March 2017 – Events

MIT: Navigation

Thu, 9th March at 7pm

How does the human brain make sense of the physical space we experience? What abstractions and practical tools such as maps and globes are available to us, especially when confronting a force as serious and deadly as the sea. On Thursday the 9th of March 2017 at 7pm we will explore the topic of Navigation: both in the brain and through tools. From the moulding and shaping of globes, drawings lines which divide up the land, we hope to delve into the technical, political and internal experiences and consequences of navigation.

Dr Hugo Spiers is a Reader in Neuroscience in the Department of Experimental Psychology at University College London (UCL) and is group leader of the Spatial Cognition Research Group at UCL. His research group study the neural basis of spatial cognition which he will describe to us in details. His team have also conducted the largest ever research study of human navigation, testing over 2.5 million people across the world on a virtual reality navigation task: “Sea Hero Quest”.

Sylvia Sumira is an independent conservator specialising in globes, with experience in globe conservation at the National Maritime Museum. Sylvia has since set up her own studio, worked for museums, libraries and other institutions, her book ‘The Art and History of Globes’ was recently published by the British Library.

Artist, teacher and Making in Transit founder Jennifer Crouch will share some videos from the Arctic and describe what it took to hand-carve wooden maps of the landscape she explored.

Additionally, Arctic Circle residency expedition leader – Sarah Gerats – will share a brief video that communicated her feelings about being at sea, sailing in the high Arctic, Antarctic and getting lost.

MIT: Microverse

Fri, 10th March at 7pm

On Friday the 10th of March at 7pm, we are going to explore the giant, complex cosmos that is the human body – made visible by ever developing technologies – and we will expand our perspective to a world of tiny creatures the maintain the biodiversity needed within us and in different environments from cities to the Arctic. We owe our on-going survival to microscopic single-celled creatures without whom we would not be able to digest food, feel healthy, live in a diverse ecosystem or even breath air. We tend to be oblivious to the never ending life-giving work of microbes but what can understanding and studying the ‘microverse’ both in, on and all around us tell us about ourselves? How does understanding these delicate wonderful microscopic communities help us to live better and more respectfully of others?

In her talk The forgotten organ: Environmental cues and health implications of the human microbiome, Ana Gr (UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging, UCL) will describe her research into one of the most indispensable and under-appreciated creatures of all: the community of gut bacteria that live within us.

From the microbiome to an entire human, Dr Arash Latifoltojar (UCL Medical Imaging Department) will describe how his research is – Extending the Field of View. Arash researches qualitative and quantitative whole-body MRI in cancer imaging. His work includes major breakthroughs in software, hardware and sequence programming, thereby advancing how we investigate and understand the entire body.

Echoing the diverse cosmos described by Ana and Arash, descending back into the microscopic scale, Dr Anne Jungblut (Natural History Museum, London department for Life Sciences) will discuss Arctic cyanobacteria and their role in supporting the Arctic ecosystem and their potential role in having formed our oxygen rich atmosphere.

Words, metaphors and imagery are as vital in science communication as they are in ancient mythology and for this evening’s workshop you will create your own MICROVERSE poems and metaphors with Agnes Marton, Arctic Circle Residency Member 2016. Come join us! Discover the Microverse!

COGNITIVE ACADEMY: Perceiving and Communication Emotions

Tue, 21st March at 7pm

There is a misconception that neuroscience is the study of the brain in a manner that is disconnected from the body. Neuroscience is actually the study of the central nervous system, which is the spinal cord and the brain included. From this anatomical perspective our interaction with the physical world and how we make sense of it changes.

In this new three-part series of Cognitive Academy classes, we will be learning about embodiment and the manner of which the brain and body work together to give a sense of perception as well as help solve problems around cognition, communication, and emotion.

This second class is going to discuss and investigate how we perceive and communicate emotion. Highlighting that emotion is not only an ephemeral feeling, it is understood and defined by our bodies. It is embodied experience. The class will cover how it is that we experience or perceive emotion through our physicality as well as look how we pass on emotion through physicality.

This class is for those in design, branding, tech or product design. Understanding how people perceive emotion will create a deeper understanding of how your own design or product will be experienced by your client.

