“Blindness” London Interdisciplinary Discussion Group, May 7th

We are delighted to announce the details of the next London Interdisciplinary Discussion Group event on ‘Blindness’ on May 7th, which will take place in Science Museum Director’s Suite, from 6.30-8.30pm, followed by a drinks reception

How can the non-blind understand blindness? How can blindness be represented? These questions and other aspects of blindness will be explored by writer and theologian John Hull, neuroscientist Colin Blakemore, philosopher Ophelia Deroy and filmmakers James Spinney and Peter Middleton (who are currently making a film about John Hull’s experience of blindness). Each speaker will give a short presentation on blindness, and there will then be time for discussion and audience questions.
In this event blindness will be considered from across the arts and sciences. The diverse speakers will offer a wide range of insights into this topic and the issues associated with it.

Professor Colin Blakemore studied Medical Sciences at Cambridge and did a PhD at the University of California, Berkeley. After 11 years in Cambridge, he moved to Oxford in 1979 to be Waynflete Professor of Physiology and he directed the Oxford Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience. From 2003-7 he was Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council. His research has been concerned with many aspects of vision, early development of the brain and plasticity of the cerebral cortex. He has been President of the British Science Association, the British Neuroscience Association, the Physiological Society and the Society of Biology. In 2012 he moved to his current position as Professor of Neuroscience and Philosophy in the School of Advanced Study, University of London, where he leads a major project aimed at integrating philosophical and scientific approaches to the study of perception. He is a frequent broadcaster on radio and television, and writes in the national press about science and science policy.

Ophelia Deroy (PhD.) is the associate director of the Institute of Philosophy, at the University of London, and specialises in philosophy and cognitive neuroscience. Her work has addressed the effects of blindness on other sensory modalities, and focused on the promises of sensory substitution devices to recruit touch or audition to compensate the loss of sight. She is a currently a co-investigator on the AHRC project ‘Rethinking the senses’ which is pioneering new interdisciplinary research on multisensory perception.

John M Hull is honorary Professor of Practical Theology in the Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education and Emeritus Professor of Religious Education in the University of Birmingham. He has written about his experiences of total blindness in Touching the Rock (SPCK, 2013), In the Beginning there was Darkness (SCM Press, 2001), and The Tactile Heart: Blindness and faith (SCM Press, 2013). In 2012 the RNIB granted him a Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to the literature of blindness. The short film ‘Notes on Blindness’, based on his own experiences, was presented at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and can be viewed on YouTube ‘NewYorkTimesNotesOnBlindness’.

James Spinney and Peter Middleton are London-based filmmakers. Their short film Rainfall won the best short award at Hot Docs Film Festival. The follow up Notes on Blindness was produced with the New York Times documentary strand Op-Docs and has been selected for Sundance and SXSW. Notes on BlindnessThey are currently developing their first feature “Into Darkness“.

When: May 7th, 6.30-8.30pm
Where: The Director’s Suite, Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD
Participation to the event is free but must be booked. Call 020 7942 4040 or email ticketsATdanacentre.org.uk

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