University to host events for Being Human 2015

The University of Leeds is to host a series of free public events with cultural partners across Yorkshire as part of Being Human 2015, the UK's only national festival of the humanities.

How Culture Matters: A Four-Fold Exploration has been made possible by a grant from festival organisers, the School of Advanced Study, University of London.  

Now in its second year, Being Human is supported by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and the British Academy (BA), with support from the Wellcome Trust.  Forty-one grants have been awarded to universities and cultural organisations across the UK to participate in the 11 days of Being Human.  

Following a successful application from the LHRI, Leeds has been awarded funding to hold the events during the festival week, 12-22 November. How Culture Matters will champion the excellence of humanities research undertaken in West Yorkshire and help to demonstrate the vitality and relevance of this today.

The grant will help the University bring together researchers and communities to engage with the humanities. The Leeds programme is part of an 11 day national programme of big ideas, debates and engaging activities for all ages.

The four events that will showcase groundbreaking humanities research at the University as part of How Culture Matters are:

With a focus on archival cultures within families and partnering with Leeds Libraries, Leeds Museums & Galleries and The National Archives, We are What We Keep, led by historian Dr Laura King, will combine a pop-up exhibition about the AHRC-funded Family Archive project and a half-day hands-on, drop-in session  and interactive talk on curating family archives

Writing the City: Bradford and British Asian Diasporas will explore the idea of cities as spaces where local, national and transnational cultures converge to shape new identities, even as old ones persist. In partnership with the organisers of Bradford Literature Festival, a workshop in the city will bring humanities specialists led by Dr Seán McLoughlin from the School of  Philosophy, Religion and History of Science, together with writers, oral historians  and others, to explore diverse and changing cultural representations of British Asian Bradford since the 1960s.

The complex relations between artistic culture and violence will be the subject of Performing Violence, led by Professor Max Silverman (School of Languages, Cultures and Societies) and Dr Matt Boswell (School of English), collaborating with Opera North and featuring a national short film competition, as well as working with teenagers at local schools and colleges

An innovative evening in partnership with the Thackray Medical Museum and Professor Jane Taylor (School of English) will feature puppets to explore a key moment in the history of neurology. She will provide a semi-staged lecture, Newes from the Dead, about her play which considers the true story of a young woman hanged for infanticide in 17th century England and then handed over to anatomists for dissection. But she revived on the anatomy table and became a test case in the history of women’s rights, medical history and conceptions of the human.

To find out more about the Leeds events, contact Mike Bellhouse on 0113 343 2430 or

During last year’s inaugural festival, more than 60 universities and cultural organisations organised over 160 free events sharing the best and most challenging thinking in the humanities with audiences across the country. Extending beyond face-to-face interactions in the UK, the festival crossed borders on the web, reaching more than 2.2 million Twitter users and website visitors around the globe.