Being Human Festival – 2017 festival call for participation


Being Human is the UK’s only national festival of the humanities. Held in November, the festival brings together universities, Independent Research Organisations (IRO) and community and commercial partners to stage activities that make leading research in the humanities accessible to non-academic audiences. The festival is a celebration of the humanities, highlighting research in this area in fun, hands-on, immersive ways to demonstrate its relevance to our everyday lives.

The festival provides opportunities for outstanding researchers to engage with new audiences, beyond academia and informed individuals. Opportunities to run an event are for researchers at any career stage, background, disciplinary expertise or experience of delivering public engagement events. To this end, the festival funds excellent and innovative public engagement events which would not be fully supported from other sources.

Through the festival team and the hubs model, academics will be supported to develop the events and use best practice. The hubs model also helps to ensure a broad geographical spread in the programme and that events take place off-campus.

The festival is committed to a competitive bidding and assessment process via peer review. This careful review process ensures that each event or activity works within the ethos of the festival.

The core objectives of the festival are:

  • to demonstrate, to a non-academic audience, the value of humanities research to society in the UK and globally;
  • to enhance public visibility and understanding of humanities research; demonstrating its relevance to everyday life;
  • to encourage, support and create opportunities for humanities researchers to engage with non-academic audiences;
  • to initiate culture change in attitudes towards public engagement within the humanities – embedding public engagement across the higher education HE sector.

Being Human funds and promotes activities which make humanities research accessible, approachable, engaging and understandable to non-academic audiences. It does not promote or fund activities aimed primarily at the humanities research community (e.g. conferences and symposia). Instead, it aims to foster meaningful connections between those researching in the humanities and people who do not have an existing formal relationship with a UK higher education institution (HEI) or IRO.

There are three pathways to getting involved in the Being Human festival. Under the first pathway (2.1 below) people can apply to Being Human for small grants of up to £2,000 for seed funding to facilitate up to five events and activities. Under the second pathway (2.2 below) institutions can apply for a larger grant of up to £5,000 to coordinate between five and ten activities as a Festival Hub. (Only a limited number of these grants are made each year). The third pathway (2.3) is to organise a ‘self-funded’ activity that does not require a direct financial contribution from Being Human but fits the criteria of the festival and which will be promoted as part of our programme.

There is a separate application form for each of our three pathways. All forms are available on the website at Applications should be made on the correct form and returned via email to:

The timetable is as follows:

Monday 10 April (5pm) Deadline for applications for funding Late May Notification of outcome of applications

Monday 13 June (5pm) Deadline for unfunded event applications

Tuesday 1 August Deadline for submission of final event details for print September Deadline for final event details for website