The Neuroscience of Art - What are the Sources of Creativity and Innovation?




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Feb 03, 2015
by Stuart Milne and Fidelia van der Linde
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The Neuroscience of Art - What are the Sources of Creativity and Innovation?

Fifty artists and scientists come to Salzburg to explore sources of inspiration Image: Ars Electronica

Experts from so-called left and right-brained fields will be applying their minds in Salzburg in order to better understand what happens in the human brain during creative processes.

Sponsored by the Edward T. Cone Foundation, the Salzburg Global session The Neuroscience of Art: What are the Sources of Creativity and Innovation? aims to create a collaborative international platform to identify and address emerging issues at the creative intersection of neuroscience and art.

From February 21 to 26, 2015, an array of international experts based in countries including the UK, USA, Switzerland, Lebanon, China, Brazil, Argentina and Russia will gather at Schloss Leopoldskron. The diversity of the participants is also reflected in their professional backgrounds, including neuroscientists, artists, musicians, psychologists, journalists and scholars.

Leading the session will be co-chairs Charles Limb, an Associate Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine and a Faculty Member at the Peabody Conservatory of Music and Gary Vikan, former director of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

As the topic of neuroscience of art is still in its infancy, the session will seek to identify further areas of needed research and explore how to apply the existing research results in practice, particularly in the areas of early childhood development, lifelong education, trauma therapy, and aging.

The program builds on some of the themes explored in the 2012 Salzburg Global Fellows program held in Washington, DC Transcending Borders: The Intersections of Art, Science, Technology, and Society on a Global Stage as well as the 2011 Salzburg session Instrumental Value: The Transformative Power of Music which explored intersections of music and neuroscience and also highlighted music education as an important part of childhood development.

“This is a very forward-looking and experimental session for us,” says Program Director Susanna Seidl-Fox.  “It is poised at the frontier of the research that is happening at the nexus of neuroscience and the arts.  We are bringing together visual artists, poets, musicians, a beat-boxer, a caricaturist, filmmakers as well as neuroscientists who are looking at these various artistic disciplines to learn more about the roots, sources, and processes of creativity. We will be asking:  Where does creativity come from?  How is this being studied?  What don’t we know about it?  What can artists and scientists learn from each other? What are the implications of this research for such fields as education, therapy, and early childhood development?”

The five-day program will consist of panel discussions, plenary debates and working group discussions, as well as readings, performances, and open studios. Together participants will develop strategies to move the research agenda forward and to foster international exchange around this important field of inquiry.

The Salzburg Global session The Neuroscience of Art: What are the Sources of Creativity and Innovation? is part of Salzburg Global’s long-running Culture and the Arts series. The session is supported by the Edward T. Cone Foundation. More information on the session can be found here: You can follow all the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGSculture.


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