Creative Brain Week Returns to Celebrate the Relationship Between Creativity and the Brain

Creative Brain Week 2023 group photo

Now in its second year, Creative Brain Week has rapidly achieved local and international significance in its exploration of how brain science and creativity collide.

From March 6th-11th in-person attendees and a global online audience explored the theme of Conflict, Imagination and Joy. The thought-provoking event examined questions such as: How are artists and scientists connecting to explore, examine and educate? What lessons can be learned when conflict is transformed into care? Where could imagining a culture of care lead science, arts and policy?

Over 100 international experts, including artists, neuroscientists, researchers, educators, innovators and more, came together to celebrate creativity, originality, and its application. The week included panel discussions, talks and a creative exhibition and featured contributions from: 

  • Christopher Bailey, keynote talk by Arts and Health Lead at the World Health Organization (WHO)
  • David Cotterrell, war artist on the artist as first responder
  • Agustín Ibáñez, Director of Latin American Brain Health Institute and Global Atlantic Fellow, on neuroscience of the conflict
  • Jill Sonke, Research Director in the Center for Arts in Medicine at the University of Florida, on leading researcher into creativity and health in the US
  • Harris Eyre, Lead for the Brain Capital Alliance, on brain health as a policy driver of global change
  • Rachel Clarke-Hughes, Derry Playhouses’ Head of Engagement, on decades of creativity in response to the Troubles
  • Arts + Health @ NYU Founder New York University’s Nisha Sajnani on the WHO’s creative interventions with refugees
  • The African Brain Health Network and West Cork Arts Centre on compassion informed creativity
  • Virginia Sturm, GBHI faculty member and Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, on the neuroscience of emotion
  • Cindy Weinstein, Professor of American Literature at the California Institute of Technology, Global Atlantic Fellow and author of Finding The Right Words, a story of literature, grief and the brain

The program developed from a collaborative international network within the Global Brain Health Institute, seven Atlantic Fellows equity-focused programs around the world and supported by innovation across multiple Trinity College departments.

Speaking about this year’s event, Brian Lawlor, GBHI Site Director at Trinity College said: “Creative Brain Week 2023 explored the brain science of creativity and how it helps to solve conflict at an individual and societal level and why creativity, imagination and joy are central to our health and wellbeing. 
While creativity and the sense of 'flow' are internally experienced in our brains, there's a part of creativity that comes from places outside ourselves. The intersection of the internal and external experience of creativity is where imagination, joy and conflict resolution can be realized and was the focus of this year's Creative Brain Week.” 

Ian Robertson, GBHI Founding Director at Trinity College Dublin said: “As a trained clinical psychologist and neuroscientist, I firmly believe that understanding the links and intersections between creativity and neuroscience is crucial for continued innovation and development. We aim to strive for better not only in the areas of science but in business, innovation and the arts and discussions like this are crucial for progress.” 

Atlantic Fellows Aline Haas, Mike Hanrahan, Cathy Correa Lopera and Agustin Ibanez perform

Atlantic Fellows Agustín Ibáñez (Argentina), Cathy Correa Lopera (Colombia), Mike Hanrahan (Ireland), and Aline Haas (Brazil) perform at Creative Brain Week. Photos by Paul Sharp, Sharppix

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, the Atlantic Institute and Trinity College Dublin alumnus Harry Hartford.

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