Hands-on humanities attract a crowd

17 July 2023

Hundreds of youngsters take part in UCLan’s culture, language and history festival

Hundreds of school children from across the region have been given an insight into the importance of humanities in today’s society thanks to a University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) festival.

Local schools and colleges attended bespoke sessions while members of the public attended the recent How humanities can save the world festival.

The event, coordinated by UCLan historian Keith Vernon, combined an interactive zone, talks and many workshops focused on languages, culture, history, and literature.

The centrepiece of the event was the interactive zone where visitors played games from around the world, tried on traditional Chinese costumes, enjoyed a ‘Kamishibai’ performance of ‘Three Little Pigs’ and designed personalised badges while exploring Lancashire Archives’ historical treasures.

"Witnessing families and young individuals embrace and enjoy traditional games, language learning, and historical insights is incredibly heartening"

Sofia Anysiadou, Worldwise Centre Manager

Young language enthusiasts gathered around the Worldwise Centre stand, where fun-filled activities facilitated an engaging and immersive approach to learning new languages. From basic phrases to tongue twisters and quizzes, participants were delighted to embrace the beauty of communication beyond borders.

Sofia Anysiadou, Worldwise Centre Manager, said: "Witnessing families and young individuals embrace and enjoy traditional games, language learning, and historical insights is incredibly heartening. Events like these are vital for our community to celebrate diversity, build bridges across cultures, and preserve our collective heritage."

The following week saw primary, high and post-16 schools and colleges from Blackburn, Bolton, Chorley, Fleetwood, Manchester, Morecambe, Preston, and Wigan welcomed to UCLan’s Preston Campus.

Students and pupils were offered an exciting programme that covered all humanities; history, literature, foreign languages, British Sign Language, global studies, culture, and religion.

"It was delightful to work with school children, and hear the passion they bring to writing about climate change"

Poet Dr Yvonne Reddick

Events for adults took place in the evenings with an historical campus tour by Keith Vernon, and an evening of readings on place and climate change.

Professor Robert Poole talked about his new Amazon e-book Earthrise: a short history of the whole Earth and compared the famous 1972 ‘Blue Marble’ photo with a similar shot taken 50 years later, showing the effects of climate change on the face of the Earth.

This was followed by readings from three UCLan writers, chaired by Professor Alan Rice. Dr Phil Braithwaite read from his award-winning play Ice Flow; Dr Naomi Kruger gave us an excerpt from her novel May, and Dr Yvonne Reddick, who recently won a Northern Writers’ Award for narrative nonfiction, read from her new poetry book Burning Season.

Dr Reddick said: “It was delightful to work with school children, and hear the passion they bring to writing about climate change. Cultural and creative industries are not only an essential part of our economy and lives, but the humanities also help us to understand what it is to be human in a time of planetary crisis.”

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