Through this paper, I will consider the roles that the humanities can play in interpreting and interacting with the arts. To investigate this topic, I will use several international examples. These are situated in Cannes, Edinburgh, and London, though they directly connect with countries such as South Africa and Mozambique. The world’s best known film festival (Cannes), and the world’s largest theatre and arts festival (Edinburgh), alongside the world’s first national public museum (the British Museum in London), provide the contexts in which my argument develops. In each of these spaces, one can be confronted by a myriad of human faces, presented publically in innumerable ways. Film posters, stand-up comedy adverts, and exhibition fliers commonly employ the human face to attract, to intrigue, and to entice audiences toward their spectacle. The humanities can both interact with and critically analyse these uses of faces. The human faces in these diverse and dynamic settings provoke questions which the public humanities can address, as they interrogate celebrity, analyse portrayals of suffering, and in the shadows of dangerous memories, even help to create materials to inspire peace.


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pp. 12-32
Launched on MUSE
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