If you’re a student of any of the ‘neuro’ or ‘psy’ fields or just fascinated by the workings of the mind, then this is the symposium for you. Organised by Dr Bonnie Evans and Professor Janet Harbord ‘Film, Observation and the Mind’ looks at the history of scientific and educational film in the ‘neuro’ and ‘psy’ disciplines. 

Bonnie Evans is a senior researcher at Queen Mary and is currently working on the Autism Through Cinema Project. She has a PhD from Cambridge University in the History and Philosophy of Science and has held post-doc positions at KCL and QMUL. Evans is the author of ‘The Metamorphosis of Autism’ and has appeared on BBC Television as well as working as a media and policy consultant. 

Professor Jane Harbord is co-principal investigator of the project Autism through Cinema. She writes on film archaeology and the lesser-known history of cinema and its intersection with philosophy. Her publications include The Evolution of Film, Chris Marker, and Eccentric Cinema: Giorgio Agamben and Film Archaeology. She is a Professor of Film at Queen Mary.

The symposium plans to explore the advent of cinema and the new techniques and methods it brought with it. Whereas the history of ‘neuro’ and ‘psy’ disciplines has often been told with a focus on written materials including case studies and publications, Evan and Harbord plan to look at ‘how film observational techniques were employed to validate scientific knowledge and how literary and artistic representations of the self influenced new scientific models from the late-19th century.’

Bringing together historians of science and film studies scholars to think critically about new ways to approach the history of scientific and educational film, confirmed speakers at the one-day symposium include Professor Des O’Rawe from Queen’s University Belfast, Professor Janet Harbord from Queen Mary, University of London, Dr Kim Hajek from LSE and Dr Felix Rietmann from the University of Fribourg. Each speaker will give a twenty-minute talk followed by twenty minutes of questions and discussion. 

Some of the topics up for discussion include ‘Micro-analysis and the use of film,’ ‘Observational styles of film making’ and ‘Cinema, the body and the mind in its Inception.’ The symposium will also be looking at how films were used to challenge and question scientific narratives via approaches influenced by anti-psychiatry and neurodiversity movements.

‘Film, Observation and the Mind’ will take place online on Friday 19th March from 9:45am – 4:30pm. The symposium is free to attend, and you can get more information and reserve your place by visiting www.eventbrite.com and searching ‘Film, Observation and the Mind’ or alternatively contact Dr Bonnie Evans at b.evans@qmul.ac.uk