British Science Festival 2022

As part of the British Science Festival in September 2022, we hosted a talk about pain and an evening of mind-bending body illusions.

The pain problem

Our panel of experts took a packed and curious audience on an entertaining journey through how the brain makes sense of the physical body and the sensory signals it interprets as being a threat through the lens of the lived experience of persistent pain.

Our experts helped the audience understand that ‘hurt does not always mean harm’ and that ‘what we feel is always real’. The lively panel discussion that followed provided a fascinating insight to potential, meaningful future research directions.

Images (below) courtesy of artist Anna Fraser Exmoor

Mind-bending body illusions

For four hours, hundreds of children and adults of all ages immersed themselves in the weird and wonderful world of sensory illusions. 

Half of the mind-bending body illusions on show were invented by a Loughborough academic - so it was a real pleasure to see how much everyone enjoyed taking part. Across 16 illusions, each taking around a minute, we estimate that we delivered around 1,000 individual interactions - with some people returning to do their favourite illusions again and again!

It was also great to see our range of experts being engaged to help visitors delve further into the background, future, and purpose of our research, as well as to hear the public’s take on it all. These interactions help deepen our understanding of the brain’s perception of our bodies and help us to provide practical research - designed to benefit people in the real world.

We couldn't have asked for a better response – and can’t wait to do it all again.

Visit the gallery
Visitor to the BSF2022 explores one of the mind-body illustions

Changing how the body feels

Find out how our audience at the British Science Festival felt about their bodies after they had taken part in our 16 sensory illusions.

You'll be as surprised as they were!

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