Talking about noggins with NW NOGGIN Neuroscience outreach

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If you like things that start with the letter b, here’s three I can offer to you in one night: brains, bikes, and beers. This week, I’m co-presenting with PSU speech-language pathology grad student Lauren Ficker as part of NW NOGGIN’s presentation series. In this series, they pair up a scientist with an artist and take people on an interactive ride around various topics in neuroscience and how the brain works. That’s the brains part. The bikes and the beers? Their series is held at Velo Cult in the Hollywood District. It’s that nice bike shop with a beer bar inside.

NW NOGGIN stands for Northwest Neuroscience Outreach Group (Growing In Networks). They provide awesome hands-on neuroscience education in schools and other programs using the arts. Students might sculpt brains out of clay, paint brain models, twist pipe cleaners into neural networks, and do improv acting, to name a few things. To read more about why the NOGGIN folks feel so strongly about integrating arts into science education, check out their blog post on STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Math). In my first life as an artist, I did this kind of stuff all the time: teaching classroom subjects through arts and play. I could write teaching goals that worked toward state benchmarks in fun ways. In one class, we went to Mars and broadcast news reports about it, including weather reports. Kids were racing to look up the names of meteorological phenomena so they could report on what they expected to see when they landed.

So yeah, while I always write on this blog about disability community using the arts to make social commentary, do rehab or therapy, or to express their truest selves, I’ve never forgotten my roots as a drama teacher. OK, I usually forget my previous career, but looking at the above-linked NOGGIN blog, I suddenly remembered that I used to do that stuff. Thanks, guys! The arts allow you to customize and personalize so many things in the way that you teach material and in the way that you learn and express what you learned about it. I can’t advocate for it enough.

In honor of Women’s History Month and National People With Brain Injury Appreciation Month (no one else calls it that but me), please come out to Velo Cult for our talk called “Traumatic Brain Injury: Comedy, Communication, Community.” We can promise some science learning, comedy film, and great tips for improving communication to best integrate peers with brain injury back into the community equitably.

NW NOGGIN flyer for "Traumatic Brain Injury: Comedy, Communication, Community" has a brain in a top hat walking down the street in colorful pants, about to slip on a banana peel.[Image description: NW NOGGIN flyer has a brain in a top hat walking down the street in colorful pants, about to slip on a banana peel. Hardy har har!]

Thursday, March 10th
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Velo Cult @ 1969 NE 42nd Ave. (easy access from #12 and #75 buses)

See ya there!