Halloween Humanities

Halloween Humanities

Halloween Humanities

In honour of the spookiest time of the year, we’ve rounded up a few of the most haunting highlights from the Being Human 2020 programme!
Join in with #HalloweenHumanities on Twitter and share the most frightening books, objects, historical facts or folklore you’ve come across – from haunted places and harrowing art works, to mythical monsters, mysterious traditions and chilling archaeological finds…

Black Vampyre and Other Creations

14 November, 12:00–15:00 

Explore Gothic dreams of new worlds and the creatures that inhabit them, including Mary Shelley’s plague world, John Polidori’s vampire, and the ghosts of World War 1. Visit Polidori’s uncanny resting place in a virtual tour, in the same graveyard where Mary and Percy Shelley’s courtship found life, and contemplate gothic afterworlds, in an afternoon of presentations and workshops. Organised by the University of Hertfordshire as part of the Open Graves, Open Minds Project.

American Gothic

17 November, 19:00–20:00 

When America declared its independence from Great Britain in 1776, the founding of a new nation meant the chance to do things differently. Yet leaving the ‘Old World’ behind would not be easy and starting afresh, in a new land, would bring its own challenges. This talk will consider America’s fixation with darkness, from early gothic novels through to high-profile TV tales such as American Horror Story: Roanoke. Organised by the University of Portsmouth.

Snow White Evil Witches

19 November, 18:00–19:00 

Ageing women have often been portrayed as Evil Women. What do portrayals of the Evil Queen from Snow White tell us about witchcraft, fears of the power of ageing women, and the valorisation of youth, beauty, and domesticity? Organised by Gresham College.

Night on Earth 

19 November, 20:00–21:00 and 20 November, 20:00–21:00 

‘Night On Earth’ is a 21st century visual poem and a post-pandemic take on a drive-in cinema. Influenced by Jim Jarmusch’s 1991 art comedy-drama film of the same title, John Carpenter’s 1983 American supernatural horror film Christine and John Landis’s 1985 American black comedy thriller Into the Night, ‘Night On Earth’ mixes the thrills of going to a drive-in cinema with an entertaining multi-media performance that plays out across the historic Lamorbey House on the Rose Bruford College campus. This 30-minute, site specific performance can be viewed from the comfort of your car! Organised by Rose Bruford College.

Welcome Back to the Future

21 November, 13:00–15:00 

Bring along a family ghost story to share and together the group will choose one in which they will devise how to grant the wishes of the ghost, through the means of a group collaborative performance. Work to fulfil the wishes of the dead, and in the process, create a possible new future, where old knowledge informs our present circumstances and shapes what is to come as well... Organised by the University of Portsmouth.

Who Lies Beneath

Available throughout the festival 

Wadsley Church cemetery in north Sheffield is home to a mass grave: 2,500 people who died at the nearby mental asylum between 1872 and 1948. A small plaque, erected in 2012, is the only evidence of this tragic, hidden history. Earlier this year, Mexican-British artist Helen Blejerman created a series of artworks, ‘A Visual Theory of the Soul’, based on the living flora of the churchyard and in memory of the 2,500 unnamed ‘pauper souls’ buried there. In this downloadable guided walk, Dr Julia Banwell takes Helen’s captivating drawings as the starting point for an exploration of life, death, nature and memory. Organised by The University of Sheffield.


Being Human festival 2020 takes place 12-22 November, on the theme of ‘New Worlds’.