Religion, art and the brain 2005

Religion Art and the Brain

10th – 13th March 2005

at Winchester Cathedral and

Theatre Royal Winchester

Jewry Street, Winchester SO23 8SB

Box Office 01962 840 440

£8 per day session – £6 concessions
£10 evening session – £8 concessions
Day ticket £30

Religious experience is a uniquely powerful and universal human characteristic. What triggers the brain to produce it, how does it do it, and why?

This three-day festival explores these questions from a   psychological and physiological perspective, and demonstrates how music and art can be used to bring about the transcendent state of consciousness we identify as spirituality.  

In our most ambitious festival to date, Art and Mind brings together a powerful mix of practitioners – Buddhist, Christian, Sufi and more – with artists, scientists and academics to explore the use of sacred spaces, epilepsy and ecstasy, consciousness and religion and the uses of religious music and ritual.

Through discussion, performance, exhibition and ritual we promise a weekend experience of such richness, fascination, revelation and pure pleasure that none of us will leave unchanged.

Thursday 10th March

Winchester Cathedral

7.30pm – The Mystery of Faith – a concert of works composed by John Tavener

This will include the world premiere of a new work by John Tavener commissioned for Art and Mind by University College Winchester.

All further sessions at Theatre Royal Winchester

Friday 11th March

Session 1

6.30 – 6.40   Festival Director’s introduction
Garry Kennard

6.40 – 7.10   Science and Spirit in an Age of Secularism
Professor A. C. Grayling – 
Reader in Philosophy, Birbeck College, University of London

7.10 – 8.30    The Mystery of Faith
Sir John Tavener, composer, in discussion with June Boyce Tillman, Professor of Applied Music, University College Winchester

Evening Performance 8.30 – 9.30pm            

The Mystic Heart of Islam – A performance by members of the Turkish Art Music group Nihavend will perform sufi music from Turkey:

The main piece will be Beyati Mevlevi Ayini composed by Kocek Mustafa Efendi (about 40 minutes). This will be followed by some ilahis, shorter religious songs in Turkish.

Whirling derwishes will be Sheikh Ahmed from the Netherlands and three of his adherents.

Saturday 12th March

Session 1 

11.00 – 12.45  Cradle of Thought – Carved in Stone – Art and Religion in Prehistory
Paul Bahn, archaeologist and leading authority on ice age cave art

The Evolution of God – The Deity in the Brain
Prof Todd Murphy, Behavioural Neuroscientist from, the Laurentian University

Session 2

2.00 – 3.45 Music and Mind – Sacred and Profane – Decoding the spiritual world of Bach
Prof Paul Robertson, master violinist, with (in period costume} Baroque Dancers, Robin and Christine Stokoe

Concludes with full performance of Bach’s celebrated ‘Chaconne’ for Solo violin

Session 3

4.30 – 6.30 The Egoless State – Mind of the Buddha – Spirituality and the Brain
Guy Claxton, Professor of the Learning Sciences, University of Bristol

Art and Mind Panel Event plus Q&A with Todd Murphy, Paul Bahn, Paul Robertson, Guy Claxton plus Chair

Evening Performance:  7.45 – 9.30 Power of Compassion – Sacred Dance and Ritual Chant

The Tibetan monks from Tashi Lhunpo Monastery perform their spectacular dances and music           


Sunday 13th March

Session 1

11.00 – 12.45   Art and Perception – Perceptual Projections – Virtual Realitites of the Mind
Professor Richard Gregory
Psychology, Bristol University

Sacred Spaces – Architecture and the Self
Garry Kennard, Artist, Director of Art and Mind

Session 2

2.00 – 4.00pm  Transcendence and Ecstasy – Viral Faith – Religion as Meme
Dr Susan Blackmore – neuroscientist and Zen practioner

Intoxicating Minds – Drugs and the Brain
Prof Ciaran Regan – Pharmacology, University College Dublin

Session 3

4.30 – 6.30 Man and the Cosmos – Images of Passion
Richard Harries – Bishop of Oxford

Art and Mind Panel Event plus Q&A
Richard Gregory, Garry Kennard, Susan Blackmore, Ciaran Regan, Richard Harries plus Chair

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