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Dr Katie Featherstone at Cheltenham Science Festival

19 June 2012

CheltSciFest Programme

SONMS Director of PGR, Dr Katie Featherstone, spoke at the Cheltenham Science Festival this weekend as part of a Cardiff sciSCREEN event, sponsored by the Medical Research Council. 

Katie said of the event: ‘It was a great evening- the festival staff really looked after us and we all felt like VIPs. I also know the other speakers from Cardiff quite well, so it was fun to be on the panel together.’

After a special screening of the award-winning film Take Shelter (starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain), in which a young husband and father is haunted by visions, delusions or premonitions of an apocalyptic storm, a panel of experts participated in a wide ranging discussion exploring some of the themes and ideas raised within the film: the nature of psychosis, risk and uncertainty, family relations and the power of storms. The speaker's different perspectives prompted a wide-ranging and lively debate with the audience. Katie adds: 

‘We had a great response from the audience and it was interesting that the majority of the questions were around my area- stigma, risk, family. I find that the more public events I do, the more I want to do- it’s great to discover that there are lots of people out there who want to hear about our work and to discuss new scientific developments and their wider social impact.’

Katie was joined on the panel by colleagues from Cardiff schools of History and Medicine, as well as Professor John Thornes from the University of Birmingham.  

Dr Katie Featherstone is the School's Director of Postgraduate Studies (Research). Her research focuses on the sociology of biomedical knowledge, with particular emphasis on the social consequences of genetic technologies. For this talk she spoke about the film in relation to family, genetics and risk, drawing on her book ‘Risky Relations: family, kinship and the new genetics’.

Cardiff sciSCREEN is a cross-disciplinary programme that promotes the engagement of the public with science and the academy. Using special showings of new release films, sciSCREEN uses local academic expertise to discuss contemporary developments in science in an understandable and entertaining way, facilitating debate on the wider social and cultural implications of these advances. These discussions draw on a range of disciplinary perspectives and the broad repertoire of themes found within contemporary cinema. It runs regular events with Chapter Arts Centre and details of previous screenings and the 55 essays speakers have produced can be found on the Cardiff sciSCREEN website

Katie founded Cardiff sciSCREEN in collaboration with the  MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG), ESRC Centre for Social and Economic Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen), and the Wales Gene Park.