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Vision and Opticality: The Humanities and Neuroscience

A public forum and Continuing Professional Development Seminar for primary and high school teachers.


Date: Saturday 17 March 2018
Times: Registration and coffee: 9.30–10am. Presentations: 10am–1.10pm (morning tea: 11.40am–12.10pm)
Gallery D, University of Queensland Art Museum, University Drive, St Lucia Campus, Queensland 4072
Enquiries: Sushma Griffin, Project Officer, ARC Centre for the History of Emotions. Email: uqche@uq.edu.au or phone: (07) 3443 2402.
RSVP: Free. All welcome. Please RSVP by 15 March 2018 at the link below

Click here to RSVP 

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The Oxford English Dictionary defines 'vision' as ‘the faculty or state of being able to see’, and 'opticality' as a ‘visual quality or effect, especially in relation to art’. This cross-disciplinary Public Forum and Continuing Professional Development seminar explores the concepts of ‘vision’ and ‘opticality’ to reanimate the conversation between the divided realms of the humanities and science. Scientists, artists and humanities scholars from across the disciplines of neurophysics, psychology, art history and literary studies will draw on examples from their current research to illustrate some of the different ways of representing and understanding the world, different approaches to vision and truth, and different patterns of animal vision, navigation and creativity to encourage a potential change in how we view the humanities and science. Twenty-minute presentations will address the following themes: new photographic approaches that illuminate the fragility of natural biological systems; the relationship between nineteenth-century Indian photography and British colonial science; the psychology of vision and how patients with mental health issues represent the world around them; navigating space and the insect compound eye; poetry and insect vision; and ocular experiences of humans and insects across different imaging technologies. Continuing Professional Development certificates of participation will be available for teachers.


Presented by the UQ Node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, in collaboration with the Queensland Brain Institute.

Image: Anne Noble, Dead Bee Portrait # 14, 2016, No Vertical Song and Reverie, Bundanon Trust Collection. Courtesy of the artist.