Amy Ryall, University of Sheffield’s hub coordinator, tells us about their series for Being Human, which will showcase the university’s innovative research through a smorsgasbord of creative events.
Sheffield’s hub events bring the university to the city, taking over pubs, galleries, churches and libraries to explore what it is to be human. We wanted a broad range of events, which would attract a wide audience of all ages and enable us to bring the Being Human national festival to Sheffield. Our overall theme, ‘Seeing human’, came from conversations between members of the project team about what we were trying to achieve. How do we as humans see the world around us? How do we represent what we see?
‘Seeing’ takes many different forms and is often a two-way process, something we’re mindful to stress in much of our external engagement work. Audiences see things differently to those at the front, and the two-way exchange of ideas, which we’re encouraging in our events, is an important part of developing those ideas further.
It’s difficult to pick out highlights because our programme is so strong, but there is something for everyone. You can experience a night in the pub looking at drinking cultures in the past (and contributing to the drinking culture of the present) with singer and BBC Radio 3 presenter Lucie Skeaping. Lucie is joined by others including Victoria and Albert (V&A) museum researcher Angela McShane, to explore the pub in songs and words. Superstition and folklore are explored in a Friday 13th event led by folk singer and ethnomusicologist Fay Hield. Songs from Fay, poems and stories from award-winning poet Helen Mort and storyteller Tim Ralphs are accompanied by illustrator Nick Hayes. The evening will include a special preview of work from Fay’s new album Old Adam, not on general release until February.
Families and young people are catered for in two art workshops. The first is at Sheffield Cathedral and explores stained glass. The second, at Site Gallery, gives a small group the chance to work with London College of Fashion tutor Charlotte Hodes and poet Deryn Rees Jones on animating poetry. There is also a night in the beautiful Graves Arts Gallery looking at the portrait and identity, a panel, including regular BBC Radio 4 contributor Angie Hobbs who will explore the notion of ‘A life well lived?’, and a talk about cyberselves with experts from Sheffield Robotics.
Being Human in Sheffield will treat you to lively and engaging performances and talks. You’ll be encouraged to contribute your own ideas as well as hearing from us. We want people to enjoy themselves but also be challenged and challenge us. Arts and humanities research is varied and encompasses a wide range of interests, some of them obvious, some not so. We want our audiences to go away with a sense that this stuff matters because it’s about us all.