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Being Human festival 2020: call for applications!

Date: 03/03/2020

Being Human festival - Copyright University of Sheffield and Photographer Andy Brown
Being Human festival. Copyright: University of Sheffield and Photographer Andy Brown

Being Human is the UK’s only national festival of the humanities. A celebration of humanities research through public engagement, it is led by the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, the UK’s national centre for the pursuit, support and promotion of research in the humanities, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy. The 2020 festival will run Thursday 12 - Sunday 22 November 2020 with the theme of ‘New Worlds’. Each year the festival presents hundreds of free events in partnership with universities, research organisations and researchers.

The core objectives of the festival are:

  • to demonstrate the value of humanities research to society in the UK and globally;
  • to encourage, support and create opportunities for humanities researchers to engage with non-specialist audiences;
  • to embed and join together public engagement activities in the humanities across the higher education (HE) sector;
  • to demonstrate the relevance of the humanities to everyday life.

There are three main pathways to getting involved in the festival:

Being Human festival. Copyright: Swansea University
Being Human festival. Copyright: Swansea University
  1. ‘Open Call’: organise an activity that does not require funding.
  2. Small Awards’: apply to Being Human for funding of up to £2,000 to enable activities.
  3. ‘Hub Awards’: apply for a larger institutional grant of £2,000- £5,000 to coordinate multiple activities as a Festival Hub.

Find out more about how to get involved.

New Worlds

Entering a new decade offers an opportunity to think about the types of ‘new world’ that we want to inhabit. Global issues such as the climate emergency, migration, ageing populations, the rise of political populism, the fragmentation of long-held political identities, automation and changes to the world of work are likely to dominate the news agenda. As we reach the milestone of 2020, often used in science fiction as a setting for imagined futures, we might be asking ‘what happened to the future we were promised?’; ‘what new futures can we, and should we, imagine?’. How can humanities research help us to imagine futures, learn from the past, and engage with the ‘new worlds’ already out there on our doorsteps? Read more about this year’s festival theme.


Header image: ‘Illuminate Gainsborough’ photo courtesy of West Lindsey District Council/ Electric Egg.

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