshop interrogating society’s judgement of alcohol crime, and how these perceptions influence real-life sentencing outcomes in court
  • A talk about the UK’s history of migration with former British Academy President’s Medal winners Professor David Olusoga Hon FBA and broadcast journalist Zeinab Badawi
  • Dr Shani Dhanda joins an ‘Ask the Experts’ talk on how to fix the UK housing crisis
  • An interactive workshop about women’s role in bookbinding – create your own take-home notepads using needle and thread
  • 10-Minute Talks: from bad jobs to tackling anxiety in children, Eurovision to music in pubs, litter picking to language learning, the public can access flashes of insight into a wide range of timely research topics
  • A screening of the British Academy-funded film Together with Lorenza Mazzetti, hosted by director Brighid Lowe at the Institute for Contemporary Art

The programme offers a preview of what is to come as the British Academy gears up to launch a brand new, year-round, seasonal and free public events programme beginning in September 2024. Full details and booking, including for seasons The Age of Mistrust? (Jan-March 2025) and Folklore Reimagined (March-June 2025), will be unveiled at the Showcase.

This new seasonal programming will be enabled by a transformative, £9.6 million redevelopment to the Academy’s Grade I listed home in London’s St James’s, which will see its lower floors reimagined into three, light-filled, flexible hybrid events spaces, equipped to host talks, lectures, performances and workshops.

Visitors will also be able to see the Academy’s collection of contemporary British art, with works by Paula Rego, Yinka Shonibare and Terry Frost, among others. The Showcase will unveil a brand-new artwork by acclaimed Guyanese-British sculptor and contemporary artist Hew Locke OBE, set for public display for the first time – with a chance to hear from the artist.

It will also see the launch of a new digital art guide, developed by the Academy in partnership with Bloomberg Connects, allowing anyone, anywhere to enjoy this unique collection with unique curatorial insights and behind-the-scenes stories.

Events are free but booking is recommended.

Professor Julia Black, President of the British Academy, said: “This year’s Summer Showcase previews a more modern, dynamic and accessible British Academy. We want our visitors to step inside and experience the incredible variety of pioneering and progressive humanities and social sciences research we offer. From AI to the African diaspora, language-learning to dance, and climate to housing, there’s something at the British Academy for everyone.”

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For further information contact the Press Office on [email protected]  / 07500 010 432.

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