LCE at Forskningsdagene 2020
This year's Forskningsdagene was all about "The Fantastic Brain". LCE participated in several events, presenting new perspectives on how literature, and its fantastic qualities, relate to the brain.
LCE members speaking with Gunnhild Øyehaug at “Your Brain on Books”. From left: Alexandra Effe, Karin Kukkonen and Ylva Østby. Gunnhild Øyehaug joined via Zoom. Photo: Marlene Andresen.
Forskningsdagene is an annual festival hosted by Norges Forskningsråd, offering research institutions a public platform to showcase their work to a wider audience. Responding to this year’s topic, “The Fantastic Brain”, LCE members presented their work on how the cognitive processes of reading unfold when we encounter literary texts. In conversations and mini-lectures, we explored the intersection between literature and neuroscience.
Neuroscientist Ylva Østby spoke at Forskningsdagene’s opening ceremony on 16 September. She talked about our current knowledge on how the brain works, and what remains a mystery to brain researchers today. The event can be streamed in its entirety from Forskningsdagene’s website. Ylva’s segment begins at 09:38.
"Your Brain on Books"
That same evening, LCE hosted the event “Your Brain on Books: Gunnhild Øyehaug’s ‘Dreamwriter’”. Author Gunnhild Øyehaug (Kolon Forlag) joined us digitally in a conversation with Karin Kukkonen, Alexandra Effe and Ylva Østby about how readers experience literary texts and how authors go about writing them. "Dreamwriter" weaves together multiple voices, both present and past, and the event offered reflections on the role of language, feeling and literary form in creating and reading a novella.
On 22 September, LCE members Karin Kukkonen and Halvor Eifring participated in the event “Tankestrømmens tidsalder: Hvordan hjernen finner hvile", organised by Halvor Eifring. Three mini lectures discussed how mind-wandering registers in the brain (brain researcher Svend Davanger), how reading a novel can be understood as a form of mind-wandering (Karin Kukkonen) and how Eastern and Western traditions of meditation link to mind-wandering (Halvor Eifring). The panel then discussed how links between brain processes and cultural practices, such as reading literature and meditation, might help us relax or, indeed, be creative. A recording of the event can be found on Youtube.
We want to thank Forskningsrådet and Litteraturhuset for the opportunity to showcase our work to the public. And not least, we thank Gunnhild Øyehaug for joining us in what turned out to be a fantastic festival overall.