Alongside our exhibition, Affecting Perception, we held a number of seminars and workshops in the local community in Oxford.
Schools and young people
Workshops and school-based discussion sessions
The AXNS Collective seeks to encourage young people in the local community to attend our exhibition and to collaboratively explore the links between art and science. Our community ambitions seek to engage young people in science through its crossover with art and demonstrate that creativity runs deep within both disciplines. Our workshops are designed to encourage young people involved to develop critical judgement, independent thought and encourage analysis of art, academic theory and ethical questions.
We offer a variety of workshops and discussion sessions depending on the subject group we would be working with. The set of workshops, as described below, are suitable for science and art classes. The ideas and material explored will remain the same but the approach will vary. When working with a class studying art the artworks and artist will be the main focus of the sessions whereas the neuroscience will be the main focus when working with science students. The seminars, as described below, are suitable for students studying ethics and look at the larger questions raised by the exhibition.
Workshop 1: ‘Impediment and Change’
This workshop will focus on the work of Katharine Sherwood. An artist who lost use of the right hand side of her body following a stroke. She retrained herself to use the left side to continue painting. The workshop will explore using the unfamiliar to create artistic work by examining physical impairments and using unfamiliar tools to explore their impact on art. It also raises questions about the commonly held theory which implies one side of the brain is more creative than another.
Workshop 2: ‘Autism and Alzheimer’s’
This workshop will focus on the argument that different artists’ conditions can be seen within their work. The workshop will look at the work of William Utermohlen, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, and Gilles Trehin, who has autism. We will explore their artworks and the academic theory surrounding them to explore whether we should look at the works with the context of the artist in mind or whether we should look at them solely as pieces of art.
Workshop 3: ‘Perception, misperception and association’
This final workshop will look at the importance of memory and context in the work we create as artists. It will question whether we can ever truly separate the work we create from our memories and experience. This workshop will focus on the work of Franco Magnani, “The Memory Artist”. We will look at our personal associations with the people and the world around us and investigate how they might affect our art.
Seminar 1: ‘Is it unethical to consider an artist’s neurological condition when looking at their work?’
This discussion will look at whether it is important or relevant to take into account an artist’s life when looking at their works. It will look at the meanings we attach to artworks when we learn about their lives.
Seminar 2: ‘Is it right for artists to manipulate their neurological condition in the name of art?
This discussion will look at the work of Rita Marcalo, an artist who attempted to induce her epilepsy in front of an audience over the course of a 24 hour performance. It will ask questions about the morality of the artist who produced the work and the audience who bought tickets. Is a project like this art or is it unethical? Does an audience have a responsibility to the performer they have paid to watch?
Seminar 3: ‘Neuroaesthetic research is dangerous and should not be funded.’
This session will look neuroaesthetics and the debate which surrounds it. Is neuroaesthetics a worthwhile field? Can it ever really quantify the appreciation of art? How does it affect how we approach art in the future?
If you are interested in us running some of our workshops with your school then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We believe knowledge is better shared and explored as a community and we want to explore the science behind neurological conditions, examine the lives of the artists and the larger questions raised in the exhibition with the wider Oxford community. Access to in-depth research is often something that remains behind university doors and not open to interested members of the public. Neuroscience is a field in which all contributions are welcome. We all have a brain, and a brain that is capable of self-analysis.
By bringing community members into the conversation, we can stimulate questions in the field, and hopefully interest the community in the activities of the academics on their doorstep.
These free community seminars can be seen in more detail and booked on our seminars page here