Human Library Returns to Plymouth Respect Festival

The worldwide phenomenon returns to Plymouth with another chance to borrow an open Book and explore diverse experiences. The free event is part of Plymouth Respect Festival and will take place at Theatre Royal Plymouth 12pm – 4pm on Saturday 9th July 2022.

The Human Library publishes people as open Books on topics from race and religion to disability and mental health, and many other aspects of being human. Readers are invited to choose a Book by their title and explore their lived experiences by asking the questions they may have never had the opportunity, or never dared, to ask.

This will be the biggest in-person Human Library event that has taken place in Plymouth, following the success of the online Human Library for Respect Festival 2021 and pop-up event at Buddha Hut in April.

“An experience like this is so simple yet so essential in understanding what it means to be human.” – Reader Review

“The books were brilliant. They provided really insightful and helpful discussions about some interesting topics. They made me feel at ease discussing some very intense subjects.” – Reader Review

Plymouth Human Library is being organised by Carmel Lawless, Plymouth resident and Book, with Katy Jon Went, Human Library UK Coordinator, who has organised more than 100 Human Library events and has been Published under the titles of Ex-missionary, Transgender, Bipolar, and Suicide survivor.

Katy Jon Went: “We are looking forward to a Human Library at Respect Festival again – this time in person and not online. Delivering a pop up Human Library Book Café recently in Plymouth showed us the appetite for safe courageous conversations with people who may appear as different, and as an inclusive way of building community and respecting diversity”

The event is free and open to all. Drop-in any time between 12pm – 4pm.

For more information search ‘Human Library at Plymouth Respect Festival’ on Facebook or email

Open Space to Closed Collective

A quick thought after we have started to invite the group to contribute ideas (being collated here)

As we discover how the process is working, if we were to describe this process it might be something like Open Space to Closed Collective. 

We are allowing people to come together around their passions and interests. We are inviting in difference by keeping the door as wide open as possible. So whilst it’s not guaranteed it is much more likely to see new collaborations, new relationships and new ideas. 

Also by running a process like this means we are keeping the outlook as open as possible – and gives us a golden opportunity to influence the work before it begins, introducing data, research and learning in a way that helps whatever happens see the wider context in which they are working. So learning becomes baked in from the start. 

We are coming up towards the end of the Open Space stage. In the next, Closed Collective stage, we will support the group to think about subjects such as where their focus will be, how they will communicate, how they will make decisions. At the end of this the £40,000 funding will be ready for the group to get going.