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Art and the Brain Seminar: Music and the Brain

November 1, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

The topic for this session is Gershwin and Shebalin.

Art, creativity, neurology, and psychiatry may seem to be divergent disciplines but their connections to brain function and brain disorders are a common feature. Reciprocally, art explores new ideas, metaphors, and conceptions that contribute to the ways we understand the world and the brain.
Disorders of the brain, including epilepsy, psychosis, depression, dementia, stroke and many others alter our ability to perceive, conceive, imagine, move, speak, sense, and emote in many ways. The creative process involves the highest levels of cognition and integrated brain function, implicating the frontal cortex, language areas, memory and learning areas of the brain and many others. Clinicians often observe these alterations in their daily work, yet the interaction between biological changes and the artistic expressions associated, and how these can inform us about our humanity, remains poorly understood and seldom explored.
Artists like Van Gogh, Dostoevsky, Edgar Allan Poe, Apollinaire, Flaubert, Beethoven, Handel, Ravel, Maupassant, Dazai, and many others suffered neurologic and neuropsychiatric events that significantly altered/contributed to their creativity and artwork. Through readings and explorations of their art, we will examine and discuss how the various neurologic and neuropsychiatric disorders of famous artists is associated with their art, and how art has contributed to the development of neurology and medicine.

Our main goal is to foster creative innovative interdisciplinary conversations and destigmatize brain disorders. Conveners and attendees will read chapters from the 4-book series entitled “Neurologic Disorders in Famous Artists” and examine the primary work of famous artists during monthly seminars. Furthermore, participants will explore the connections between these subjects in an open discussion. Belger and Roth will guide the brain discussions and faculty from the Art, Art History, and Comparative Literature fields will lead and curate the artists’ work.

Each meeting will be held in person and on zoom, with the recording published online to our website and a digital video archive (TBD). Logistical Questions? Email


November 1, 2022
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


UNC Psychiatry
UNC Neurology