Two doctoral researchers from the School of Psychology - Eva Reindl and Elisa Bandini, and Nimrita Rana from the Department of Anthropology and African Studies organised a successful one-day interdisciplinary conference on 'The Origins and Transmission of Culture (OToC)'. The programme was divided into four disciplines: Anthropology, Archaeology, Biology, and Psychology and saw specialists from each field deliver fascinating talks on the study of culture in both humans and non-humans. The speakers included among others: Dr Thomas Scott-Phillips from the University of Durham, Dr Laurel Fogarty from UCL and Professor Alex Bentley from the University of Bristol, as well as Dr Claudio Tennie from The University of Birmingham’s own School of Psychology.

OToC conference

The conference was held in the Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences building at the University, but was attended by delegates from across universities in the UK and even abroad. The poster session was hugely successful, and three people were awarded monetary prizes for their posters.

OToC conference logo

The programme was concluded with a talk by Maggie Lieu, one of the candidates for the Mars One Project who spoke about starting a new culture on Mars. Maggie’s talk sparked a stimulating debate on how culture originates and evolves through time. 

This conference was the first of its kind, tying together different disciplines to discuss a topic that they all have in common, yet which is often overlooked. All in all it was a very successful day and the organisers are already looking forward to next year’s Culture Conference! 

OToC conference attendees