Call for Applications: Festival of the "Being Human"

Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the British Academy, Being Human is the UK’s only national festival of the humanities. In 2020, the festival theme is ‘New Worlds’. The festival will run 12-22 November. The core festival objectives are:

  • to demonstrate the value of humanities research to society in the UK and globally;
  • to encourage, support and create opportunities for humanities researchers to engage with non-specialist audiences;
  • to embed and join together public engagement activities in the humanities across the higher education (HE) sector;
  • to demonstrate the relevance of the humanities to everyday life.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

29 May 2020

At present, our intention is for Being Human festival 2020 to go forward as planned, from 12-22 November. Please note that we have extended the application deadlines for all pathways. Find the revised deadlines below.

We encourage applicants to think creatively about contingency plans for their event(s) if social distancing measures are still in place later in the year. Applicants should include a couple of lines about this in their application. For example, could a performance be live streamed? Could a planned pub quiz take place via Zoom? Could a socially-distanced tea and talk happen with neighbours along your street or in your community?

Check out some top tips and ideas for event planning during COVID-19 in our post here.

Find more details in our latest statement here: ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) update’.

Getting involved in the festival

All activities in our festival programme need to be free to attend and rooted in engaging public audiences with humanities research… other than that, we are open to your ideas and there are lots of ways to get involved! The three application pathways are:

1. ‘Open Call’

The easiest way to get involved in Being Human festival is to organise an activity or event via the Open Call pathway. This is for events during the festival dates that do not require funding from Being Human, but will be supported and promoted as part of our national festival programme.

Find out more: Guidelines
Apply: Application form | Activities grid
Deadline: Friday 3 July, 5pm

2. ‘Small Award’

Want to be more ambitious? Want to try something reaching a very specific audience or which might make a small change happen locally? Via the Small Award pathway you can apply for up to £2,000 to help make it happen.

Applications are now closed.
Deadline: Friday 29 May, 5pm Notification of outcome: June*

3. ‘Hub Award’

Applying as an institution? Each year we make a limited number of larger institutional grant of £2,000 – £5,000 to coordinate a full programme of activities as a festival hub (only a small number of these awards are made every year).

Applications are now closed.
Deadline: Friday 29 May, 5pm Notification of outcome: June*

*We hope to inform applicants of the outcome of their application as soon as possible and are working hard to minimise any delay. However due to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis it may take us longer than usual. 

Find out more

Please see our FAQs page if you would like to know more about the festival and the application process. If you cannot find the answer to your question here, please email: We encourage applicants to refer to our toolkits and case studies before making an application. A PDF version of the festival Terms and Conditions is available here.