The Power of the Placebo Effect

13.OCTOBER.2018 • 16:00 - 18:00

Image: Christian Wilhelm von Krohnemann, 1677. Furnaces and alchemical apparatus.

The Lowry
Pier 8, The Quays
Salford M50 3AZ

Tickets: £5/3
Book now

What is the placebo response? Why do things like the size, shape, colour and branding of pills, and the manner in which they are given, and by whom, have a sizeable, sometimes radical effect on their effectiveness? In this panel discussion, leading scientists and artists will begin to unpick the complex relationships between the brain, mind, and our ability to heal, considering how placebo relates to topics including pain, empathy, and charisma.

Part of The Power of Placebo – a national programme of events to accompany our new performance, Placebo.


Speakers include:

Anthony Jones is Professor of Neuro-rheumatology at the University of Manchester and leads the Human Pain Research Group. Over the last 35 years he has used functional brain imaging techniques to understand the normal and abnormal mechanisms of pain perception.

Anita Shervington is a community engagement consultant and Director of Community Perspectives, an emerging organisation dedicated to creating equity within and through STEM. Anita explores how science can be driven by social justice and powered by inclusive, equitable and culturally relevant research.

Dr. Jeremy Howick is a Senior Researcher and Director of the Oxford Empathy Programme, at the University of Oxford. His research draws on his interdisciplinary training as a philosopher of science, clinical epidemiologist, international rower, yoga teacher, and public communicator (his most recent book Doctor You is being released in the US on June 5th). He has published over 80 academic papers and a book on Evidence-Based Medicine and placebo effects, and is currently the director of the Oxford Empathy Programme. He has always been driven by the desire to improve people’s health.

Ria Hartley is an interdisciplinary artist, researcher, activist and educator based in Manchester. Informed by her lived experiences, she makes process-based biographically driven work that explores the intersections of race, class gender and sexual orientation. Her recent project ecologies of care [eoc] is an initiative designed to raise awareness and increase best practice for the health and wellbeing of artists and arts workers across the sector.


Book tickets to the 8pm performance of Placebo at The Lowry after this event.


Presented in association with Manchester Science Festival 2018.


Image credit – from Christian Wilhelm von Krohnemann. Universal Tinctur, 1677. Author’s holograph. Illustrated with 50 large drawings in water-colour or wash of furnaces and alchemical apparatus, flasks, etc. Produced in Bayreuth.