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Sci/Film 7: Psychedelics and Altered States of Consciousness

Venue: Birkbeck 43 Gordon Square

No booking required

The Sci/Film series hosted by the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image (BIMI) and the School of Science has the broad aim of stimulating scientific thinking and debate through the arts. The Sci/Film series will screen films in which science, scientific discoveries, and the topics of scientific enquiry are represented (or misrepresented). Experts in related scientific areas will lead a discussion after each film about the ideas, themes and societal implications of how film represents science.

Altered States
Ken Russell, USA, 1980, 102 minutes.
Certificate 'R'/18.
Birkbeck Cinema
Friday January 13th, 2017; 18:00-21:00
Host: Dr. Tim J. Smith

Discussants: Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris


In this Sci/Film screening we will explore the often controversial use of psychedelic drugs in the investigation of human mental phenomena. Psychedelic drugs have often played a role in cinema (whether on or off-screen). As provocation for discussion of the scientific use of psychedelics we will screen Ken Russell's wonderfully bonkers 1980 film, Altered States, staring William Hurt in his first feature film role, Blair Brown and Bob Balaban. After the screening we will be joined by Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, Head of the Psychedelic Research Centre at Imperial College and a world expert on the effects of psychedelic drugs on the human brain. This Sci/Film event is sure to change the way you see the world (without pharmacological intervention).

The Sci/Film series is funded by a Wellcome Trust ISSF (Institutional Strategic Support Fund) public engagement grant. BIMI is funded by four schools at Birkbeck: the School of Arts, the School of Law, the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy, and the School of Science. The University of Pittsburgh is also a partner and co-funder.

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Contact phone: 0207 631 6115