The Brain and the Mind is a collaboration between the writer and broadcaster Lisa Appignanesi, and the academic and writer Lara Feigel, who is based in the English department and the Centre for the Humanities and Health at King's College London.
Lisa Appignanesi: 'As my books, both fiction and non-fiction, make plain, I have long been interested in the 'mind', its orders and disorders and how the boundaries between the two are patrolled. Alongside representations of the mind and psyche at work, I've also long been fascinated by the medical, therapeutic and scientific disciplines associated with all this. So it seemed a wonderful challenge to be able to work with colleagues in the King's English Department and the Centre for the Humanities and Health to stage a high-powered series of discussions, short films and workshops in which the subject was probed from many angles. The hope is that in these panels the various disciplines which explore mind and brain can talk to each other and share insights across the boundaries of the professional languages which sometimes divide them.'
The Centre for the Humanities and Health, directed by Brian Hurwitz, is funded by a Wellcome Strategic Award and aims to create in the UK a world leader in research in the Medical Humanities through a multi-stranded programme of research on 'The Boundaries of Illness'. It engages scholars from arts, humanities and health disciplines nationally and internationally (from Literature, Philosophy, History, the Visual Arts, Film Studies, Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry, Medicine and Nursing) all of whom collaborate in running an MSc in the Medical Humanities. The Centre's research is focused on six interlocking strands: Illness narrative as life-writing, Concepts of health, Distress and disorder, Nursing and identity: crossing borders, Cultural and historical forces in psychiatric diagnosis, Case studies of medical portraiture. The Brain and the Mind aims to bring as many of these strands together as possible. Apart from Lara Feigel, members of the Centre who are participating in the discussions (and associated workshops) include David Papineau and Neil Vickers.
The filming for the project is done by Poppy Sebag-Montefiore, who made the television documentary series, The Chinese are Coming and who is a regular contributor on Newsnight. Poppy has filmed three of the scientists in their labs, will be filming the discussions and editing a film on the project , which will be available for use in universities.
Together Lisa Appignanesi and Lara Feigel are the holders of a Wellcome People Award, which has funded Lisa to spend two years as a Visiting Professor at King's. We are planning to edit a book based on the talks in order to make them available to a wider public.
For more information about Lisa, Lara, the Centre and the award see:
Lisa Appignanesi: http://www.lisaappignanesi.com
Centre for the Humanities and Health: http://humanitiesandhealth.wordpress.com/
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Films directed by Poppy Sebag Montefiore
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