Keynote at Somnambulations

I’m delighted to be giving a keynote at “Somnambulations 2: Critical Approaches to Sleep” in Montreal (26-27 June). The conference is part of The Sociability of Sleep Research-Creation Project. I’ll be talking about “The Cultural Meanings of Insomnia”.

Here’s a brief abstract:

In many analyses, the age of globalization is also the age of a sleep crisis—or societal insomnia—largely attributed to the 24/7 society. Through the exploration of a range of texts—memoirs, fictions, self-help manuals, art installations, and TV series—this talk explores the cultural meanings of insomnia in the age of globalization and, in so doing, why this period is also widely believed to be the age of societal insomnia. In the talk, insomnia will emerge as a site where contradictory social imperatives that articulate sleep as, at once, a waste of time and essential to wellbeing merge with a range of individual and collective anxieties about life in the 24/7 globalized world, from concerns about precarity and the nature of work to concerns about new technologies and the environment. 

New peer-reviewed article on sleep-tracking

My new article, “Quantified Sleep: Self-Tracking Technologies and the Reshaping of 21st-Century Subjectivity”, co-authored with Simona Chiodo, is now available as part of a special issue of Historical Social Research devoted to “Sleep, Knowledge, and Technology: Studies of the Sleep Lab, Sleep Tracking and Beyond“. The special issue is edited by Hannah Ahlheim, Dariuš Zifonun and Nicole Zillien.

In this article, Simona and I situate the rise of everyday sleep-tracking practices within the sleep crisis discourse and explore these practices’ reshaping of 21st-century subjectivity.

Reimagining Sleep workshops – video now available

For the past few months, I’ve been working on a public engagement project, funded by the Wellcome Trust and run in partnership with The Sleep Charity, called Understanding and Reimagining Sleep and Its Disorders. The first phase of the project – a creative workshop series – is now completed. Find out more about the workshops by watching the video below and stay tuned for the project’s second phase, an art exhibition of works co-produced by workshop participants and artist Chiara Dellerba!

Video by North News; post’s image by Chiara Dellerba

CNN interview about apocalyptic stories

I was interviewed by Scottie Andrews, a CNN reporter, about our enduring fascination with the apocalypse and The Last of Us series finale.

You can read the article, “‘The Last of Us’ isn’t the first doomsday story to hit our screens. Why we’re so fascinated by the end of the world”, here.

World Sleep Day roundtable

Hot Takes: Sleep Equity and Climate Change | A roundtable at the Sociability of Sleep

For World Sleep Day, I’ll be moderating the online roundtable “Hot Takes: Sleep Equity and Climate Change” organised by The Sociability of Sleep research-creation project (Université de Montréal/McGill University). The roundtable will feature scholars Jayson Porter, Kelton Minor, Arun Kumar, Benjamin Reiss, Devon Bate and Sarah Barnes.

A recording of the roundtable is now available:

New Event: On Dreams Roundtable

On 27th January, I’ll be taking part in the On Dreams roundtable at Istituto Svizzero in Rome.

I’ll be joining artist Hunter Longe, neuroscience researcher Leila Salvesen, and moderator Eva Bossow. The event is linked to the exhibition L’arcobaleno riposa sulla strada and part of the Art-Science series, dedicated to the encounter between scientific research and artistic practices.

The three-part transdisciplinary event On Dreams at the Swiss Cultural Institute in Rome traces the multiple meanings of dreams and dreaming, and presents different approaches to the topic.

Photo by Randy Tarampi on Unsplash

Shortlisted for New Generation Thinkers 2023

I’m excited to have made the shortlist for the BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinkers 2023 scheme with a proposed broadcast on sleep and climate breakdown called “Sleeping at the End of the World”.

This prestigious talent scheme, aimed at early career researchers, is run by BBC Radio 3 and the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council. It selects some of the brightest academic minds in the arts and humanities with the potential to turn their ideas into broadcasts.

Since 2010 the New Generation Thinkers scheme has developed a new generation of academics who can bring the best of university research and scholarly ideas to a broad audience through the media and public engagement. Each year, up to 60 shortlisted applicants have a chance to develop their media skills, including programme-making ideas with experienced BBC producers at a series of dedicated workshops.

UKRI and BBC logos

Photo by israel palacio on Unsplash

New Wellcome Award

I’m delighted to have been awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Enrichment Public Engagement grant for a project titled “Understanding and Reimagining Sleep and its Disorders”.

For this project, part of my wider work on “Writing the Sleep Crisis“, I will collaborate with the team of the Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research directed by Prof Jason Ellis, The Sleep Charity, and artist and creative producer Chiara Dellerba. The project will result in a workshop series, an online art exhibition, and resources.

Supported by The Sleep Charity’s expertise we will design a hybrid workshop series in which participants from the Newcastle area having difficulties sleeping will come together with researchers and the artist to share stories, explore sleep and wellbeing knowledge, and express their lived experiences of sleep and sleep disorders creatively.

The creative outputs produced at the workshops will be collected into an online exhibition. This exhibition will also feature creativity prompts that will allow a wider audience to delve into their experiences of sleep. Responses submitted to these prompts will be added to the exhibition, creating an ever-expanding archive.

The online resources created by the researchers with The Sleep Charity will bridge the literary/cultural side of sleep and the psychology of sleep, engaging new audiences with multidisciplinary research and facilitating individual reflections and independent workshops.

The project aims at co-producing knowledge of sleep and its disorders with workshop participants, stimulating public understanding and empathy, and fostering wellbeing.

Image credit: Chiara Dellerba