Being Human Festival 2021 | 11-20 November

What is Being Human?

Being Human is a national festival of the humanities. A celebration of humanities research through public engagement, it is led by the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy.

This year, Lincoln is proud to have been selected as a Being Human Hub. See the overview of all our festival Hub activities HERE

Free Activities Across Lincoln #BeingHuman21

Hidden Stories: From the Caribbean to Great Britain 

11th-14th November | 10:30-12:30 & 13:00-15:00 each day | Waterside Shopping Centre, Lincoln

Discover Museumand’s ‘Kitchen Table Talk’ series. Hear stories about the Caribbean directly from local Caribbeans. Museumand, the UK’s National Caribbean Heritage Museum, presents four exciting days of Caribbean culture on Lincoln’s high street. Come down to check out the pop-up Caribbean kitchen and enjoy fascinating talks and insightful conversations on Caribbean food and music, and perhaps even learn a few new dance steps!

Drop-ins are welcome, but booking is recommended due to limited venue capacity. This event is hosted by the Reimagining Lincolnshire project at the University of Lincoln, in partnership with Museumand.


Documenting the Domestic

12th and 13th November | 10:00-15:00 each day | Waterside Shopping Centre, Lincoln
Explore the importance of the spaces we inhabit through unique art exercises. Take part from home or in person!

What impact do the spaces we inhabit have on us and our wellbeing? How do these places make us feel and how can these feelings help influence the way buildings are designed and used in the future?

Experts in art and architecture at the University of Lincoln have designed unique ‘Documentation Kits’ to enable you to probe your physical surroundings through drawings, surface rubbings, words, poems and more. Create unique pieces of art to contribute to the ‘Documenting the Domestic’ exhibition and see what you and your fellow domestic dwellers feel about the spaces around you.

Come along in-person to chat to your ‘Domestic Documentation Guides’ and create your own surface rubbing art to capture the spaces of the city centre. Or, why not join in from home by requesting a free activity box, fully kitted out with materials and instructions to guide you in exploring how your spaces at home, and how to send in your creations to contribute to our exhibition.

Making Space

13th November | 10:00-16:00 | Waterside Shopping Centre, Lincoln

What would you like to see in Lincoln? More plants and flowers? More art and creativity? More spaces to learn? Brew Projects invites you to a unique drop-in workshop, inspired by Lincoln’s own Charter of the Forest, kept in the city’s medieval castle. The workshop will blend the modern and the historical by bringing modern perspectives to medieval crafts, using techniques and materials found in medieval manuscripts and playing with gold leaf and calligraphy to bring ideas to life. Towards the end of the festival these artwork manifestos will be put on display in the city centre; sharing the people’s ideas for their city.

Brew Projects is a not for profit arts partnership, founded in 2020 by curator and producer Beth Lambert and artist and producer Laura Mabbutt. Brew Projects works collaboratively with communities and arts professionals to create innovative, site specific exhibitions and experiences.

Illuminate Gainsborough

13th November | 18:00-20:30 | Gainsborough Historic Quarter, Gainsborough

As the closing event of the Mayflower 400 commemorations, Gainsborough’s ‘Illuminate’ event marks the town’s connections to Mayflower Pilgrim heritage close to the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving in America – one year on from the departure from England. Some of the leading Pilgrim Separatists came from Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, before embarking on their journeys to the Netherlands and America. This year, communities in Gainsborough will ‘Give Thanks’ for what’s important to them in their own special way, with handmade candle lanterns. There will be digital film projections at Gainsborough Old Hall, a fire garden, a Pilgrim Survival self-led arts trail around the historic town and specially commissioned choral concert of new work ‘A Sure Refuge’.

Delivered by West Lindsey District Council with funding from Arts Council England. Activities are free and open to all.

Pandemics in Ceramics

15th Nov | 10:00-12:30 & 13:30-16:00 | The Collection, Lincoln
18th Nov | 10:00-12:30 & 13:30-16:00 | Greenfield Pottery, Holbeach
A hands-on workshop led by our expert potters and archaeologist exploring Medieval tile making, the Black Death, and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Throughout human history, clay creations have been used to record the lives and experiences of our fellow humans, even during the Black Death pandemic of the 1300s.

