Aberystwyth University to host The Quantified Romantics for national humanities festival

AN EVENT as part of Being Human 2015 is to be hosted at Aberystwyth University. The event is titled The Quantified Romantics and allows both researchers, and the public to consider what it means to be human. Being Human 2015 is the UK’s only national festival of the humanities.

Being Human FestivalIn an effort to measure if 200-year-old Gothic shockers really do raise pulses, event participants will be seated in a darkened area to view images of Gothic paintings and pages of Romantic novels while a package of biometric data is gathered (including heart rate and skin temperature) using wristbands.

The School of Advanced Study, at the University of London are the event organisers and have funded the event through grant provision.

Researchers and public explore what it means to be human

Now in its second year, Being Human is supported by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the British Academy (BA), with support from the Wellcome Trust.

Following a successful application, Aberystwyth University has been awarded funding to hold the event during the festival week, 12 – 22 November. Forty-one grants have been awarded to universities and cultural organisations across the UK to participate in Being Human.

The Quantified Romantics will be part of an 11-day national programme. The festival is slated to ‘inform, extend and ignite contemporary thinking and imagination around the humanities.’

Richard Marggraf Turley (English and Creative Writing), Aberystwyth University’s Professor of Engagement with the Public Imagination, said:

“If Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, or Dr Polidori, who penned the world’s first vampire novel, could have tested their readers’ “terror” reactions using biometric wearables, Reyer and I like to think they would have! This event demonstrates in pulse-raising ways how humanities research intersects with cutting-edge science”.

Reyer Zwiggelaar, Professor of Computer Science, said:

“The arts have always informed science and technology in innovative ways, and this public engagement event is the perfect opportunity to show the real-world relevance of interdisciplinary university research”.

The inaugural festival was held in 2014, and saw over 60 universities and cultural organisations organise over 160 free events to share the best and most challenging thinking in the humanities with audiences across the country. The festival also reached more than 2.2 million people across Twitter and website visitors from around the globe.