Fictional human and real robot: looking back on the 2016 Being Human Festival

Fictional human and real robot: looking back on the 2016 Being Human Festival

Monday 05 December 2016

The Being Human festival is a national, week-long whirlpool of creativity and technology held on 17th-25th November. As part of the festival, researchers from Sheffield Hallam University, from Materials and Engineering Research Institute and Cultural, Communication and Computing Research, and members of Sheffield Robotics,  held a series of events under the slogan 'Fictional human and real robot: sharing spaces with robots'. 

The main activities took place on the 19th, 20th and 23rd November in the Heartspace Atrium, Sheffield Hallam. The events included interaction with robots Emma and Pepper (JPG, 1.6MB), whilst robot 'Green (JPG, 2.3MB)' (also known as Kermit) silently observed the public. Visitors had the opportunity to immerse themselves into a different reality and walk around various exhibits in a specially created Virtual Reality Robotic museum (JPG, 1.4MB). In addition, attenders could participate in the creation of look-alike robot-avatars workshop (JPG, 1.9MB).

More detailed information on our interactive displays can be found here (PDF, 10.9MB)

We refer you to a short story (PDF, 104.9KB) written by Ekaterina Netchitailova, in which she described her experience during her visit.

Parallel to the event at SHU, there was a complementary exhibition of robots impressions at the Bank Street Arts Gallery that reflected current and future robotic research, as well as some funny images of robots and robot toys, provided by SHU members of staff. (Bank Street Arts Gallery is no longer in operation.)

We plan to display those images in our new Virtual Robotic Museum (JPG, 1.4MB), which is currently under construction, but will be open soon. In the meantime, you can see them in a digital form here (PDF, 4.4MB).

However, one of the most 'dramatic' events was the script-writing workshop, where the participants wrote small scripts in which they expressed their ideas about our future where robots will become an integral part of humans' everyday life.

The scripts were then filmed and now you can watch the resulted film. It took some time to put all pieces together and edit the final version, but finally the film is ready. Watch robot Emma!


Overall Lead: Dr Lyuba Alboul
Interactive Display: Dr Martin Beer, Dr Alessandro di Nuovo, Dr Louis Nisiotis, Alexandr Lucas, Enohor Igbeyi, Matthew Haire, Muhammad Sayed, Alireza Janani
Scriptwriting: Sue Bodnar
Filming: Oliver Newman, Roagan Hall
Overall Support: Ekaterina Nikolova and Ekaterina Netchitailova


Professor Jacques Penders, Professor Marcos Rodrigues, Alessandra Moschetti, Inna Popa, Rinella Cere, Ayan Ghosh, Robot Pepper, Robot Betty, Robot Green/Kermit

With special thanks to Professor Wayne Cranton.

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