Department of European Languages and Cultures

Connecting Memories keynote lecture: Professor Richard Morris

We are delighted to invite you to the Connecting Memories research initiative's first keynote lecture of 2018.

Join us for a talk by Professor Richard Morris of the Centre for Cognitive and Neural Systems at The University of Edinburgh on ‘The making, keeping and losing of memory’. 

The talk will be followed by a Q&A and wine reception.

The event is free of charge but booking is essential via Eventbrite as numbers are limited

Book now on Eventbrite


Memory is central to our life and identity. Our brains make memory traces automatically as we go about our daily life. We also forget a lot - it’s natural. Automaticity, achieved by changes in the synaptic connections between memory processing cells in the brain, ensures that the system does not have to ‘decide’ in an instant what to keep and what to lose. The risk of the system becoming ‘saturated’ with too much information is avoided because forgetting serves the essential subtractive function of keeping things within range. But what memories get kept and which are lost? Novelty guides the selection of what the brain keeps; we not only remember surprising things, but also events that happen around the time of surprise. Of what is left at the end of the day, the brain consolidates what most interests us during sleep. That is, it fixes what fits best with our existing knowledge, and this fixing process opens up the opportunity for memories to be changed such that we the remember things that, in practice, never happened. The assimilation of the new with the old means that - paradoxically - familiarity matters too. Finally, there is loss. Some of it is benign, the so-called “seven sins of memory”. More extensive problems in the capacity to remember and the experience of accelerated forgetting can, of course, become a major problem in Alzheimer’s Disease, and other age-related brain disorders, and this appears to happen due a breakdown of the very cells in the brain that mediate normal memory. 

About the Connecting Memories research initiative

​​Connecting Memories is a collaborative interdisciplinary research initiative that sets out to open up a space for presently unconnected scholars working on memory to interact, to share their perspectives and reflections on what memory means in the context of their research. 

Founded by Paul Armstrong Leworthy and Bárbara Fernández Melleda (PhD candidates in Comparative Literature and Hispanic Studies respectively), the Connecting Memories group is based in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures (LLC) at the University of Edinburgh.

The group's objective is to connect scholars working on memory, not only from across the School but also across the University, and from further afield too. 

Having launched in November 2017, the group's first keynote lecture was delivered by Professor Gustavo San Román (The University of St Andrews) on 'The Purple Land of Memory and Identity' in December 2017.

Find out more on the Connecting Memories website

Connecting Memories keynote lecture: Professor Richard Morris

Richard Morris from the Centre for Cognitive and Neural Systems joins us to talk about ‘The making, keeping and losing of memory’ .

Project Room (1.06)
50 George Square