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Northumbria University to host programme of events for inaugural Humanities Festival

Press release   •   May 14, 2014 00:00 BST

Northumbria University, Newcastle is hosting a series of events to participate in Being Human, the UK’s first national festival of the humanities.

Following a successful application, Northumbria University has been awarded funding to hold the events during the Being Human festival week, 15 – 23 November 2014. Northumbria’s programme will champion the excellence of humanities research being undertaken in the North East and help to demonstrate the vitality and relevance of this today. The Northumbria events will be themed around 18th century culture, literature and medicine and how it has influenced society today.The festival involves a series of free film screenings, public talks, debates and workshops 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 (AHRC) and the British Academy.

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. The programme, entitled 18th-Century Legacies, will be part of a national series of activities which aim to inform, extend and ignite contemporary thinking and imagination around the humanities.

Dr. Claudine van Hensbergen, Senior-Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century Literature at Northumbria University said: “We’re excited to be part of the first national Festival of the Humanities. This is an excellent opportunity for Northumbria researchers to build upon their ongoing work with public audiences and local cultural partners. It’s crucial that the public understand the relevance and benefits of academic research, and we’re looking forward to sharing ideas with them in exploring where many of the attitudes, institutions and customs we hold today come from”.

Northumbria University has one of the largest and most active cohorts of UK-based academics researching British cultural history of the period 1660 – 1830. It boasts twelve members of staff, postdoctoral researchers and a growing body of postgraduate students. Findings from one of its most significant humanities research projects, Fashionable Diseases, will be shared with the public as part of the festival.

Currently in its first year, Being Human is led by the School of Advanced Study in participation with the AHRC 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

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