Wrestling with the past: the hidden histories and lost voices of being human 

Thursday 26 October 2017

Histories may disappear, but they can be brought back: like the Queerseum collating gay experiences; reggae stars sifting through the vinyl in the attic to explore black music; widening the debate about refugees with the stories from Kindertransport for children fleeing Nazism. 

In a year marking the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, the 'hidden histories and lost voices' theme of this year’s Being Human festival demonstrates how humanities research can illuminate diverse histories, recover lost stories and preserve and illuminate our past for future generations.  

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 hidden histories through a range of events running from 17 to 25 November. They include: 

  • Bass in the attic at the University of Westminster 
    Rediscover and revalue the black British music heritage you have at home. A panel will each bring a piece of personal music heritage – perhaps an old photograph, flyer, a treasured LP – to start the conversation at this intergenerational event which aims to reconnect individuals and families to their musical heritage through memorabilia and mementos. 
  • The Kindertransport: a home lost, a new life found? at the School of Advanced Study 
    The Kindertransport helped nearly 1,000 child refugees flee from Nazi-occupied territories to the UK in 1938–39. This event brings together Kindertransportee Ruth Barnett and Ursula Krechel, the German author whose novel Landgericht, is based on her life. (It includes extracts from the 2016 TV adaptation of the novel and a discussion.)
  • React and reimagine - finding the future in our past at Senate House 
    Queerseum, a group of artists and activists building the UK's first queer museum, invites the LGBTIQA+ community and others to create a permanent space - to hold,        share and transform queer lives and histories. It’s a week of workshops, talks, performances and installations.
  • Live British wrestling: history and resurgence at De Montfort University 
    Whether you have been a fan for 40 years or don’t know your hurricanrana from your cobra clutch (wrestling moves), everyone is welcome to this celebration of British    professional wrestling. It is a chance to watch some live wrestling and talk about gimmicks, chair shots and top rope flips.   

This is just a sample of the more than 300 events on offer at Being Human 2017. Other themes explored include science and medicine, technology, politics and protest and environment. 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.   



image006Maureen McTaggart
Media and Public Relations Officer

Senate House (Room 211) | Malet Street | London WC1E 7HU
Tel: 0207 862 8859 | Fax: 0207 862 8657

E: maureen.mctaggart@sas.ac.uk | W: sas.ac.uk