Can a robot be a legal person? What does 'Being Human' actually mean in the 21st century?

The University will play host to an award-winning comedy writer as she ponders what it means to be human.

An innovative partnership between the University of Aberdeen and the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities will bring the award-winning comedy writer and performer Helen Keen to Aberdeen’s Cellar 35 this Thursday, November 19.  Researchers from across Scotland will take part in the fun, fast-paced and humorous look at what 'Being Human' means in the 21st century. 

Being Human? An Arts and Humanities Variety Night will bring research students from across Scotland to the Granite City to participate in this unique event, which is part of the Being Human festival.

The festival is led locally by the University of Aberdeen, it is funded and coordinated nationally by the School of Advanced Study, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) the British Academy and The Wellcome Trust.

Following Helen Keen’s masterclass, the students will compete in teams to present their own research in most engaging way, with the winning team awarded funding from the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities to further develop their collaboration.

Dr Mary-Alice Clancy, Researcher Development Adviser, said: “Within Researcher Development at Aberdeen, we endeavour to provide PhD students with meaningful opportunities to acquire and further develop various transferrable skills.

"The excellent work of the University’s Public Engagement with Research Unit has made the University of Aberdeen the Scottish hub for the AHRC’s Being Human festival, so it seemed natural to develop an opportunity linked to the festival.

She added: “Working with the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities has allowed us to create a bespoke public engagement opportunity where arts and humanities PhD students will acquire experience of public speaking, collaboration and making their research accessible to an array of audiences.”

Professor Deirdre Heddon, Director of the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities said: “We are delighted to support this innovative event as part of the AHRC's Being Human festival.  By opening up Scotland's rich resources and creating new networks and partnerships, we support our doctoral researchers to make a difference in the world.”

The event has been co-funded by the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities and the University of Aberdeen.

Full details of all Being Human events can be found at