Introducing Being Human
by Roger Kain
The School of Advanced Study, University of London (SAS) is the UK’s national centre for the support and promotion of research in the humanities. Contributing to public understanding, the launch of the Being Human festival is a central component of our new academic strategy and an important milestone in the now 20-year history of the School.
The festival, led by SAS in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the British Academy, will illustrate the vibrancy, relevance and vitality of research in the humanities across the UK in 2014.
From its inception, the thinking behind the festival was that it would highlight an alternative vision of the humanities. Neither defensive nor self-congratulatory, the festival we envisaged would provide a refreshing reminder of just how innovative and inspiring the humanities and those researching in that field are. We are grateful to our partners, the AHRC and the British Academy, for the wholehearted support they have offered from the outset. All three organisations support research in the humanities in a multitude of ways, but this is the first time we have come together to create a festival. As such, it represents a remarkable opportunity for us to challenge how we achieve our goals, and reach new audiences.
This is a genuinely national festival with activities from Orkney to Truro, Belfast to Swansea and Norwich to Liverpool. We hope that it will spark a national, and indeed international, conversation about the humanities and their role in our global culture and everyday lives.
Professor Roger Kain CBE FBA is Dean and Chief Executive of the School of Advanced Study