Affect, Empathy, the Body

Online - a link will be sent to you before the event
Friday 11 June 2021 (14:00-17:00)

The inaugural University of Birmingham Mental Health Humanities symposium

A drawing of hands with tangled coloured thread

Organised by Professor Lisa Downing, this online symposium explores some of the ways in which key concepts of affect, empathy, and the body shape the work being carried out by, between, and on the borders of humanities and mental health research.

From critical accounts of the moral judgments ascribed to empathy, to reflections on the key role empathy plays in those types of filmmaking and writing that elicit embodied affective responses, the event represents a diversity of perspectives, disciplines, and investments. All are welcome - please ensure you register for this event using the link in the top right hand corner of this page.


14.00-14.05 Introduction - Lisa Downing

14.05-14.30 Introducing our work - a number of five-minute pre-recorded talks introducing aspects of our current work of relevance to the theme followed by Q&As/ discussion (Sara Jones; Joseph HouldersKatie Masters

14.30-15.10 “Empathy with CREAM*” (pre-recorded) Rob Stone, Ruth Gilligan, Jeannette Littlemore and Jimmy Hay, featuring Rob's six-minute video essay on empathetic filmmaking aesthetics and discussion. This will be streamed in SD or you will have the option of watching on the day through Vimeo in HD. 

(*A group at UoB exploring Creativity, Aesthetics, Metaphor, Story and Empathy)

15.10-15.20 Break

15.20-15.50 “Empathy Critical" panel (Lisa Downing, Rebecca MitchellLisa Gee, ) - three individual five-minute pre-filmed presentations, then a live discussion between the participants with questions from audience. 

15.50-16.20 "Empathy in/as Creative Practice: The Butchers” - Jimmy Hay will interview Ruth Gilligan about her Ondaatje Prize-winning novelThe Butchers , and issues of empathy and creativity. A sample of the novel can be read here  by clicking “Look Inside” on the image of the book cover.” The 15-minute interview is pre-recorded and will be streamed in SD or you will have the option of watching on the day through Vimeo in HD. The interview will be followed immediately by a live Q&A with Ruth Gilligan.

16.20-16.30 Break

16.30-16.50 Interdisciplinary discussion and reflection in breakout rooms. 

16.50-17.00 Closing remarks - Lisa Downing

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