What does it mean to be human - Fringe events - Leeds International Festival
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2 May - 8 May
Various times

What does it mean to be human – Fringe events


Are we losing sight of what it means to be human or did we never really understand that anyway.

Time; Love; Creativity; Pain.  Common to us all yet can be interpreted in so many ways.  Leading academic authors from Leeds Beckett University will challenge your perceptions of each, how we can understand, perceive and control each concept.  Free talks to provoke and entertain.

 

What is Love? - Dr. Divine Charura

The love of power and its impact in dividing society starkly presents itself in our society today, given the present political and social context.

However, the essence of love in relation to what it means to be human raises different conversations and questions. These include, for example: What is love? Is love a human concept only? How do you know when you are in love? What are the kinds of love we experience as humans? Is love healing? What are the psychological and neurobiological impacts of love?

This talk is inspired by a book co-edited by Dr. Divine Charura [Love and Therapy; In relationship (Charura and Paul 2015)] and is a collection of papers by different psychologists and psychotherapists who in different ways explored a range of perspectives of love as they present in the therapy consultation room.

The essence of this talk is to explore what love is, in order to make a change not only to the human condition but also politically, and socially; Thus being in line with the view that the future of the planet will depend on those of us engaged in loving relationships who are trying to understand and deal with authentic-encounter and the interactions between human beings and in caring for our planet.

After his talk, Divine will have his book on the subject available for purchase.

How to Slow Down Time - Dr. Steve Taylor

Sometimes it seems as if life is passing us by. We never seem to have enough time – yet some would say time is a human construct and isn’t even real in the first place.

Dr. Steve Taylor will suggest that we don’t need to feel oppressed by time; it is possible for us to slow down time in our lives, and even to transcend time altogether.

We don’t have to be at the mercy of time, because we can control it. Many of us try to make sure we can live for as long as possible by eating good food and exercising, which is sensible. But it’s also possible for us to extend our lives by increasing the amount of time we experience.

In this talk, Steve will speak about how linear time is an illusion, created by our thoughts. The future and the past don’t exist in reality, just in our heads. Drawing on his best-selling book Making Time: Why Time Seems to Pass at Different Speeds and how to Control it –  Dr. Taylor will explain that our perception of the speed of time is largely determined by how many impressions and perceptions our minds take in – the more impressions, the slower time goes. We can therefore slow down our perception of time by exposing ourselves to as many new experiences as possible, by travelling to new places, giving ourselves new challenges, meeting new people, and exposing our minds to new information, hobbies and skills, and so on.

After his talk, Steve will have his book on the subject available for purchase.

The Truth About Creativity - Professor Anna Abraham

What is creativity? How do we define it, and who is entitled to call themselves ‘creative’?

Is creativity a special ability for a talented few, or a capacity that everyone possesses?

Is the right brain the creative brain? Are artists more creative than the rest of us? What are the differences and similarities between the creative processes of a composer, a novelist and a choreographer? Are scientists creative? What about accountants? Is creativity always a good thing? Why is it so hard to be creative? Can I train my brain to become more creative? Do drugs and alcohol enhance creativity? Find out the answers to these questions, and many more, in this fascinating talk on creativity – defining our abilities under its remit, our innate beliefs and reservations about the term, and understanding what it truly means, physiologically and socially, to be creative.

After her talk, Anna will have her book on the subject available for purchase.

Is Pain Real? - Professor Mark Johnson

Neuroscientists and philosophers have suggested that conscious awareness may be a controlled hallucination, and that our experience of the world is an illusion of reality.

How can this be when everything feels so real?

Take pain for example. Pain warns us of tissue damage from injury or disease. We experience pain with such certainty that it seems ridiculous to suggest that it could be an illusion. Yet pain is not visible. Therefore, we start to doubt the existence of pain in another person when we cannot see tissue damage, or physical evidence of their suffering.

Join Professor Mark Johnson on a journey into the peculiar, perplexing and paradoxical world of pain.

Mark will challenge the belief of a tight coupling between pain and tissue damage, and then demonstrate how the brain constructs our conscious experience by injecting its own information into the perceptual process.  Ultimately, he will ask ‘Is Pain Real?’

Event partners

What is Love? - Dr. Divine Charura

Thursday 2 May 12:00 - 13:00
Free (ticketed)
Discovery Zone

How to Slow Down Time - Dr. Steve Taylor

Tuesday 7 May 18:00 - 19:00
Free (ticketed)
Old Broadcasting House

The Truth About Creativity - Professor Anna Abraham

Tuesday 7 May 18:00 - 19:00
Free (ticketed)
The Northern Monk Refectory

Is Pain Real? - Professor Mark Johnson

Wednesday 8 May 17:00 - 18:00
Free (ticketed)
Discovery Zone
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Dr. Divine Charura is a chartered psychologist, counselling/practitioner psychologist, registered psychotherapist and author. He currently works as a Course Director for Psychological Therapies and Mental Health postgraduate courses at Leeds Beckett University. His two latest co-edited books are Love and Therapy: In relationship and The Person-Centred Counselling and Psychotherapy Handbook: Origins, Developments and Current Applications.

Anna Abraham is a Professor of Psychology at the Leeds School of Social Sciences in Leeds Beckett University. She investigates creativity and other aspects of the human imagination, including the reality-fiction distinction, mental time travel and mental state reasoning. Her book – The Neuroscience of Creativity – was published in 2018

Mark Johnson is Professor of Pain and Analgesia and Director of the Centre for Pain Research at Leeds Beckett University, U.K. Mark has investigated the science of pain for over three decades. He is particularly interested in pain perception, individuality and pain, and non-drug analgesics. He has published over 250 research articles and book chapters. His recent book on transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) was shortlisted at the British Medical Association Book Awards 2015.

Steve Taylor is a senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University, and the author of several best-selling books on psychology and spirituality.  Steve’s background is in Transpersonal Psychology and Positive Psychology. His book Making Time details his ideas and research on time perception; Out of the Darkness details his research on the transformational after-effects of facing turmoil and trauma. Other books include The Fall, Waking From Sleep and Back to Sanity.

Steve’s articles and essays have been published in over 40 academic journals, magazines and newspapers.  He regularly gives talks and takes parts in debates, having featured widely in the media in the UK, including The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, on BBC Breakfast, BBC World TV, Radio 4 and 5, and in The Guardian and The Independent. Steve’s website is www.stevenmtaylor.com.