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, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy.
For three years now, the Institute has supported the Festival in extending its work in making research in the humanities accessible to non-specialist audiences beyond the UK, demonstrating its huge importance of a Humanities-based education and research aroudn the world.
In the hostile environment that conditions their lives, young refugees and asylum seekers are often reduced to the most rudimentary types of ‘marks’ or imprints: their fingerprints which dictate their movements in Europe, or the scrawled signatures on abandoned buildings and walls. What sort of world do they start to reveal when offered the opportunity to make a different sort of mark?
This evening of talks and workshops will draw on work that has been carried out by groups of young people, many in situations of forced displacement, in public libraries in Paris to develop a collection of one-off books that are gradually joining the Paris libraries’ more established holdings. Along with the books and their authors, participants will be invited to contribute practically to the development of this collection through processes of cataloguing and printing.
As the digital interface tends to standardise modes of reception of culture, this evening will offer you a chance to reconnect with the physicality of the ‘imprint’ and what that has meant for the circulation of ideas, while also thinking about ‘imprints’ today and what sort of agency and interaction they can found.