Being Human Festival

Being Human is the UK’s first national festival of the humanities.

Being Human, the UK’s only national festival of the Humanities returned to Northumbria for a second year in November 2015! 

Cities and Citizens A Festival of the Humanities from Northumbria University on Vimeo.

In 2014 the first festival featured over 150 events organised by universities up and down the country with Northumbria hosting 10 free public events in Newcastle. 

In 2015, staff from our Humanities Department hosted another series of free events from 12th - 22nd November as part of the festival under the theme Cities & Citizens.The events, which took place at public venues across the city centre, ranged from film screenings and talks, to storytelling, pop-up museums and big debates.

You can find the festival conversation on social media using #BeingHuman15

Iain Watson, the Director of Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, served as a festival ambassador and endorsed the festival with these words: 

"As Director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums I’m delighted to be an ambassador for Being Human.  The humanities are about our human experience, how we process and document experience, how we engage with it and express it.  The Festival engages with many areas of our lives and Northumbria University has curated an outstanding programme of public events which will provide opportunity for researchers and citizens to come together and explore some of the big issues around our human experience now and in the future."

As part of the North East Being Human event series Durham University also hosted a programme of events that highlighted collaboration and brought together modern scientific investigations with humanities research on culture – both past and present. You can discover more about the events held in Durham via their event series page on the Being Human website


Screening of Coriolanus (2011)

Thursday 12th November 2.30pm - 5.30pm. Come and join us for this free screening of Shakespeare’s great tragedy ‘Coriolanus’, here updated in a recent 2011 film directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes.

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A Walk through Newcastle’s History, 1200-1800

Friday 13th November 2pm -3.30pm. Join us for a tour through Newcastle's past. The tour will give fascinating insights into stories connected with the buildings and geography of pre-modern Newcastle.

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Our Multilingual City

Saturday 14th November, 2-4pm. Want to learn more about the diverse languages spoken across Newcastle? Led by Professor Ewa Dabrowska, this series of short talks and accompanying audience quiz will explore the linguistic diversity found in Newcastle’s major community languages.

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Stories of Migration & Home in Newcastle

Sunday 15th November 11.30am - 2.30pm. Learn more about how migration has shaped the region with Dr Tanja Bueltmann.

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Screening of The Witchfinder General (1968)

Monday 16th November 8.15pm - 10.15pm. Join us for a free screening of Michael Reeve’s controversial horror film The Witchfinder General. The event will be followed with a live Q&A.

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Shakespeare’s Citizens: Readings & Responses

Tuesday 17th November 6pm - 8pm. Join us for a free taster of the established monthly Shakespeare Club in this special festival session, in which we will read and discuss still-relevant passages about the conflicts and challenges of city life in Shakespeare’s plays.

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New Writing at Northumbria

Wednesday 18th November 7pm - 9pm. Come and see Northumbria University’s annual showcase of creative writing from current postgraduate students and staff.

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Wild & Wicked Women: Newcastle’s Witch Trials

Thursday 19th November 7pm - 8.30pm. At this evening event Dr. Claire Nally will give a public talk on Newcastle’s 17th-century witch trials.

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Tyneside Radicalism in Story & Song

Friday 20th November 6.30pm - 9pm. Interested in Tyneside’s radical past? Come and join us for a free evening of short talks on episodes from Newcastle’s radical history accompanied by performances from local musicians Benny Graham and Johnny Handle.

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A Night at the Museum: 18th-Century Dance, Fashion & Health

Saturday 21st November 7pm - 9pm. Come along to an evening of performances, stalls, vintage clothes and tours of the Laing’s 18th and 19th century galleries.

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John Lilburne: Local Boy, Leveller, and Civil War Radical

Sunday 22nd November 5.30pm - 7pm. Come along to hear more about 'freeborn John', a local man who helped shape modern ideas about human rights during the English Civil War period.

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