Speaker profiles

Colin BlakemoreColin Blakemore FMedSci FRCP(Hon) FRS is Professor of Neuroscience & Philosophy in the School of Advanced Study, University of London, and Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience at Oxford. Colin stud­ied Medical Sciences at Cambridge and did a PhD in Physiological Optics at the University of California, Berkeley. After 11 years in Cambridge, he moved to Oxford in 1979 to be Waynflete Professor of Physiology. He dir­ec­ted the Oxford Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience and from 2003–7 he was Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council. His research has been con­cerned with many aspects of vis­ion, early devel­op­ment of the brain, plas­ti­city of the cereb­ral cor­tex and neuro­de­gen­er­at­ive dis­ease. He has been President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the British Neuroscience Association, the Physiological Society and the Society of Biology. In 2012 he moved to his cur­rent pos­i­tion in the School of Advanced Study where he leads a major pro­ject entitled Rethinking the Senses, under the AHRC’s Science in Culture theme, aimed at integ­rat­ing philo­soph­ic­al and sci­entif­ic approaches to the study of per­cep­tion. He is a fre­quent broad­caster on radio and tele­vi­sion, and writes in the nation­al press about sci­ence and sci­ence policy.


Rita AstutiRita Astuti is Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is an expert in the anthro­po­logy of Madagascar. Her first peri­od of extens­ive field­work among Vezo fish­ing people took place in the late 1980s, and focused on kin­ship, per­son­hood, gender, and group iden­tity. Since then, she has been involved in a pro­gramme of research aimed at integ­rat­ing the study of cul­ture and cog­ni­tion. Through a com­bin­a­tion of tra­di­tion­al eth­no­graph­ic meth­ods and exper­i­ment­al tech­niques used in devel­op­ment­al psy­cho­logy, she has invest­ig­ated how Vezo chil­dren and adults cat­egor­ise the social world into dis­tinct kinds of people, and how they con­cep­tu­al­ise death and the afterlife.


Andy ClarkAndy Clark is Professor of Logic and Metaphysics in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, at Edinburgh University in Scotland. Before that he was Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Cognitive Science Program at Indiana University, Bloomington, USA. Previous posts include Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science at the University of Sussex, UK, and Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Philosophy/Neuroscience/Psychology (PNP) Program at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. He is the author of Being There: Putting Brain, Body and World Together Again (MIT Press, 1997), Mindware (Oxford University Press, 2001), Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies and the Future of Human Intelligence (Oxford University Press, 2003), and Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension (Oxford University Press, 2008). His research interests include robot­ics and arti­fi­cial life, the cog­nit­ive role of human-built struc­tures, spe­cial­iz­a­tion and inter­act­ive dynam­ics in neur­al sys­tems, and the inter­play between lan­guage, thought, socio-technological scaf­fold­ing, and action. He is cur­rently work­ing on pre­dict­ive cod­ing mod­els of neur­al function.


Vyv EvansVyv Evans is Professor of Linguistics at Bangor University, where he has served as Head of School, Linguistics & English Language, and Deputy Head of College, College of Arts and Humanities. He is also cur­rently President of the UK Cognitive Linguistics Association. Vyv Received his PhD from Georgetown University, Washington DC., in December 2000. His research relates to Cognitive Linguistics, an approach to lan­guage and mind which places cent­ral import­ance on mean­ing, the role of cog­ni­tion and the embod­i­ment of exper­i­ence. He spe­cial­ises in cog­nit­ive semantics, par­tic­u­larly know­ledge rep­res­ent­a­tion, lex­ic­al struc­ture, the rela­tion­ship between lex­ic­al struc­ture and know­ledge rep­res­ent­a­tion, and fig­ur­at­ive lan­guage and abstract thought. His research has focused on invest­ig­at­ing spa­tial and tem­por­al lan­guage and cog­ni­tion, and the nature of the lin­guist­ic and con­cep­tu­al resources that we as humans mar­shal in ser­vice of mean­ing con­struc­tion. The cur­rent theme of his research is to invest­ig­ate the inter­sec­tion between the lin­guist­ic and con­cep­tu­al sys­tems that sub­serve linguistically-mediated mean­ing con­struc­tion. He has developed the Theory of Lexical Concepts and Cognitive mod­els (LCCM Theory) in order to provide a frame­work to facil­it­ate this. He is the author or edit­or of elev­en books, includ­ing How Words Mean (OUP 2009), and Language and Time (CUP 2013) and serves as Editor for the Cambridge journ­al Language & Cognition.


Danielle MatthewsDanielle Matthews is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Sheffield. Danielle took a com­bined hon­ours under­gradu­ate degree in French and Philosophy at the University of Leeds. While there, a French lin­guist­ics tutor gave her a book on Language Acquisition and she decided to switch fields to Psychology. After gradu­at­ing, she spent a year work­ing in Lyon, France, teach­ing English at Université Lyon 3 and read­ing about Cognitive Psychology. While there, she was lucky enough to win an ESRC schol­ar­ship for the MSc in Cognitive Science and Natural Language Engineering in the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh. She ran her first study there on the devel­op­ment of inflec­tion­al mor­pho­logy. She moved from Edinburgh to Manchester to do a PhD in the Department of Psychology with a schol­ar­ship from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig. Her thes­is was on the devel­op­ment of gram­mar and ref­er­ence in 2–4‑year-old chil­dren. She stayed on in Manchester as a post doc for four years work­ing on prag­mat­ic devel­op­ment and infant com­mu­nic­a­tion. In 2008–2009, she took a career break for mater­nity leave. She came to Sheffield as a Lecturer in 2009 and was pro­moted to Senior Lecturer in 2012.


Edmund T RollsEdmund T Rolls is Professor at the Oxford Centre for Computational Neuroscience, and is an Honorary Fellow in Applied Neuroimaging at the University of Warwick. He is the author of ten books; his latest, Neuroculture: On the Implications of Brain Science, was pub­lished by Oxford University Press in 2012.