Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, Being Human is a national forum for public engagement with humanities research. This year’s festival takes place nationally 17-25 November 2017.
Researchers from the Institute of English Studies are leading two events during the week. Finding Mr Hart, a play based on the research of Dr Cynthia Johnston (Lecturer in Book History) will be staged in Senate House, London (17 November) and Blackburn Cotton Exchange, Blackburn (24 November).
The play explores the life of Robert Edward Hart, inviting audiences into the quiet but imaginative world of one of the Britain’s most important collectors.
At the dawn of the 20th century, Robert Edward Hart lived a quiet life in Blackburn, managing the family rope-making business. Few people realised he was spending his family’s wealth to create one of Britain’s most impressive book and coin collections. Using interviews, letters, business records, and Hart’s personal notes, this creative theatre show takes audiences into the quiet but imaginative world of one of Britain’s most important collectors.
Dr Hollie Price (Post-doctoral Researcher: Ministry of Information Project) also presents The Lost Film Shows: Screening Films on the Home Front (25 November). The event will recreate a film show in the former home of the Ministry with a selection of information films and documentaries on the war effort and the home front.
In 1940, the Ministry of Information launched its mobile film show scheme. Running for the rest of the war, the Ministry’s mobile film units were vans containing projectors and screens that were driven around the country by a driver-projectionist, to give free film shows in village halls, schools and factories. The event will recreate a film show in the former home of the Ministry with a selection of information films and documentaries on the war effort and the home front. 1940s dress is encouraged and the films will be followed by tea and cake.
The event will celebrate the many shows given for voluntary groups and societies including Townswomen’s Guilds, Working Men’s Clubs, the Home Guard and Women’s Institutes. In the accompanying talk, Hollie Price – Postdoctoral Fellow on the Ministry of Information Project based at the School of Advanced Study – will discuss her research on the organisation of these shows and their role in local communities on the home front.