The Curious Brain in the Museum - The 2010 Henry Cole Lecture

  • 7:00 pm — 8:00 pm on Thursday 18 November 2010


Hochhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre for arts education, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Exhibition Road entrance.

Leading development psychologist and self-confessed "museum addict", Professor Uta Frith FRS will give the Victoria and Albert Museum's 2010 Henry Cole lecture.

The V&A's annual Henry Cole lecture honours the legacy of the Museum's founding director and explores issues facing museums and contemporary culture and society. In 2010, the Henry Cole lecture also celebrates the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society and the Museum has invited a Fellow of the Royal Society to deliver this year's lecture.

In this short film, specially commissioned as part of the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary celebrations in 2010, Professor Uta Frith FRS and her young companion, Amalie Heath-Born, find out just what goes on inside our brains when we view the treasures on display at London’s world-famous Victoria and Albert Museum.

"The human mind/brain is exquisitely social and automatically responds to signals sent by other people. These signals can be artfully designed objects, and these can come from people long in the past. The art and design that is embodied in the object can evoke in the brain different streams of imagination: how it was made, the value it represents, and the meaning it conveys. The human mind/brain has ancient reward systems, which respond to, say, stimuli signaling food to the hungry, but also respond to social stimuli signaling relevance to the curious. This makes for a never ending well spring of spontaneous teaching and learning. Education in the museum environment is perfectly attuned to the curious mind."  Uta Frith (2010)

Professor Frith has pioneered new research in autism and dyslexia and is the author of several books on these issues, including "Autism: Explaining the Enigma".  She is Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development at University College London and Research Foundation Professor at the Faculties of Humanities and Health Science, University of Aarhus, Denmark.

Tickets may be booked through the Victoria and Albert Museum.

This event takes place as part of Capital Science and the Royal Society's 350th anniversary celebrations in 2010.  Other forthcoming events include:

"Science in the Islamic World - A New Renaissance?" at Asia House - 24 Nov, 6.45pm

"Science for a Maritime Nation: 350 years of the Royal Society and the Royal Navy" at National Maritime Museum - 4, 11, 18 & 25 Nov at 7pm

The Curious Brain in the Museum - The 2010 Henry Cole Lecture

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