Brain Awareness Week 12-18 March 2012

baw-titleBrain Awareness Week (BAW) is the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research.

Every March, this global campaign unites the efforts of universities, hospitals, patient groups, government agencies, schools, service organisations, and professional associates worldwide, to increase awareness of the progress and benefits of neurological research in a week-long celebration of the brain, which this year takes place between 12-18 March 2012.

The University of Birmingham has organised a series of events in partnership with other local and national organisations to engage public understanding of neuroscience, demonstrating the breadth and depth of brain expertise on campus, whilst making the research accessible to the general public.

For further details, contact the events organiser, Dr. Emil C. Toescu, on +44 (0)121 414 6927 or

Arts for the Brain

At the mac birmingham, with financial support from the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), the “Arts for the Brain” exhibition will run from the 12 to the 25 March 2012. The exhibition will display a variety of works of art, kindly lent by Stroke Association UK and Parkinson’s UK.

These paintings and photographs produced by people who have been diagnosed and are suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, express, in addition to their artistic qualities, the power of art to act, in many instances, as a conduit for rehabilitation and recovery, and thus to reaffirm the power of human creativity and individuality that goes beyond brain plasticity.

This exhibition celebrates the power of art to reaffirm individual creativity and promote the recovery of a mind-body balance in people with neurodegenerative diseases


During the BAW 2012, in conjunction with the exhibition, a series of Public Engagement with Science lectures will be held at the mac birmingham (Pinsent Room), to allow a closer interaction between scientists, public and some of the artists presented in the exhibition. Each lecture will be followed by an informal Q&A session chaired by the events organiser, neuroscientist Dr. Emil C. Toescu, School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine.

  • Wednesday 14 March at 18.30: lecture, sponsored by the Stroke Association UK, with Dr. Wai-Ling Bickerton, School of Psychology, and Mr. Mark Ware, film producer and one of the artists displayed.
  • Thursday 15 March at 18.30: lecture, sponsored by the Parkinson's UK, with Dr Kieran Breen, Director of Research and Innovation at Parkinson's UK, and Ms Ramilla Patel, West Midlands Manager of Parkinson's UK.
  • Friday 16 March at 18.30: lecture with by Professor Chris MiallSchool of Psychology, and his artist collaborator, John Tckachenko. They will discuss the latest results of brain imaging studies of the mechanisms and brain regions that are activated during performing various artistic tasks, like drawing or painting.

Neuroscience in the schools

During the BAW week, a number of Neuroscience teams from the University, formed by one academic and a small group of undergraduate and postgraduate students, will visit some of the secondary and 6th form schools in the West Midlands.

This is a program that has proved a big success in previous years, and the young students studying for A-levels are very keen and willing to engage; the topics of discussion are varied and the presentations are always informal and engaging.

Their purpose is not directly to teach, but to engage, encourage and enthuse (the new 3Es of education!).

Meet the Scientist

Saturday 17 March 2012
From 12 noon to 16.00
thinktank, the Museum of Science and Technology of Birmingham

This will be an occasion for the young people of all ages to meet scientists from the groups of Professor Ann Logan - Professor of Molecular Neuroscience, School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine; and Dr. Alicia Hidalgo - NeuroDevelopment Group, School of Biosciences. The scientists will take the floor and present various aspects of their activities, propose different practical demonstrations and be ready to engage and discuss on various aspects of neurosciences.

Students' Cafe Scientifique

Sunday 18 March 2012 at 18:30
The Guild of Students (Beorma Bar)

This event, titled “The Brain of Artificial Intelligence” will be led by a panel of 3 students: Elise Lesage (Psychology), Jeremiah Via (Computing) and Zoe Demery (Biosciences) that will propose a path linking biological brain to behaviour to robotic activity.

Prepare to be engaged and intrigued. Their presentations will be followed by a general discussion, chaired by two academics.

The evening is open to everybody with audiences coming, hopefully, from both sides of this topic, from sciences and from humanities. The simple requirements for admission are: an open mind, an interest in the topic and a willingness to engage in discussions.