Being Human - Swansea to be hub for national humanities festival

Swansea University’s Research Institute for Arts and Humanities (RIAH) has been chosen as one of seven hubs for Being Human 2016, the UK’s only national festival of the humanities. The Festival sees researchers and public explore what it means to be human

The theme for 2016, ‘hope and fear’ will inspire more than 250 free events across 45 towns and cities, including eight events in the city of Swansea.

300 x 121Now in its third year, Being Human is led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the ‌British Academy.

During the festival week, 17 – 25 November 2016, Swansea University’s hub ‘Dreams, Demons and Discovery’ will inspire you to express your hopes and fears in creative ways. Our programme will excite and challenge you to contemplate and reinterpret significant issues facing us today – from climate change and the changing face of energy, to our relationship with landscape.

Join us for a range of free events across the festival period, including:

  • an evening with Michael Morpurgo, one of the UK’s best-loved authors and storytellers;
  • a hands-on arts and crafts session at our special ‘demon stations’ with our Egyptian demons expert, Dr Kasia Szpakowska;
  • a unique exhibition of public response photography to the beautiful Swansea coastline alongside a screening of Owen Sheers’ On the Sea’s Land (Ar-for-dir);
  • a chance to share your stories of hope and fear with our award winning Creative Writing team;
  • an evening of Welsh poetry and celebration with the chaired bard at the 2016 National Eisteddfod, Aneirin Karadog.

300 x 450Watch out also for opportunities to log your hopes and fears at locations around Swansea and see them projected onto the spectacular National Waterfront Museum!

Picture:  author Michael Morpurgo, in Swansea as part of Being Human (Credit: Harper Collins)

These events will be delivered by Swansea University’s Research Institute for Arts and Humanities (RIAH) in collaboration with the following partners: Swansea Museum; National Waterfront Museum; Tidal Lagoon Power; Llansamlet Resource Centre; Clyne Farm Centre; Volcano Theatre Company; Coastal Housing; Trust New Art; The National Trust; Sound UK; and the Challenging Human Environments and Research Impact for a Sustainable and Healthy Digital Economy (CHERISH-DE) centre at Swansea University.

Dr Elaine Canning, Head of the Research Institute for Arts and Humanities at Swansea University, said:

“We are delighted to be hosting a festival hub as part of Being Human 2016 and wish to thank the festival organisers for giving us this exciting opportunity to bring our research into the community.

‘Dreams, Demons and Discovery’ will provide meaningful ways for us to engage with the public via a wide range of activities including arts and crafts, photography, creative writing and music at a variety of venues across the city”.

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Picture:  My One and All, My Swansea Coast - Credit: Benjamin Wigley

Owen Sheers, poet and Professor in Creativity at Swansea University, said:

“Dreams, Demons and Discovery’ will be part of a nine day national programme of big ideas, big debates and engaging activities for all ages. The festival will inform, extend and ignite contemporary thinking and imagination around the theme of ‘hope and fear’ in the humanities and I am delighted to be a festival advocate in 2016.

One of our highlights will include an evening with Michael Morpurgo as part of the new Swansea University centenary lecture series. Michael is a storyteller of great empathy and generosity of spirit - the kind of writer who can light a child's mind and set them on a lifetime path of books, reading and creativity.”

Being Human: a festival of the humanities 17-25 November 2016

Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, Being Human is a national forum for public engagement with humanities research.

The festival will highlight 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, and foster world-class knowledge that is vibrant, vital, and accessible to all. For more information, please visit or follow the festival on Twitter at @BeingHumanFest

Research Institute for Arts and Humanities (RIAH)

The Research Institute for Arts and Humanities (RIAH), in the College of Arts and Humanities at Swansea University, brings together academics, postgraduates and visiting national and international scholars to create a rich and vibrant research environment geared to international excellence and impact.

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Picture: Light at the end of the tunnel?   The Archives Treasure Hoard,  by the Richard Burton Archives and Ian Vine, Information Services and Systems, Swansea University