Being Human Festival

November 2023

Discover how the humanities help us understand our past and anticipate our future.

The Faculty of Arts is delighted to once again deliver a series of illuminating activities as an international hub of the UK’s Being Human Festival.

In a world of uncertainties, with constantly shifting realities and perspectives, how do we find inspiration, explanation, and meaning?  This year’s festival theme, ‘rhyme or reason’, will explore the ways in which intuition and evidence interact. Sometimes the most visionary work comes from two sides of the same coin working together in unison.

See Bell Shakespeare actors breathe new life into an old play or solve the Trolley Problem at an interactive performance full of ethical dilemmas. Face your own mortality on our Melbourne walking tour or go behind the scenes at NGV to learn why classic fashion never dies. Brush up on your ‘kinky history’, test your ancient world wits, solve crimes using French, celebrate Australian creativity, and explore so much more – find your rhyme and reason at this year’s Being Human Festival!

Festival program

Acknowledgment of Country

The Being Human Festival and the Faculty of Arts respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land upon which the University of Melbourne's campuses are situated, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and Bunurong/Boon Wurrung people, the Yorta Yorta people, and the Dja Dja Wurrung people. They have been custodians of this land for thousands of years; we pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Hear from the Festival Director

What are the humanities, and why do they matter? What does it mean to be human? Director of the Being Human Festival, Professor Sarah Churchwell, explains.

Being Human Festival

About the Being Human Festival

The Being Human Festival is the first and only national festival of the humanities in the UK. Founded in 2014, the Festival demonstrates the breadth, diversity and vitality of the humanities, and that research in the humanities is vital for the cultural, intellectual, political and social life. It is a successful large-scale, national public engagement festival taking academic research out into all corners of the community providing refreshing new perspectives on research. It is supported by the School of Advanced Study at the University of London in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy.

Learn more