Friday 24 December 2010

A Review of Cardiff sciSCREEN's 2010 Programme

Thanks to all those who have supported Cardiff sciSCREEN during 2010. Below is a short overview of our 2010 programme of events.

We launched Cardiff sciSCREEN in March 2010 after winning a small grant from the British Science Association (BSA) to run two public engagement events as part of 2010 Science and Engineering Week.

Nerves were jangling when on Sunday March 14th we held our first event and screened the BAFTA award winning film 'A Single Man' in Cinema One at Chapter Arts Centre. After a short introduction by Dr. Katie Featherstone, the film commenced and was proceeded by talks from four academics from Cardiff University - Dr. Paul Keedwell, Dr Iain Morland, Dr. Jonathan Scourfield and Susan Bisson - who discussed some of the themes brought up by the film. These included the concepts of grief and depression, the portrayal of psychiatry in film, gender and sexuality and the Sociology of Suicide. An audience of 70-75 attended the event and the debate continued with a wine reception in the room 'First Space'. Phew one down and it seemed to go well.

On Monday March 29th we held our second event funded by the BSA. This time we showed the newly released film 'The Wolfman' also in Cinema One of Chapter Arts Centre. Whereas speaker talks at 'A Single Man' were conducted inside the cinema, this time speakers delivered their 5 minute presentation in the room 'First Space'. Once more we were lucky enough to attract four speakers and talks were delivered by the clinical lecturer Dr. Ian Jones, historian Dr. Keir Waddington and culture, media and science experts Dr. Joan Haran and Dr. Rebecca Williams on trigger events for periods of psychosis, the historical treatment of 'madness', theories of risk and containment and the gothic imagination. The event was again extremely well attended with 75-80 people continuing the debate close to closing time.

The growing sciSCREEN Team were all encouraged by the public interest in sciSCREEN and many of the nice comments we were receiving from attendees. We therefore worked hard to try to continue the format and on Thursday May 27th we ran our third event. This sciSCREEN was kindly funded by the MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics at Cardiff University. In Cinema Two - the smaller cinema - at Chapter Arts Centre we screened another award winning film; this time it was 'The Hurt Locker'. Unfortunately as interest in Cardiff sciSCREEN had grown the film sold out and we had to turn a number of people away from the screening. Despite this we invited everyone to the post-film talks and discussions, and although Cinema Two only holds 57 seats 70 people attended the talks by Professor Jon Bisson, Dr. Jonathan Webber, Dr. Tracey Loughran, Dr. David Machin - all from Cardiff University, and Lt. Felix Carman of the Royal Navy. Together, the speakers presented and discussed the concepts of mental health in the military, the boundaries between bravery and recklessness, the history of shell shock and PTSD and representations of warfare in the media in the room 'Media Point'.

On Bank Holiday Friday, August 27th we held our fourth Cardiff sciSCREEN. Funded by the Cardiff Neurosciences Centre and the Cardiff Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute we screened the film 'Inception'. Speakers included Professor Mark Blagrove of Swansea University, Professor Ken Peattie (Cardiff University), Professor Allessandra Tanesini (Cardiff University) and Dr. Robin Smith (Cardiff University) who spoke about Lucid Dreaming, the ownership of our thoughts, corporate espionage, de ja vu, and the urban environment. A record 90 people attended the talks as video gamers sat next to Professors debating the issues that were brought up until the wee hours. If it wasn't for last orders I fear some may still have been there.

Our 5th Cardiff sciSCREEN event was part of what we called our 'sciSCREAM weekend' to coincide with Halloween. On Sunday October 31st we screened the 1920s black and white classic 'Der Golem', kindly funded by the Communications and International Relations Divisions (CAIRD) at Cardiff University. With the added bonus of live musical accompaniment by the excellent Reflektor 2 we had the pleasure to listen to talks by Professor Paul Atkinson and Dr. Chris Groves from Cardiff University and Dr. Mikel Koven of the Univeristy of Worcester. 65 people attended the discussion and debtae which included talks on the philosophy of vitalism, esoteric and explicit knowledge and Jewish myths and folklore in film.

A few days earlier - as part of the sciSCREAM package - we also distributed hand-outs written by Dr. Andrew Lawrence on the Psychology of Disgust relating it to another film screened on Friday October 29th at Chapter: 'The Human Centipede'.

On Tuesday November 9th we held our 6th and final Cardiff sciSCREEN of 2010. Funded by BRASS we organised the event to celebrate Cardiff University's Sustainability Week. This was our first chance to try something a little different and to screen a documentary. Therefore in Cinema One we showed the award winning 'The Garden'. With 5 talks by Dr. Diego Vasquez, Dr. Hilary Rogers, Dr Arthur Getz, Jessica Paddock - all from Cardiff University and Steve Garrett from Riverside Market the attendees discussed the topics of class and food consumption, plant science, vulnerable communities and sustainable food development with the speakers. 72 people attended the film and 58 attended the talks and discussions.

In 2011 we hope to continue Cardiff sciSCREEN and we begin on Tuesday 25th January when we will show 'The King's Speech. This event has kindly been funded by CAIRD once again. Before I go and leave you to your christmans lunches though, let me take this opportunity to thank a few people and groups. Cardiff sciSCREEN wouldn't happen without the help of the rest of the Cardiff sciSCREEN Team - Dr. Katie Featherstone, Dr. Choon Key Chekar, Dr. Andrew Bartlett, Dr. Michael Arribas Ayllon, Dr. Richard Watermeyer, Claudine Anderson and Cerys Ponting. It also wouldn't run without the enthusiasm and hard work of Sally Griffith from Chapter Arts Centre. Thanks are also reserved to all our speakers in 2010 (whose talks can be found by scrolling down the right hand side of the blog), to all those who have funded individual sciSCREEN events and to the many of you who have attended our events. Have a Merry Christmas and hope to see you in the New Year.

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