MIND WANDERING: WORST ENEMY OR BEST FRIEND?
An evening of chat, debate, art, and drinks with artists, psychiatrists, and neuroscientists.
On Tuesday 24 October join #MagicCarpet for an evening of perspectives on mind wandering from the arts and sciences over drinks, participation, and display of work in progress. Save the date!
Date and Time: 24 October Tuesday, 18:30 - 20:30
Venue: MRC Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP, foyer and Rooms A-B), King's College London, 16 De Crespigny Road, London SE5 8AF. How to find us.
Book your free ticket here
Please advise on any access requirements you may have when booking your place and we’ll be happy to help out. There will be a quiet space if required on the day.
18:30-19:00: Doors open. Make drawings to earn badges!
20:00-20:30: Drinks, networking, make drawings and earn badges
Does your mind wander? What do you see? What does it look like when it roams? Where do you go? How far do you go? How far is too far? Is mind wandering your best friend, worst enemy, or both? Mind wandering refers to the engagement in self-generated thoughts unrelated to the external environment. While a universal human experience, excessive it is a key feature of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). At the same time, there are strong narratives in the arts for people to use and indeed actively generate spontaneous thoughts as part of the creative process. It is no wonder that comedian Rory Bremner, recently seen on the controversial BBC Horizon’s ADHD and Me, calls ADHD is his ‘worst enemy and best friend’.
Join us in a lively, informal evening of interdisciplinary productive antagonisms, and even a spot of drawing of your own mind wandering. The intention of the evening is to open up and complicate our understanding of how the mind works, with particular attention paid to ADHD, and more generally, the boundaries between wellness and illness and how the arts can complicate and contribute to this discourse. There will be zones of contact and zones of conflict, and the evening will open our minds.
Artist-researcher Dr Kai Syng Tan (Artist-in-Residence and Visiting Fellow, MRC Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry) - chair | Professor of Molecular Psychiatry Professor Philip Asherson (MRC SGDP) | PhD researcher Natali Bozhilova (MRC SGDP) | Dr Laura Malacart (Visual Artist and Researcher, Visiting Fellow, Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL) | Dr David Grant (Educational Psychologist) | Professor Helen Chatterjee MBE (Founder and Co-Director National Alliance for Museums, Health and Wellbeing, University College London - respondent).
Students, researchers, practitioners and fans of the arts, psychiatry, psychology, disability, learning difference, neurodiversity, visual thinking and the creative process | Researchers interested in practice-led research, interdisciplinary productive antagonisms and innovative forms of public engagement | Cultural and public health workers interested in how the arts can contribute to the wellbeing discourse | Anyone interested in the mind and how it works (or doesn’t) | Anyone who likes a good debate (but cannot sit still for long) | Anyone who likes to learn new ways to think about what they thought they knew | Anyone whose mind wanders.
THE MIND WANDERERS
Dr Kai Syng Tan FRSA SFHEA is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, scholar, shapeshifter and sightseer. Known for her ‘eclectic style and cheeky attitude’ (Sydney Morning Herald), ‘radical interdisciplinarity’ (Dr Alan Latham, UCL), she has been described as ‘not only a talented artist but also a great scholar’ (Cinema South Festival) with a ‘sardonic humour but also a sharp intelligence which makes her a self-reflexive, incisive artist of South East Asia’ (Singapore International Festival of Arts Director Keng Sen Ong). Kai's installation, film, text and performances have appeared at Documenta, Royal Geographical Society, Biennale of Sydney, MOMA, ZKM, ICA and LADA Study Guide. Recognition includes San Francisco International Film Festival Golden Gate Award, and Artangle Open 100, and collections include the Museum of London and Fukuoka Art Museum. Of her RUN! RUN! RUN! Biennale, the Guardian urges academics to ‘take a leaf out of its book’ (2014), and she was heard on BBC Radio 3 sharing tips on running as a way of life (Free Thinking January 2017). Co-created with disabled colleagues, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 8th ASEAN Para Games (for which Kai was Visual Director) was applauded by the Singapore Prime Minister as ‘spectacular’. She completed her PhD at the Slade School of Fine Art as a UCL scholar. She is currently an Artist in Residence and Visiting Researcher at King’s College London, as well as Visiting Fellow at University College London, Director of RUN! RUN! RUN! International Body for Research and Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College member.
Professor Philip Asherson, MB, BS, MRCPsych, PhD is Professor of Molecular Psychiatry at the MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London in the United Kingdom. Since 1996 when he moved to the IoPPN he has worked closely with Professor Jonna Kuntsi to develop a program of research on clinical, quantitative and molecular genetics of ADHD. In his own work, he has a particular focus on adults with ADHD. Current research projects include investigations of the neural basis of mind wandering in ADHD, clinical trials of prisoners with ADHD, and the impact of ADHD on learning in University students. He is the author and co-author of more than 300 articles and book chapters on ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders and traits.
