Being Human 2017 - Swansea: a land of 'Voices, Faces and Places.'

Swansea University’s Research Institute for Arts and Humanities (RIAH) has reflected on another successful series of public events, on the theme of ‘Voices, Faces and Places’, as part of last month’s national Being Human 2017 festival.

View the Swansea University ‘Voices, Faces and Places' Flickr gallery here.

BHlogo17‌RIAH was chosen for the third time as one of five hubs across the UK for the festival, which ran from November 17-25, and hosted 12 free public events. The events were made possible by a grant from the festival organisers, the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the British Academy.

Researchers and the public explored the festival’s core theme of ‘Lost and Found’ at venues across the city including the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea Museum, Cinema & Co, Volcano Theatre and Tŷ’r Gwrhyd, Pontardawe.

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‌Dr Elaine Canning, Head of Swansea University’s Research Institute for Arts and Humanities (RIAH), in the College of Arts and Humanities, said: “Many thanks to all – our researchers, students, partner organisations, and most importantly, members of the public – who supported and contributed to this year’s series of events.

“We had a hugely successful run of lectures, performances, creative workshops and competitions which had a wide reach and impact across the city – none of which would have been possible without the involvement and generosity of so many groups and individuals.

“The opportunity to engage the public with a diverse range of subjects has become a key feature of our November calendar and one we very much look forward to.”


This year’s public events organised by RIAH and its partners included:

  • Rho dy Gymraeg i Ni! was led by Professors Steve Morris & Tess Fitzpatrick and was the festival’s only ALL Welsh event where participants were able to play the role of TV critic for an afternoon –reviewing short clips containing a range of themes. Participants also learned of the work of community driven project CorCennCC which collects all kinds of Welsh from all over Wales and also how to download and use the fantastic new app that has been developed. The event took place at Tŷ’r Gwrhyd, Pontardawe on Friday, November 17.
  • Egyptian Mummy meets Demons:  Voices, Faces and Faraway Places magically transported all gathered back to the ancient realm of mummies and friendly and menacing demons with a fascinating talk and a series of fun activities hosted by Dr. Kasia Szpakowska where the whole family could get involved with matching hieroglyphs of these mystical entities with their given ancient and descriptive names. This event took place at Swansea Museum on the morning of Saturday 18th November
  • Bay of Plenty,offered an insight into Swansea and the then new Singleton campus University during the 1920s.Aimed at a broad age range, the afternoon gave those that attended an opportunity to hear tales from the City, Campus and its culture from Dr. Sam Blaxland. Topics such as favourite foods and pastimes were discussed and younger children were able to dress up in period style dress to transport them back to a time 100 years ago. Even historic Singleton Abbey was brought to life in the form of a fabulous jigsaw! The event took place at the National Waterfront Museum on Saturday 18th November
  • Football Fever,saw a screening of film director and Swansea University alumnus Jonny Owen’s film ‘Don’t take me Home.’ The piece documents the magical summer of 2016 when Wales as a footballing nation shocked the world by reaching the semi-finals of its first major tournament since 1958. Jonny and Dr. Martin Johnes then engaged in an entertaining Q&A session which fielded questions from a football mad packed audience. The event took place at Cinema & Co on the evening of Monday 20th November
  • Wales/Cymru, Refugees, Voices, (Hi)stories was a unique chance to hear what it is like to travel and settle in Wales as a refugee from those that have made such a life changing decision. Dr. Kathryn Jones led the session where all in attendance responded to the (hi)stories and voices, through performance and other creative activities. The event took place at Swansea Museum on Tuesday 21st November.
  • My Family and Empire - Dr. Catherine Fletcher helped put the lives of participants relatives who lived during this hugely significant time in Britain’s history into context and helped to shed light on the ways in which you can improve your search for information about your family during the time of Empire by exploring the range of archive resources available on these complex family histories. The event took place at Swansea Museum on the evening of Tuesday 21st November
  • Making Faces: Beauty Lost & Found - Professor Trish Skinner led a journey into the fascinating world of the face, from medieval beauty regimes to the disfiguring effects of work, from historic dental routines to the changing attitudes towards spectacles. Participants took the Implicit Bias test to see just how they respond to faces that look different, and found out about the work of charity Changing Faces. The event also featured a digital exhibition of photos from the ‘Making Faces’ competition where earlier in the year, entrants had been asked to draw, paint or photograph an amazing face. The event took place at YMCA Swansea on Wednesday 22nd November
  • Voices for Today saw the ‘literati’ out in force as award-winning writers Jasmine Donahaye, Anne Lauppe-Dunbar and Francesca Rhydderch, as well as Swansea University Creative Writing alumnus Rebecca F. John, read from new work and talked about the challenges facing a writer in times of great political and cultural change. The event took place at Oystermouth Library on the evening of Wednesday 22nd November  
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis at 55, a special schools event delivered by Dr. Luca Trenta as part of his Out of the Shadows Project, looked at one of the most dangerous times in the World’s history. Pupils of Bishop Vaughan School, Swansea heard about just how close humanity came to nuclear annihilation - examining how the crisis came about two of the World’s superpowers and the steps that were taken to bring about its resolution. The event took place at Bishop Vaughan School on the morning of Thursday 23rd November
  • Simon Armitage & Daljit Nagra: An Evening of Poetry gave an opportunity to hear from two renowned poetry heavyweights who not only delivered outstanding readings of their work but gave extra insight into their creative processes through an engaging and highly informative Q&A session to an appreciative audience as part of the Swansea University Centenary Lecture Series. The event took place at the Great Hall, Bay Campus on the evening of Thursday 23rd November 
  • Mutilingual Swansea embraced the many cultures and languages that can be found within the city. Led by Professor Tom Cheesman, a large crowd gathered to hear different dialects, as poems from some of our very best local poets were performed. The evening also featured a digital exhibition consisting of photos from the event’s accompanying photo competition where entrants had earlier in the year been asked to interpret the theme of ‘Multilingual Swansea’ through a camera lens. The event took place at Volcano Theatre on Friday 25th November.
  • Pieces of a Jigsaw celebrated the work of renowned photographer Bernard Mitchell with the launch of his new book of the same title. It documents and exhibits a unique collection of portraits from the Welsh arts scene captured by the photographer. The gathered audience were treated to stories behind some of the photos of the literary and artistic Welsh greats that Bernard has captured throughout his life behind a lens. The event took place at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery on Saturday 25th November

For more information on Swansea University’s Research Institute for Arts and Humanities (RIAH) click here.