In this extra special Medieval tile-carving workshop, you will have the chance to create and record your own stories in clay about your experiences of the covid-19 pandemic. Alongside master potters from the Greenfield Pottery and an expert archaeologist, you will explore how Medieval encaustic tiles were made and what they can tell us about the history’s most well-known pandemic, the Black Death.

Your unique tile creations will form part of one-off public exhibition at the historic Greyfriars building in Lincoln city.

Renew: Solutions from Science Fiction

17th Nov | 19:00-20:30 | ONLINE via Zoom

How should humanity deal with overpopulation? What can we do to keep our growing world fed? How can and should we use artificial intelligence to help us solve the problems of the future? The answers to these questions and more, may be held in the world of science fiction!

Join us for this online, interactive debate-style event as we explore the dystopian futures of the science fictions classics, Soylent Green and Logan’s Run. Set in 2022 and 2274, respectively, both of these science fiction classics (in the books and their film adaptations) make bold predictions about the problems humanity will face in the future, and propose even bolder ways to address them. What lessons might these fictional societies hold for us and our reality?

*Please note that the date for this event is shown incorrectly on on our printed flyers. The correct date is 17th Nov

FIELDS: Farming on Film

18th Nov | 19:00-22:00 | Everyman Cinema, Lincoln
A film experience exploring our relationship to farming, past and present.

How does a blind farmer manage their farm? What do sheep see? Watch how a 1950s farmer moves his whole farm and livestock by train on the coldest night of the year. Meet the farmer who rides his bull to work and find out whether living near cows makes people happier.

Join the FIELD(Opens in new window) research team for an illuminating evening of archive film and moving image from the collections of BFI, Museum of English Rural Life and Media Archive of Central England about British and East Midlands farming heritage plus new commissioned short films from documentary filmmakers and artists: Mark Jones, Shane Finan and Michele Allen.

FIELDS: Farming on Film is part of a six month public programme that examines the lives, stories and experiences of British Sheep, cows and farmers, past and present.

Doors open at 19:00, event starts at 19:30. This event includes introduction, intermissions and Q&A with filmmakers, researchers and farmers.

Printed Landscapes

19th Nov | 12:00-16:00 | GroundLab, Sincil Bank, Lincoln
What are our public spaces all about? Who do they really belong to, and what can and should we be using these spaces for?

Come along to the GroundLab studio to meet, play and engage with fellow members of the vibrant Sincil Bank community at this fun, family-friendly print-making event. Supported by students and staff from the University of Lincoln, come and join GroundLab to create your own art prints, inspired by the architecture and landscapes of the Sincil Bank streets and help develop designs for an upcoming, live landscaping installation project!

Being Human 2020: New Worlds

For the 2020 Being Human festival, Lincoln held its first, fully online festival, with 5 exciting, interactive events all of which ran LIVE over Zoom. 

Across all events, we were joined by 185 attendees from across Lincolnshire, the UK and even as far afield as the USA! 

Engineering Reality with Clare Rose
  • Tackling ideas of ‘what makes us human’; how we as humans design our reality and how the realities we design might impact our planetary economy.
Old Sheep, New World with Nicole Gosling, Beth Clark & Abigail Woods
  • A celebration of the beautiful Lincolnshire Longwool sheep. Exploring the changing landscape of the British wool industry over the years to the Lincolnshire Longwool’s place in modern British farming.
Cook vs. Kirk with Alex Lewczuk
  • An interactive, digital adventure that weighs up the evidence for and against these icons of history and fiction before your chance to deliver your verdict on James C vs James K.
Pandemic Survival: Ancient & Modern with Carenza Lewis
  • Shedding light and busting myths about the ‘mother of all pandemics’, the medieval Black Death, and comparing its impacts to those of the current COVID19 pandemic.
No Place Like Home? with Stephanie Hemelryk-Donald, Hollie Morgan & Erin Bell
  • An exploration of ideas of home, freedom and belonging, from the medieval and early modern period, the voyages of the Boston Pilgrims from England to the ‘New World’, and of the present day, against the backdrop of the global pandemic. 

If you have any questions regarding Lincoln’s Being Human Festival events, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at

Listen to the BBC Radio Lincolnshire interviews below with our researchers about their events for the Being Human Lincoln 2020 programme

Some feedback comments from our 2021 attendees: