10 June 2015 11:26

Researchers and the public will explore what it means to be human in the UK's national humanities festival.

Lancaster University is hosting After Dark: Sleep and Sleeplessness in the Modern World, an event in Being Human 2015, the UK’s only national festival of the humanities.

This involves a series of public talks, writing workshops, film screenings and an immersive night-walk through the city’s streets, and has been made possible by a grant from the 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.

Following a successful application, Lancaster University has been awarded funding to hold the event during the festival week, 12-22 November. The ‘After Dark’ event series will champion the excellence of humanities research being undertaken in the North West and help to demonstrate the vitality and relevance of this today. Forty-one grants have been awarded to universities and cultural organisations across the UK to participate in the 11 days of Being Human.

The grant will help the University bring together researchers and local communities to engage with the humanities. The ‘After Dark’ events will be part of an 11-day national programme of big ideas, big debates and engaging activities for all ages. The festival will inform, extend and ignite contemporary thinking and imagination around the humanities. 

Michael Greaney, who is coordinating ‘After Dark’, said: "Sleep (and sleeplessness) are fundamental parts of human life. Joining the Being Human festival will give us the opportunity to showcase the University’s research in this area and to explore these themes further through an exciting range of free, public events, including creative writing workshops, talks and discussions, a film season and an interactive night-time walk around the local area".

During the inaugural festival in 2014 over 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 across Twitter and website visitors from around the globe.

The 2015 festival programme promises to be exciting, entertaining and thought-provoking, with something for everyone in our diverse communities.