Being Human Festival

Being Human is the UK’s national festival of the humanities, led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, with generous support from Research England, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy. The School of Advanced Study is the UK's national centre for the pursuit, support and promotion of research in the humanities.

Established in 2014, and taking place annually at venues across the UK, the festival offers a national forum for public engagement with humanities research. Every year we help researchers in the humanities – from literature and history, languages and philosophy, art history and classics, and more – produce enjoyable events for public audiences that emphasise working with local communities to share ideas for mutual benefit. The festival highlights 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.

The aims of the Being Human Festival are: 

  • to demonstrate the value of humanities research to society in the UK and globally;
  • to encourage, support, and create opportunities for humanities researchers to engage with non-specialist audiences;
  • to embed and join together public engagement activities in the humanities across the higher education (HE) sector;
  • to demonstrate the relevance of the humanities to everyday life.

What is the Being Human festival?

What is the Being Human festival?

What is the Being Human Festival?

Being Human 2023

Being Human Festival returns 9⁠–⁠18 November 2023, with the theme Rhyme or Reason. Each year we invite humanities researchers and other staff from universities and research organisations to apply to take part in the festival by organising a public engagement event, activity or project. There are a few different ways to take part, and funding grants of up to £8,000 are on offer to enable activities. Interested in taking part? Head to the Being Human Festival website to find out more.

Being Human 2022

Being Human Festival 2022 took place 10–19 November, with the theme 'Breakthroughs'. The 2022 festival presented 285 free events and activities in 48 towns and cities across the UK. Find out more in the short film below.

Being Human Festival was founded in 2014 with the aim of highlighting an alternative vision of the humanities. Since then, the festival has drawn together the most exciting and inspiring work in the humanities research field to present thousands of creative and collaborative public events that inspire, inform and extend our contemporary thinking and imagination. Watch our short film looking at the first five years of the festival.

Celebrating five years of the Being Human festival

Celebrating five years of the Being Human festival

Celebrating five years of the Being Human Festival