Dreams, art and the brain 2009

This festival has been made possible by the generosity of

The University of Winchester, Winchester City Council and Hampshire County Council

The Art and Mind Festival 2009

24, 26, 27 and 28 June and 6 July 2009

‘Dreams, art and the brain’

We are such stuff as dreams are made on

Sessions on 26, 27 and 28 June 2009 will be held in the Winchester Discovery Centre


How and why do our brains create our dreams? What is the relationship between they way we dream and the way we perceive the material world? From shamanism to Freud, from Shakespeare to surrealism and from divination to the very latest information from the brain sciences on the nature of dreams, this event examines a part of our lives which has fascinated and mesmerised us all since the dawn of consciousness.

The festival starts with an evening at the Winchester Screen Cinema. This is a special presentation of Cocteau’s ‘Orphée’ – and the introductory talk will emphasise how cinema can be seen as a parallel dream world. The film demonstrates the experience of cinema as dream

In Session One keynote speaker, anthropologist Dr. Iain Edgar, takes an overview of dreams in culture worldwide. He is followed by a look at how dream images are used in popular song with a lively set from Zoë Schwarz and Rob Koral jazz and blues quartet. Session Two has Rita Carter, the science writer, looking at lucid dreaming and if followed by Garry Kennard, who develops this with ideas on how dreaming is related to the waking experience of art.

Session Three has psychologist Dr Mary Twyman examining dreams in theatre and literature with special reference to Shakespeare. Actors will read extracts in this presentation. The Session ends with a wild run through ‘The Wheel of Consciousness’ (states of sleep) where Canadian science writer Jeff Warren presents his show ‘Headtrip’.

We have morning sessions for children. 5 – 8 year olds we have a ‘dream’ play ‘Alan in Wonderland’ and there is a Sufi drumming workshop for older kids.

Session Four pulls together the weekend’s ideas with Jungian analyst, artist and novelist Dr. John Smalley discussing the functions of dreams, from their evolutionary basic uses to their broader cultural significance in art and transcendent experience. This is demonstrated (after a panel discussion) with Sufi music and poetry from Paul Cheneour and Khaled Hakim (who is also providing a Sufi drumming workshop for children).

The festival will end a week later with great original music. This is the first UK performance of a major new work by Sir John Tavener.  Entitled ‘Towards Silence’. This work for four string quartets will be performed in Winchester Cathedral. The work is ‘a meditation on the four states of Atma – The Waking State, The Dream State, Deep Sleep and ‘That which is beyond”. The performance will feature the world renowned Medici String Quartet, reformed for this unique event.  Professor Paul Robertson, the founding leader of the Medici Quartet, will oversee the performance. Younger musicians will form the other quartets, in a unique opportunity to work with world-class musicians.

Our exhibition this year is by Andrew Carnie who will be showing his new installation ‘Seized: Out of this World’ at the Winchester Discovery Centre gallery and will be giving a talk on his work during the run of the show. This exhibition explores the dream like states, bizarre hallucinations and strange feelings associated with temporal lobe epilepsy.


Garry Kennard

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Our programme

Wednesday 24 June  At the Screen Cinema Winchester

A special presentation of the Jean Cocteau’s masterpiece ‘Orphée’

Friday 26 June   SESSION ONE Winchester Discovery Centre
7.30 – 7.35 Introduction and welcome – Garry Kennard
7.40 – 8.40 Dreaming Cultures: a cross-cultural exploration – Professor Iain Edgar
9.00 – 10.00 Dream a little dream of me – The Zoe Schwartz and Rob Koral Jazz and Blues Quartet

Saturday 27 June   SESSION TWO Winchester Discovery Centre
2.30 – 3.30 Lucidity – the art and science of waking dreams – Rita Carter
3.45 – 4.45 Dream houses – temples, cinemas and iPods – Garry Kennard

SESSION THREE Winchester Discovery Centre
7.00 – 8.00 Dreams, drama and Shakespeare – Dr. Mary Twyman

Jeff Warren 

8.00 – 9.15 Headtrip – The wheel of consciousness – Jeff Warren

Sunday 28 June  Winchester Discovery Centre
11.00 – 12.00 Children’s Dream Theatre/Sufi drumming workshop

SESSION FOUR Winchester Discovery Centre
2.30 – 3.30 The appreciation of dreams – Dr John Smalley
3.40 – 4.30 Panel
5.00 – 6.00 Art and the dream of life – Sufi performance with Caravansary

Monday 6 July    Final event: Sir John Tavener ‘Towards Silence’ 
1st UK performance.  Winchester Cathedral.

Festival exhibition

Winchester Discovery Centre, 4 July to 26 July

Andrew Carnie’s

Seized: Out of this World

This exhibition explores the dream like states, bizarre hallucinations and strange feelings associated with temporal lobe epilepsy.

A exhibition talk by Andrew Carnie
Friday 10 July 7.30pm at the Winchester Discovery Centre  Seized: How did I get Here? Find out about the journey taken by artist Andrew Carnie as he embarked on a visual exploration of the mind and body in collaboration with scientists, developmental neurologists and neuro psychologists, many working at the cutting edge of medical research.