Usher Institute

Being Human Festival

The Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society is hosting a series of events as part of the UK Being Human Festival in November.

Bodies. Stories. Health

In this year's programme of events, we  ask: How do we tell stories about health? How do we tell these stories with, for and to our bodies as they move through the world? How do we recognize and listen to those stories that challenge and disrupt our ideas about health? 

We explore these issues through virtual and in-person activities, including workshops on chronic health and visual arts, podcasting as scholarship, epigenetics, health technologies and speculative futures, and activism in visionary fiction, as well as a philosophy walk. Each event uses some form of storytelling with, of or for the body as a way to disrupt normative ideas about health. We seek to experiment with diverse methods of engagement to generate discussion and reflection with participants. In particular, we will consider how normative assumptions about bodies and their movement within environments might be challenged and re-imagined.

Friday, 11 November

Bloody Chronix (13-1400, Online) considers how visual arts can bring to life hidden stories of chronic illness and will feature the launch of a new illustrated zine. This event will be run by Ingrid Young, along with Donna McCormack (Strathclyde) and guests.

FemTech Utopias (1930–2100, Grassmarket Community Project) uses design thinking and speculative fiction to consider whether hype about new menstrual technologies is a form of utopian or dystopian storytelling. This event will be run by Andrea Ford.

Saturday, 12 November

Podcasts and Research (1800-2000, Online) considers how we might ‘listen differently’ to academic work, especially from the perspective of disability, arts and philosophy. This event will be run by Elaina Gauthier-Mamaril

Stories for our Bodies  (1100-1230, Scottish Storytelling Centre) will consider the cultural role of epigenetics, where participants will write stories to their bodies. Martyn Pickersgill will run this event in collaboration with creative writer Angie Spoto. Sunday, 13 November

Between two points (1100-1200, Holyrood Park) – a philosophy walk - will explore walking and dialogue as a method of engagement to explore pressing problems facing biomedicine, bodies and technologies. This walk will be led by Cath Montgomery, our scientific Fellow Lorna Gibson and include other members of the centre.

Thursday 17 November

Imaginactivism (1800-2100, Blue Drill Hall) encourages participants to imagine future health through visionary fiction and newspapers of the future. This event will be run by our Scientific Fellow Lorna Gibson, along with Joan Haran.

The Being Human Festival runs from 11-17 November. Bodies. Stories. Health. events will be a mixture of virtual and in-person, Edinburgh based activities.  Our online events will have closed captioning available.

Find more information about each event and sign up for free via Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society website

Being Human Festival website