#24 Nerd Nite – 4 April 2017

Three awesome speakers will discuss what exercise does to your neurons, craftivism and game design.

Pick up food from Huxtaburger from across the road and eat at the venue with cold beers from Mr Wow’s EmporiumBe there and be square!

Tuesday, 4 April 2017
at Mr Wow’s Emporium
97b Smith Street, Fitzroy
Doors 7pm/$5

*Presentation 1
Is exercise an aphrodisiac for neurons?
by Dr Michelle Rank
DescriptionNeurons are the basic working units of the nervous system. We are able to move, speak and think because of how neurons in the brain and spinal cord connect and communicate with each other. When things in the nervous system go wrong, like after a spinal cord injury or a stroke, our neurons lose their connections and stop communicating. This ‘silent treatment’ means that can’t move, speak and think in the same way. Exercise is often touted as the magic elixir to improve almost any health condition, but can it also help people recover from a spinal cord injury or stroke? Is exercise the aphrodisiac that can help our neurons get connected and stop giving each other the silent treatment?
BioDr Michelle Rank is a Senior Lecturer at RMIT University. She has always been interested in pushing the boundaries of neuroscience research to unlock the secrets of neuron communication. Her research explores why injury to the brain and spinal cord is so devastating, and how exercise can help repair and recover damage to neural networks caused by stroke or spinal cord injury.

*Presentation 2
by Jacquie Tinkler
Description:  Melbourne is renowned for its street art, and amongst the painted graffiti, paste ups and stencil pieces you will sometimes find pieces made from fabric and yarn. Using these mediums, street artists create artworks that include pieces that deal with difficult social issues such as domestic violence and homelessness, as well as works that directly protest the actions of government. Using craft as way of drawing attention to political issues is called ‘craftivism’ and it can involve street art methods as well as political actions and performance. This presentation will explore the work of a number of practising craftivists and their political motivations and messages.
Bio: As a craftivist, Jacquie seeks to communicate her frustration with the increasing conservatism in Australia through craftivist actions. Prior to segueing into academia, Jacquie taught art and craft in schools, and continues to weave art through everything she does, including her current academic work. Jacquie maintains that craft can be introduced into a number of unexpected places in order to reframe our understanding of our social and political lives. She founded and curates the Facebook pages The Crochet Collective and Craftivism and Radical Gardening, which collectively have almost 140,000 followers worldwide. In Australia Jacquie has been an active member of Knit Your Revolt – a network of crafters sticking their needles to misogynistic knit-wits and extreme conservatism.

*Presentation 3
Imagination: storytelling and games design
by Dan Fish
Description:  Since before the first clay covered hand was slapped on a cave wall, humanity has been telling stories, using imagination to escape into alternate realities. Sometimes these stories have been pure escapism, other times parables, or records of heroic deeds, or even ways to understand the things that seemed inexplicable. Imagination is one of the gifts that humanity possesses,  so what is it, and where does it come from? What is this creative font we have been blessed with? Dan Fish talks about where imagination comes from, how it has helped him in his personal world, and to do so all within the context of creative writing and games design.
Bio: Dan Fish is but a single human, clinging to the thin crust of a planet hurtling through space, and wondering how cosmic chance was kind enough to provide gravity. In his time he has done many menial and repetitive tasks for money, most of which were quite forgettable. He has also been wandering worlds of his own design since he was a child, and has been writing, designing and playing games for as long as he can remember. Many times through his life he has sat up late at night having conversations with himself. Apparently if you write them down you are not mad.

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