Keeping you up to date with events in the UK related to face blindness.
Hot off the Press
3rd May 2018 “The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder” by Sarah Harris, published by HarperCollins. A novel that looks at life through the eyes of Jasper, a 13 year old boy with face blindness (prosopagnosia) and synaesthesia, as he struggles to make sense of events unfolding around him.
Review by Hazel
As someone with face blindness myself, I dived into this novel with great curiosity. There are lots of instances that Jasper relates which are familiar to me – failing to recognise someone he talked to 5 minutes before, Jasper muses “He tricked me by taking off his grey jacket”. And the story is full of rehearsed strategies and excuses, which I too use every day, seeking to blend in, to act like others and to avoid offending people. “I’m sorry I forgot”, “Sorry I didn’t see you there”. Jasper recognises “It’s a lie of course, but a useful one”.
But despite this I found Jasper’s confusion in identifying people quite disconcerting. Finally I realised that while this reflects my own lived experience of the world, I’m used to immersing myself in a luxury of certainties when I pick up a book. A world presented in unequivocally identified characters ‘Matthew approached Sarah’, ‘Juliet sat in the library’ etc. Rather Jasper endeavours to distinguish ‘Diamond Pullover Man’ from ‘Dark Blue Baseball Cap Man’, using identifiers that I know (as well as he does) can change in an instance. I feel heartened by this discovery, realising that readers are getting an insight into my world.
However, as the title suggests, Jasper has another unusual sensory condition, a form of synaesthesia which evokes colours out of voices. This creates a very visually stimulating read, and though it’s not something commonly associated with face blindness, here it provides an excellent device for capturing the traits that people with face blindness do use to recognise others, a mixture of posture, gait, voice, personality – all of which help us to connect with the essence of the person that we know and to feel comfortable in their presence.
Though there were times when I felt as confused as Jasper, ‘The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder’ is a story that pulls you in and kept me guessing to the last.
Face Blind UK produces a newsletter every six months.
It includes book and film reviews, links to newsletters and research, and Top Tips for living day to day with prosopagnosia. To receive your copy direct join the Face Blind UK mailing list.
From the USA – a regular newsletter with a research focus on children with developmental prosopagnosia is produced by Dr Kirsten Dalrymple from the University of Minnesota. You can find out more on their website or sign up to recieve the newsletter direct.
The first Face Blind UK Open Meeting was held on the hottest July day on record – we were very grateful for the air conditioning of our hosts at Birkbeck College, London.. The day included updates on both the organisation and current prosopagnosia research projects across the world. In the afternoon there wer workshops to discuss the development of new resources and plans for Face Blind UK into 2016. Summary of the Meeting.
The University of Birmingham are running a three week FREE online course ‘Good Brain, Bad Brain’, designed for the non-specialist, but providing you with a better understanding of the language of the neuroscientists and the functioning of the brain. Hope to meet up with some of you online! Register now – www.futurelearn.com/courses/good-brain-bad-brain-basics
Our first newsletter with Top Tips, reviews, news of forthcoming events ….. and the odd penguin or two!
To have future issues emailed to you direct simply add your name to our mailing list.
Brain AwarenessDay (BAD!) at Goldsmiths
- Public Lecture: The Life of Brian (the brain) – historical look at the study of the brain Professor Martin Eimer – Birkbeck School of Science (Free – ticketted event)
- Market Place: a reception with refreshments where organisations that work with people with brain-related issues (e.g. Headway, The Encephalitis Trust, etc.) will put up stalls which provide information about their services
- Question Time: panel discussion including research participants discussing what it means to live on a day to day basis with brain damage
A newsletter focussing on prosopagnosia research and sharing this with the face blind community.
This ninth issue of Face to Face looks back over how the research in this area has developed o
ver the last 20 years, and provides links to recent articles in the news.
It also includes the profiles of some of the lead researchers in the field, based at Birkbeck College, University of London.
Science Week Lecture “How the brain recognises faces”
Speaker: Professor Martin Eimer – B
irkbeck School of Science (Free – ticketted event)
We encounter many different faces every day, and most of us can easily recognize the faces
of familiar individuals
. In fact, face recognition is a complex achievement which involves several different cognitive and brain mechanisms. This talk, will examine how the brain processes faces, and why some people find face recognition very difficult.
NHS – new Read Code
Prosopagnosia now has its own ‘Read Code’- F481M. This means that ‘prosopagnosia’ is now included on the thesaurus used by the NHS and GP surgeries for recording conditions on patient records
Prosopagnosia Symposium – June 2014
“Prosopagnosia: Living with and Researching Face Blindness” 20th June 2014
This annual event, run by Birkbeck College, London, brought together members of the scientific community and those whose lives are affected by face blindness.
NHS Choices lists Prosopagnosia
Prosopagnosia was listed for the first time on NHS Choices from 18th June 2014.
Westminster Roundtable – June 2014
A Roundtable Meeting at Westmins
ter launched a national campaign, he
aded by Bournemout University, to raise awareness of prosopagnosia and gain formal recognition for the condition.
Prosopagnosia Open Day – September 2012
The second annual Prosopagnosia Open Day included a mix of presentations from people affected by face blindness and researchers from Birkbeck College and Bournemouth University
Prosopagnosia Open Day – September 2011
The first national Prosopagnosia Open Day, for people affected by face blindness, was held at Birkbeck College in 2011