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Shakespeare and the Brain

A series of talks from an interdisciplinary event held by the St Edmund Hall Centre for the Creative Brain in Oxford on 26 November 2016. The speakers interpret the theme of ‘Shakespeare and the Brain’ in various ways, examining it from the perspective of literature scholars, neuroscientists and actors. All the talks are aimed at a non-specialist audience.

# Episode Title Description People Date
1 Shakespeare, Mind and World – Dr Tom MacFaul (Lecturer in English, St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford) Tom discusses how Shakespeare’s age thought about thinking. In particular, he looks at the transformative power of thought and the idea in some of Shakespeare’s works that the mind is free to create its own world. Tom MacFaul 12 Dec 2016
2 Shakespeare as Observer and Psychologist – Professor Paul Matthews (Fellow by Special Election, St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford; Edmond and Lily Safra Chair and Head of Brain Sciences, Imperial College London) Paul focuses on some of the questions that Shakespeare was asking about the mind, and how the same sorts of issues are approached now by neuroscientists. Paul Matthews 12 Dec 2016
3 Shakespeare’s Memory – Professor Rodrigo Quian Quiroga (Director of the Centre for Systems Neuroscience, University of Leicester) Rodrigo’s talk references the writing of Jorge Luis Borges, particularly his short stories 'Shakespeare’s Memory' and 'Funes the Memorious', which deal with memory. Rodrigo Quian Quiroga 12 Dec 2016
4 The Hunter Heartbeat Method – Kelly Hunter (actor, director and educator) Kelly gives an outline of some of her work using sensory drama games, using Shakespeare’s works, to interact and play with children with autism. Kelly Hunter 12 Dec 2016
5 Extracts from Shakespeare, read by Roland Oliver (actor): Richard II Act V, Scene 5; Macbeth Act II, Scene 1; Henry IV Part 2, Act IV, Scene 3 Roland (an actor and alumnus of St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford) concludes the ‘Shakespeare and the Brain’ event by reading relevant extracts from three of Shakespeare’s plays. Roland Oliver 12 Dec 2016