Brain Science and Creativity Collide at Creative Brain Week 2024

Now in its third year, the ground-breaking event returned to Trinity College Dublin and online, from 4th to 9th March, to explore the themes of Attention, Connection and Love, through a series of public events, activities and exhibitions.

children during creative brain week 2024 mybrainrobbie program

Children from Scoil Chaitríona, Baggot Street in Dublin presented their learnings from the MyBrainRobbie program at Creative Brain Week. Photos by Paul Sharp, Sharppix

Creative Brain Week – a collaboration between the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) at Trinity College Dublin and Creative Aging International – has achieved local and international significance through a program of fascinating examinations of how brain science and creativity collide. Creative Brain Week examines how such collisions seed new ideas into society, culture and health with talks, exhibitions and workshops throughout the week.

World-leading neuroscientists, educationalists, health policy makers, artists and innovators once again came together to explore and promote the interdisciplinary neuroscience of creativity and the brain, offer expert insight, inspire and stimulate conversations.

Among the varied program of events and activities were observations on the positive and negative effects of networked technologies for connection, living with an acquired brain injury, an exploration of the mind of an extreme swimmer and the challenge of placing care at the center of the healthcare system. While exhibits shared the history of arts and health practice in Ireland, a growing body of art exploring the stigma of Alzheimer’s diagnosis, and an extraordinary decade-long exploration of global aging through photography from around the world.

Brian Lawlor, Site Director of GBHI at Trinity said:

“Creativity is a pathway for everyone, and I believe there is huge potential for creativity to promote health and wellbeing at a population level – it’s almost like a common language across cultures. But there are a lot of unanswered questions – how does it work, what is the brain science behind it?

During Creative Brain Week we explore the power of creativity in the brain and for the brain with wonderful examples from Ireland and around the world. It's a rollercoaster of creativity that aims to challenge and change your brain for good.” 

Event Highlights for 2024


On Attention

  • Susan Magsamen, founder of The Neuro-Arts Blueprint and New York Times bestselling co-author of “Your Brain on Art.”
  • Tanisha Hill Jarret, Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health at GBHI and author of The Black radical imagination: a space of hope and possible futures. Learn more about her work.
  • Paul Dockree, Associate Professor in the School of Psychology and Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience on Attention and Decision Making.

On Connection

  • Marshmallow Laser Feast invited attendees to navigate with sensory perception beyond the everyday. Where is the line between where you end and the world starts?
  • My Brain Robbie founder, Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health at GBHI, Eléonore Bayen was joined at Creative Brain Week by children from three Dublin primary schools who presented their learnings from the program through drama, short film and visual art.

On Love

  • Cissie Fu, Political Theorist and co-founder of the Political Arts Initiative with a performance-presentation on the urgency of and conditions for institutional love.
  • Tracey Naledi, Deputy Dean of Health Services University of Cape Town and GBHI Board Member explored when love might not be enough with John Farrelly, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Commission and Siobhán McArdle, Assistant Secretary, Social Care, Mental Health, Drugs Policy and Unscheduled Care, Department of Health, Ireland.

Inaugural Pratchett Prize

Inspired by the life and work of author Terry Pratchett, this award acknowledges the contribution of a scientist, artist, activist, or person living with dementia who, collaboratively or individually, works to reduce its impact. The winners of the inaugural prize, announced at Creative Brain Week, were actor Bryan Murray and playwright Deirdre Kinahan in recognition of the their work to challenge the stigma of dementia in their play An Old Song Half Forgotten. Read more about the award winners

Creative & Associate Program

  • ‘Breaks & Joins’ workshop creatively explored how we repair ourselves, our stuff, our communities. How to live with what can’t be mended. Or break what needs be broken.
  • ‘The Tightrope Walkerwritten and performed by Jenny McDonald is testament to the care and connection we find in challenging times of ill health.
  • 1 in 6 by 2030: the Earth’s population is about to become the oldest it has ever been, by the year 2030, 1 in 6 people will be over the age of 60. Photographers around the world show what it looks like.
Creative Brain Week 2024 people drawing body maps on large sheets of paper

Participants body map their experiences of love and care during the 'This Is What Love Feels Like?' Living Lab.

Creative Brain Week Irish Mini-Tour

Christopher Bailey, World Health Organisation Arts and Health lead, took Creative Brain Week on the road for the first time this year to visit local programs in Cork, Limerick and Galway where creativity and science combine for improved health care. In the closing moments of Creative Brain Week 2024, he reflected on how local experience connects with global issues.

Christopher Bailey said: “I am really keen to visit these projects and meet their supporters, learn how they started and understand what sustains them, particularly in these uncertain times. As part of Creative Brain Week, I want to see what the experience of locally seeded Irish projects suggests to the rest of the world and I believe that Ireland is a world leader in this field."

Dominic Campbell co-founder of Creative Aging International, co-producer of Creative Brain Week and Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health said:

“Ireland has become a world leader on the topic of brain health and we look forward to a really engaging week for everyone who attends. Creative Brain Week continues to expand with the event in Dublin sparking satellite projects around the world – in Egypt, Botswana, India and Australia – for the first time this year.”

Creative Brain Week 2024 group photo of Lancet Global Series authors and GBHI, Trinity

Collaborators on the cutting-edge Lancet Global Series—on the health benefits of the arts on non-communicable diseases—gather at Creative Brain Week to explore their emerging research findings and the change they aspire to make. 

Creative Brain Week is a Global Brain Health Institute innovation at Trinity College Dublin, presented in association with the Jameel Arts & Health Lab, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and with support from Creative Ireland and the Atlantic Institute.

For more information or to view recordings of the sessions please visit the Creative Brain Week website: