Upcoming conference: ‘Art and the Brain’

Art and the Brain: How Imagery Makes Us Human

McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge

7th-8th December 2015


The Art and the Brain conference aims to encourage an interdisciplinary discussion between archaeologists, neurophysiologists and artists to develop current understandings and interpretations of non-verbal communication and the development of art in prehistory. Recent developments in the fields of neurophysiology and neuroaesthetics have highlighted the limitations, capacities and facilities of the brain with respect to our perception and cognition. These advances have thus created a platform for a new understanding of prehistoric visual imagery created by early Homo sapiens. Sessions at the conference will explore the use of colour, line and the concept of embodiment and fragmentation.

For more information regarding the conference, fees and registration, please visit the links below and for any queries, contact Sarah Evans (sce25@cam.ac.uk). The deadline for registering is 25th November.

Webpage: http://www.mcdonald.cam.ac.uk/events/artandbrain

Conference Summary

Conference Programme

Registration: http://onlinesales.admin.cam.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=2&deptid=299&catid=1072&prodid=1474

Communicated by Sarah Evans and Liliana Janik

Heroes of Neurons & Neuroaesthetics during the Brain Awareness Week


The Federation of European Neuroscience Societies supports the Brain Awareness Week, which is the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. This year, there will be 29 events/projects running simultaneously around the world. The only one in the whole UK is also closely related to Neuroaesthetics:

Screenshot 2015-03-12 at 19.43.25As part of this campaign, the project “Heroes of Neurons” has organised a most intimate series of popular science events on the topic of the human brain and mind. These are three very unique events taking place next week (March 16th to 20th):


DRAWING NEURONS, WRITING BRAINS, PAINTING MINDS: 16th March, 6pm. City University London, Drysdale Building, Room ELG15. 

Emmanuel Pothos will give the inaugural speech and will welcome us to the Brain Awareness Week 2015. Also, he will present the talk on Neuroaesthetics from Beatriz Calvo-Merino and two neuroart exhibitions: “The Eyes of the Skin: The neuronal Underpinnings of the Bodily self through Photography” by  Alejandro Galvez-Pol and “Drawing neurons. Writing brains. Painting minds” by Albert Barque-Duran.

SPEED-SCIENCE: 18th March, 6pm. City University London, Rhind Building, Room DLG19. 

The public becomes the inquiring body, participating in the delivery of unprecedented fast rounds of swing Q&A. The heroes will be: Eduardo Alonso on artificial intelligence, Peter Ayton on decision-making, Carolyn McGettigan on language and communication, and Elliot Freeman on perception.

TALK: HEROES OF NEURONS: 20th March, 6pm. City University London, Drysdale Building, Room ELG02. 

Semir Zeki and Stefano Sandrone will share with us the most critical figures of the history of neuroscience, the Heroes of Neurons, from Ramón y Cajal to the Nobel prize John O’Keefe. A journey that has been fulfilled with misfortunes, enlightenments, and breakthrough discoveries that have defined the way we understand ourselves.

 View the whole program here.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/heroesofneurons

Twitter: @HeroesofNeurons

Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society

The Cognitive Neuroscience Society is holding its 22nd Annual Meeting in San Francisco on March 28-31, 2015. There is a full schedule of events, including Invited Symposia, Mini Symposia, Poster Sessions, as well as several award presentations. For those of us interested in neuroaesthetics, this year’s Keynote speaker is Anjan Chatterjee, who will be delivering a talk on “The neuroscience of aesthetics and art”. Save the date: Saturday, March 28, 2015, 2:00 – 3:00 pm. It’s open to the public!

Keynote abstract

What can neuroscience possibly tell us about aesthetics and art? In this talk, I will offer a framework from which a neuroscientist might decompose aesthetic experiences. I will discuss findings from neurology and cognitive neuroscience that reveal neural structures and networks engaged when we respond to beauty and react to art. I will consider the uneasy relationship between scientific aesthetics and the humanities, dispel some critiques, and acknowledge specific limitations of neuroaesthetics. Finally, informed by our understanding of the neural underpinnings of art, I will speculate about its evolution. Previous debates about whether art-making and appreciation represent an instinct or an epiphenomenon of other evolved capacities are probably not well-framed. I offer a third way to think about why we are now – and perhaps have always been – surrounded by these mysterious objects that we call art.