Discoveries and Secrets: Being Human festival 2019
Written by Emma Bridges
With less than a month to go until the opening of this year’s annual Being Human festival, this week’s blogpost picks out some of the classically-focused events which will be taking place around the UK this November. Being Human – founded in 2014 – is organised by our colleagues here at the School of Advanced Study, and is the UK’s only national festival which is dedicated to sharing the fruits of humanities research with public audiences. Themed around ‘Discoveries and Secrets’, this year’s festival will take place from 14th-23rd November at locations all over the country. All events are free to attend, but some do require advance booking – details for each can be found by clicking on the highlighted links.
In Lincolnshire a hands-on exhibition on November 23rd, Unearthing Roman Riseholme, will provide visitors with the opportunity to talk to archaeologists and handle finds from this summer’s community archaeology project which unearthed parts of a Roman settlement at the university’s Riseholme campus.
For those with an interest in ancient Egypt, in Edinburgh the National Museum of Scotland will host a panel discussion on Scottish contributions to Egyptian archaeology on 16th November – you can find out more about current and past excavations, and take a closer look at the museum’s Egyptian collection. Elsewhere, at Swansea’s tantalisingly-titled Enter the Chamber of Secrets family fun day on 23rd November, you’ll find academics from the university’s Egypt Centre sharing some of the secrets of their research.
The University of Exeter’s Secret Ingredients event, which is being held at Exeter Central Library on the evening of 19th November, will feature researchers from across the humanities (including classicists and archaeologists) offering tasty insights into the origins of our modern diets. Equally intriguingly, Death at Teatime, in Oxford on November 23rd, invites you to join in discussion over afternoon tea with researchers from a range of disciplines – including classical archaeology, history of medicine and medical ethics – to talk about historical and present-day perspectives on the often-taboo topics of death and bereavement.
There are also several events which are inspired by the ancient world taking place across London over the course of the festival. At the ICS we’re partnering with Islington’s Little Angel Theatre to put on Making Medusa, a family-friendly puppet-making and storytelling day bringing to life the snake-haired mythical monster (November 17th). On 21st November we’re also involved in Sea Change, an evening of storytelling in a riverside pub, focusing on sea creatures from the Sirens of the Odyssey to the selkies of Scottish folklore. Elsewhere in London you can discover more about Gilgamesh, The Hero Who Didn’t Want to Die (November 19th); and, also on November 19th, the London Mithraeum will host Excavating Roman Voices, which combines a poetic performance with short talks and the opportunity to view the ancient Roman temple.
Being Human festival events will be taking place all over the UK this November, inviting public audiences to learn more about some of the most exciting current research in all humanities disciplines. There will also be a preview event in partnership with the charity Arts Emergency on 30th October in London, focusing on issues around diversity in both academia and the creative industries, and asking ‘Are the Humanities for Us?’ This event is also free and open to all, and you can find further details here. You can search the full festival programme here, and can get festival news and updates on Twitter by following @BeingHumanFest, or by searching for #BeingHuman19.