Being Human festival Patrons

We are thrilled to have the support of six distinguished patrons. The patrons join us on our mission to celebrate the humanities, and to ensure that research in subjects including history, philosophy, literature, languages, art history, classics and archaeology is accessible, open to, and shared with everyone. We share the belief that the humanities help us to understand what it means to be human – they provide tools for communication and debate, means through which to articulate and interrogate complex ideas and ways of understanding our past and anticipating our futures. We need the humanities now more than ever to help us address these issues and provide the means to question, interpret and explain the human condition. Find out more about our patrons below.

Bonnie Greer

Bonnie Greer is an American-British playwright, novelist, critic and broadcaster. Bonnie has appeared as a panellist on television programmes such as Newsnight Review and Question Time and has served on the boards of several leading arts organisations, including the British Museum, the Royal Opera House and the London Film School.

Professor David Olusoga OBE, Manchester

David Olusoga is a British Nigerian popular historian, writer, broadcaster, presenter and film-maker. David is Professor of Public History at The University of Manchester.

On becoming a patron of Being Human festival, David said: “The humanities get a bad press. People – often people who should know better – can dismiss them as irrelevant, elitist, distant from the real world. Festivals like Being Human are important because they help to demonstrate why this isn’t true. They show how history shapes the world we live in today, how languages, cultures and ideas mould our politics, and can change the world for the better”.

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC FRSA HonFBA

Helena Kennedy is one of Britain’s most distinguished lawyers. She has spent her professional life giving voice to those who have least power within the system, championing civil liberties and promoting human rights. She has used many public platforms – including the House of Lords, to which she was elevated in 1997 – to argue with passion, wit and humanity for social justice. She has also written and broadcast on a wide range of issues, from medical negligence to terrorism to the rights of women and children.


Professor Sir Simon Schama CBE FRSL FBA, Columbia

Simon Schama is a historian, writer, critic, author and television presenter. Simon is Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University.



Professor Suzannah Lipscomb, Roehampton

Suzannah Lipscomb is a historian, author, broadcaster, and award-winning academic. She is Professor of History at the University of Roehampton

On becoming a patron of Being Human festival, Suzannah said: “The Being Human festival offers a powerful antidote to the blights of our age: half-truths, dis-information, narcissism, and mutual intolerance. It creates open and frank opportunities to share ideas, to extend empathy and understanding, and to learn from human experience; it provides urgently-needed spaces for critical engagement and self-reflection; and it allows moments of healing through creativity. It is a force for good.”

Toby Mundy

Toby Mundy is director of creative management company and literary agency Toby Mundy Associates and executive director of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction.

On becoming a patron of Being Human festival, Toby said: “I work with writers, publishers and creative people every day. I’ve seen at first hand just how powerful and important the humanities are in shaping the world that we live in, giving people the tools that they need to ask questions and tell stories. It’s vital that we keep telling those stories – about what it means to be human, what we have in common and how we can make a better future.”