Being Human Festival 2017

 Being Human Festival 2017

What does it mean to be human?

Why does our perception of what human ‘is’ actually matter?

The University of Liverpool is delighted to be taking part in the 2017 Being Human festival.

For 2017 our theme will be ‘Childhood Revisited’.

Childhood experiences, both good and traumatic, can be forgotten or repressed until events in later life bring them to the surface. These memories can shape how we understand and interact with the children of today and tomorrow.

On 20th November at 6pm the Institute of Irish Studies, in conjunction with the Being Human Festival and Liverpool University's Centre for New and International Writing, presents 'Ireland's Lost Children'. A screening of the movie Philomena and a poetry reading will be followed by a panel discussng issues around adoption and identity. Spaces are very limited but details can be found here.

On Wed 22nd November, at the Williamson Art Gallery in Birkenhead we will present Childhood Memories and Philanthropy, a look at how childhood memories of museums might stay with us over the course of our lives. It also explores the link between those experiences and the desire to donate to collections.

"The spotlight in these proceedings is on an area just across the English Channel from Dover. It has become known colloquially as ‘The Jungle’. This is a bleak and desolate place adjacent to Calais on the coast of northern France. It attracts this appellation not without good reason. Unlike other jungles, this place is inhabited by human beings, not animals". On Friday 24th November there will be a public talk by the Honourable Mr Justice Bernard McCloskey looking at the issues around immigration and refugee children. Details are available here.





From our 2016 Offering...


Festival Advocate, Professor Sarah Peverley of the Department of English, says

We’re incredibly excited to have been awarded Hub status this year. Our ambitious programme of events has wide-ranging appeal, from family-friendly productions that will indulge the imagination to timely academic debates about our future. It sounds like a cliché but we really do have something for everyone.

Programme of Events

Writing a History of the Future

Event date: 18th November 2016, 2pm
Location: University of Liverpool

Will Slocombe and Andy Sawyer will be showcasing material from the Olaf Stapledon archive, held in Special Collections at the University of Liverpool, and they will be running a series of events for schools called ‘Writing a History of the Future’. Stapledon, who wrote Last and First Men in 1930, was born in Wallasey. We’ll be presenting his timelines for this book, which predicted the future from the 1930s onwards, so that participants can think about how it corresponds to what has actually happened since, what he predicts might happen, and what it reveals about the historical context of the novel. We’ll then get participants to draw up their own stories and timelines of the future, some of which will be posted online and some of which we hope to seal in a time capsule, to be opened in 2030, on the centenary of the publication of Last and First Men.

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Image of a Mermaid playing musical instruments - Image courtesy of Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS français 143, f. 130v


Event date: 19th November 2016, all day
Location: Walker Art Gallery, William Brown Street, Liverpool

Mermaids have been used by artists and writers across time to explore a range of human emotions and concerns. We are offering a fun-filled day of activities to engage people of all ages with this rich history of folklore. Researchers and performers will bring to life mermaid stories from the British Isles and worldwide:

The Little Mermaid This event offers a new, family-friendly adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairytale told by storyteller Madelaine Smart, with music by Alex Cottrell.

Mermaid and Pirate Story and Activity Corner: Join children's author and illustrator Fred Blunt and The Liverpool Players for tales of treasure-loving pirates and adventurous mermaids! Learn how to draw a pirate, design your own mermaid, or take part in a fantastic story-dice challenge (Aimed primarily at children aged 2-6).

Daughters of the Deep: Join Professor Sarah Peverley for a beguiling series of literary readings and art slides illustrating how mermaids have inspired writers and artists across time. (Aimed at children (11+) and adults).

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Jones & Regan Image

Connecting Cultures: British Women Explorers

Event date: 20th November 2016, all day
Location: World Museum, William Brown Street, Liverpool

When the explorer Mary Kingsley first sights the coast of West Africa in 1893, she admits she is terrified. Fear can often steer our encounters with those different from ourselves, but Kingsley and other British women explorers turned that fear to hope. They opened our eyes to other cultures and expanded our understanding of what it means to be human. 

An exhibition, public talks and interactive events for children will explore the roles Kingsley and other British women explorers played in overcoming fears of cultural and racial difference and offering hope for cross-cultural understanding in an increasingly interconnected world.

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Poster advertising a human zoo at a colonial exhibition in Stuttgart in 1928

Human Zoos: Putting People on Display

Event date: 21st, 22nd and 23rd November 2016
Location: The Kuumba Imani Millenium Centre, 4 Princes Road, Liverpool

The human zoo is the display of one group of people by another, for the purposes of entertainment, education or propaganda. Although particularly prevalent in the later nineteenth and earlier twentieth century, the phenomenon has a much longer history and arguably persists today in a variety of display practices in contemporary media and culture.

An exhibition, films, talks and discussions will invite audiences to explore the global presence of this form of human display in both national and international frames, but also to understand how the origins of prejudice today may be found in these practices of representation. This will be the first presentation in the UK of the exhibition Human Zoos: The Invention of the Savage.


Human Zoos: The Invention of the Savage Exhibition, KUUMBA IMANI MILLENNIUM CENTRE
17-25 November 8am - 5.30pm No booking required


‘HUMAN ZOOS’, PAST AND PRESENT: A ROUND TABLE, KUUMBA IMANI MILLENNIUM CENTRE  21 November 2016, 17h00-19h00   Booking required

‘HUMAN ZOOS’: DOCUMENTARY SCREENING AND PANEL DISCUSSION, SOTA Library  22 November 2016, 15h00-17h00 Booking required

DISPLAYING HUMANS: HISTORICAL AND CONTEMPORARY PERSPECTIVES, Anthony Walker Education Centre, International Slavery Museum   23 November 2016, 15h00-16h30  Booking required

Please note: Registration to attend the sessions is now available.

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Prof Tom Solomon

Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Medicine

Event date: 21st November 2016, 6pm-8pm
Location: Victoria Gallery & Museum, University of Liverpool, Brownlow Hill

Most people know Roald Dahl as a famous writer of children’s books and adult short stories, but few are aware of his fascination with medicine, and the terrible tragedies that affected him and his family. Dahl always said that if he wasn’t a writer, he would have liked to be a doctor.

In this unique combination of popular science, biography and memoir, Professor Tom Solomon, who looked after Dahl towards the end of his life, and has just published a book Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Medicine, will examine Dahl’s life and literature from a new perspective, considering how hope overcame fear. This will be followed by discussions between Tom, Professor Sally Sheard and Dr Esme Miskimmin looking at Dahl, Children’s Literature and the History of Medicine, and a book signing and drinks reception to mark the Liverpool launch of the book.

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Ghostly figure in forest

Modern Ghost Stories

Event date: 23rd November 2016, 6pm
Location: FACT, Wood Street

How and why do we still tell ghost stories in the 21st century?

The University of Liverpool and FACT collaborate to host a screening of a short film, Holmewood, a ghost story inspired by the landscapes of the North West. The screening is followed by a Q&A led by representatives from the University, FACT and the filmmakers before opening out into a ‘free-spirited’ public discussion where you can tell your own ghost stories.

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