The University of Derby and local partners host a Moon-Struck Philosophers exhibition to explore hidden history of Derby

30 October 2019

The University of Derby, Derby’s Local Studies and Family History Library are hosting two free guided walking tours of Derby city as part of Being Human 2019, the UK’s only national festival of the humanities.

The Philosophers’ Walk events will be taking place on November 16 and 23, and will share the significance of secret spots around Derby to which the Derby Philosophers were closely connected. The events were selected to be part of Being Human by the festival organisers: the School of Advanced Study, University of London, the Arts & Humanities Research Council, and the British Academy, with University of Derby academics awarded £1,000 funding from the organisers to produce the guided walking tours, which are also accessible as smartphone trails.

The tours are also part of The Moon-Struck Philosophers season of free events throughout November 2019, celebrating the achievements and legacy of the Derby Philosophers. The 2019 festival is themed around ‘Discoveries & Secrets’.

This new exhibition will engage the public and showcase the archives around members of the Derby Philosophical Society and their famous – and infamous – experiments. Alongside the exhibition, there will be three public lectures and two interactive sessions exploring the Local Studies and Family History Library archives.

Paul Elliott, Professor of Modern History at the University of Derby, said: "The Derby Philosophers are as essential to the city’s cultural history and future. Staff at the University of Derby, with partners from Derby Local Studies and Family History Library, Derby and Derbyshire museums, local history and heritage communities are playing a major role in critically researching and celebrating their achievements."

As part of a national programme of big ideas, big debates and engaging activities for all ages, the exhibition aims to champion the excellence of humanities research, help to demonstrate the vitality and relevance of this today and showcase how the humanities helps us understand ourselves, our relationships with others and the challenges we face in a changing world. In 2018, Being Human encompassed a programme of 250 events in 56 towns and cities across the UK, with a total estimated audience of 20,000. 

Professor Keith McLay, Pro Vice Chancellor Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Education at the University of Derby, said: “The University of Derby’s involvement in the Philosophers’ Walk events is an essential and proud part of its civic mission. The Moon-Struck Philosophers’ events, as part of the national Being Human Festival, are excellent examples of co-creation, co-production and democratic participation of those across the city and region who are interested in the enlightening impact of Derby’s 18th century Philosophical Society.”


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