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Swansea Uni’s Cultural Institute to host hub for UK Festival of Humanities 2018

Swansea University’s Cultural Institute will be one of six hubs this November for the UK’s only national festival of humanities.

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Being Human is coming back for a fifth time this year to celebrate the humanities and will take place between 15-24 November with a theme of Origins and Endings. Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, the festival will include a series of free events and activities across the UK.

Swansea University’s hub – Once Upon a Time, the End – will host numerous creative activities, performances and discussions, all free of charge, on subjects as far ranging as Shakespeare, Martin Luther King Jr, Russian folktales, the origins of fake news, what it means to be human, and the NHS at 70.

Partners from the Swansea Bay area including the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea Museum, Volcano Theatre, the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Cinema & Co will collaborate with Swansea University’s Cultural Institute to deliver these events. The programme includes:


  • Saturday 17th November – National Waterfront Museum
    A family day of interactive Shakespeare-themed activities including dressing up, matching pairs games and storytelling, featuring Dr Eoin Price
  • Saturday 24th November – Taliesin Arts Centre
    A magical performance of Arthur Ransome’s Old Peter’s Russian Tales by Theatr Cadair, dramatised by  Professor D.J. Britton and directed by Gilly Adams (recommended age 6+), plus a ‘quest-adventure’ through words in a new Creative Writing workshop for 8-12 year olds with Dr Alan Bilton and Dr Anne Lauppe-Dunbar, and ‘Animal Tales / Tails from China’ (4-8 year olds) – storytelling with Dr Yan Wu and Dr Dongyan Chen.

At Swansea University’s Bay Campus, acclaimed author Kamila Shamsie will discuss her latest work, the award-winningHome Fire, while a special Welsh-medium event hosted by Academi Hywel Teifi on scientist Alfred Russel Wallace with scientist and broadcaster, Elin Rhys and actor Ioan Hefin will take place at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery.

The festival will also mark key milestones such as the 70th anniversary of the creation of the NHS with a special exhibition at the South Wales’ Miner’s library, as well as an evening with Owen Sheers, Swansea University’s Professor in Creativity, as he talks about his recent ode to the NHS, his film-poem / book To Provide All People.

In the 50th anniversary year of the assassination of the civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr Regina Poertner will present an illustrated talk at Swansea Museum on the enduring significance of the Kings’ contribution to the fight against discrimination on grounds of ethnicity, gender, class, or belief.

At Volcano Theatre, Prof. Tony Curtis will remember his family’s experiences during ‘the war to end all wars’ incorporating the words and work of famed World War One artists and writers, while Cinema & Co. will host Swansea University honorary fellow Jeff Towns as he launches his new book on Edward Thomas, the writer who fell on the first day of the Battle of Arras in 1917.

Dr Elaine Canning, Head of Cultural Engagement and Development at the Cultural Institute, said:

“We are delighted to be hosting a festival hub as part of Being Human 2018 and wish to thank the festival organisers for giving us this exciting opportunity to bring our research into the community once more. It is an honour to be working with such a range of fantastic partners again this year.”