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Queen Mary University of London: Queen Mary researchers ‘breaking through’ at Being Human Festival 2022

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Since 2015, Queen Mary’s Centre for Public Engagement has supported humanities researchers to showcase their work by running activities as part of Being Human Festival.

Being Human Festival is the UK’s national festival of the humanities, led by the School of Advance Study at the University of London, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy.

‘Breakthroughs’ at Being Human 2022
Whether it be breaking through stigma or breaking down boundaries, breaking into poetry and publishing, or exploring breakthrough movements, this year’s festival will continue to showcase how the humanities enable us to interpret the past, understand the present and imagine the future.

Dr Daisy Payling, Public Engagement Officer at Queen Mary University of London, said: “The Being Human Festival is a real celebration of the humanities. It’s a brilliant way to engage audiences with the world-leading research that we do here, and it allows researchers to explore their research in fun and dynamic ways.

“This year’s theme ‘Breakthroughs’ has inspired Queen Mary researchers to create events which break down stigma and share stories of ground-breaking communities. We hope that that everyone who comes along will have a new appreciation of the variety and richness of everyday life and of what it is that makes us human.”

QMUL Events at Being Human Festival
10-19 November 2022
Lost and Foundling: exploring the complex stories of people in care

A new performance explores the positive potential of foster care and its histories through creative practices, hoping to change the stigma and negativity attached to being in care. This is part of our ongoing research project The Verbatim Formula, working with care-experienced young adults to explore issues in the system, led by Queen Mary’s contemporary theatre and performance expert Dr Maggie Inchley. and funded by People’s Palace Projects.

Publishing is Power!

This series of events celebrates the arts, activism and publishing in Tower Hamlets – reflecting on the local histories of community-led politics and multilingual literary cultures, as well as exploring what’s going on in the area today. Events are organised by Queen Mary literature expert Dr Rehana Ahmed, who is currently writing a book about the production and reception of contemporary British Asian writing in the context of debates around race, ‘diversity’ and inclusion in the publishing industry.

Community Breakfast

Young artists from Phakama will host new and existing East London communities to share food donated by local eateries and restaurants. The event will showcase and celebrate ideas around how creativity can positively affect marginalised people and communities. This event is produced alongside Queen Mary researchers whose work is themed around home, migration and creative practice.

Secular Celebration: Then and Now

Join Queen Mary’s Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow Dr Clare Stainthorp to discover how people have celebrated life events outside of religious traditions, in Victorian times and today. Dr Stainthorp is currently researching how ‘freethinkers’ harnessed the power of regular publications to shape conversations about faith and society in Victorian Britain.

Secrets of the London Yiddish Stage

Newly discovered secrets include one-act plays, sketches and songs, translated and directed by Queen Mary research fellow Dr Vivi Lachs. Get a sense of the history and atmosphere of London’s vibrant Jewish immigrant theatre in English and Yiddish through Dr Lachs’ work on AHRC-funded research project, ‘Making and Remaking the Jewish East End’.

Appearance discrimination: the people’s parliament

This online café open to everyone aged 18+ will explore the issue of appearance discrimination and ask what you would do about it if you could. This ‘parliament for the people by the people’ will be led by Queen Mary research Fellow Dr Hannah Saunders, an expert in the law relating to disfigurement, disability and appearance.