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Being Human

Posted on 28 May 2014

Researchers and public explore what it means to be human

The University of York is to host an event to participate in Being Human, the UK’s first national festival of the humanities, which involves current research on York’s past and its relevance in the present.

It is made possible by a grant from the festival organisers, the School of Advanced Study, University of London, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy.

The University of York has been awarded funding to hold the event during Being Human festival week, 15 – 23 November 2014. ‘Within the Walls: Heritage, Public History and the Historic City’ will champion the excellence of humanities research being undertaken in York and Yorkshire and help to demonstrate the vitality and relevance of this today.

Selected from over 100 applications, the grant will help the university bring together researchers and the local public to engage with their own interpretation of the humanities. ‘Within the Walls’ will be part of a national programme of activities which aim to inform, extend and ignite contemporary thinking and imagination around the humanities. 

Dr Sarah Rees Jones of the Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past said: “We are looking forward to engaging the public through new activities both online and offline that address the value of York’s past for communities in the present and the future. There will be an exhibition of recent research conducted locally to stimulate the imagination but we are really interested in public contributions and ideas.

“At the end of the week we plan to link up with similar projects at the University of Western Australia to consider the values associated with heritage and history among migrant and mobile populations both locally and internationally. The activities grow out of a group of collaborative PHD projects with the City of York Council in the Departments of Archaeology and History at the University of York as well as similar work conducted by local community groups and partners across the White Rose network.”

Currently in its first year, Being Human is led by the School of Advanced Study in participation with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy with the participation of arts and cultural organisations and universities across the UK.

The festival programme will focus on activities that make humanities research accessible to the general public and demonstrate the role of the humanities in the cultural, intellectual, political and social life of the UK.

Thirty-six grants have been awarded to universities and arts and cultural organisations across the UK to participate in the nine days of festival events taking place across the UK, from Truro to Orkney, Swansea to Belfast and Norwich to Liverpool.

Being Human: A festival of the humanities 15-23 November 2014