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Being Human Festival launches 2024 Call for Applications

The call for applications for this year’s national festival of the humanities, taking place 7–16 November, is now live. Funding grants are available! 

Being Human Festival 2024 

Calling all humanities researchers! Apply to hold a public engagement event as part of this year’s Being Human Festival. 

Being Human is the UK’s national festival of the humanities. The festival is 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. 

Each year the festival invites humanities researchers and staff from universities and research organisations around the UK and beyond to take part in the national festival by organising a public engagement event or activity. This year’s festival will take place 7–16 November, with the theme ‘Landmarks’, honouring the festival’s 10th anniversary. 

A platform for innovation in public engagement 

The festival encourages researchers to move away from lectures and seminar-style events and instead looks to champion innovative, participatory and creative activities that foster two-way connections between researchers and non-specialist audiences and communities. Researchers are also encouraged to move off campus and bring activities to venues and locations in their local communities. 

Over the last 10 years the festival has supported an array of ambitious and creative events including a car show, museum lates, comedy nights, immersive theatre productions, a circus show, life-sized board games, escape rooms, live music, a research cabaret, pottery workshops, street parades, beach walks, bus tours and much more! 

The festival is keen to support public engagement projects which integrate aspects of co-production and encourages researchers to establish mutually beneficial partnerships and collaborations with community and cultural partners – including organisations like charities, local businesses, schools, freelance creatives, and arts organisations. 

How to apply 

You can organise an activity to take place as part of the festival, with or without funding from Being Human. The festival is looking to support high quality and ambitious public engagement events, and all activities need to involve a professional humanities researcher in both their planning and delivery. 

There are two types of funding grants on offer to enable activities to take place as part of the festival. Applicants based at UK Higher Education Institutions and AHRC-recognised independent research organisations are eligible to apply for this funding. 

  • Institutional grants: £4,000-£8,000 to coordinate and deliver a Festival Hub  
  • Festival Event grants: £4,000 to run a single event or multiple events as part of the festival 

The deadline for Institutional grants and Festival Event grants is Friday 12 April. The deadline to apply to organise an event without funding from the festival, via the Festival Event pathway, is Friday 7 June

Please visit the Being Human Festival website to find out more about the different application pathways, eligibility and priorities for funding. 

Please note, staff from the School of Advanced Study, University of London, are not eligible to apply for these funding grants. Further information will be provided in due course on how SAS staff can participate in the festival. 

If you are based outside of the UK and are interested in getting involved in the festival, please email us at beinghuman@sas.ac.uk. You can find out more about our international work on our website. 

Landmarks 

Each year, the festival sets a theme as a starting point, to help inspire activities and shape a broad programme of events, with ‘Landmarks’ being the theme for 2024. 

Being Human’s 10th anniversary is a landmark year, and the festival will be looking back on landmark events in its own history, while imagining landmarks it might yet create.  

More broadly, humanities research might suggest milestone historical events or political watersheds from which we can learn. It might celebrate beacons that artists have created, or chart how discoveries have guided us. There may be landmark texts, books, films and pieces of music that have had lasting impact. 

In our Anthropocene age it may especially lead us to think about place, and the marks we have made upon the land. A landmark may be a natural sight of beauty or wonder that brings people together. It may be a human-made boundary, or a monument that divides us. There may be local landmarks that have shaped our cultures, communities and places. And there may be landmarks lost to history. A landmark may make us question the consequences of how we have marked the land – or how the land has marked us.  

The festival is inviting researchers to join them in thinking about landmarks, physical or metaphorical (or both), and how they shape our world.  

Header image: 'Writing the Water' led by Sheffield Hallam University. Photo: Andy Brown.

Apply now

Find out more about how to apply on the festival website.

Apply now