Worlding the Brain 2017: Affect, Care, Engagement
Symposium 2017, 2 – 3 – 4 November 2017 – University of Amsterdam. Organizers: Stephan Besser, Machiel Keestra, Julian Kiverstein, Flora Lysen, Patricia Pisters| Conference manager: Flora Lysen confirmed key note speakers: Vittorio Gallese, Felicity Callard, Alva Noë
Following the success of Worlding the Brain 2016, we continue this series of multi-disciplinary encounters of science, art and the humanities with an international conference on the themes of Affect, Care and Engagement in November 2017 in Amsterdam.
This event is intended to explore the ‘worlding’ of the brain, i.e. the mutual influence of the extra-cerebral world on the brain and the brain on the world. Such ‘worldings’occur when we place the brain in worldly contexts, study its interaction with various environments and reflect upon its entanglements with cultural practices and processes. Based on a recognition of the ‘neuro-turn’ in various disciplines, we aim to extend and deepen the dialogue between the different fields of knowledge in art, humanities and science that investigate and perform such interactions.
The themes of affect, care and engagement indicate that the bidirectional interaction between world and brain is never neutral but always mediated by concerns, interests and emotions in different ways. With ‘affect’ we think of both the current political and cultural climate (of anger, fear, resentment and hope) and the prevalence of medical and psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety disorders in society today. With ‘care’ we want to address the caring for the self and others in our daily lives and health care, taking into account the underlying socio-political imperatives of self-fashioning and well-being. With ‘engagement’ we aim to explore both the interconnections between brain, body and our sensory environment and the socio-political implications of these relations for personal and collective agency today.
The socio-political, psychological, medical, cultural and discursive dimensions of these topics require an integration of artistic, humanist and cognitive neuroscientific perspectives. With these explorations, this conference intends to foster reflection on the challenges and opportunities for the ‘worlding the brain’ perspective in the current political, social, epistemic situation.
Besides our keynote addresses we will host multi-disciplinary panels and invite artists, (cognitive) neuroscientists, health workers and humanities scholars of all kinds to engage in paper presentations, dialogues, performances and artistic work. Our aim is to meet and learn from our different perspectives on the complexity of our embodied, enworlded and affective brains, and start new collaborations. We will convene in the CREA building of the University of Amsterdam and, on the second evening of the conference, for a special evening program at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.