The tech sparks that shine new lights on being human 

Thursday 26 October 2017

From exploring and contributing to a virtual, literary map of Edinburgh to making a 'dive' to the wreck of the sunken warship The London just off Southend, this year’s Being Human festival of the humanities examines how technology can bring academic research to life. 

Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, Being Human 2017 is the only national humanities festival in the UK. And it highlights technology through a range of events running from 17 to 25 November. They include:

  • Buried treasure: the wreck of 'The London' at the School of Advanced Study 
    In 1665 The London exploded and sank to the estuary bed off Southend. Her wreck was found in 2005, revealing its hidden history. Join an immersive evening, exploring food, drink and ballads from the time. Plunge beneath the waves in a virtual dive and see her glow in a digitally mapped projection. Fill a pipe, knot rope and interact with artefacts. Meet the archaeologists bringing to life the warship which carried Charles II to England during the Restoration. 
  • Lost literary Edinburgh: a Wikipedia editathon at The University of Edinburgh 
    Edinburgh has a long literary history and is a place rich in voices and stories which are now just the faintest of echoes. The LitLong app and web resource recover some of these lives and stories, giving them back to the city and its readers. But LitLong relies on the common store of knowledge elsewhere online. This event will add to that store by creating and improving Wikipedia pages for neglected or overlooked authors in the LitLong database. 
  • Adapt live at Royal Holloway, University of London 
    These events feature some of the most extraordinary television pioneers and veteran TV crews who will demonstrate the skills that brought us the first colour TV shows, and documentaries shot on film and on location. Using original equipment and a 'memory booth' the audience can record what television in the early days meant to them. 
  • Your first digital story at University of Nottingham  
    Ever thought of creating and publishing your own digital story? This two-hour 'storyfest', hosted by the National Videogame Arcade, will introduce the basics of interactive, digital narrative building needed to create your own story and publish it on the web. No previous experience is necessary; simply bring your enthusiasm and creativity. 

This is just a sample of the more than 300 events on offer at Being Human 2017. Other themes include science and medicine, hidden histories: lost voices, politics and protest and environment. See the festival site for more information on these themes. 

Find out more about the festival at and follow the latest news on Twitter at @BeingHumanFest.  


Notes to Editors:  

  1. For further information, please contact: Maureen McTaggart, Media and Public Relations Officer, School of Advanced Study, University of London +44 (0)20 7862 8653  /
  2. Being Human: a festival of the humanities 17–25 November 2017  
    Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts and 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.   
  3. The School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London, is the UK’s national centre for the promotion and support of research in the humanities. SAS and its member institutes offer unparalleled academic opportunities, facilities and stimulation across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. In 2015-16, SAS: welcomed 786 research fellows and associates; held 2,007 research dissemination events; received 24.4 million visits to its digital research resources and platforms; and received 194,145 visits to its specialist libraries and collections. The School also leads the UK’s only nationwide festival of the humanities: Being Human. Find out more at or on Twitter at @SASNews
  4. The Arts and Humanities Research Council  (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. Follow the AHRC on Twitter at and Facebook 
  5. The British Academy for the humanities and social sciences. Established by Royal Charter in 1902. Its purpose is to inspire and support high achievement in the humanities and social sciences throughout the UK and internationally, and to promote their public value. For more information, please visit Follow the British Academy on Twitter @britac_news.