List of events

Unless otherwise indicated, all events will be held from 5.30 to 7.00 in the Douglas Knoop Centre of the Humanities Research Institute, 34 Gell Street.

March 2010

15 March - 'Sing to me, Muse': where does inspiration come from?

Where do new ideas for research or other activities come from? How do you describe or account for that ‘voice’ (is it a voice?) which tells you where to go next? Deepening the inter-disciplinary dialogue begun at our Creativity workshop last year, this event brings together experts from psychology, literature, theatre performance, environmental studies and public health to investigate whether there are any common factors in the ways we find inspiration.
Public workshop, with Prof Rachel Falconer (English Literature); Dr Kamal Birdi (Work Psychology); Prof Rod Smallwood (Centre for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, University Director of Research and Innovation for Health); Alexander Kelly (Third Angel Theatre); John Ball (FEE, classical Indian musician); Dr Felix Ng (Geography)
Chair: Rachel Falconer. Showroom Cinema, 7-9 pm

This ESRC-funded Encounter forms part of SU Café Scientifique as well as the 2010 ESRC Festival of Social Science.
16 March - She’s Lost Control: Science on the Stage

This Encounter will begin with a general discussion of theatre on the current stage in Britain and the USA, by theatre researcher Prof Michael Vanden Heuvel. This will be followed by a groundbreaking live art production which more specifically explores the conceptual and physical interfaces between dance, epilepsy and neurological research. Award-winning dancer Rita Marcalo developed this live art production from a four-month Arts Council funded residency at the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline. She has a long-standing interest in bringing together dance performance and science, and her productions have been performed to acclaim at artistic festivals in London, York, and elsewhere.
Prof Mike Vanden Heuvel (Theatre and Drama, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA). Rita Marcalo, dancer and Artistic Director of Instant Dissidence.

Chair: Dr Carmen Szabo (Theatre).
University Drama Studio, 5.30-7.00. (40 places)

Please register at the link below,

April 2010

13 April – Dancing to Darwin: The Comedy of Change

In celebration of the life and work of Charles Darwin in his bicentennial year, Cambridge University experimental psychologist Nicky Clayton undertook to work with Mark Baldwin and the Ballet Rambert Dance Company, to produce an original ballet on the subject of evolution and animal behaviour. The resulting project, The Comedy of Change, directed by Mark Baldwin, with a score by renowned British composer Julian Anderson, and designed by Parisian artist Kader Attia, is being performed at Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre on 28-30 April. We are delighted to welcome Nicky Clayton to the Arts-Science Encounters, to hear her speak about how her knowledge of bird behaviour inspired the ballet, and more broadly, how scientific ideas come to inspire the movement, energy and musicality of dance.
Prof Nicky Clayton (Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge);
Chair: Prof Tim Birkhead (Animal and Plant Sciences).

Please register at the link below,
27 April - The Science and Poetry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging

How does the groundbreaking use of MRI in brain research affect the way we understand mind and emotion through engagement with the arts? In this Encounter, a renowned brain scientist engages in discussion with a leading British poet, to discuss the technicalities and the philosophical implications of brain-scanning imagery. Northern poet Professor Jon Glover will read from his recent collection, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and discuss his recent experience being scanned. Professor Sean Spence is world-leader in brain science research into deception, and a founder member of the European Consortium for Psychological Research on the Detection of Deception.
Prof Jon Glover (poet, editor of Stand, English Lit, University of Bolton);
Prof Sean Spence (Psychiatry)
Chair: Prof Adam Piette (English).

Please register at the link below,

May 2010

4 May - The Psychology of Music

In conversation with Paul Robertson, Leader and violinist of the internationally acclaimed Medici String Quartet, leading psychologists Professor Lawrence Parsons and Dr Pam Heaton discuss their research into the brain science behind musical performance.
Prof Lawrence Parsons (Psychology), Dr Pam Heaton (Department of Psychology, Goldsmith’s College, London), Professor Paul Robertson (violinist, Leader of Medici String Quartet). Chair: Prof Lawrence Parsons.

Please register at the link below,
11 May - Fish and Line: on Kandinsky, aquatic life, and new senses of the human

British social anthropologist Tim Ingold featured recently on BBC Radio 4’s Leading Edge, where he discussed how a closer understanding of Laplander reindeer herders could help teach us how to live truly sustainable lives. For the Sheffield Arts-Science Encounters, Tim will be delivering an exciting, cross-disciplinary talk on fish, ways of being human, and Kandinsky’s theory of art, and which, he says, ‘gets to the heart of everything I want to say about life, art and animals.’
Professor Tim Ingold (Anthropology, University of Aberdeen).
Chair: Dr Bob McKay (English Lit).

Please register at the link below,
18 May - The Science and Arts of Memory

Martin Conway is a cognitive psychologist whose research interests focus on autobiographical memory, memory and emotion, connections with identity and motivation, and disruptions of memory. He is head of a research group on long term memory and Director of the Institute of Psychological Sciences at Leeds University. Philip Davies is an Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies at Sheffield, with specialist interests in rabbinic, Hellenic and Persian literatures and is author of 4 books on the Dead Sea Scrolls, and his recent book Memories of Ancient Israel develops the notion of ‘cultural memory’ as a useful strategy for assessing both the biblical stories of the past and also the reception of these stories in later Jewish and Christian thought, including contemporary scholarship. Together, our two speakers will explore the parallels between personal and collective, or cultural memory, and the connections between human memory and a sense of identity.
In conjunction with this Encounter, there will be an exhibition of photography entitled ‘Switch Off Before You Leave’ by Sheffield artist Lizz Tuckerman, about the history of the Jessop Buildings.

