Enjoy 39 events over 14 days right across Oxford, and all for free, thanks to the Think Human Festival kicking off on Feb 1 for two weeks.
Film, drama, comedy, debate, music, seminars, dance, cinema and poetry events planned aim to raise issues and promote debate.
From toxic masculinity to the sinister history of Valentine’s Day cards, the loss of Arctic ice, current political distrust and the practice of torture and motherhood, all will be explored through the arts at the festival hosted by Oxford Brookes University.
Professor Gary Browning, Festival Director, comments: “In short, The Think Human Festival delves into what it means to be human in 2020.
“In an age of conflict and sharp divisions, the festival explores who we are and what makes us, us. It will allow for space to reflect, better collaborate and understand each other.
“It is about taking on board questions of human identity in a changing world, tackled in a lively, engaged and informed way to a wide audience.”
This is the second year of the festival, and inclusion and accessibility is paramount. “It is vital that we involve the whole city in thinking about our human identity and the questions that are posed to us today,” Prof Browning adds. “Such as what does it mean to be masculine today? How do we face the loss of Arctic sea ice. And what can poetry tell us about refugees.”
“Likewise at a moment when the world itself is threatened by climate change, when arctic ice loss is manifest, the question of how we can we secure our future looms.”
*dancing human rights kicks things off at the Old Fire Station on Feb 1. How we think about human rights and how dance expresses those rights are questions that will be explored.
*At the Ark T Centre in Cowley two seminars are being held on Thurs Feb 6: Food, Feeding and Family Lives , as well as Making Sense Of Motherhood.
*How to be a Man in an Age of Toxic Masculinity (Wed Feb 5 at Oxford Brookes) will engage with a burning question of the day.
*Actor Toby Jones celebrates the work of John Clare through music and poetry on Sun Feb 2 at Oxford Brookes.
*The poet as a Soldier and veteran: What does it mean to be a soldier? Cafe from Crisis, OFS, Tues Feb 4.
*Life Is Wonderful: Mandela’s Unsung heroes Film and Q&A at UPP on Fri Feb 7
*Stand Up for Human Suffering will be a riotous yet sympathetic engagement with suffering through comedy at East Oxford Community Centre on Friday Feb 7.
*Paul Oliver and the history of the blues – an evening of live music at Brookes on Fri 7 will engage with the blues in performance and discussion.
*Songs of Love and Loss will bring things to a close by engaging with Valentine’s Day and the power of songs to move us with great music and serious discussion.
“We just hope the audiences will be stimulated and provoked by the performances and look at the issues from new perspectives,” Prof Browning adds.
The festival will also launch with a unique take on talking books, with the chance to borrow a human ‘book’ in the shape of an academic from Oxford Brookes.
The festival will include a public Photography Competition on the theme of Relationships, which is open to all for entries until 28 February 2020.
“Let’s open up the thinking about humanity, get inspired, challenge preconceptions and have fun while doing so,” Prof Browning concludes.
The second Think Human Festival runs from Feb 1-14
Find out more about the full programme of events at Think Human Festival