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It’s the end of the world as we know it

20th November 2018

No, we’re not talking about Brexit this time, but the theme of this year’s Being Human Festival – the national celebration of the Humanities.

The University’s staff and students have responded to this year's Being Human festival theme of 'Origins and Endings'. They have organised a series of events across Newcastle exploring 'Life Stories' – tales of new beginnings, origins of art and literature, death, afterlives, and the end of the world.

This week sees two more events taking place – Constructing Remembrance and Dead Famous, before The End of Nature event this Saturday evening at the Great North Museum.

The End of Nature?

Are we driving our planet to destruction? Are human beings the most important drivers of environmental change? Explore these questions and more during a night at the Great North Museum, through case studies from the River Tyne to central America, the slave trade in the Caribbean and alligators in Florida. This interactive event provides a new way of thinking about the relationship between human history and the natural environment, and the deep historical causes of climate change.

One of the academics leading Saturday’s event, Professor Matt Kelly, said: “'We're living through an environmental catastrophe. Whether it's extreme weather events, forest fires or wildlife extinction, and the consequences this has for humans and non-humans alike, it is hard not to feel overwhelmed.

“This event offers some historical perspective on our present, asking what is the age of the human and why have we found ourselves in such a predicament. If we can better understand how we've got here, we might just be able to start thinking about what we can do about it.”

Book a ticket for The End of Nature now by clicking here.

Dead Famous: Tales of Celebrity Undead

Do celebrities ever really die? Some famous figures are believed to live on not just in terms of their cultural legacy, but also in a more literal sense. Join us for an evening of talks, screenings, and music to share some of these strange stories, from post-mortem sightings to re-enacted resurrections.

Book a ticket for Dead Famous at The Tyneside Irish Centre on Friday 23 November by clicking here.

Constructing Remembrance

The Longbenton RAF Cadets will share their ideas about memorialisation and the memorials they have created. Join us for the opening of their exhibition to discuss the varied forms memorialisation can take and the challenges involved in creating a war memorial. Special guests will include the Lord Lieutenant for Tyne and Wear, Susan Winfield OBE.

Dr Laura O’Brien has helped organise Northumbria’s contribution to the festival.

“Northumbria has had a long-standing involvement in the Being Human Festival, and we’re really looking forward to our special series of events in 2018: ‘Life Stories,” she said. “There’s so much rich and exciting research happening in Humanities at Northumbria and Being Human is the perfect opportunity to showcase this.

“We believe passionately in the value of the humanities to help us make sense of ourselves and the world around us, and events like the Being Human festival prove this year after year.”

So far this year, Northumbria’s academics have led a unique workshop, How to Make a Killing in Crime Fiction (see pictures), which took place in the University’s mock court room with Professor Katy Shaw, and a ‘Historical Death Café’ where attendees were encouraged to reflect on death and loss in a friendly setting. Northumbria offers a range of outstanding courses in the Humanities. Find out more by coming along to Saturday’s Open Day on campus or go to:

For a full list of Northumbria’s Being Human events and how to book go to:

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