Sissel Marie Tonn

Pronouns: she/her
Sissel Marie Tonn is a Danish artist based in The Hague who works across diverse media including film, sculpture, wearable interactive media and computer simulations. In her practice she explores the complex ways humans perceive, act upon and are entangled with their environments. Her work centres around moments of awareness and shifts in perception, where the boundaries between bodies and the surrounding environment begin to blur.

Recent engagements include commissions for Sonic Acts and Abandon Normal Devices (AND) Festival in 2021. In 2020 she received an Honorary Mention for the work The Intimate Earthquake Archive from Ars Electronica, and won the Bio Art and Design (BAD) award for her collaboration Becoming a Sentinel Species with immunologist Juan Garcia Vallejo and eco-toxicologist Heather Leslie. In 2022 she was recipient of an EU S+T+ARTS fellowship, which led to her developing immersive computer simulations based on a speculative immune system in The Sentinel Self, which was commissioned and premiered by MEET Digital Culture centre in Milan. In 2022 She was the first joint artist-in-residence between the Sussex Humanities Lab and the Sussex Centre for Consciousness Science.

Shu Yang

Pronouns: he/him
Shu Yang-Miyoshi, Oxford-based, is a DPhil candidate in Music Technologies at the University of Sussex. He holds an MA in Textiles (Bio-inspired), BSc in Biological Engineering, and a degree in Fashion Design. Before coming to the UK, he worked as a fashion designer in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Shanghai for ten years. As an interdisciplinary designer, his artwork has been inspired by science, particularly biology and ecology.

For the past year Shu has been developing a cycle of artworks titled The Cell Planet as part of his research into cellular metabolic processes in music. In these works he tries to use ambient music and sound to ‘draw out’ the organic movements and colours that mimic the behaviours of living organisms. Visual effects are autonomously generated in accordance with the sound, following his philosophy in bio-inspired art and design to: “keep the narrative interference of human beings as far away from the experience as possible.”

Paco Calvo

Pronouns: he/him
Paco Calvo is Professor of Philosophy of Science and PI of the Minimal Intelligence Laboratory (MINTLab) at the University of Murcia (Spain). He does research in (the philosophy of) plant neurobiology, ecological psychology and embodied cognitive science.

Prof. Calvo is currently being supported by the US Office of Naval Research to investigate vegetable sources of bioinspiration for Robotics and AI. He studies the ecological basis of plant intelligence by conducting experimental studies at the intersection of the areas of plant neurobiology and ecological psychology. His lab uses time-lapse photography to observe the navigational capacities of plant shoots, and to critically explore the theoretical underpinnings of cognitivist interpretations of plants’ adaptive behavior. His articles have appeared in Annals of Botany, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Biology & Philosophy, Frontiers in Neurorobotics, Frontiers in Robotics and AI, Journal of the Royal Society, Plant, Cell & Environment, Plant Signaling & Behavior and Trends in Plant Science, among other journals.

His most recent book, Planta Sapiens is out now with Little, Brown & Co. (UK) and with W.W. Norton (US).

Nicky Clayton

Pronouns: she/her
Nicky is the Professor of Comparative Cognition and a University Teaching Officer in the Department of Psychology at Cambridge University, and a Fellow of Clare College. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2010. Her expertise as a scientist lies in the contemporary study of how animals and children think. This work has led to a re-evaluation of the cognitive capacities of animals, particularly birds, and resulted in a theory that intelligence evolved independently in at least two distantly related groups, the apes and the crows. She has also pioneered new procedures for the experimental study of memory and imagination in animals, especially in corvids and cephalopods, investigating its relationship to human memory and consciousness, and how and when these abilities develop in young children.

In addition to scientific research and teaching, she is a dancer, specializing in tango and salsa. She is also Associate Artist and Scientist in Residence at the Rambert Dance Company, collaborating with Mark Baldwin OBE, the world famous choreographer and former Artistic Director, on new choreographic works inspired by science including Comedy of Change, Seven For A Secret Never To Be Told, What Wild Ecstasy, The Creation and (G)Rave.

