Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 August 2019

Explore the workings of the brain at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival

Brain: The Inside Story is presented in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History in New York and promises to reveal the secrets of the human brain using state-of-the-art interactive installations.
The Upside Down act at the festival. Courtesy Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival
The Upside Down act at the festival. Courtesy Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival

Ever wondered how thoughts form inside our head? Or how and why we feel a range of ­emotions, such as happiness, sadness, anger or jealousy?

Find out at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, where visitors will be taken on a journey inside the human mind.

Brain: The Inside Story is one of the highlights of this year’s festival, which runs from Wednesday until April 29 at the Sharjah Expo Centre. Presented in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History in New York, it promises to reveal the secrets of the human brain using state-of-the-art interactive installations.

The journey begins with a look at a three-pound ­preserved brain. Visitors then head through a “tunnel of firing neurons”, an installation created by Spanish artist Daniel Canogar. He uses lines of light projected onto hanging wires to highlight the brain’s electrical impulses and connectivity.

There are also brain-scan ­images and brain-teaser games designed to entertain and enlighten children and adults alike.

Why put such a focus on the brain during a festival about books and reading?

“We wanted to show how the brain creates the critical faculties we use to process and make sense of the written word,” says Ahmed Al Ameri, chairman of the ­Sharjah Book Authority, which organises the annual festival.

“It also covers the emotional aspect of the brain, which is responsible for allowing us to enjoy different forms of literature.”

The displays also shed light on advancements in neuroscience, highlighting the brain’s surprising ability to rewire itself in response to experiences, disability or trauma. Also on show will be technologies used to study and treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

There are fun workshops, too. The Brain Roller Coaster uses virtual reality to take visitors through the different areas of the brain, explaining how it thinks, feels emotions and evolves over time.

“Feel Your Brain At Work introduces children to the tools their brains use to learn, play sports, listen to music and read, and how it differs from person to person,” says Sahar Riad, a ­managing partner at The Brain Workshop in Dubai, which will be conducting workshops.

Similarly, What An Amazing Brain will explore factors that affect the brain functions such as sleep and exercise, and compare the human brain versus to those of other species.

It is important, says Riad, for children and parents to know how our brains work.

“The brain is the most important organ in the body,” she says. “It helps us think, feel, act. It holds our memories and emotions – it is what makes us human.

“Learning about the brain, how intricate and malleable it is helps children understand and appreciate themselves and others. It helps them become aware of the necessity of caring for their brains through healthy habits.”

Other activities at the fair include personal appearances by a host of regional and international children’s authors, theatrical performances, an art exhibition and a cookery corner.

• Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival runs from Wednesday to April 29 at the Sharjah Expo Centre. Entry is free. Visit www.scrf.ae

artslife@thenational.ae

Updated: April 16, 2017 04:00 AM

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