Reality and Images at Wollaton Hall

We teamed up with the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Museums to contribute to the ESRC Festival of Social Science.

by Harriet Allen and Anastasia Popova


The festival is a week long celebration of all things social science related so we teamed up with the university Psychology department to investigate perception.

The Reality and Images event was held on November 5th 2016 as part of ESRC Festival of Social Science.  416 members of the public came and saw us, from the young to the old, from the local to the international visitor. It was great also to get a write up from the Nottingham Science Blog

The show featured work from the Fovolab from the Cardiff School of Art and Design. They are developing new ways to show images. They suggest that the visual system distorts what we see in subtle ways, but this means that neither traditional linear perspective or ‘fish-eye’ lenses capture how we really see things. You can see some of their images and projections here:

Activities included demo by Dr Dani Ropar and Dr Harriet Allen demonstrating shape constancy effect.


Rebecca Hirst and Dr Harriet Allen demonstrated automatic processing of words, in the ‘Stroop’ effect showing that sometimes we just can’t avoid distraction. Rebecca was also collecting data for her PhD at the event, showing that all sorts of science can really be done in the ‘field’.


Anastasiia Popova demonstrated mirror drawing and motor learning. In fact, this is an activity you can still take part in. We’ve put all the materials up on our website:



We had some of the Nottingham museum collection available to handle. You could inspect the eyes of an owl or a gibbon or a sheep…why do they have eyes where they do?

And everyone enjoyed changing their perception with prism goggles and hyper scopes.