Brain and Mind: From concrete to abstract

3rd April 2019

Philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists come together at Brain and Mind: From concrete to abstract workshops to discuss topics of mutual interest.

This highly successful series of events began in 2015 with a full-day workshop funded by TORCH. It examined the phenomenon of schizophrenia from several different perspectives and was attended by St Hilda’s students. Feedback was so enthusiastic that Brain and Mind’s founders decided to open up future events to the general public. They encouraged local schools to send A Level students who were considering studying any of the subjects involved. Four years later, the response to these events continues to be overwhelmingly positive.

Dr Anita Avramides, Senior Philosophy Fellow, Dr Maike Glitsch, Senior Tutor Subject Tutor and Fellow in Medicine, Dr Stephen McHugh, Psychology Fellow working in Neuroscience, and Dr Ann Dowker, Psychology Tutor, work together on Brain and Mind. Their goal is to stimulate thought about complex phenomena. They want to display some of the latest thinking about a given topic across a range of academic disciplines and make links between these disciplines. Contributions from invited speakers last for 20 minutes, and are followed by an audience question and answer session. There is a break after the talks and time for mingling over a cup of tea before further discussion. Our undergraduate and graduate students are invited to dinner with the speakers after the workshops, to encourage further debate. It is this sort of intellectual opportunity that we want students to associate with St Hilda’s. A programme including an abstract of each paper and some suggested reading is always provided for audience members.

Since the first workshop, Brain and Mind has covered such topics as music, depression, sleep and dreaming, perception, memory, time, addiction, risk-taking, and bilingualism. Some of these workshops are available to watch here. In Hilary Term 2019, Criminality and the Brain, featured the leading British crime writer, Val McDermid, along with a philosopher, a psychologist and a forensic psychiatrist. While each event continues to attract around 140 people from all around the University and town, we are most proud of the numbers of A-level students who attend each term. Importantly, it is these young students who make some of the most interesting contributions to the Q&As.

Drs Avramides, Glitsch, McHugh and Dowker hope to continue to run Brain and Mind into the future. They would like to widen their remit to include collaboration with colleagues in Europe. Funding will be required for this and they are always interested in potential funding opportunities.

The Brain and Mind: From concrete to abstract event for Trinity Term 2019 is on Dementia and the Brain. It will take place at the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, St Hilda’s College, at 5pm on Thursday 9th May. Further information will follow on our Events pages soon. Planned topics for the academic year 2019-20 are Creativity and the Brain, Music and the Brain, and Art and the Brain. The workshops are free to attend and everyone is welcome.

Criminality and the Brain research workshop at St Hilda's College, University of OxfordCriminality and the Brain research workshop at St Hilda's College, University of OxfordCriminality and the Brain workshop at St Hilda's College, University of OxfordCriminality and the Brain research workshop at St Hilda's College, University of Oxford