Leicester to showcase humanities research at 2021 Being Human festival

Credit: Ankita Jain

University of Leicester experts from disciplines as diverse as English literature, archaeology and criminology – and a whole lot more – have joined the programme for the UK’s largest national festival of the humanities.

The 2021 Being Human festival, taking place from Tuesday 9 to Saturday 20 November 2021, will feature a mix of digital and physical events across the UK, including sessions at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery, The Y Theatre, Phoenix Arts Centre, and Attenborough Arts Centre.

Professor Richard Thomas, Professor of Archaeology and Dean of Research and Enterprise in the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities (CSSAH), said: “After experiencing the longest period of continuous lockdown due to COVID-19 in the UK, communities across Leicester are beginning to reconnect with each other and with the city.

“The Being Human festival will use humanities research to engage with familiar topics in new ways. 

“Our experts at the University of Leicester span a wide variety of disciplines, from exploring Britain’s colonial history to studying the impact of literature in the present day – and everything in between.

“We look forward to welcoming visitors to venues across Leicester, plus guests via online platforms, this November.” 

The schedule of University of Leicester-supported events includes:

  • The Changing Sounds of Home – Saturday 13 November (2.00pm to 3.30pm) – In conjunction with the Midlands Hub Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project, explore some of the ‘sounds of lockdown’, and how the sounds of home have changed over the years. Online.
  • ‘Criminals’ in the Time of Covid – Monday 15 November (6.00pm to 7.30pm) – Leicester researchers present their study on the impact of COVID-19 on India’s indigenous and nomadic communities through arts-based methodologies, in the form of a video podcast. Held at Phoenix Cinema and Arts Centre.
  • Women’s Things – Tuesday 16 November (1.00pm to 2.30pm) – A workshop to consider the language used to describe the menopause, through expressive writing, journaling and story sharing. Held at The Y Theatre.
  • How to Be Human in Digital-first Environments – Tuesday 16 November (5.00pm to 6.00pm) – Professor Ross Parry, Dr Lauren Vargas and Dr Sophie Frost, of the AHRC-funded One by One initiative, explore how the mission to build digital confidence in the museums and heritage sector has evolved to focus on the human side of digital. Online.
  • Guyana’s Prison System: Can history make a difference? – Thursday 18 November (1.30pm to 3.30pm) – Guided exhibition of Guyana’s prison system, as experienced by inmates and the people who work with them, through the lens of the history of crime and punishment and the legacies of the British Empire. Held online and at the Attenborough Arts Centre.
  • Artificial Intelligence & Roman Pottery: New Technology & Old PotsFriday 19 November (2.00pm to 5.00pm) and Saturday 20 November (11.00am to 2.30pm) – Researchers from the Arch-I-Scan Project team demonstrate how cutting-edge technology can be used to shed new light on eating and drinking in the Roman world. Held in the Charles Wilson Building and at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery.
  • Cracking the Dickens Code – Saturday 20 November (11.00am to 12.00pm) – Learn about the unique shorthand developed by author Charles Dickens and the basics of decoding. Online.

While all events are open to the public, guests are encouraged to register for their free tickets using Eventbrite.

The full events schedule for the national festival is available at beinghumanfestival.org/2021/event-series.