Michael Levin

Pronouns: he/him
Michael Levin received dual B.S. degrees in biology and computer science, followed by a Ph.D. in molecular genetics from Harvard University and a post-doc in cell biology at Harvard Medical School.

His lab currently uses a mix of computer science, developmental biophysics, and behavioral science to understand how cells combine into a tissue-level collective intelligence that solves morphogenetic problems during embryogenesis, regeneration, and cancer suppression. By developing new algorithms and tools for reading and writing information into the proto-cognitive medium of this collective intelligence, the Levin lab drives applications in birth defects, regenerative medicine, and cancer suppression.

The work extends into novel frameworks for understanding diverse intelligence (agency in unconventional substrates including cells, organs, and swarms), and the scaling of cognition. Finally, their work on creating synthetic living organisms has many applications for understanding evolution and for practical advances in AI and robotics.

Mark Baldwin

Pronouns: he/him
Mark Baldwin OBE is an multi award-winning choreographer, artistic director and visual artist. His career includes a distinguished association with Rambert, one of the world’s leading dance companies, as a dancer from 1983-1991, and serving as Artistic Director from 2002-2018.

He established Mark Baldwin Dance Company in 1992-2001, which toured nationally and internationally, including to Malaysia, Sri Lanka, France, Poland, Italy, Turkey and Tunisia. The company appeared in 5 Dance Umbrella festivals and Mark created over 40 works for his own company and others including: The Royal Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Scottish Ballet (where he was resident choreographer in 1996), London City Ballet, Cisne Negro Dance Company (Brazil), Modern Dance Company of Argentina, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Staatsoper Berlin, Teartro dell’Opera di Roma and Rambert. In 2002, Mark returned to Rambert to take up the post of Artistic Director, where he remained until 2018. During this time, the company’s awards included 13 Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards, two Olivier Awards and five Olivier Award nominations. Mark continued to develop his own work including collaborations with South Africa’s Soweto Gospel Choir and the iconic Ladysmith Black Mumbazo. In 2016, Mark was awarded an OBE for his services to dance, and in 2019 he received the Critics’ Circle De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance.

Mark is currently Academic Visitor at the University of Cambridge in the Department of Psychology where he works with long-time collaborator Professor of Comparative Cognition and Fellow of the Royal Society, Nicola Clayton. 

Lucia Pietroiusti

Pronouns: she/her
Lucia Pietroiusti is a curator working at the intersection of art, ecology and systems, usually outside of the gallery space. Pietroiusti is the founder of the General Ecology project at Serpentine, London, where she is currently Strategic Advisor for Ecology.

Current projects include the research and festival series, The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish (with Filipa Ramos, since 2018); the opera-performance Sun & Sea by Rugile Barzdziukaite, Vaiva Grainyte and Lina Lapelyte (2019 Venice Biennale and 2020-2024 international tour); Persones Persons, the 8th Biennale Gherdeïna (May-September 2022, with Filipa Ramos) and the non-profit organisation, Radical Ecology (with Ashish Ghadiali, since 2022). Recent and forthcoming publications include More-than-Human (with Andrés Jaque and Marina Otero Verzier, 2020); Microhabitable (with Fernando García-Dory, 2020-22) and PLANTSEX (2019).

Katie Bentley

Pronouns: she/her
Katie Bentley is group Leader of the Cellular Adaptive Behaviour Lab at the Francis Crick Institute and Senior Lecturer at Kings College London. Katie earned a PhD in Computer Science from University College London in 2006 investigating morphological plasticity in biological and robotic systems after studying the Evolutionary and Adaptive Systems (EASy) MSc, University of Sussex 2002. Katie was appointed Assistant Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School in 2013 running an interdisciplinary wet and dry vascular computational biology lab at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She also ran two satellite labs, one at Uppsala University, Sweden and the other at Boston University in the Biological Design Centre. She joined the Francis Crick Institute and the informatics Department at King’s College London in 2018.

