Being Human festival explores 'Origins and Endings'

 Being Human
09 Nov 2018 12:45:33.820

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Members of the public will be able to learn about the end of the First World War, the Suffragette movement and D.H Lawrence’s past - as part of the annual Being Human Festival.

The University of Nottingham is hosting a series of events from 15-24 November, as part of the national festival, which lets academics share their innovative humanities work with the public.

Being Human, now in its fifth year, highlights the ways in which the humanities can inspire and enrich our everyday lives, help us to understand ourselves, our relationships with others, and the challenges we face in a changing world. The theme of this year’s national festival is ‘Origins and Endings’.

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The University’s programme of events is being run in partnership with Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, and explores cultural diversity, creativity and innovation through a series of events on topics such as extinction, the First World War, the Suffragette movement and women in literature.

From old and new cultural exchanges to personal stories of losing your voice and finding your identity, the collection of events uses music, literature and the power of words to explore origins and endings, renewal and rejuvenation.

Professor Jeremy Gregory, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts at the University of Nottingham said: “'The University of Nottingham is delighted to be hosting the Being Human Festival in partnership with Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature. It's a brilliant way of show-casing the Arts and Humanities and engaging with our friends and neighbours in Nottingham and the region.”

Highlights include:

  • A panel discussion with Kate Mosse, bestselling novelist and co-founder of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, Sandeep Mahal, Director of Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, and Dr Lila Matsumoto from the School of English.
  • A guided tour of the D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum to explore how Lawrence’s early experiences in Eastwood shaped his future.
  • A commemorative performance by the University Chamber Choir  on 16 November at Djanogly Recital Hall at Nottingham Lakeside Arts, marking the anniversaries of Queen Victoria’s and President Kennedy’s death, as well as elegies for those who fell during the First World War.
  • A creative writing workshop exploring links between literature and visual art, whist focusing on the avant-garde texts of Gertrude Stein and Mina Loy to guide the participants through their own writing adventures on the topics of feminism, gender and resistance. 
  • A preview of Dr Elizabeth Kelly’s upcoming opera through a performance in the Foyer of the Royal Concert Hall. This live performance of ‘Losing Her Voice’ will incorporate archival media of the early 20th century American diva Geraldine Ferrar, who become a silent film star.

These are just some of the events taking place during the week. The full programme can be found at the website.

Sandeep Mahal, Director of Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the University of Nottingham on this year’s Being Human Festival launch event. Our UNESCO designation is testament to Nottingham as a creative city, a city that has made a remarkable contribution to literature and learning over many centuries of writing, publishing, reading and celebration of the written word.  

“The 2019 Being Human Festival offers us a special opportunity to commemorate 100 years of the Suffrage Movement by bringing readers and writers together to champion women’s voices and explore the origins and future of women’s writing. “

The national Being Human festival is led by the School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the British Academy. This partnership draws together the three major bodies dedicated to supporting and promoting humanities research in the UK and internationally.

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More information is available from Dr Anna Walas at the University of Nottingham, by email at

Charlotte Anscombe – Media Relations Manager (Arts and Social Sciences)

Email:  Phone:+44 (0)115 74 84 417 Location: University Park

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