Tuning in to the wake-up calls for human wellbeing 

Thursday 26 October 2017

In our 24-hour society are some aspects of wellbeing in danger of being ‘lost’, including sleep and diet? Being Human, the UK's only national festival of the humanities tackles the 'science and medicine' in everything from the history of sleep (and getting a good night’s rest) to cultural attitudes to ageing, dementia and food.  

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 science and medicine through a range of events running from 17 to 25 November. They include:

  • Sleep: lost and found at the University of Manchester 
    Struggling to get a good night’s rest? You’re not alone. In a fun-packed weekend of themed activities at the Manchester Museum, sleep experts and historians will test your  sleep knowledge, design the ideal bedroom, and provide tips on how to make sleep and rest a priority. 
  • Hungry for words? Let's talk about food – with men at the University of Nottingham 
    Through café drop-in sessions, men of all ages, ethnic groups and backgrounds, are invited to share their thoughts about food, talk openly and contribute a few words, sentences or images to a storyboard to raise awareness of men’s concerns about weight, body shape, diet, exercise, over- or under-eating. (Food also comes to the fore in Stimulating all the senses: art, food, music and dementia at the University of West London, an event with state-of-the-art catering facilities specially designed for people with dementia.)  
  • The imaginarium at the University of Dundee 
    Discover fascinating facts and surprising science in talks by Dame Sue Black, one of the world's foremost experts in forensic anthropology, and other leading experts at this unique expo of 'outrageous' thought experiments inspired by the fictional Lagado academy in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver’s Travels. ‘What is the Google brain doing to our imagination? and ‘Are lie detectors always honest?’ are just two of the questions that will be under the microscope.   
  • Positive in prison: HIV stories from a Dublin jail at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 
    The experiences of those who lived through the 1980s HIV/AIDS crisis are rapidly disappearing from the public mind. This event reintroduces one specific collection of experiences, from the HIV/AIDS separation unit in Dublin’s largest jail which, captured through oral histories, are being transformed into an audio drama.  

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

Find out more about the festival at www.beinghumanfestival.org 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  / Maureen.mctaggart@sas.ac.uk.
  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 http://www.sas.ac.uk 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. www.ahrc.ac.uk. Follow the AHRC on Twitter at  twitter.com/ahrcpress and Facebook facebook.com/artsandhumanitiesresearchcouncil/ 
  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 www.britishacademy.ac.uk. Follow the British Academy on Twitter @britac_news.