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University invites public to get hands-on with humanities

Published: 2 November 2023
Hand holding paper butterfly
Making paper Monarch butterflies at Hands-on Humanities Day 2022

From hieroglyphics, to archaeology Minecraft, to a digital igloo, to snakes and ladders – 10 days of arts and humanities activities, culminating in a free family fun day, are taking place at the University of Southampton.

The Southampton Arts and Humanities Festival runs from Thursday 9 November 2023, with the final event being Hands-On Humanities Day at the university’s Avenue Campus on Saturday 18 November.

The festival has been running since 2014 and is held every year to coincide with the UK-wide Being Human Festival.

This year, the Southampton event features live discussion events including an AI-themed evening with a screening of the 2013 film Her; the BBC’s Bob Harris and music journalist Colin Hall discussing The Songs the Beatles Gave Away; and prison arts charity Koestler Arts and university researchers will be discussing new artwork by the charity. There are also live music performances, including by harp and keyboard duo Fitkinwall Harpland. Visit the festival website for the full schedule and to book tickets.  

Hands-on Humanities Day will run from 10.30am to 4.30pm on Saturday 18 November at the University of Southampton Avenue Campus, in Highfield Road.

The family event will feature activities for the whole family, including:

  • Have your name written in hieroglyphics
  • Build your own cork boat
  • Visit the digital humanities igloo, with 360-degree surround screens, VR headsets and a VR treadmill
  • See Roman coins and pottery that have been dug up in Southampton
  • Discover how snakes and ladders can keep your brain healthy
  • Take a virtual reality step into a 17th century living room
  • Learn about five refugee children’s journeys on the Kindertransport before the Second World War

Hands-on Humanities Day is free to attend, but tickets must be booked in advance via the event website.

Ben Littlefield, Head of Public Engagement at the university, said: “The Southampton Arts and Humanities Festival and Hands-on Humanities Day are fantastic events that give us all the opportunity to explore and celebrate the arts and humanities together. Everyone is welcome and you will encounter the unexpected, the curious and the exciting. It is a great opportunity to meet our researchers and students and share your perspectives, as well as have a fantastic time. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!”

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