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Normal? Festival of the Brain

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A message from Normal? Festival of the Brain organisers



We expect you know what we are going to say… It is with sadness that we must tell you that Normal? Festival of the Brain is being postponed. It will be happening, we just don’t know when – yet.

Our festival is all about bringing people from across our wonderful Folkestone community together, to explore, question and connect around the festival themes. This year the themes are The Growing versus Knowing Brain, Power/Hysteria, and Touch. Apt themes, I am sure you will agree. Themes that we feel will continue to be relevant in the months ahead. The festival also runs writing workshops in the run up to the festival and we had just begun Stacy Makishi’s project Church of the Latter Day Sinners. These are also affected. We want our festival community, including the national and international artists and speakers, to be kept safe and to be able to fully engage with all elements free from worry – from group meals to debates to dance workshops to installations, to theatre. We trust this will be possible very soon.

We are keeping the new podcast strand of the festival going, and we will be making call-outs about these once we have worked out the logistics. As time passes, we will ask what is needed in our town – and, with our partners, we will be collaborating on extending our podcasts and online materials.  In the meantime, the mental health of all of us is a priority. Let’s stay connected online and express ourselves where we can.

We want to thank everyone who is part of the festival, all the participants, artists, audience and speakers.

With love from us for now.


Susanna, Cheryl and Diane



Normal? Festival of the Brain 2020

Thursday 30 April - Sunday 3 May 2020

Normal? Festival of the Brain brings science and art together over four days to delve into and question the brain. In 2020’s festival we will be exploring the concept of ‘the growing versus the knowing’ brain.

This isn’t about not learning, or that knowledge isn’t important, but that sometimes we can hold onto thinking we ‘need to know’, and that can stop us from connecting to each other, growing towards each other, and learning to ‘know’ in a new way.

As we move into a future where so many processes will be operated by machines, we might also explore our human qualities that perhaps can’t be emulated. The hidden within our brains and our beings.

And connected to this we might be exploring touch, and power in connection to the overall theme.

This idea has been inspired by the world we are all living in right now, local conversations, and by Living Words’ new partners East Side Institute in New York, and it’s founder Lois Holzman’s book ‘The Overweight Brain’.

Normal? Festival of the Brain is co-curated by Living Words, Creative Folkestone and Folkestone Fringe with input from the local community. Come and join us at our community meetings to become part of Normal? Festival of the Brain 2020. Let us know what you think – and feel.

Keep up to date and find out more about Normal? 2020 by following us on Twitter @BrainFestUK 

Become a member!