University of Manchester to Host First ASA Public Anthropology Festival

Association of Social Anthropologists in the UK (ASA) has chosen The University of Manchester to host its inaugural anthropology festival.

Taking place from Friday 5 - Sunday 7 April, PeopleFest: Public Anthropology Festival 2024 marks a momentous occasion as it coincides with the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the University of Manchester Social Anthropology Department.

It will be a vibrant event celebrating the diverse facets of anthropology and fostering curiosity among the public about the captivating world of culture and society.

The festival promises a rich array of activities including exhibitions, performances, films, book talks, walking tours, and more, all’of which showcase groundbreaking research in society and culture from around the globe.

One of the highlights of the festival will be the work-in-progress performance of See Me/Hear Me featuring Drag Race UK legend Cheddar Gorgeous , a captivating play delving into the inner world of a paralysed woman through the lens of drag culture. Developed in collaboration with artist Sarah Ezekiel , this performance challenges the link between (dis)ability and identity.

Attendees can also look forward to guided walks through the streets of Manchester, uncovering the secret lives of night workers, and engaging in conversation with esteemed artist and filmmaker Jeremy Deller. Additionally, the festival will feature the highly anticipated ASA Annual Public Firth Lecture by Professor Alpa Shah , renowned for her popular writing, most recently on communist guerrillas and democracy in India.

PeopleFest is a chance to get creative, to be inspired, and to see our city and the wider world through the lens of anthropology. With more than twenty exhibitions, talks, performances, workshops and more, we showcase the creative ways that anthropologists explore what it means to be human.


’We are so excited for people to come and get captivated by the diverse range of activities available, whether it’s writing poetry by the Manchester canals, soaking up the sounds of the Colombian rainforest, or guessing the electoral politics of tomorrow," said Dr Meghan-Rose Donnelly, Lecturer in Social Anthropology and PeopleFest Engagement Lead. "It’s all based on current research in anthropology - but you might not even realise! Engaging with and comprehending human experiences is key to anthropology, and that is precisely what we will be immersed in together.’

All events are free and open to the public, reflecting the ASA and The University of Manchester Social Anthropology Department’s commitment to making anthropology accessible to all. It is hoped that this initiative will spark curiosity about the discipline and inspire local communities to reimagine academia in new and exciting ways.

For more information and to stay updated on the festival programme, please visit the PeopleFest official.