Prof Martin Conway (Psychology, University of Leeds),
Prof Philip Davies (Biblical Studies)
Chair: Dr Jessica Dubow (Geography)
HRI, 5.30-7.00pm or Jessop West Exhibition Space

Please register at the link below,
25 May - Science and Madness: From Tacit Knowledge to the Uncanny

Philip Thomas’ research interests overlap between philosophy and psychiatry, psychology and medicine. With his colleague, Pat Bracken, he has published widely on the implications of the philosophy of Foucault and Wittgenstein for psychiatry and mental health. He is also interested in narrative and the moral and ethical problems of representation in medicine and literature. He is particularly interested in the relationship between narrative, or concepts of narrative, and ‘recovery’ from psychosis. Brendan Stone has research interests in narrative, identity and mental health, and teaches popular courses on these subjects in the School of English at Sheffield. Both Phil and Brendan share an interest in community development projects. From 2004 – 2009, Phil was chair of Sharing Voices Bradford, a project that works with members of the city’s black and minority ethnic communities, while Brendan is the designer of an innovative new course called Storying Sheffield, which brings together University students and members of the wider Sheffield community in the creation of narratives about the city.
Prof Phil Thomas (Honorary Visiting Professor, Social Sciences and Humanities, Bradford University); Dr Brendan Stone (English, University of Sheffield)
Chair: Dr Jessica Dubow

Please register at the link below,

June 2010

1 June - ‘Every tool shapes your mind’ : the implications of technology

Distinguished speakers come together from different disciplines to discuss the meaning and significance of tools in human culture, society and evolution. Anyone who has been enjoying Radio 4’s series, ‘A History of the World in 100 Objects’ will already know that the story of human history can be narrated through the evolution of our tools. What were the most important tools of our past, and what will be the tools that shape our humanity in the 21st century? John Barrett’s wide-ranging research interests are in archaeological theory, funerary archaeology, landscape archaeology and the development of archaeological fieldwork procedures. Formerly a Professor at Sheffield, Jeremy Till is now Dean of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Westminster. He represented Britain at the 2006 Venice International Biennale, and is author of Architecture Depends (2009), a polemical reflection on how to bridge the gap between what architecture actually is and what architects want it to be. Dr Mark Paterson, Lecturer in Human Geography at Exeter, and formerly Philosopher at UWE, has published on the subjects of robot skin and Haptic modelling of prehistoric textiles. He has written a book called The Senses of Touch: Haptics, Affects and Technologies, and is currently writing Seeing with Hands: a Philosophical History of Blindness.
Panel Discussion, with Prof John Barrett (Archeology), Prof Jeremy Till (Architecture, Westminster University) and Dr Mark Paterson (Human Geography, Exeter).
Chair: Prof Allison James. Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences, 5.30-7.00pm.

Please register at the link below,
15 June - What Makes for a Better Society?

The concluding cross-disciplinary encounter of our 2010 series will be a panel discussion on the subject of 'What Makes for a Better Society?'

Leading researchers from the University of Sheffield will discuss visionary ideas as well as controversial issues, including the future of social democracy, politics and education in Britain, the hopes and fears for the future of society prompted by advances in nanotechnology and synthetic biology (such as Craig Venter's recent announcement), and the challenge of building better communication channels and communities. All are welcome to come and join us in this conversation and debate.

Professor Jackie Harrison (Journalism Studies, Head of Department)
Professor Richard Jones (Physics and Astronomy, Pro-VC for Research and Innovation)
Professor Andrew Vincent (Politics)
Dr Benjamin Ziemann (History)
Chair: Professor Allison James (Director of ICOSS)
Humanities Research Institute, 5.30-7.00pm.

Please register at the link below,
21 June – Marcus du Sautoy: The Art of Mathematics

If the arts have their sciences, the sciences have their arts. To round off our 2010 Encounters with the second annual Art-Science Public Lecture, we will hear from Oxford University Professor Marcus du Sautoy as he discusses his interdisciplinary project, The 19th Step, and explains why and how mathematics may be considered a form of art. For information on the 19th Step, see
Marcus is Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, and arguably the country’s finest and most persuasive spokesman for research into science. Find out why, by coming along to this second annual public Arts-Science lecture. Along with other recent books such as The Music of the Primes and Finding Moonshine, Marcus du Sautoy's newest book, Number Mysteries, will be available for purchase at the event, in advance of its official publication date.

This talk is suitable for people aged 13+, and young people are especially welcome to attend. When asked in The Guardian recently how he promotes an interest in Mathematics, deemed so often to be a dull, unimaginative subject, Marcus responds, ‘It's all about mystery, big stories and journeys to infinity and beyond.’ (23 June 2009)
Guest speaker: Professor Marcus du Sautoy (Oxford University Professor for the Public Understanding of Science). Entrance free but by ticket only, St George’s Church.

Please register at the link below,