Natali Bozhilova describes herself in the following unique way: ‘I am an avid reader who likes scientific articles about amusing/confusing neural networks and classics about "crime and punishment'. I am also a PhD student who mind-wanders about their own survival in academia and the universe in general (you have heard about the Uranus moons?!). On a daily basis, I have unusual and usual encounters with computational models of neural phenomena. Despite all odds, I am still inspired by the brain and its interaction with the environment. Fortunately or unfortunately, I have been a student for 18 years and 3 more to go. This allowed me to ponder about fancy concepts such as "context regulation", "functional connectivity", "perceptual decoupling", "reading networks in the developing brain" etc. This pondering would not have been very fruitful without the influential people in my life. I have been fortunate enough to have people like Prof Philip Asherson and other PhD students who believe in my abilities and offer me an intellectually stimulating environment that breeds mind-wandering in itself. One of my many blessings (apart from daily struggles with the "neural" softwares) is my previous opportunities to assist with research at both the Institute of Child Health, UCL, Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Institute of Psychiatry (back when I was a young graduate). However, my greatest inspiration comes from the beautifully inquisitive children with ADHD and ASD I used to tutor and support at school. In my "old" years, I am mostly trying to understand the neurocognitive basis of mind-wandering in ADHD because (believe it or not) it might make you mind-wander that ADHD is much more than behavioural symptoms of "inattention" and "hyperactivity/impulsivity". I would say that it could be frustrating, draining and difficult to manage, but it could also lead to the creation of masterpieces in all walks of life’.
Dr David Grant is an independent educational psychologist who, in recent years, has developed a strong interest in ADHD. Prior to becoming a psychologist he spent four years working as a chemistry technician in research laboratories and three years as a psychology technician. He obtained a lecturing post in psychology soon after graduating and spent the next 28 years in higher education. As course director of a degree in Design and Media Management, which he was instrumental in devising and delivering, he led the course team to a National Partnership Award for innovative teaching and learning (in Industrial Decision-taking) in 1991. During his time as head of the School of Creative, Cultural and Social Studies (which included the London College of Music), he became the first non-American to be elected to the board of the College Consortium for International Studies. In 1999 David left his university and began specialising in the diagnostic assessment of adults (mainly students) with specific learning differences. In 2012, at the age of 67, he was formally recognised by HCPC as an educational psychologist. David has continued to work and write, and his latest publication is ‘That’s the Way I Think’: Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD and Dyscalculia Explained.
Dr Laura Malacart’s collaborative and interdisciplinary practice engages with participatory performance, writing and video. These strategies conceive language/s and speech as a crucial domain to explore identity politics, history and ideology. Recent works explore the construction of social identities with an emphasis on the role of corporate trade (Speak Robert, 2017, Tate Exchange and Venice Biennale) and the praxis of citizenship (The Little Book of Answers, Tate Modern, Manchester Library, Brixton Market et al.). Laura Malacart’s PhD explores ventriloquisms and the politics of the voice in fine art practice (2011, Slade School of Fine Art, UCL). She is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL (2017-18).
Professor Helen Chatterjee MBEis a Professor of Biology in UCL Biosciences and Head of Research and Teaching in UCL Culture. Helen’s research includes evidencing the impact of natural and cultural participation on health, and biodiversity conservation; she co-founded and Chairs the National Alliance for Museums, Health and Wellbeing, is an advisor to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts and Health, sits on the Royal Society for Public Health’s SIG in Arts and Health, the AHRC’s Science in Culture Advisory Committee and the IUCN Section on Small Apes. Her award winning interdisciplinary research has attracted over £1.5 grant income; she received an MBE in 2015 for her services to Higher Education and Culture. Helen has written three books 'Touch in Museums: Policy and Practice in Object Handling' (Berg Publications, 2008), ‘Museums, Health and Well-being’ (Routledge, 2013) and ‘Engaging the Senses: Object-Based Learning in Higher Education’ (Routledge, 2015) and over 50 research articles. For more information: https://culturehealthresearch.wordpress.com/ Twitter: @h_chatterjee
The event is part of and enacts Kai’s 1.5-year practice-led research project We sat on a mat and had a chat and made maps! #MagicCarpet. The project unfolds through a series of residencies, talks, workshops and the creation of a new participatory tapestry art installation. As Artist-in-Residence at MRC SGDP, Kai gatecrashes the world of psychiatry to participate in seminars, as well as volunteer for scientific experiments. Her observations, questions and interpretations will be mapped out in a large drawing. This will be weaved into a tapestry art piece at Flanders Tapestries in Belgium. The work ‘takes off’ when people sit on the tapestry, get paired up with Kai, Philip and/or other artists and scientists, to chat about their mind wandering. As words may be inadequate or challenging, they capture their discussions/disagreements/discoveries in the form of maps that they will co-create. Selected maps, as well as commissioned texts and developmental sketches, will be documented in a limited-edition publication.
We sat on a mat and had a chat and made maps! #MagicCarpet is a 2017 Unlimited commission. Unlimited is an arts commissioning programme that celebrates ambitious work by disabled artists. Unlimited is funded by Arts Council England, and delivered by Shape Arts and Artsadmin. The project is part of King's artist in residence programme supported by Cultural Programming and the Department of Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre at King's College London.
TEAM: Artist, Principal Investigator: Dr Kai Syng Tan (King's College London, University College London) / Mentor: Professor Philip Asherson (King's College London) / Arts Production Manager: Alessandra Cianetti / Sound and Music Director: Philip Tan (Philbeat) / Film Director: Michael Larsson (Ohsoweird) | PARTNERS: Submit To Love Studios (Headway East London), UK Adult ADHD Network (UKAAN). For more information visit http://wesatonamat.weebly.com
Featured image: #MagicCarpet mind wonderers at the UKAAN 2017 Conference