The world’s first conference for people with ‘extreme imagination’ will take place at the University of Exeter, UK, on 5 – 7 April 2019.
A huge public response followed the identification, by researchers at the University of Exeter College of Medicine and Health in 2015, of ‘aphantasia’, the lifelong lack of a ‘mind’s eye’. The response came both from people with aphantasia and from people with exceptionally vivid imagery, or ‘hyperphantasia’. This conference responds to their enthusiasm and desire for more information about what is a central but elusive characteristic of their inner lives.
With lectures by the leading scientists and thinkers working on aphantasia and hyperphantasia, plus themed workshops and discussion groups, the conference will enable people with extreme imagination to gain understanding, build a community, and explore the implications of imagery extremes in practical contexts.
Highlights include (talk titles and exact times tbc):
Friday 5th April
3.00: Welcome from Professor Adam Zeman
4.00: Keynote Speaker Professor Joel Pearson: Measuring the Mind’s Eye
6.00: Extreme Imagination – inside the mind’s eye exhibition private view at Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter.
Saturday 6th April
10.30: Discussion groups 1: Life as Aphantasic / Hyperphantasic
12.00: Parallel sessions 1: Drawing Workshop / Creative Writing workshop / Education Workshop / Therapy Workshop (repeated Sunday)
2.00: Eye’s Mind Talk: Dr Crawford Winlove – The Neural Basis of Visual Imagery
3.30: Q & A Session on Aphantasia and Hyperphantasia with all speakers
5.00: Eye’s Mind Talk: Professor John Onians – Neural Deficits as Assets: Life as a Colour-Blind Art Historian
7.00: Dinner and entertainment
7.30: Guest talk by Ed Catmull, president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios
Sunday 7th April
9.00: Keynote Speaker 2: Professor Emily Holmes – Mental Imagery and the Emotions
10.30: Break out discussion groups 2: Strategies for the Aphantasic / Hyperphantasic
12.00: Parallel sessions 2: Drawing Workshop / Creative Writing workshop / Education workshop / Therapy Workshop
2.00: Eye’s Mind Talk: Professor Fiona Macpherson – What is it Like to Have Visual Imagery?
3.00: Next Steps: community building, closing remarks