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Being Human: A Festival of Humanities 2017

Various locations, Nottinghamshire, NG1 2BY
Being Human: A Festival of Humanities 2017


Being Human Festival
Various Locations
17th - 25th November 2017

The Being Human festival highlights the ways in which the humanities can inspire and enrich our everyday lives, help us to understand ourselves, our relationships with others, and the challenges we face in a changing world.

Nottingham's theme this year is "How to lose and find yourself in words". The events examine how the words we use help us connect with each other and the world around us - across ages, formats and languages.

Various events take place at different venues across the city. Have a look at the listings below, or click the 'related' button for more.

Understanding Our Multilingual World Exhibition​​
​​18-24 November | Meadows LibraryFREE

This exciting exhibition aims to explore multilingualism through photography. Taken by members of the public, photographs will display what multilingualism means to different people and their communities. You are invited to explore multilingualism, and how visible it is in your environment, through the themes and messages that emerge from the photographic contributions. The exhibition will also be showing in Belfast, Cambridge and Edinburgh.

The exhibition will be formally introduced by a member of the team on Saturday 18 November, 1.30 - 4pm | No booking required.

Migration Stories – Then & Now 
18 November | 1pm - 3.45pm | Nottingham Central Library | FREE

Come along to explore and create stories about migrants to the East Midlands from over a thousand years ago. Men, women and children from Scandinavia settled across the region in the Viking Age (AD 750-1100). Once here, the new residents engaged and interacted with existing communities in farming and trade, while maintaining aspects of their own culture such as language, dress and religion. Today their traces can be seen in the place-names of the East Midlands, and in the objects they brought with them and used here that survive until today.

This workshop will feature replica objects used by Viking Age migrants in the East Midlands, including both jewellery and practical items of everyday use. Under the guidance of Viking experts, participants will handle and study these items, and learn about their histories. Thinking about the lives of the Viking migrants in the light of their own experiences, participants will get creative! With the support of creative writers, participants will develop short stories, poems and plays which weave together the experiences of past and present migrants.

Switchboard II
21 November | 1pm - 3.30pm | Dialling In Kiosk Cafe, Low Pavement  | FREE

The second in a series of three events exploring the literary legacy of the telephone, this pop-up event will take place next to Dialling In, a disused Nottingham telephone box refashioned as a coffee shop. Members of the public will be invited to enter a phone booth to leave their own answer machine messages, reflecting on the significance of the telephone in their lives and imagining calls yet to be made.

Selected extracts from these recordings may be used with participants’ permission during ‘Switchboard III’, a live literary event on 23 November.

Led by Dr Sarah Jackson, New Generation Thinker and winner of the Seamus Heaney Prize for Poetry.

No booking required.

The Rise, Fall and Revival of the Modern Bookshop
21 November | 7-8pm | Five Leaves Bookshop | FREE

A few years ago it appeared that bookshops were in a state of terminal decline. Between 2005 and 2011 nearly 2000 bookshops had closed in Britain, a sign that the days of physical bricks and mortar bookshops were coming to a close. However, in 2015 the American Booksellers’ Association announced a rise in the number of new independent bookshops, and boldly claimed that the word ‘endangered’ could be decoupled from the word ‘bookstores’.

This discussion, led by Professor Andrew Thacker, will explore how independent bookshops such as City Lights in San Francisco (publisher of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl) and Shakespeare and Company in Paris (publisher of James Joyce’s Ulysses) have been important institutions in the development of modern literature and culture. The discussion will consider what the modern bookshop can learn from looking at these earlier examples of book selling, and what the future prospects are for the independent bookshop.

Hungry For Words? Let’s Talk About Food – With Men
22 November | 3-5pm | Various venues | FREE

Calling all men! Join a cafe drop-in session to tell your thoughts about food. Talk openly and contribute a few words, sentences or images to a storyboard to encourage a wider conversation and raise awareness of men’s concerns about weight, body shape, diet, exercise, over- or under-eating. This is a drop-in for men of all ages, ethnic groups and backgrounds.

Further information for those who want it will be available at the cafe.

This event takes place simultaneously in multiple cafes across Nottingham. No booking is required and you can drop in to any cafe. Just turn up!

Participating cafés: Cartwheel Café | Nottingham Contemporary Café | Edin’s Kitchen | Nottingham Lakeside Arts

Losing Yourself in a Book – The ‘Boots Booklovers Library’
22 November | 6-7pm | Five Leaves Bookshop | FREE

Between 1899 and 1966 Boots the Chemist operated an extensive, national, circulating library, one which was renowned for service and the environment it created for subscribers. Come and find out why Jesse Boot went to the trouble of running such a popular service as a loss leader. This talk will remember the style and elegance of the libraries which were show pieces of contemporary interior design and most importantly the stories of the librarians who worked there.

Drawing on archive research and oral histories, hear how the libraries celebrated the reading year with a calendar of displays, subscription drives, holiday influxes and joining in with local events.

Discussion led by Dr Nickianne Moody of Liverpool John Moores University and Boots archivist Judith Wright.

Switchboard III
23 November | 6-7.30pm | Wired Café | FREE

The last of a 3-part series, ‘Switchboard III’ is a live literature event exploring the legacy of the telephone and sharing new and published writing by emerging and established voices. The event will celebrate the relationship between writing and calling. Come along to listen to stories and poems about the telephone or share your own experiences of dialling in.

No booking required.

"What I Want To Say Is" - Finding Meaning in Language
25 November | 10.30am - 3pm | Meadows library | FREE

Come along to a creative writing workshop to explore languages and what it means to be multilingual. The workshops will be led by Nottingham Writers Studio.

Morning workshop - ‘What you can and can't yet say in your language’ - Invites participants to think about what they can and can’t yet say in their languages, and what is important for them to say.

Afternoon workshop - ‘What has it got in its pockets?’ - Participants will write in their own language about what they find in their pockets.


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