Brain Day a chance to get creative

LAUREN PRIESTLEY
Last updated 05:00 13/03/2013
Brain Day
BRAIN FOOD: Clinical neuroscientist Cathy Stinear says Brain Day is for everyone.

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Get your thinking cap on and your grey matter ready.

Brain Day is coming to Auckland this weekend and aims to bust myths about creativity.

Clinical neuroscientist Cathy Stinear says the day will be a real eye-opener.

"What we're hoping to do is break down the idea that you're either creative or you aren't. It's for everyone - we've all got a brain."

The 41-year-old St Heliers woman works at the University of Auckland Centre for Brain Research.

She says this year's Brain Day is not just for people affected by brain disease.

It will be looking at questions such as: Can we train creativity? Can accountants be great artists, or scientists become musicians? What is it that stops us?

"Scientists can now study creativity itself. We can look at the brain when you have those ‘eureka' moments. What is the brain doing? How is it firing then?"

And creativity does not have to be out of the ordinary.

A stay-at-home mum is imaginative in everything from the voices she uses in bedtime stories to what she chooses to put on the dinner table, Dr Stinear says.

"Those activities are intensely creative. Don't just assume it's all for other people. We can all be creative and lively and our brain will be better for it if we do."

Brain Awareness Week is a global campaign running this week to increase public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research.

It gives scientists the chance to show where New Zealanders' money goes when they donate to brain research, she says.

"The brain is one of the last great frontiers in research. To me that's incredibly exciting."

Auckland Brain Day topics include the need for adults to play, art as therapy, understanding emotion through science and possible benefits of brain diseases.

The event has been running for the past eight years under the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand's sponsorship. It is one of four bustling brain days throughout the country and attracts more than 3000 people every year.

Neurological Foundation general manager Sue Giddens says Brain Day demonstrates how people can live healthier lives.

"We wanted to showcase the power and reach of neurological research and the hope that it provides to hundreds and thousands of New Zealanders.

"But it's also about people being aware that what's good for your heart is good for your brain."

COME ALONG Brain Day is a free public event at the Auckland University Business School, Grafton Rd on March 16 from 9am to 4pm. It includes interactive activities, thought-provoking lectures and discussion groups based around the theme: Your Creative Brain. Registration is essential. Go to brainweek.co.nz for more information.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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