The Cellular Adaptive Behaviour lab investigates individual to collective behaviour as cells construct tissues in our bodies, with a focus on adaptive blood vessel growth in development and maladapted vessel growth in diseases such as retinopathy and cancer. Just like humans, cells continually sense their local environment and adapt their behaviour accordingly, either as individuals or as a group. They communicate and ‘decide’ whether to cooperate or compete with each other and they can dramatically change their shape or arrangement. Dr. Bentley’s research work attempts to create a deeper understanding of how this complex dance unfolds across time and space, from molecules, cells to tissues.

Jo Walton

Pronouns: he/him
Jo Lindsay Walton is a Research Fellow in Arts, Climate and Technology at the Sussex Humanities Lab. His research interests include climate risk communication, AI and automation, critical game design, science fiction and utopia, and modern and contemporary poetry.

Recent and forthcoming publications are included in The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Economics; Digital Humanities and Laboratories: Perspectives on Knowledge, Infrastructure and Culture; The Edinburgh Companion to Science Fiction and the Medical Humanities; Phase Change: New SF Energies; and Finance and Society. Together with Polina Levontin he edits Vector, the journal of the British Science Fiction Association. Utopia on the Tabletop, an edited collection about roleplaying games, is forthcoming from Ping Press in 2023.

Irina Petrova Adamatzky

Pronouns: she/her
Irina Petrova Adamatzky is a Bristolian internationally published and award winning photographer and artist. She specializes in wildlife micro-photography and science fiction inspired installations organically integrating living and artificial entities. A unique feature of her work is she mostly uses retro manual focus lenses to share the wonders of the world.

She has won a substantial number of awards and prizes, including MUSE Photography Awards 2022 and 2021, BIFA 2021 and BIFA 2020, New York Photography Awards 2021, winner of FEP Awards 2021 Nature Golden Camera and ND Discovery of the Year in category Nature 2019. She is also a member of the committee of the Royal Photographic Society Women in Photography group.

Filipa Ramos

Pronouns: she/her
Lisbon-born Filipa Ramos is a writer and curator with a PhD awarded from the School of Critical Studies at Kingston University, London. Her research, manifested in critical and theoretical texts, lectures, workshops and edited publications, focuses on how culture addresses ecology, attending to how contemporary art fosters relationships between nature and technology.

She is Director of the Contemporary Art Department of the city of Porto. Furthermore, she is curator of the Art Basel Film sector and a founding curator of the online artists’ cinema Vdrome. Ongoing and upcoming projects include the arts, humanities and science festival The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish (since 2018) and “Persones Persons”, the 8th Biennale Gherdëina (2022), both with Lucia Pietroiusti. In 2021, she co-curated “Bodies of Water”, the 13th Shanghai Biennale (with Andrés Jaque, Lucia Pietroiusti, Marina Otero Verzier and Mi You), and co-curated the group exhibition “Feet of Clay” at Porto’s City Gallery (with Chus Martinez). Previously, she curated the large exhibition project “Animalesque”, at Bildmuseet Umeå, Sweden (Summer 2019) and BALTIC Gateshead (Winter 2020).

Daniel Osorio

Pronouns: he/him
Daniel Osorio studied zoology in England and neurobiology in Australia, and now teaches neuroscience, evolution and animal behaviour at Sussex University. His research centres on understanding how animals see colour, how they recognise the objects they encounter in their daily lives, and the evolutionary basis for these abilities. His studies encompass a variety of animals including butterflies, primates, birds and cephalopods. Daniel has studied cuttlefish for two decades. Their ability to control their appearance for camouflage gives unique insight into how a non-human species perceives pattern and form.

In addition, Daniel holds a patent for photographic colour measurement techniques based on theories of animal colour vision. He sits on the research Committee of the Biology and Biotechnology Research Council. He also has an interest in ethics and welfare; he is on the Ethics Committee of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour, and of Merlin Entertainments (which owns many public aquaria and zoos), and is part of a team writing guidelines for the treatment of Cephalopods under the protection of the EU animal welfare legislation.

