The Being Human Research Centre


The Being Human Research Centre brings arts and humanities academics together to conduct research on what being human has meant across the sweep of human history, what it means in the current conditions of the world, and what it will mean in the future. The key focus is on stories and narratives embedded in oral and written texts including historical records, literature, religious and philosophical works, films, the media, video games, poems and digital texts. It is through shared cultural narratives that ideas of what it means to be human emerge, are challenged, and change. Dominant cultural stories need to be considered critically and questioned in the light of both the changing conditions of the world and the other available stories of what it means to be human. Arts and humanities subjects offer the tools for detailed critical analysis of cultural texts, as well as the creativity to produce new texts which tell new stories about what it means to be human.

The aims of the Centre

The primary aim of the Being Human Research Centre is to foster diverse and collaborative research inquiry into what it means to be human, both historically and within our contemporary world. The Centre builds on existing research strengths and interests within the School of Humanities at the University of Gloucestershire in the following areas:

  • Creative Writing
  • English Literature
  • English Language
  • Ethics
  • Film Studies
  • History
  • Religious Studies
  • Theology
  • Philosophy

The aim is to draw out the ways that existing research contributes to exploration of the human condition, and build links with other areas of expertise across the University of Gloucestershire and beyond to conduct new interdisciplinary research. On this website, you will find information about events, activities and publications, and about members of the Centre in the form of brief biographies, short videos and other materials. To summarise, the aims of the Centre are:

  • to explore what it means to be human in the changing conditions of the world
  • to offer a creative context for rigorous new research
  • to mentor staff and facilitate research outputs and impact
  • to support and encourage internal and external funding bids
  • to forge productive collaborations with other Research Centres and other Universities

The importance of Humanities

There has been a trend in higher education to value subjects which are seen as directly contributing to economic growth, vocational preparation or technological progress, at the expense of humanities subjects which are seen irrelevant luxuries. However, the importance of the humanities has never been greater. Becoming a high-technology society with a quantitative increase in economic activity does not automatically mean an improvement in wellbeing, health, equality, ethics or sustainability. If science and technology subjects provide an engine to move society, then the humanities provide the critical thinking to question the direction society is moving in, and the creativity to imagine and explore new directions.