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Researchers put on series of eye-catching events as part of Being Human Festival


A world-leading research team in the University of Wolverhampton’s School of Humanities is getting set to deliver an exciting series of community activities this month after securing funding for a series of community activities as part of the forthcoming Being Human Festival 2022. 

University teams from degree courses covering Creative and Professional WritingEnglishEnglish Language and LinguisticsPsychology and the School of Art have been involved in organising the POSITIVELY DISRUPTIVE programme of events – with the first one, Yed Spaykin': Reading Brains in the Black Country, taking place on Saturday 12 November at the Black Country Living Museum. 

The event focuses on how place can shape reading tastes and asks the question whether people have greater affinity to novels that are written in their local tongue. The University’s Novel Perceptions team is offering an exciting neuro-literary experiment at the Black Country Living Museum.  

Using eye-tracking technology that measures language processing, we invite you to read Black Country fiction to understand how your socio-cultural background determines your interpretation of the world. This event will not only assess how people respond to dialect but also uncover unconscious biases they might have. The event will end with performances by Black Country writers R.M. Francis and Kerry Hadley-Pryce and a discussion of new research by Dr Esther Asprey and the Novel Perceptions team to show the importance of regional dialect in the making of reading habits. 

This event is suitable for all, though only those 18+ will be able to participate in the eye tracking experiment. 

The team, led by Bas Groes, Professor in English Literature at the University, secured over £4,000 to fund the series of events with the School being selected as a Hub for the festival which is run in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the British Academy (BA), and the School of Advanced Study, University of London (SAS).   

The Being Human Festival runs from 10 to 19 November 2022. The events, which are part of a 10-day national programme of big ideas, big debates and engaging activities for all ages, champion excellence in arts and humanities research at the University of Wolverhampton.  

There will also be interactive encounters, both in person and online, with care and chat bots and the opportunity to cuddle the Japanese LOVOT robot that’s powered by human emotions, an opportunity to discover Geopoetics in local parks in a Walking Wolverhampton for Wellbeing event as well as a chance to create and maintain disruptive energy in the city through art following the British Art Show 9 exhibition. 

A storytelling session will explore The Bayeux Tapestry: A Positively Disruptive Yarn which stitches together a vivid, epic and moving account of the events leading up to the 1066 Battle of Hastings. 

And a Resonating Hearts between Ukraine and the Black Country event creates a literary bridge between the two countries using literature and poetry to unite cultures whilst supporting and inspiring people in times of crisis. 

Being Human is the UK’s only 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, the UK’s national centre for the pursuit, support and promotion of research in the humanities. 

Professor Groes said: “We are all absolutely thrilled to have been chosen as one of the few, selected Hubs for this year’s Being Human Festival – this is amazing news following our recent stunning result with the national Research Excellence Framework (REF2021), which featured our research on changing perceptions of the Black Country.  

“For this year’s festival we’ve put together another really exciting and engaging programme of activities for people to enjoy across the Black Country, which will celebrate the Black Country as well as the University’s School of Humanities’ excellent research.  

“The importance of the Humanities to our local communities has never been more at the forefront of people’s consciousness and we are here to say that there will always be a place in learning for this area of academic study and research.” 

Find out more about the Being Human Festival on the website where dates and times will be posted later in the year.   

Find out more about Humanities research at Wolverhampton by visiting the CTTR research centre and see public engagement events by the team on their YouTube channel. 

Find out more about the University's research in these publications:  

Research Matters - showcasing our research successes and news from the sector.  

The Wolverhampton Briefing - our new quarterly update on our vital research activity. 


For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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