Each class is 90 minutes and it starts with a scientific review and explanation, and then it is put forward to a discussion to examine how the science is applicable to industry.

We are increasingly moving towards a more human-centric approach to cities, design, and technology. Making neuroscience a great a place to start if we are curious about understanding ourselves and creating better “things” for people.

  • What is the relationship between our body and emotion?
  • Studies defining embodied emotion
  • Workshop: If we embody emotion, how does that affect design practice or how people feel in physical environments, or how we create tech products?


MIT: Neural Networks

Thu, 26th March at 7pm

On Thursday the 16th of March at 7pm we invite you to accompany Making in Transit down a rabbit hole that contemplates machine learning, AI and how we are trying to understand how the brain works. How can we really tell what’s going on inside the brain and speculate as to how external stimuli cause us to think and act in different ways? During this event, we will also discuss how technology might change how we live in the future and how it is changing art now. We will discuss utopia/dystopias, whether a Skynet style scenario on the cards and discuss the essential role of statistics and corporeality. It’s going to be weird! Please come!

Peter Latham is one of this evening’s speakers. His work combines analytical approaches — taken mainly from dynamical systems and statistical physics — with large scale simulations of spiking networks. Peter’s research focuses on understanding how biologically realistic networks carry out computations. More specifically, how connectivity and single neuron properties determine the ability of networks to perform computations. How do networks extract only the relevant information from the outside world and transform it into a representation? How do networks retain uncertainty? What aspects of neural activity carries information?

Dario Villanueva is a London-based Data artist and Full stack developer, who obtained a Master of Arts with Honours in Cognitive Science from Edinburgh University. He works as a Developer and Designer for big companies and startups alike, helping bring their data to life through deep and meaningful, yet aesthetically pleasing visualisations. His interests Include Data Art, Music, Games, Human-Computer Interaction and Artificial Intelligence.

Araceli Camargo is the founder of and lab director for The Centric Lab, which focuses on the relationship between people and the built environment.  She holds a master in Neuroscience from King’s College London, where she studied the attentional differences between people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and normative individuals.

MIT: UK Polar Network Spring Campaign

Fri, 17th March at 7pm

BEHOLD! The absurdity of the sublime; the feeling of insignificance amidst the sheer enormity of the Arctic landscape; human weakness in the wild, the terror and beauty of the Arctic wilderness. Indeed, the Arctic is no place for people! A harsh, difficult and wild place. Join us! For an immersive Arctic experience on Friday the 17th of March at 7pm.

We return to the Arctic Circle to consider the socio-political and emotional aspect of this fragile part of the world. We will bring you smells, sounds and scenes from the arctic, discussing the impact of climate change with the UK Polar Network and participant of the Arctic Circle Residency 2016.

Discover the Arctic’s diversity it’s important role in maintaining our earth’s climate. With an immersive talk from geographer Julia Feuer-Cotter (UK Polar Network) who will discuss geographical realities and imaginings of the Arctic for both the communities of people who inhabit areas of the Arctic and it’s animal residents that live in the wild.

Dr Sammie Buzzard (also from the UKPN) will discuss her research of the Antarctic Peninsula, describing her use of radar to image the Greenland Ice Sheet and climate modelling.

We will also hold a screening and discussion of Arctic Circle participant Jamie Lee (Anjou Bijou) Mohr‘s work “Primordial Games for Lovers” which explores the ambiguity of power structures, our relationship with nature and ourselves. Her work featured footage from the Arctic and interviews with Svalbard’s most wonderful people.

Painter Janette Kerr was also on the Arctic Circle Residency in 2016 and currently divides her time between living in Somerset and Shetland painting the land and sea whenever the weather is wild. She has held previous posts as RWA Academician and President and is an Honorary Royal Scottish Academician. Janette will discus journeys, the sense of ‘Northness’, weather, being outside and her experience of the sea and the Arctic.

BRAINPLAY: Narcissism

Wed, 30 March at 7pm

Join us as we discuss the role and evolution of narcissism in both clinical settings as well as its representation in pop culture. For more information, head to our website closer to the time.

Speakers will include fellow member and psychotherapist Ales Zivkovic, amongst others.

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