Daisy Lafarge

Pronouns: she/her
Daisy Lafarge is a writer based in Glasgow, UK. Born in Hastings, she has lived in Scotland since 2011. She is the author of the novel Paul (Granta 2021; Riverhead 2022), which was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, and the poetry collection Life Without Air (Granta 2020), which was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and awarded Scottish Poetry Book of the Year.

Her reviews and essays on ecology, art and literature have been widely published, appearing in Granta, LitHub, Wellcome Collection Stories, Art Review, TANK Magazine, The White Review, and elsewhere. In 2021 she completed a PhD at the University of Glasgow, and was appointed Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of St Andrews. Lovebug, a book about infection and intimacy, will be published in 2023.

Anil Seth

Pronouns: he/him
Anil Seth is Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex. He is also Co-Director of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Program on Brain, Mind and Consciousness, a European Research Council Advanced Investigator, and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Neuroscience of Consciousness (Oxford University Press). He holds degrees in Natural Sciences (MA, Cambridge, 1996), Knowledge-Based Systems (MSc, Sussex, 1996), and Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (Ph.D., Sussex, 2001). He carried out his postdoctoral work (2001-2007) at The Neurosciences Institute in San Diego. He has published more than 200 research papers, is a Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher (2019-2022), which places him in the top 0.1% of researchers worldwide.

Anil is the author of Being You: A New Science of Consciousness (Faber, 2021) - an instant Sunday Times Bestseller and a 2021 Book of the Year for The Economist, The New Statesman, Bloomberg Business, The Guardian, The Financial Times and elsewhere. His 2017 TED talk on consciousness has more than thirteen million views and features in the ‘Top 15’ TED science talks of all time. A former Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow, he has appeared on high-profile podcasts including Making Sense with Sam Harris and Under The Skin with Russell Brand. He has appeared in several films (The Most Unknown, The Search), appears regularly on BBC Radio, and has written for Aeon, The Guardian, Granta, New Scientist, and Scientific American, among others. He was the 2017 President of the British Science Association (Psychology Section) and the 2019 winner of the KidSpirit Perspectives award.

Andrew Adamatzky

Pronouns: he/him
Andrew Adamatzky is Professor of Unconventional Computing and Director of the Unconventional Computing Laboratory, Department of Computer Science, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK. He does research in molecular computing, reaction-diffusion computing, collision-based computing, cellular automata, slime mould computing, massive parallel computation, applied mathematics, complexity, nature-inspired optimisation, collective intelligence and robotics, bionics, computational psychology, non-linear science, novel hardware, and future and emergent computation.

He has authored seven books, mostly notable are ‘Reaction-Diffusion Computers’, ‘Dynamics of Crow Minds’, and ‘Physarum Machines’, and has edited 22 books in computing, most notable are ‘Collision Based Computing’, ‘Game of Life Cellular Automata’, and ‘Memristor Networks’. He has also produced a series of influential artworks published in the atlas ‘Silence of Slime Mould’. He is Founding Editor-in-Chief of ‘J of Cellular Automata’ and ‘J of Unconventional Computing’ and Editor-in-Chief of ‘J Parallel, Emergent, Distributed Systems’ and ‘Parallel Processing Letters’.

Alex Jordan

Pronouns: he/him
Alex studies the evolution of social behaviour in animals – the ways single individuals come together to form stable social groups, and the behavioural, cognitive, and neuroanatomical mechanisms that have evolved to facilitate group living.

His research program encompasses traditional field behavioural ecology, computational ethology, physics of social behaviour, neurobiology, and most importantly evolutionary theory, aiming to understand both the mechanisms and the outcomes of social behaivour across species, with a focus on cichlid fishes and social spiders. His research is primarily field-focused, attempting to understand animal behaviour in the places it has evolved; Lake Tanganyika, the Mediterranean Sea, Coral Reefs in the Caribbean and Red Sea, as well as Central American rainforests