Life Perceives is a symposium bringing together scientists and artists for an open exploration of how “perception” can be understood as a phenomenon that does not only belong to humans, or even the so-called “higher organisms”, but exists across the entire spectrum of life in a myriad of forms.

The symposium invites leading practitioners from the arts and sciences to present unique insights through short talks, open discussions, and artistic interventions that bring us slightly closer to the life worlds of plants and fungi, microbial communities and immune systems, cuttlefish and crows.

What do we mean when we talk about perception in other species? Do other organisms have an experience of the world? Or does our human-centred perspective make understanding other forms of life on their own terms an impossible dream? Whatever your answers to these questions may be, we hope to unsettle them, and leave you more curious than when you arrived.

The symposium will be accompanied by a photography exhibition by award-winning photographer Irina Petrova Adamatzky, and an installation, The Sentinel Self, by Danish artist Sissel Marie Tonn in the Jane Attenborough Studio.

Life Perceives is curated & organised by George Kafetzis, Jonathan Reus, Will Roseby, Mikkel Roald-Arbøl, who are doctoral researchers within the interdisciplinary ‘Sensation and Perception to Awareness’ Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme directed by Jamie Ward and Anil Seth at the University of Sussex. It brings together researchers from across neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, robotics, and the arts, with the aim of advancing our understanding of interactions between sensation, perception, and awareness in humans, animals, and machines. This programme and its activities are funded by the Leverhulme Trust. We also would like to thank Sussex Neuroscience, the Sussex Humanities Lab, Sussex Centre for Consciousness Science and the ACCA for their support.

Venue | Organisers | Code of conduct | Sustainability Statement