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Senate House - London's Unsung Cultural Hero

10th November 2016
Exterior of Senate House

Many people know Senate House for its towering academic reputation as part of the University of London. It is so much more than that. Senate House is the cultural fabric of the city itself, hosting ground-breaking events and talks throughout the year.

We thought it was about time we gave a much-deserved shout out to Senate House and its role in championing arts and culture.  



Senate House is soon to become one of seven hubs, and the only one in London, of the , a nine day exploration of how the humanities can enrich and inspire everyday lives.

Part of the University of London’s ‘Ministry of Fear’ Event, this national forum for engagement with humanities research highlights the theme of

'Hope and Fear’. 

Being Human festival pamphlet being held up

Image Credit: Being Human Festival.

The third event of its kind, it takes place between the 17th and the 25th November and is led by SOAS (London School of Advanced Study) in partnership with the Arts and Humanities research council and the British Academy.

Take a look behind the scenes at clips of Being Human 2015. 


As the London base for the festival, a huge range of events will happen in and around Senate House during the nine days. 

Here are a few carefully selected highlights that should not be missed:

Artist in Residence

Senate House has been delighted and proud to host an artist in residence for the last 10 months. Hannah Thompson has been based at Senate House as part of her residency, funded by the Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence Grant. Her time at Senate House will culminate in a sonic dissemination of her work, displayed through an impressive installation as part of the Being Human festival.

Hannah’s project channels the building’s rich history as the war-time Ministry of Information and as the cultural representation of George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth in the novel ‘1984’. 

Hannah Thompson Senate House Artist in Residence













Image Credit: Senate House Library. Hannah Thompson at work in her role as Artist In Residence

Her project focuses on the theme of interactivity and contrast. The work takes Orwell’s Memory Hole Machine as inspiration to showcase a playback of sounds collected from this historical and vibrant academic hub.

Book Launches

Senate House’s position as an academic hub with a world-leading library, makes it the ideal location for inspirational literary events, including book launches. Of note are two significant releases, one from Amnesty International in partnership with the Human Rights Implementation Centre. This launch presents a new manual called ‘Combating Torture and Other Ill-Treatment’. 

Event taking place inside new wing of Senate House













 Image Credit: SOAS. Paul Webley Wing Opening Night.

With a panel discussion and drinks reception, this free event takes place on the 11th November 2016.


With such a rich and varied history, Senate House is steeped in the stories of the past. The stunning art deco features hint at the many secrets the building holds. 

Birds Eye View of Stairwell inside senate house













Tours of the venue provide a fascinating glimpse into the past and an opportunity to discover its mysteries first hand.  

Crisis Talks

In a year when the world has seen tough challenges, Senate House offers a sanctuary for engaging with and working towards resolutions to these global problems.

A compelling lecture around the migrant crisis in Europe takes place on the 28th November, to discuss perspectives on the situation and the legal issues surrounding Europe’s asylum system.

Inside of a Senate House meeting room













Senate House has also hosted the commemoration event to remember the purchase of the Parthenon Marbles by the British Museum. The delayed return of these artefacts to their original home still proved to be a topic of much debate.



As an academic hub, this iconic building is used to hosting many scholarly gatherings. Notable recent events included ‘Shakespeare’s Text Down The Ages’, a symposium that coincided with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. It sat alongside a rich and varied programme, combining an exhibition and multiple events.

Shakespeare exhibition at senate house



















Image Credit: Shakespeaker, Tumblr.

Coming up is a one-day symposium,‘ The End of Utopia’, bringing together academics to discover whether the concept of Utopia still has relevance in our time.


With such a vast and versatile selection of halls, meeting rooms and elegant spaces, Senate House is an ideal location to hold varied and thought-provoking exhibitions.

Taking place until the 17th December, Senate House hosts a series of events and an exhibition under the moniker ‘Utopia and Dystopia’. It promises to be an influential and exciting way to mark the 500th Anniversary of the publication of Thomas More’s Utopia (in December 1516) and celebrate his influence on Western philosophical and political thought.

National Televised Events

Senate House was also chosen as a broadcast location for the most recent season on the BBC One programme Antiques Roadshow.

Having welcomed the show for several years, Senate House provides a suitably impressive backdrop for an eager public to display their dusty heirlooms and treasures to the panel of experts.


This timeless building will continue to welcome and support a multitude of cultural and intellectual events, debates and spectacles. Beyond the historical grandeur and art deco elegance is the beating heart of cultural London.

For more information on holding your event at Senate House, or to contact our In-House events team, please contact us online via our enquiry form or call us on 020 7862 8127. 

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