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Narrating Plasticity

Anatomy Museum, Floor 6, King’s Building, Strand Campus, WC2R 2LS
Culture, Exhibition
02/02/2018 (17:00-20:00)
narrating plasticity puff


Stories of transformation between the plastic arts and neurosciences

What is different and what is same between plastic art work and the plasticity of the brain? What kind of narratives does plasticity produce in art?

Join us for an exhibition exploring the contemporary conceptions of neuroplasticity through conversations and co-creation between neurosciences, philosophy and the plastic arts produced and hosted by Benjamin Dalton, Department of French, Amanda Doidge, Ceramicist, and the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute.

This exhibition is a showcase of all the work produced in my project Narrating Plasticity which has been funded as part of the King's College London Collaborative Scheme for Early Career Researchers.

The exhibition will run from the Friday 2nd February to Sunday 3rd February, and will be held in the Anatomy Museum and the Anatomy Lecture Theatre at King's College London.


The exhibition will be open to walk around and talk to the collaborators from:

5-8pm on Friday 
11am-6pm on Saturday

There will an OPENING EVENT featuring a screening of the project film followed by a panel discussion starting at 6pm the Friday night. 

Please click here to register via Eventbrite.


The project has sought to open dialogues between the plastic arts and neuroscience surrounding the concept of "plasticity", bringing together neuroscientists from the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute with the ceramicist Amanda Doidge, and catalysing discussions and artworks between the laboratory and the workshop. As project leader, I (Benjamin Dalton) have brought to the project my own research on the concept of plasticity as articulated in French philosophy, introducing into the discussion the work of Catherine Malabou on the plastic brain. 

Broadly we have asked: what is the difference between the plasticity of the brain and the plasticity of a pot? Do our brains sculpt identity in the same way an artist makes a sculpture? What stories emerge from plastic (trans)formations, and how can we understand, communicate and narrate plasticity in both clinical and artistic settings? 

The exhibition will showcase Amanda Doidge's ceramic works which were produced in response to the engagement with the neuroscientists, as well as works produced by the neuroscientists and myself, as well as videos, photos and writing documenting the project's journey. There will also be a pannel discussion, a buffet, and opportunities to engage in discussions of your own plasticity.

More information about the project can be found here on the project's

And here on the King's College London homepage for the Collaborative Scheme for Early Career Researchers

Follow Benjamin Dalton's own doctoral research on plasticity in French philosophy and culture here and here. 


Project outline:

This project opens dialogues between the neurosciences and the plastic arts surrounding conceptions of “plasticity”. We begin with the idea that contemporary conceptions of neuroplasticity – the mutability of the human brain – share common grounds with the thinking of plasticity in sculpture and the plastic arts. This project aims to explore the artistic, clinical, and philosophical cross-fertilizations that might result from a reconnection of current neuroscience with its artistic and sculptural roots, asking what innovations these dialogues might propose to both research and clinical practice in the neurosciences, and creative practices in the plastic arts. 

Reuniting the two estranged plasticities of neuroscience and the arts, this project is governed by two main questions. Firstly: what is the same and what is different about the plasticity of a plastic art work and the plasticity of the brain? Secondly: what kinds of narratives does plasticity produce in art, and how might these narratives inform our understanding of the stories we tell about neural subjectivity, particularly in clinical scenarios where a patient has experienced some form of cerebral trauma and has to articulate the changes that have happened to them to a diverse team of clinicians.

In order to forge these dialogues, this project brings together a team of neuroscientists from the King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neurosience and the ceremacist Amanda Doidge over a series of workshops. Half of these workshops are being held in the artist’s studio, and the other half on the neuroscientist’s own “terrain”, be this a laboratory, a neuro-imaging facility, or other.

The project will culminate in an exhibition showcasing the art work produced in the encounter to be held on 2nd and 3rd February 2018, held at the King’s Anatomy Theatre and Museum. In addition to the artworks on display, there will be panel discussions and talks featured the scientists, Amanda, and other guests, aiming to reflect upon the project and to open further dialogues between the neurosciences, philosophy, and the plastic arts. Further, the project will seek to question how these cross-fertilizations might have an impact on clinical practice.

This project is a collaboration between King's College London's, French Department, Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute and Ceramicist Amanda Doidge, supported by the Cultural Institute at King’s as part of the Early Career Researchers scheme.


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