Exploring new perspectives on the lived experience of depression through conversations between the Arts and Sciences
Organisers Prof. Veronica O'Keane, Prof. Mary Cosgrove, TCD
Organiser of Melancholia and the Brain
Melancholia and the Brain has been in development since early 2017. We started by holding a series of meetings with an interdisciplinary team with combined backgrounds in neuroscience, brain research, medicine, arts and the humanities, literature, curating and public engagement. We expanded the enquiry outwards to include focus groups and a public poll with the core aim of integrating and synthesizing information about the human condition of depression in the public realm. We are excited about the cultural potency of this conversation and aim to continue this ongoing dialogue and engage audiences with the experiential relationship between Melancholia and the Brain.
‘Melancholia and the Brain’ has organically grown from initial collegiate chats between Professor Veronica O’Keane and Professor Mary Cosgrove about the possibility of fusing neuroscience and the arts and humanities on the topic of melancholia and the brain.
“We are curious to know more about the different understandings of melancholia at work in Ireland today. Does the brain play a significant role in public understanding of melancholia, for example? From a neurosciences perspective, the brain is understood as the principle locus and cause of melancholia - rather than the 'spirit' or 'personality' of the
individual. Yet many works of literature, film, and other cultural artefacts which engage with melancholia omit the brain from their reflections, presenting the melancholic condition as that of an individual often experiencing the heights of creative inspiration and the lows of existential despair. Bringing our perspectives together, we want to capture the real and experienced or ‘felt’ sense of depression, and share this with the public.”
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