Where is my Mind? Birbeck Arts Week 2022

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Engagement – Public lecture/debate/seminar


A discussion of the extended mind - the idea that cognitive processes happen outside the brain - in the context of early modern life, thought and culture. Online.

How can a modern-day theory of cognition help us to understand the Renaissance world? This multidisciplinary event brings together scientific, philosophical, historical, and cultural perspectives to examine the concept of the extended mind–the idea that cognitive processes happen outside the brain–and apply it to important aspects of early modern life, thought, and culture. This panel explains extended mind theory for beginners, and examines how the concept might aid our understanding of Renaissance life in areas such as theatrical performance and medical practice. It will also reveal intriguing analogies between early modern ways of thinking about the mind and twenty-first-century philosophical and scientific ideas.

Evelyn Tribble is a Professor of English at the University of Connecticut. Her research interests center around Shakespeare, performance, memory, and skill. She explores theatrical history through the lens of Distributed Cognition, asking how Shakespeare’s company met the astonishing cognitive demands of their profession, particularly the performance of up to six different plays a week.

Miranda Anderson is an honorary fellow in History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh and a research fellow in Philosophy and Literature at the University of Stirling. She is also an associate lecturer with the Open University. She is the author of The Renaissance Extended Mind (2015) and the co-editor of four volumes on The Edinburgh History of Distributed Cognition series (2018-20).

Annie Murphy Paul is an acclaimed science writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Scientific American, and The Best American Science Writing, among many other publications. Her latest book is The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain; she is currently a Learning Sciences Exchange Fellow at New America.

Sam Gilbert is Associate Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London. He conducts research into the neuroscience of goals and intentions, with a particular focus on how people ‘offload’ memory into the extended environment.
Period24 May 2022
Event typeOther
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Cognition
  • Distributed Cognition
  • Renaissance
  • contemporary