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Wednesday 14 March: 5:00pm - 6:30pm

Clare College, Latimer Room, Trinity Lane, CB2 1TL

This interactive event led by Professor Nicky Clayton and Clive Wilkins will focus on Thinking Without Words. ‘Tango’ and the world of performance magic are used as exemplars to demonstrate ideas discussed and explore the notion of thinking without words and beyond words, an alternative way of capturing thoughts, experiences and ideas. These are the tools we use to explore the subjective experience of cognition, where our imaginative powers allow us to think outside the box and generate non-verbal synergy.


Nicky Clayton FRS is Professor of Comparative Cognition in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. She is particularly interested in the processes of thinking with and without words, comparing the cognitive capacities of crows and children. Nicky read Zoology at the University of Oxford and then a PhD in bird song learning at the University of St. Andrews before returning to the University of Oxford as a University Research Fellow and a Junior Research Fellow at Linacre college, Oxford. She was appointed assistant professor at the University of California Davis in 1995 and rapidly rose through the ranks to associate professor in 1998 and full professor and chair in animal behaviour in 2000. Later that year she returned to the UK to take up her current position in the department of psychology at the University of Cambridge. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2010 and is also Scientist-in-Residence at Rambert (formerly Ballet Rambert), a position she has held since 2011.

Clive Wilkins MMC is Artist-in-Residence in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, a position he has held since 2012. Clive is a fine art painter and writer, and a Member of the Magician’s Circle (MMC). Clive’s paintings have been frequently seen in London Mayfair art galleries including at the National Portrait Gallery, London on several occasions. He has also exhibited at the Royal Academy and in private galleries in Cork Street, London - where he had a one man show in 2007. His work can be found in public and private collections. Clive has produced portraits of Sir Howard Hodgkin and Sir Peter Blake amongst others and has been presented publicly to HRH Princess Royal. His written work has appeared in print on numerous occasions, most notably in his published work 'The Creatures in the Night', a story written and lavishly illustrated by Wilkins in 2008 and most recently ‘The Moustachio Quartet', a novel in four parts, of which the final one has recently been published by WIND on the WIRE (2017). It explores imagination and questions aspects of consciousness and reality amidst the miasma of being.

Nicky and Clive met on a dance floor… They are co-founders of The Captured Thought, which is an arts and science collaboration that explores mental time travel, the subjective experience of thinking and the nature of creativity ( They have lectured and performed widely in the UK including Tate Modern, Wellcome Collection, British Library, Royal Institution, Contemporary Arts Society, Cheltenham Science Festival and the Hay Festival. They have also taught in many countries across the globe in Thailand, North America, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as many locations in Europe.

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Bookings currently unavailable

Bookings will open at 11am on Monday 11 February


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Additional Information

Age: 15+, Hands-on, Arrive on time, Free