Scotland fears European arts exodus

Scotland fears European arts exodus

Survey suggests EU nationals may leave after Brexit

Clare O'Brien to run Mall Galleries

Clare O'Brien to run Mall Galleries

Clare O’Brien, director of Chiswick House, is to be the Mall Galleries’ new chief executive.

Uphill road to broadening art audiences

Uphill road to broadening art audiences

Research for Art UK shows that bringing young and black and multi-ethnic (BAME) people to art is a daunting task, against competition from social media.

TAITMAIL    Time for artists to stop speaking for themselves

TAITMAIL Time for artists to stop speaking for themselves

Next week is Tessa Jowell’s memorial service, and I hope there will be space in the tributes for mention of her greatest achievement, the most democratising event in Britain since the war: the 2012 Olympics.

Jubb stands down at Battersea Arts Centre

Jubb stands down at Battersea Arts Centre

David Jubb is to leave Battersea Arts Centre after 14 years as artistic director and CEO.

 Rights of Man and the White Hart, Lewes…

Rights of Man and the White Hart, Lewes…

Thomas Paine and his seminal work The Rights of Man are in the spotlight at Lewes in Sussex this weekend, and particularly at the White Hart Hotel.

V&A focuses on photo history with new centre

V&A focuses on photo history with new centre

The history of photography with some of the most iconic images ever taken as well as the earliest equipment are at heart of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s new Photographic Centre.

Borland’s ghostly tribute to WWI

Borland’s ghostly tribute to WWI

A major, though-provoking sculpture by Turner nominee Christine Borland to mark the end of the First World War was unveiled at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow today.

Bradford museums success

Bradford museums success

Visitor numbers up but opening hours under threat

Bid to bring Titanic items to UK scrapped

Museum consortium outbid by hedge fund

 A life class for the arts

A life class for the arts

Research says that the arts do not represent the British people, but Create London, set up ten years ago by Hadrian Garrard, aims to change that. He gave Simon Tait a progress report

Richard Alston Dance to close

Richard Alston Dance to close

Richard Alston Dance, for decades one of the most influential contemporary companies, is to close.

Fears over future of print museum

Fears over future of print museum

Plans announced to demolish Norwich home of unique collection

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM   Image of the month

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

London, 1949: Life in the Elephant, by Bert Hardy

Donmar appoints Henny Finch

Hofesh Schechter ceo to join Longhurst

TaitMail       Citizen culture

TaitMail Citizen culture

By Patrick Kelly.

In this Brexit buffeted age of austerity, it can be hard for the arts to see much cause for celebration. Money is tight and will get more so, if the noises coming out of the Treasury about further belt tightening to pay for extra support for the NHS are to be believed.

£200k to restore oldest hat factory

£200k to restore oldest hat factory

Historic England has granted £200,000 to bring Hat Works, Luton’s oldest hat factory, out of dereliction.

Art meets the future in York

Art meets the future in York

York’s historic streets play host to a new kind of arts festival. Patrick Kelly reports

THEATRE Love power of theatre’s sniff factor

New research by neuroscientists at University College London shows that the thrill of drama can literally make the audience share a heartbeat. Simon Tait reports

People enjoy arts events together, rather than alone at home in front of a screen, because of what Professor Gavin Henderson, principal of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, likes to call “the sniff factor” – the sharing of exhilaration inspired by performance.

Until now that has been a well-informed theory, but the University of London (UCL), in association with Encore Tickets, has made it a fact. People who enjoy watching a live performance together

“Usually, a group of individuals will each have their own heart rates and rhythms, with little relationship to each other” says Dr Joseph Devlin, head of experimental psychology at UCL. “But during experiences with heightened levels of emotion, people’s heart beats can become synchronised, which in itself is astounding.

“Experiencing the live theatre performance was extraordinary enough to overcome group differences and produce a common physiological experience in the audience members.”

Devlin’s team had monitored the heart-rates and skin response of selected members of the audience at a live performance of the Olivier- winning musical Dreamgirls. They found that even the heart beats of strangers at the show were beating at the same time.

They also found that friends continued to react together during the interval, and that such synchronisation can actually cause people to like each other more.

Theatre visits, the team found, can bring families closer together, or help a date go well. The co-ordination of heartbeats has been linked by the research to team performance, trust, empathy and simply people liking each other. Following on, the unified response experienced at a live performance can help break down social differences and bring people closer. The connection, said Devlin, could reach deeper to the subconscious level.

The study found that almost half of people (46%) enjoy the theatre experience because of the atmosphere that comes with being in the audience, and almost two thirds (59 per cent) of people feel emotionally affected by a live performance.

The research programme is the latest in a series looking at heart rate synchronicity, and previous studies of people watching firewalking – walking barefoot over red-hot coals - synchronised their heartbeats in time with the firewalkers themselves – and the synchronicity increased the more closely the walker and watcher were related.

The UCL research found that participants who knew each other continued to synchronise throughout the interval, while the other members of the audience fell out of sync without the performance to connect them.

“This clearly demonstrates that despite the social group differences, the performance was a strong enough influence to cause physiological synchrony, engaging the audience as a whole” says Devlin.

The new research was led by the UCL’s division of psychological and language sciences ( a title that happily reduces to PaLS) and was conducted by Devlin, Dr Daniel C. Richardson and John Hogan of UCL’s department of experimental psychology and Dr Helen Nuttall  of Lancaster University.

They monitored the heart rates and electro dermal activity of 12 audience members at the live Dreamgirls performance.

www.ucl.ac.uk/pals/pals-news/audience-members-hearts-beat-together

 

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