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Lila Allen

Based in New York, Lila is a writer and editor focused on design, art, and architecture. In addition to The Slowdown, she has written for The New York Times, Architect's Newspaper, AD Pro, and Metropolis, where she was managing editor. She also contributed to Design for Children (Phaidon) and the forthcoming book DRAMA (Phaidon).

Lila Allen's Articles

People dancing at London's Covent Garden

This Digital Tool Kit Reveals How Art Benefits Our Brains

To stay healthy, we know that our bodies need nourishment, hygiene, and exercise. According to those who study neuroaesthetics, how the brain responds to and engages with various forms of creative expression, they need art, too. Susan Magsamen, a leader in the field (and the guest on Ep. 34 of our At a Distance podcast) who runs the International Arts + Mind Lab (IAM Lab)—an initiative at John Hopkins University’s School of Medicine that connects brain scientists with artists to fuel neuroaesthetic research—has long maintained that artistic experiences go hand in hand with mental, emotional, and social well-being. Last month, the IAM Lab teamed up with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Google Arts & Culture to create Arts + Health & Wellbeing, an immersive online tool kit that offers visitors an engaging dose of art, and consequent mental fitness, from anywhere with an internet connection. (Google and the IAM Lab previously joined forces to create a series of rooms informed by the principles of neuroaesthetics at the 2019 Salone del Mobile design and furniture fair in Milan, as discussed by Ivy Ross, Google’s VP of hardware design, on Ep. 11 of our Time Sensitive podcast.)

Clinical psychologist Margaret Klein Salamon.

This New Online Forum Lets Anyone Air Their Anxieties About the Climate Crisis

The fallout from the climate crisis gives us plenty to fear: habitat destruction, extreme weather, and—in case you slept through the last year—global pandemics. But clinical psychologist Margaret Klein Salamon, founder and board president of The Climate Mobilization advocacy group (and the guest on Ep. 51 of our At a Distance podcast), believes that fear and other intense emotions are some of our best tools for pursuing meaningful climate action. “Passion and moral conviction have always been at the heart of successful social movements,” she says, noting that these traits fuel “acts of greatness and courage.” Yet for years, emotions have been sidelined in climate change dialogue in favor of the exacting academic detachment of scientific presentations, contributing to what Salamon sees as cognitive dissonance among the public. So, through her new discussion-focused platform Climate Awakening, Salamon recently launched Climate Emotions Conversations, a digital forum for people to express their emotions out loud.