In my previous posting, I mentioned several activities I am currently involved with including a session I am going to be hosting next month during the 2020 Being Human Festival – a big, UK-wide and international-looking festival celebrating Humanities research within, and beyond, universities.
This year’s festival is largely taking place remotely owing to covid and while the experience of being in a room has to be put on hold and feels like an increasingly distant memory, the upshot is the potential for reaching people from across the UK, and around the world.
I experienced this potential of remote events two days ago at an event I coordinated as part of Roehampton University’s programme for Black History Month. The event explored diversity, race and decolonisation in classically-themed children’s and Young Adult culture. UK people took part as did participants from around the UK and beyond, with those in the zoom room including people in children’s literature and classics from the US, Australia and Poland.
The event I am next hosting – the one for Being Human – has already had bookings from the UK and internationally. I am thrilled to be part of the festival which for several years now has been showcasing and transforming Humanities research. Two years ago was involved in a set of events concerning Humanities and children’s culture which included a strong focus on autistic children’s culture. This was when along with my then colleagues a classicist Helen Slaney and Susanne Greenhalgh in Drama, I took part in arranging a theatre event for autistic children and a workshop for adults interested in how arts and humanities can inspire, and make a difference to, autistic children.
The current event, which forms part of the festival’s programme of “cafés,” offers an autistic perspective on the theme of this year’s Festival: New Worlds.
Here are some details about the event, based on the Being Human Festival and booking websites.
November 12th 2020, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Online "cafe" offering autistic perspective on "New Worlds" theme of the 2020 Being Human Festival of the Humanities
|Choice of Hercules chimneypiece panel, Grove House, Roehampton, redrawn by Steve K. Simons|
This “café” session offers an autistic perspective on the “New Worlds” theme of this year’s festival. Dealing with specific situations can be a challenge for anyone, but especially an autistic person, for whom “New Worlds” can seem “alien” places where one might feel like an outsider rather than a participant.
All are welcome to join the mythological hero Hercules in a 1-hour online café for autistic children and their families. Susan will introduce Hercules as he discovers a new place, filled with many objects. Participants will be invited to think about how Hercules takes in information about the place and about how he processes the emotions he experiences. There will be opportunities to take breaks inspired by the food and drink that Hercules finds among his surroundings. There will be an opportunity for participants to reflect on their own experiences of entering places for the first time.
The event is designed for autistic children aged c. 7-11 and their families. The event might be suitable for other children, and adults, too. Anyone interested in taking part is welcome to contact Susan (email@example.com) to discuss the relevance of the café for them.
The activity is adapted from activities for a European Research Council-funded project Our Mythical Childhood (2016-2021) which comprises tasks for autistic children based on what happens when Hercules reaches a curious, multi-sensory place. It is also run in association with the network ACCLAIM: Autism Connecting with Classically-Inspired Myth.
For more information, including how to book, please go to: https://beinghumanfestival.org/event/hercules-cafe/
To reiterate - all are welcome: children andadults, autistic and non-autistic. if anyone would like to find out more, please contact me via this blog or email firstname.lastname@example.org