23 November 2021

Dr Tony Sampson, a Reader at the University of East London, will travel to Trinity College, Dublin, next month to take part in a notable tribute to the work of foremost French philosopher of neuroscience, Professor Catherine Malabou.   

The invitation follows the 2017 publication of Dr Sampson’s book, The Assemblage Brain which "unravels the conventional image of thought that underpins many scientific and philosophical accounts of how sense is produced".

Dr Sampson, a reader in digital cultures and communications at the School of Arts and Creative Industries, said, "My book has steadily reached out to an audience interested in the growing influence of the neurosciences on academic disciplines and wider areas outside of academia, including big pharma, design and marketing."  

Since the publication of his book, Dr Sampson has been invited to several events related to what he calls "neuroculture", including conferences on the brain in Europe and a symposium at Duke University’s BrainCultures Lab in the US in 2019.

He said, "This invite to Dublin is particularly fascinating since Professor Malabou’s work is very significant. For example, it has influenced an interdisciplinary programme of research at Trinity College called the neurohumanities."   

Central to Professor Malabou’s philosophy is neuroplasticity, a concept that refers to the brain’s ability to modify, change and adapt in response to experience, with implications for lifelong learning and development.

Dr Sampson said, "Brain plasticity is of interest to those of us working in the arts, humanities and social sciences, since it suggests that changes to the brain are not merely genetically pre-coded. Plasticity opens up the possibility that cultural experiences could transform the biology of the brain, and potentially alter genetic expression."  

Professor Malabou’s keynote address will focus on genetic expression in the brain (epigenetics) while Dr Sampson’s presentation will develop on his critical analysis of neuroscientific interventions into aesthetics and digital labour practices. Other presenters will address plasticity in politics, artificial intelligence and art.   

The Neurohumanities Symposium: A Tribute to the Work of Catherine Malabou is open to the public and will take place at Trinity College Dublin on Friday 10 December.   

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