Renowned neuroscientist Beau Lotto whose TED talk has had nearly 5m views presents a groundbreaking guide to understanding perception, which will transform the way we see, and unlock our ability to create, innovate and effect change. In the aftermath of 2016, many feel weighed down by uncertainty. But, what you may not know is that while the brain hates uncertainty, it also holds the key to adapting to, and even thriving in, uncertain times. In this talk based on his ground breaking new book DEVIATE: The Science of Seeing Differently, world-renowned neuroscientist Beau Lotto will draw on over two decades of research to reveal startling truths about the brain and how it perceives the world and show how understanding the science behind our perceptions and our reactions to that understanding can allow us to literally change our brains and improve how we function in every aspect of life. PRAISE FOR DEVIATE ‘If someone else told me that reality is something we create in our heads – I’d up my medication. This brilliantly written book shows us that this is actually the road to liberation. We have the ability to change our internal landscapes. Making our lives a masterpiece rather than a ‘been there done that’ cliché.‘ – Ruby Wax OBE ‘‘ is a neuroscience book that, while explaining what we know about the brain’s functioning, explores the deeply personal issue of perception. Beau Lotto’s insights constitute a real breakthrough in our understanding of how we perceive (and react to, and imagine ourselves within) reality. And his capacity to make complex scientific concepts and research results easy to understand, and to explain their relevance to our life, makes this an utterly readable book.‘ – Bruno Giussani, European director of TED and curator of TEDGlobal Read more.
In this talk Dean Buonomano, a leading neuroscientist and professor at UCLA, “who does for the neuroscience of time what Stephen Hawking did for the physics of time” – Craig Callender, professor of philosophy, University of California, will investigate the relationship between the brain and time: What is time? Why does time seem to speed up or slow down? Is our sense that time flows an illusion? Dean will also present his own influential theory of how the brain tells time, and in the process illuminate such concepts as free will, consciousness, spacetime and relativity from the perspective of a neuroscientist. Drawing on physics, evolutionary biology and philosophy, he will show that the brain’s ultimate purpose may be to predict the future—and thus that your brain is a time machine. Read more.
How to… Stand Up. Always wanted to try stand-up comedy but too scared to give it a go? Looking for the ultimate confidence boost? Have a go at stand-up in a relaxed, no-pressure environment. Learn the tricks of the trade which can be applied in any public speaking situation. And unlock your natural funniness. (We all have some. No, really, we do.) A fun, joyful workshop taught by comedian and writer, Viv Groskop, winner of Maestro Improv 2012 and Funny Women Finalist 2012. Until a few years ago Viv had never done stand-up so she knows exactly what it’s like to be terrified – and overcome that feeling. Her book, I Laughed, I Cried about doing 100 gigs in 100 nights (“heroic” – The Times) is all about sticking two fingers up to the things in life you’re scared of. And that’s the true spirit of stand-up. Viv has performed alongside Michael McIntyre, Sandi Toksvig, Lucy Porter and Jenny Eclair and her 2013 Edinburgh show got a five-star review. “Viv is brilliant” – Jo Brand. Who is this for? Anyone who wants to have a go at stand-up with no pressure in a relaxed, happy environment – learn the basics of joke writing and find out what’s funny about you personally – learn some tricks of the trade from stand-up comedy which can be applied in work situations – people who want to put a flavour of stand-up comedy into their public speaking- if you can do a minute of stand-up, you can do anything. (This is not suitable for people who know that they actually want to become stand-up comedians) Read more.
with Bonita Norris, Dave Goulson, Geoff Dyer and Stephen Alford.
Today’s most original travel writers come together to explore how travel raises in acute form the most fundamental questions. Bonita Norris, ‘the girl who climbed Everest’, will describe one woman’s journey to the world’s toughest places and the lessons she learnt along the way: that you can turn fear into courage, and that it’s in these fearful elsewheres that our inner landscapes are rearranged. Dave Goulson has followed and been led by bees, from Salisbury Plain to Sussex hedgerows, from Poland to Patagonia. Tracking great yellow bumblebees in the Hebrides or orchid bees through the Ecuadorian jungle, the roving biologist finds environmental resilience but also umistakable signs of crisis. Stephen Alford is a time traveller, retracing the footsteps of Tudor London on its journey from gloomy and introverted medieval city to dynamic global metropolis, trading with and colonising parts of the world previously unknown – with unsuspected lessons for the present. This is where we came from, but where are we going? Geoff Dyer asks why on earth we travel, and why in certain places (as Gertrude Stein said) ‘there is no there there’, as he ruminates – from New Mexico to French Polynesia – on the strange meanings we assign to the destinations of our pilgrimages. Travel writing plays fast and loose with boundaries: mixing here with there, ideas with things seen, expectation and disappointment, vistas and dead ends, rules and improvisation. Join us for an evening of tall tales and the exploration of a genre. In association with Globalista. Read more.
The sharpest wit in broadcasting, Graham Norton joins fellow presenter Alice Levine for a conversation exploring his life, work and critically acclaimed debut novel, Holding, a richly textured detective story set in the remote Irish village of Duneen. For the past decade, Graham Norton has reigned over Friday night television with his eponymous show bringing us unforgettable moments of insight and entertainment. It’s an achievement beyond the reach of many, but just one of several for Norton (who’s also a DJ, actor and agony aunt). He is usually the one steering the discussion, so with Alice at the helm, it will be entertaining to see how he fares once the tables are turned. Join us for an evening of intelligent fun and boundless charm. Read more.
As wedding season approaches, join Ada Calhoun for a funny (but not flippant), smart (but not smug) evening on marriage. Anyone who is married (or contemplating it) knows that in our most cherished institution, over the years there will be fights, there will be angst, and there may even be affairs; sometimes you’ll look at the person you love and feel nothing but rage. And still, with frank insight from experts, clergy and friends, Ada Calhoun demonstrates that we can put aside expectations of total marital bliss and arrive at an optimistic portrait of what marriage is really like. Inspired by a wildly popular New York Times essay, this talk will help and inform anyone interested in entering into, or improving a marriage. Read more.
Since biblical times gardens have been horizontal, until Patrick Blanc starting greening the walls and courtyards of cities around the world. The inventor of the vertical garden, he is also the world’s leading expert. Blanc has created dozens of his botanical tapestries in public and private spaces: lush miniature forests of perennial plants, mosses, ferns and flowers, the key to whose success is the diversity of species used. The vertical garden is a new green vision for the interaction between cities, plants and people. As Frank Lloyd Wright said: ‘architects cannot bury their mistakes, but they can grow things over them’. Vertical gardening goes a step further, and has in turn given new stimulus to contemporary architecture both public and domestic. Originally inspired by the observation of plants in rainforest canopies or living on rocks around waterfalls, vertical gardening emulates natural ‘gardens’ on cliffs and mountain slopes that are fed by sunshine, wind energy, ambient moisture, dew and rain. The benefits include reduced pollution and flooding from rainwater run-off, additional insulation for buildings, and increased habitat for wildlife – as well as the vivid beauty of these living walls and their daily contribution to our concrete environment. Vertical space is empty and often free. For the urban gardener the vertical garden is practical, long lasting and even portable (Blanc has moved his own garden to three different addresses in Paris over a 28-year period). He will reveal with his unique authority the possibilities for greening our walls and courtyards, will explain the art of soil-less planting, and will show us how it is done. Read more.