the diversity of being human

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The diversity of being human

A reflection of humanity itself, humanities research is not homogenous. This year’s Being Human festival of the humanities aims to highlight this by recognising the vast diversity of being human through revealing hidden histories and sparking cross-cultural conversations.

See below for a sample of diversity themed events from across the festival programme. Other themes explored include science and technology, politics, health and wellbeing, and arts and culture.

Rewriting Bradford: city, culture and changing representations | Bradford | Thursday 12 November

Reflecting on Bradford’s recent history, this event explores representations of the city in various genres of writing and other cultural production. Adopting a TED inspired format, speakers will address how Bradford emerges in literature, oral history and photography, ethnography, policy and press reporting.

In Robeson’s Footsteps | Birmingham | Thursday 12 November

In 1930, singer, actor and activist Paul Robeson made history by playing Othello. An exhibition, performance and discussion will draw from this dramatic moment – a black performer on a white stage, confronting prejudice.

Mexicans UK | London | Thursday 12 November

This exhibition consists of 32 portraits – one person from each state in Mexico – and combines visual and verbal elements enabling the viewer to have a better understanding of Mexican culture and society.

Port city: narratives of migration | Portsmouth | Friday 13 November and throughout the festival

Portsmouth tends to be associated with the history of the Navy, and there is a mistaken perception that it is a monocultural city. With its lectures, walk, workshop, exhibition and readings on migration, ‘Port city: narratives of migration’ aims to dispel this notion.

LGBTI human rights activism film: No easy walk to freedom | Glasgow | Sunday 15 November

This event begins with a screening of the documentary No Easy Walk to Freedom, which tells the story of the struggle to strike down a section of penal code which criminalises same-sex sexual behaviour in India. Following the screening, there will be a panel of experts including the film’s director.

Not the measure of us: Black women, New Cross, ‘new’ human | London | Sunday 15 November

This workshop invites active participation to explore questions and research concerning ‘Being Human’, starting with notions of ‘radical New Cross’, where you will be invited to bring along a small example of black radical memorabilia and some words, thoughts and ideas to create a collective installation.

Stories of Migration and Home | Newcastle | Sunday 15 November

This event will feature short talks for adults and activities for children, including storytelling as well as a pop-up museum where members of the public can bring in their own objects representative of local migration stories to talk about why they are important to them and the story these objects tell.

Brithop: regional rap in postcolonial Britain | Bristol | Monday 16 November

This talk, by music lecturer and hip-hop scholar Justin Williams, aims to survey hip-hop in post-colonial Britain with numerous examples to explore the state of the United Kingdom through some of its most artistically articulate voices.

Disability and wellbeing: past, present and future | Swansea | Tuesday 17 November

Drawing on research from Swansea University researchers and academics at the universities of Aberystwyth, Glasgow Caledonian and Strathclyde, this public debate focuses on how the happiness and wellbeing of disabled people have changed over time.

Gender and mental health: What can history teach us? | London | Wednesday 18 November

A panel of psychiatrists and historians will gather to discuss gender and mental health, from self-harm to alcoholism, suicide, mental health at work and pharmacological solutions, all from a humanitarian perspective.

Reviving the Crescent: Portsmouth connects with Asia | Portsmouth | Wednesday 18 November

Presenting a very different narrative, creative and cultural industries lecturer Tom Sykes will discuss Portsmouth’s role as a global city with close cultural and literary connections to Asia. After the lecture, British-Asian writers will read from their work about their experience of migration, integration and cultural encounter.

Home or abroad? | Aberdeen | Wednesday 18 November

This roundtable discussion will look at how migrants, who may or may not have thought they were coming on a temporary basis, have ended up staying in Scotland. The discussion aims to enhance the ability of communities to raise awareness and adapt policies to the local context.

African connections: moving people – perspectives on Bristol, slavery and migration | Bristol | Thursday 19 November

This panel debate and discussion will look at how the interwoven legacies of slavery, colonialism and migration might lend context to current issues affecting Bristol and its migrant communities.

Keeping it real: critical race & musical performance | Manchester | Friday 20 November

This guided history walk leads visitors through this remarkably brainy and often controversial part of London with stories about the eminent scientists, physicians and cultural figures who lived and worked in the area and the surprising connections, scandals and sources of inspiration that they found here.

Black British civil rights: the Story of the Mangrove 9 | London | Saturday 21 November

The National Archives and the Black Cultural Archives, invites young people to take part in a newly developed event exploring Black Civil Rights in Britain. With a focus on the Mangrove 9 trials, a result of the increasing tensions between police and the black community in Notting Hill.

Armchair tour of ‘Queer people’s knick knack emporium’ | London | Sunday 22 November

From the sumptuous Victorian surroundings of the V&A’s lecture theatre, performance artist Bird la Bird will take visitors on an ‘armchair tour’ through the museum’s seven miles of galleries and beyond.