Voices, faces and places – Swansea University hub
Dr Elaine Canning, head of the Research Institute for Arts and Humanities
Dr Elaine Canning from Swansea University has been telling the Being Human team all about the fantastic activities planned for Voices, faces and places. Learn about the hive of activity taking place in Swansea, from meeting Egyptian mummies to celebrating the Welsh football team!
What inspired you to act as a ‘hub’ for Being Human 2017?
In both 2015 and 2016, we had the privilege of hosting Being Human hubs – and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience! The opportunity to imaginatively engage the public with a diverse range of subjects has become a key feature of our November calendar and one that we and our community very much look forward to. So we decided to do it all over again in 2017 with our new hub on Voices, faces and places.
How does your programme respond to our ‘Lost and Found’ theme?
We will be engaging with the ‘Lost and Found’ theme through a series of creative and interactive activities focusing on voice, face and place. Uncovering, rediscovering and remembering are at the heart of our programme and there really is something for everyone within it, whether you’re a football fan, have a passion for family history, are a lover of literature, or want to become a film critic or photographer for a day!
Can you tell us about a few highlights from your programme? What are you most excited about and what can people look forward to?
We are very excited about many aspects of our programme! For example, we will be transporting the public back to the magical realm of Egyptian mummies and friendly and menacing demons and asking them to link up voices and faces in our very special ‘matching pairs’ game. We’ll be uncovering family histories relating to the British Empire, discovering new voices through our multilingual snaps competition, having a medieval makeover, and remembering the Welsh national football team’s incredible run to the semi-finals of the 2016 European Championships with director Jonny Owen. The public will also get the chance to hear and respond creatively to the (hi)stories of contemporary refugees and to join poets Simon Armitage and Daljit Nagra for an evening of poetry and discussion. These are just some of the highlights in store!
What will people in Swansea get out of coming to these events? What will Swansea University get out of hosting them?
If you come along to our events, you’ll have an opportunity to get creative, learn about subjects as wide ranging as football, medieval beauty regimes, Egyptian mummies, multilingualism, and refugees’ stories, and take your pick from evenings of poetry, photography and music. We will get the chance to meet new people and showcase the creativity that permeates the city of Swansea.
What do you think the legacy of your hub will be?
Being Human’s legacy in Swansea is growing every year. As a result of previous festivals, we have a number of online art exhibitions, including one on Egyptian demons by young children and the community’s responses to the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks, as well as a travelling eight-foot word cloud of hopes and fears. This year, we will add to our collection with videos on the (hi)stories of contemporary refugees and families, digital photography exhibitions on campus and in the city centre, and new voices for the CorCenCC crowdsourcing app.
Finally, what is the most unexpected thing that you have ‘found’/discovered about research in your university, or about your local area, in the course of organising your hub programme?
While I have always been very aware of Swansea as a multicultural city, and of the rich mix of varying kinds of Welsh across Wales, the scale and volume of both was a wonderful discovery in the course of organising our programme. It has also been great to discover just how imaginative and creative our university and partners can be, and we very much look forward to sharing all of that with the public in November.