Creative Brain Week – Knowledge Making Book

Creative Brain Week is an annual exploration of how brain science and creativity connect to seed new ideas in social development, culture, wellbeing, and physical, mental and brain health across the life cycle and across society. Speakers, exhibitions and workshops introduce innovation at the intersection of arts and brain science.

Creative Brain Week connects brain science with creativity through sharing exciting collisions, seeding new ideas in society, culture, and health. This newly published book, Creative Brain Week – Knowledge Making, brings ideas from Creative Brain Week into print.

In the book, you will find the words of artists, health professionals, neuroscientists, and others as they wrestle to understand how the brain works and how this knowledge can be applied.

Dominic Campbell and Bea Kelleher’s hope in sharing Creative Brain Week’s journey into the unknown is that it brings you novel insights and seeds fresh ideas. It is a book which, like the annual gathering, sets out to inspire action.


About Creative Brain Week – Knowledge Making

The first Creative Brain Week brought together 120 speakers to articulate a broad landscape of concerns, and took place as the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic stuttered towards “a new normal” with “build back better” being a popular topic of public conversation.

In the background of the second was the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, a pair of agreements in April 1998 that ended most of the violent ethno-nationalist conflict on the Island of Ireland which had taken place predominantly in Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom.

Perhaps it was these two significant moments that encouraged reflection at Creative Brain Week 23 on the nature of care systems, their behaviour and relevance in the long term.

If we inherit the dreams of our grandparents made real, either as institutions and their behaviours, or codified as culture, how do we recognise when the issues they dreamt of addressing have changed? How can we then build our own dreams?

In a connected world how do ideas travel? How is care made? Can we tread carefully between knowledge that is biological or imperial or cultural? Is creativity as culture a way to propagate care alongside formal health care systems? Can it increase the care within them?

We wondered if conflict, as a root cause for ill health, applied at an individual as well as systemic level, might be applicable for all the wide diversity of our online and in-the-room audience. It led to the themes of Creative Brain Week 23 of “Conflict. Imagination. Joy”

Therefore the second programme began from the specifics of research in Ireland indicating that conflict from decades before continues to have an impact on the Brain Health and physical health of the people of Northern Ireland (Ciaran Mulholland).

We were able to reach out to experts in creative intervention, able to show how, over decades, arts, craft and creative practices had had multiple benefits. These programmes have endured long enough for youth involved to have grown and now set the agenda for the concerns of contemporary art practice (Rachel Clarke Hughes and Derry Playhouse)

With access to global expertise we were able to ask if and how this impact on individual neurology, on people’s Brain Health, applied in other conflict and post conflict zones. (Agustín Ibáñez).

In this publication from those foundations, we broaden the focus, inviting you to consider how attitude affects the mind, as well as the role that hope plays in healthcare. We look at the creation of health and care systems that begin not in bio-medical or acute systems but in the cultural realm. We touch on the role of creative practice in the earliest stages of brain development and the final stages of life. We look at how creative practices benefit brain health when life takes an unexpected turn or we are born in circumstances that are not conducive to health.

An invitation to explore

We invite you to download a copy of Creative Brain Week – Knowledge Making. It is available in four languages.

Access the English edition here

Access the Irish edition here   

Access the Spanish edition here

Access the Portuguese edition here