Festival of Humanities

Roger Newbold
Festival of Humanities

From the profound to the trivial… that just about sums up the inaugural “Festival of Humanities” which was held last week on July 2nd-4th in the quad at lunchtimes in glorious sunshine. The aim of the festival was to extend in a small but hopefully memorable way their experience of humanities at Bushey Meads.

We started on Monday with volunteer students from different faith backgrounds and none responding to “ultimate questions”.  This spanned from Year 7 to Year 12. RE classes across the year groups were asked in advance to pose questions that they would like answered from a student who practices their faith and from students who do not have a faith.  They were then collated and put into a box. On the day there were four students on the panel and then they were rotated at 10 minute sittings. Questions were pulled out of the box and were answered eloquently by all students involved.  Staff and other students who were watching also wanted to pose questions to the panel, which were also answered very well by the students. This helped all students to listen to other students’ views on why they practise their faith and how this faith is important to them and also to hear from students on why they do not practice and how this impacts their lives. The students were exemplary in their delivery and it was good to see that debates can happen within the religions and the views are respected by all.

Then on Tuesday small teams engaged in fierce competition to complete the “Giant Geography Quiz”. There were questions on flags, capitals, geographical processes and much more. All around the quad and even on the school fields groups were huddled together trying to work out the answers whilst enjoying the sunshine.

Finally on Wednesday came the trivial as students competed to become experts in mummifying bodies Ancient Egyptian style. Fortunately for the volunteer “corpse” the first part whereby the brains are removed through the nose using a hook was omitted. Neither was there time for the body to be dried in “natron” (a salt solution) for 40 days. So the process began with the wrapping of the volunteer in copious quantities of toilet roll- cue much laughing and hysteria. Whilst this was not the most academic and intellectually challenging task students will be set in History they all seemed to have much fun.


All in all this the first “Festival of Humanities” was very successful and already plans are being made for how we can make it bigger and better next year.

R.Newbold, A. Walters, O. Skevington

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