Dr Diletta De Cristofaro

Dr Diletta De Cristofaro shortlisted for New Generation Thinkers 2023

Dr Diletta De Cristofaro has made the shortlist for this prestigious talent scheme with a pitch for a broadcast based on her research on sleep and climate breakdown. Her proposed broadcast is called “Sleeping at the End of the World”.

The New Generation Thinkers scheme, aimed at early career researchers, is run by BBC Radio 3 and the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council. It selects some of the brightest academic minds in the arts and humanities with the potential to turn their ideas into broadcasts.

Since 2010 the New Generation Thinkers scheme has developed a new generation of academics who can bring the best of university research and scholarly ideas to a broad audience through the media and public engagement. Each year, up to 60 shortlisted applicants have a chance to develop their media skills, including programme-making ideas with experienced BBC producers at a series of dedicated workshops. Of these, up to 10 are selected as New Generation Thinkers, to be announced in Spring 2023.

BBC and UKRI logos

Photo by israel palacio on Unsplash.

New Wellcome Award

Dr Diletta De Cristofaro has been awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Enrichment Public Engagement grant for a project titled “Understanding and Reimagining Sleep and its Disorders”.

Hosted by Northumbria University, the project is a collaboration between Dr De Cristofaro, the team of the Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research directed by Prof Jason Ellis, The Sleep Charity, and artist and creative producer Chiara Dellerba. It will result in a workshop series, an online art exhibition, and resources.

Supported by The Sleep Charity’s expertise we will design a hybrid workshop series in which participants from the Newcastle area having difficulties sleeping will come together with researchers and the artist to share stories, explore sleep and wellbeing knowledge, and express their lived experiences of sleep and sleep disorders creatively.

The creative outputs produced at the workshops will be collected into an online exhibition. This exhibition will also feature creativity prompts that will allow a wider audience to delve into their experiences of sleep. Responses submitted to these prompts will be added to the exhibition, creating an ever-expanding archive.

The online resources created by the researchers with The Sleep Charity will bridge the literary/cultural side of sleep and the psychology of sleep, engaging new audiences with multidisciplinary research and facilitating individual reflections and independent workshops.

The project aims at co-producing knowledge of sleep and its disorders with workshop participants, stimulating public understanding and empathy, and fostering wellbeing.

Further information and the sign-up form for the workshop series is available on the project’s dedicated page on this website.

Image credit: Chiara Dellerba.

META Lecture

On 27th April, 1pm CEST, Dr Diletta De Cristofaro will be delivering a META lecture at Politecnico di Milano titled “Sleep Mode: Technologies and the Sleep Crisis“. Full details here, abstract of the lecture below.

We are in a sleep crisis: sleep disorders are on the rise and people are sleeping less and less, with disastrous effects on health. Or at least, this is what some studies claim, incessantly amplified by the media. In fact, sleep scientists are divided on whether or not our society is suffering from this crisis of poor sleep. Yet the discourse of contemporary society as profoundly sleep-deprived dominates cultural production. Why have insomnia, burnout, and exhaustion become the main lenses through which we think about sleep in our present? Considering a range of examples from twenty-first-century literature, visual arts, popular and digital culture, this lecture explores the ambiguous role of technologies in the discourse of the sleep crisis: how they are blamed for this supposed public health emergency and, at once, positioned as a possible solution to the crisis. I argue that technologies, and their representations in contemporary culture, illuminate a nexus of concerns, affects, and imperatives that underlie the discourse of the sleep crisis.

Upcoming Talks at Conferences

In April-May 2022, Dr Diletta De Cristofaro will be presenting conference papers about the project at the BSLS (British Society for Literature and Science), PCA (Popular Culture Association), “Everyday Embodiment and Technology in Science and Speculative Fiction” symposium (University of Leeds), and APL (Association for Philosophy and Literature). Further details below.

8 April 2022, 9am BST

Fictions of the Sleep Crisis

The British Society for Literature and Science annual conference, Manchester, UK.

14 April 2022, 9:30am EDT

“Sleep is the Enemy”: The Sleep Crisis in Contemporary Popular Culture

Popular Culture Association annual conference (virtual). This paper is part of a panel about Sleep in Contemporary Popular Culture with Professor Cressida Heyes and Dr Paul Huebener.

6 May 2022, 2:30 BST

Sleep Mode: Technologies and the Sleep Crisis

Everyday Embodiment and Technology in Science and Speculative Fiction” symposium, University of Leeds, part of the Imagining Technologies for Disability Futures project.

26 May 2022, 1:15pm MDT

Re-Imagining Sleep under Climate Breakdown

The Association for Philosophy and Literature 2022 conference, Banff, Canada. This paper is part of a panel about Representing Sleep with Professor Cressida Heyes and Professor Alanna Thain.

Sleep and Digital Health Online Conference

The project’s conference on the theme of Sleep and Digital Health will take place online on 27-28 June 2022.

The conference will explore the nexus of sleep and digital health from a range of disciplinary perspectives. The deadline of our call for papers has been extended to 21st March 2022.

Find out more about the conference and the CfP here.

Free registration is open here.

The conference is hosted by Politecnico di Milano and funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement 892459.

Highlights video of Sleep Stories and the Science of Sleep event now available

Watch the video collecting highlights of the launch event of Sleep Stories at Durham Book Festival 2021

Sleep Stories and the Science of Sleep” launched the “Sleep Stories” commission at Durham Book Festival, a podcast series featuring stories about sleep by leading British writers. The event delved into the science and culture of sleep. Dr Diletta De Cristofaro was joined by author Salena Godden, Professor of sleep science Jason Ellis, and neuroscientist and writer Dr Erik Hoel.