Prof. Murray Smith: Film, Art and the Third Culture

Wednesday 18 November 2015, 17.00.

Jarman Studio 2,  University of Kent, Canterbury


Murray Smith, Professor of Film at the University of Kent, will deliver the inaugural Beacon Institute for Art and Science Annual Lecture. Drawing on his forthcoming book, and with a nod towards the ‘two cultures’ debate triggered by C.P Snow, Professor Smith will discuss the prospects for a ‘third culture’ integrating the knowledge, goals and methods of the arts and sciences. Taking film as his primary example, he will explore the ways in which various aspects of film and film viewing – including suspense, empathy, and the interaction of sight and sound – can be illuminated scientifically. Professor Smith will also discuss the pitfalls of dialogue between researchers in the humanities and the sciences, stressing the necessity of two-way traffic in any such exchange: scientists must be attentive to the unique features of artistic and cultural phenomena, just as art world denizens must be open to the special insights wrought by science.

Being Human Festival 2015

Being Human will get to the heart of what it means to be human in the digital age. It will show how our attempts to understand and interpret the human world can guide our thinking about science, society and culture, and shape our conception of ourselves,’ Festival director, Professor Barry Smith of the School of Advanced Study, said. ‘Being Human allows people to engage with and influence big ideas, big debates and cutting-edge research in the humanities,’ adds festival curator Dr Michael Eades. ‘From talks and lectures featuring the likes of author Sarah Waters, veteran BBC journalist Kate Adie, cartoonist Martin Rowson, reggae poet Linton Kwesi Johnson and Professor Marina Warner, to genuinely innovative activities incorporating comedy, film, music, theatre and performance, our 2015 programme is an incredible celebration of the humanities and their place at the heart of the UK’s national culture.’

Now in its second year, Being Human is led by the University of London’s School of Advanced Study (SAS) in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Research Council(AHRC), the British Academy and the Wellcome Trust, and is the only UK-wide celebration of the humanities. In 2014 it involved over 60 universities and cultural organisations hosting more than 160 events. Extending beyond face-to-face interactions in the UK, the festival crossed borders on the web, reaching more than 2.2 million people across Twitter and website visitors from around the globe.

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