Edge Hill University will host a free public event at The Bluecoat, Liverpool on 15 November as its contribution to Being Human, the nationwide festival of the arts and humanities.

Featuring talks, exhibitions, performances and hands-on workshops hosted by experts from the University, the Life is Short mini-festival will celebrate all things small and perfectly formed, from the hadron to the haiku, the boson to the butterfly.

Life is Short will champion the excellence of humanities research and creativity in the North West, helping to demonstrate the vitality and relevance of this today. It will explore how we perceive and capture moments in time and whether, in an age of the sound bite, Twitter and Instagram, we are living our lives at a faster pace than ever.

The programme of sessions includes:

Dr Paul Ashton (Dept. of Biology): How long is life?
Ecologist Paul Ashton considers transient life spans in the natural world, and their significance for the human beings who share their planet.
Professor Alyson Brown (Dept. of English, History and Creative Writing): The Short Lives of Serial Offenders: An Historical Perspective.
This session will discuss ‘Life is Short’ in relation to the experience of serial offenders.
Professor Mike Bradshaw (Dept. of English, History and Creative Writing): Hedgehog Theory… or, why we should be grateful to the Person from Porlock.
A short talk on the importance of unfinished poems to the Romantic imagination.
Dr Karen Ludke (Dept. of English, History and Creative Writing): Sixty Seconds Language
Discover how music can help you learn to speak much faster than you thought.
Dr Bob Nicholson (Dept. of English, History and Creative Writing): We Are Not Amused: Bringing Victorian Jokes Back to Life.
Tracking the journey of a joke from the 1890s as it went viral around the world’s media networks.

Other events include an exhibition, The Miniature Sublime, by Dr. Patricia Farrell, and creative writing workshops with Professor Ailsa Cox and Dr Kim Wiltshire. Participants will have a chance to contribute their own ‘thumbnail sketch’ in words or images as a record of the day’s events. The day will culminate with Life is Short, Art is Shorter – a high energy performance of flash fiction, poetry, film and monologues, including specially commissioned work from playwright Kim Wiltshire and poet Tom Jenks, and twitter poems from Professor Robert Sheppard.

Ailsa Cox, Professor of Short Fiction at Edge Hill University said: “We’re proud to take part in this wonderful festival. The Life is Short event will be a chance for everyone, young or old, to explore short art forms and small forms of life, bringing together the creative arts, history and biology for a whole day of activities.”

Bluecoat’s Artistic Director Bryan Biggs added: “We are delighted to host this event as part of the Being Human festival. As we know from presenting a wide range of exhibitions, performances and other arts events at Bluecoat, the audience’s experiences of them may sometimes be fleeting, yet the impact can often be profound. In its breadth of subjects being examined, the programme of talks and creative presentations during Life is Short is richly varied and promises to be thoroughly engaging. The workshops that the day also offers are to be welcomed, an opportunity for visitors to explore brevity and perhaps find magnificence in the modest.”

Events begin at 11.00 and finish at 6.00. All are free. Workshops and performance are bookable through the Bluecoat info@thebluecoat.org.uk

The 11-day national festival Being Human will see researchers and public explore what it means to be human. The inaugural festival in 2014 saw over 60 universities and cultural organisations organise over 160 free events sharing the best and most challenging thinking in the humanities with audiences across the country. Extending beyond face-to-face interactions in the UK, the festival crossed borders on the web, reaching more than 2.2 million across Twitter and website visitors from around the globe.

Life is Short has been made possible by a grant from the Being Human festival organisers, the School of Advanced Study, University of London.