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Being Human up-date

We are delighted to be part of this year's Being Human Festival (14-23 November 2019), a celebration of humanities research through public engagement. This year's theme is "Discoveries and Secrets", and our contribution is entitled "Creative Ethnology: Streaming New Voices", a reference to Hamish Henderson's "carrying stream" on the centenary of his birth,

 Being Human logo

Following last year's Sustainable Communities Heritage Festival, the IRC’s second Heritage Festival presents key findings, methodologies and perspectives of critical heritage studies from a Creative Ethnology perspective in a Scottish, European and global context. Through a series of creative workshops and other interactive-format events, our programme will showcase the growing strength and community relevance of research in the field of heritage and ethnology especially at Heriot-Watt. While raising public awareness of this work, the festival offers us a vital platform for connecting with, and actively involving, the wider constituency we are responsible to. A university widely known for its STEM profile, since 2013 Heriot-Watt has been home to the Intercultural Research Centre, a vibrant team of arts, humanities and social science researchers. The festival is integral to a strategy of embedding these disciplines more firmly in the university and raising their profile internally and externally; that strategy includes creation of a poet-in-residence in the geosciences, and development of a heritage-centred research and teaching programme, from which the idea for an annual Heritage Festival arose. The festival will involve more than a dozen researchers from Heriot-Watt together with members of the Creative Ethnology Network based at other institutions across Scotland.
This year’s festival forms part of the centenary celebrations of the Scottish ethnologist Hamish Henderson’s birth, and its title picks up on his epitaph:

Tomorrow, songs
Will flow free again, and new voices
Be borne on the carrying stream.

The key themes of the programme – community, place, connections, and well-being – link the festival to Scotland’s Year of Conversation, the UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages, and Heriot-Watt University’s Year of Health. The headline event, a ceilidh (“gathering”) hosted at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in conjunction with TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland) and the Scottish Creative Ethnology Network, brings together researchers, creative artists, performers and community activists in a public ‘bring and share’-style experience. Throughout the Festival, there will be an exhibition at Heriot-Watt's Museum on the Edinburgh campus, accompanying the IRC's Virtual Museum.

IRC Programme

Tracking Sounds and Soundtracks (Alastair Mackie)
Friday, 15 November 2019, HWU Campus, 12:30-14:00 
Discover a place in sound. In this workshop you will create a soundtrack for recorded stories or songs by sampling sounds of the surroundings – from woodland, lake and meadow to car park, laboratory and sports centre.

Finding Ourselves in Nature (Dr Rebecca Crowther)
Monday, 18 November 2019, Holyrood Park, time to be confirmed
In this outdoor workshop, you will (re-)discover how landscapes are connected with the self, non-human, group dynamic and emotional well-being. The group will meet at the Scottish Parliament. Please note that this workshop is weather-dependent.

Exploring Cultural Commoning (Jos Collins et al.)
Tuesday, 19 November 2019, Scottish Storytelling Centre, 16:00-17:30
This interactive performance workshop explores, with full audience involvement, ways of discovering the cultural commons that makes our place through play and dance. Weather permitting, the workshop will involve an outdoor element in the venue's garden area.

Discovering Home – Scotland, Europe, World: A Creative Ethnology Ceilidh
Tuesday, 19 November 2019, Scottish Storytelling Centre, 19:00-21:30
Traditional culture can bring people together or create barriers. The Ceilidh combines radical hospitality and creative generosity to bridge divides between cultures, mentalities & research disciplines. Expect to be surprised, and involved, in an evening of entertainment & exploration. Under the theme of "Discovering Home–Scotland, Europe, World", the Ceilidh will create an opportunity to experience and co-create the fluidity of the Traditional Arts processes across languages, moving between and combining music, story, poetry, dance and seasonal customs, in an ambience of ‘radical hospitality’ (John Berger) and inclusion.

Hidden Island Treasures
Wednesday, 20 November 2019, HWU Museum, 12:30-14:00
This interactive workshop engages with the “New Connections” virtual museum of maritime heritage in the Northern Isles, using actual exhibits displayed at Heriot-Watt University, to develop fresh perspectives on heritage-making as a resource for sustainable communities and places.

Finding Their Voices in the City (Dr Erin Farley)
Thursday, 21 November 2019, National Records of Scotland, 14:00-15:30
Using sources from archives and collections to locate communities in their historical place(s), this workshop traces creative networks in the city, finding links with contemporary creativity and place identity.

Scotland’s Secret Sounds (Naomi Harvey)
Friday, 22 November 2019, National Library of Scotland, 14:00-15:30
Discovering new routes and networks of song transmission, from archive sources to performance, this workshop explores interactions between living traditions and archives, singing songs (in English, Gaelic and Scots), & learning about accessible resources en-route.

Booking links are now available here