First Series

All available recordings are uploaded to this page. Thank you all for attending and we look forward to hosting you next semester!

The organisers, Nicole Ruta and Marina Iosifian

Seminar 1: What is aesthetics?

Friday 5 February 2021, 1pm to 2:30pm (UK time)


  • Marcos Nadal, Professor, Department of Psychology, University of the Balearic Islands
  • Michael Kelly, Professor, Department of Philosophy, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Art is traditionally linked to the study of aesthetics. However, the understanding of what aesthetics is differs across and sometimes within disciplines. For instance, terms “art” and “aesthetics” are often used interchangeably in psychological research. We will discuss the concept of aesthetics in the context of art, how it evolved across art history and how this term can be integrated in the context of neuroscience.

Seminar 2: Sublime

Friday 19 February 2021, 1pm to 2:30pm (UK time)


  • Young-Jin Hur, Lecturer, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London
  • Emily Brady, Professor, Department of Philosophy, Texas A&M University

Sublime is defined as aesthetic enjoyment based on negative or mixed emotions. This concept has a long philosophical tradition, being widely used in the context of fine arts, music and literature. However, empirical studies investigating the sublime are still quite rare. We will discuss how this concept is theorised in philosophy and how it can be better integrated in empirical research.

Seminar 3: Emotions and art

Friday 12 of March 2021, 1pm to 2:30pm (UK time)


  • Ines Schindler, Senior research fellow, Max-Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics
  • Eva-Maria Konrad, Professor, Department of German literature, Humboldt University of Berlin

One of the key features of art is its ability to arouse emotions in the perceivers. Some researchers believe that these emotions have unique qualities and are different from emotions we experience in other contexts of everyday life, while others disagree. The existence of aesthetic emotions as a distinct class of emotions is still an open debate. We will discuss and question the need to theoretically define the uniqueness of aesthetic emotions in psychological research and philosophy.

Note: The recording of this seminar is confidential and available via private link. Please, email the organisers Dr Nicole Ruta ([email protected]) and Dr Marina Iosifian ([email protected]) if interested and we will be happy to share it with you.

Seminar 4: Consciousness and art

Friday 9 April 2021, 1pm to 2:30pm (UK time)


  • Robert Pepperell, Professor, Cardiff School of Art, Cardiff Metropolitan University
  • Liliana Albertazzi, Retired Professor, previously affiliated with Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento

Investigating art – both art creation and perception – might help scientists understand the nature of cognition and consciousness. During this seminar we will discuss the methodological challenges researchers face when studying this topic and how art can give us insights about the nature of human consciousness.

Seminar 5: Embodied cognition

Friday 23 April 2021, 1pm to 2:30pm (UK time)


  • Shaun Gallagher, Professor of Philosophy, The University of Memphis and University of Wollongong
  • Vittorio Gallese, Professor of Psychobiology and Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Parma

The idea of embodied cognition in art is based on the assumption that the body plays a crucial role in art engagement. Researchers investigate different embodied mechanisms, which might explain how we experience art. During this seminar, we will discuss different approaches to embodiment in the context of art: the enactive approach and the embodied simulation theory.