Researchers and public to explore what it means to be human

The University of Glasgow is hosting an event to participate in Being Human, the UK’s first national festival of the humanities, which involves a weekend of performance, installation, film, and discussion focusing on the human condition in complex and diverse relation with all that is more-than-human, ranging from animals, to ruins, to water. Only Human? is made possible by a grant from the festival organisers, the School of Advanced Study, University of London, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy.

The University of Glasgow has been awarded funding to hold the event during Being Human festival week, 15 – 23 November 2014. Only Human? will champion the excellence of humanities research being undertaken in Scotland and help to demonstrate the vitality and relevance of this today.

Selected from over 100 applications, the grant will help the university bring together researchers and the local public to engage with their own interpretation of the humanities. Only Human? will be part of a national programme of activities which aim to inform, extend and ignite contemporary thinking and imagination around the humanities. 

Professor Murray Pittock, Vice Principal of the College of Arts said: “Glasgow's contribution lies at the core of our College of Arts’ strategy in making the humanities part of every research question. This is nowhere more true than in the study of our interaction with our landscape and environment: the most immediate context and circumstances of all our human experience.”

Currently in its first year, Being Human is led by the School of Advanced Study in participation with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy with the participation of arts and cultural organisations and universities across the UK.

The festival programme will focus on activities that make humanities research accessible to the general public and demonstrate the role of the humanities in the cultural, intellectual, political and social life of the UK.

Thirty-six grants have been awarded to universities and arts and cultural organisations across the UK to participate in the nine days of festival events taking place across the UK, from Truro to Orkney, Swansea to Belfast and Norwich to Liverpool.

Find out more about the festival at and follow the festival on Twitter at @BeingHumanFest

If you are a journalist and require further information on Being Human, please contact:

Rebecca Law at Bray Leino

+44 (0)117 971 1173 /


For all other festival enquiries, please contact:

Annett Seifert, Communications and External Relations

School of Advanced Study, University of London

+44 (0)20 7862 8696 /


Notes to Editors

  1. Being Human: A festival of the humanities 15-23 November 2014

What does it mean to be human? How do we understand ourselves, our relationship to others and our place in nature? For centuries the humanities have addressed these questions. Artists, writers, philosophers, theologians and historians have considered who we are, how we live and what we value most. But are these long-standing questions changing in 2014?  We are more connected than ever, yet we spend more time with smart phones and computers than face to face. The world is becoming smaller, yet the digital information we can access and store, even about ourselves, is vast and growing.  Developments in science and technology are moving fast, challenging our understanding of the self and society. What sense can we make of these changes and what challenges do we face? We need the humanities more than ever to help us address these issues and provide the means to question, interpret and explain the human predicament.

The festival is held as part of the School of Advanced Study’s 20th anniversary celebrations and draws on the success of the 2013 King’s College Festival of the Humanities. Being Human will be the UK’s first national festival of the humanities. Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, universities, arts and cultural organisations across the UK, it will demonstrate the value, vitality and relevance of the humanities in 2014.

First published: 14 May 2014

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