News Postgraduate Traces

Sleep and Dreams: a Postgraduate Memory Network Seminar

On Thursday the 20th March from 3-5pm the Postgraduate Memory Network will be holding its first seminar of 2014 at the University of Roehampton on the subject of ‘Sleep and Dreams’, featuring three talks from its members:

Adele James (Psychology PhD student, Roehampton):

Dreams and memory

What role does dreaming play in memory? Adele will discuss how dreaming might play a vital part in consolidating memory during sleep from a neuropsychological perspective.

Joelle English (English lit. MA student, Royal Holloway):

Sleep in Medieval Romance

When we think of romance it is easy to think of brave knights fighting monsters and rescuing maidens, so why do they keep falling asleep? Those familiar with popular fairy tales such as ‘Sleeping Beauty’ would imagine a maiden in an enchanted sleep awoken by her knight in shining armour. In medieval romance however, it is the other way round. I will explore how sleep progresses narrative action through passivity and the implications this has on chivalric ideals as well as gender roles and their exchange in Chrétien de Troyes’ Romances and The Lays of Marie de France.

Michael Jenkins (MSc Psychology, York):

Using sleep to study memories in neuroscience

This talk will begin with an introduction on how sleep and memory is closely linked, and particularly how sleep can be used to improve memory performance. The mechanics of sleep, as well as the neuroimaging technique known as polysomnography (PSG), will be explained. The talk will then go on to present a recent MSc project conducted by two of the PGMN’s executive committee members, which looked at whether sleep is specially linked with the consolidation of emotional memories.

The event will take place in the Convent Parlour of Digby Stuart College. For more information, please visit the PGMN’s websites:


Postgraduate Memory Network Statement

The postgraduate branch of the Memory Network is an opportunity for postgraduate students to engage in a dialogue between different disciplines on the role of memory in both academic and public life. We want to bring together graduate students from a variety of academic backgrounds to share new insights into memory and how it is conceived, discuss their implications, and reflect on how this conversation can help to broaden their scope in future research. A driving vision for the network is to create a dialogue between the sciences and humanities, and to achieve a combined effort in formulating and answering questions surrounding human memory and the brain. Memory is fascinating for writers and scientists alike, and particularly relevant in the current political and cultural climate, in which the World War One centenary is raising issues related to forgetting as well as remembrance, while the neurosciences continue to make impressive progress on mapping the human brain. Given what our new findings can tell us about ourselves, how do we proceed with this knowledge? What is the role of academic research and the humanities in understanding the experience of memory? Remembering and forgetting are vital parts of our daily lives, both on an individual and on a collective level. The Memory Network hopes to encourage more interdisciplinary discussion of such everyday topics, building on an appreciation of the increasingly blurred line between traditionally separate scientific and artistic endeavours. We hope to excite, encourage and enable students to join us in this urgent and fascinating dialogue through seminars, events and conferences. If anyone knows postgrads in any academic discipline who might be suitable to join the steering committee, please contact Max Berghege at