Will Houstoun

Pedagogical Prestidigitation: Magic in Educational Contexts

Abstract

Magic has historically been framed as a pedagogical tool, with a Victorian explosion in amateur interest in the subject tied to the idea that learning to perform magic would teach useful skills. Young people were encouraged to practically learn how to perform magic tricks, not so that they would become professional conjurers, but because the transferable skills they developed would be useful in the furtherance of their professional careers and the service of the British Empire.

Today, magic is also being used to teach a range of transferable skills. During the past decade I have combined a practice as a professional magician, performing shows around the world, and a teacher of conjuring, working with a diverse range of students in a wide array of settings. My current work at the Imperial College/Royal College of Music Centre for Performance Science is one such example, looking at how magic can be used to prepare undergraduate medical students for clinical interaction with patients in settings such as the consultation, as well as how music students can more broadly think of performance. In this setting, magic can offer students a safe and attention-grabbing context in which specially selected tricks allow exploration and consideration of techniques and approaches that can translate directly into their main area of study.

Will Houstoun
Will Houstoun

Biography

Will Houstoun, a Member of The Inner Magic Circle and winner of The European Magic Championships, has a PhD in magic history as well as a Literary Fellowship from The Academy of Magical Arts in Los Angeles. He has extensive teaching experience with groups ranging from experienced magicians to home educated children to young people with physical and psychological disabilities. Will is the Magician in Residence at the Royal College of Music/Imperial College London Centre for Performance Science, a Research Associate in Imperial College’s Faculty of Medicine, and a Research Fellow at The Victoria and Albert Museum Research Institute. Will also regularly consults for film and theatre, with past projects including The West End’s The Twilight Zone, The Royal Opera House’s Katya Kabanova and Martin Scorsese’s Hugo.

Visit Dr Will Houstoun’s website

Chris Powis

This talk will explore how moving to a more fluid and democratic model has worked for students and staff, how far integration has managed to overcome barriers to collaborative working and what it means for the campus post-COVID.

Abstract

The University of Northampton moved to a brand-new purpose-built campus in August 2018.  Rather than replicating the way that campuses have grown up to mirror the organisational structure of the university (with a library, Faculty buildings, a Student Centre etc) the Waterside Campus, built around an active blended learning strategy, compacts its academic operations into just three buildings. A Creative Hub contains the labs and studios, Senate has the research units and some general teaching rooms and everything else is found in the huge Learning Hub.  This integrates the academics, including Learning Development, and all student-facing professional services hotdesking across open workspaces, over half of the teaching rooms, social and other open learning spaces, food and drink outlets and the library collections.  In doing so it provides all the resources, people and space that a student would need in one building, but without differentiating spaces and without any one person or department owning any of the space.

This talk will explore how moving to a more fluid and democratic model has worked for students and staff, how far integration has managed to overcome barriers to collaborative working and what it means for the campus post-COVID.

Chris Powis
Chris Powis

Biography

Chris Powis is Director of Library and Learning Services (LLS) at the University of Northampton, having previously worked for Oxford University and UWE, and is responsible for the Learning Development and the central University Learning and Teaching brief as well as the Library, Learning Technology and Educational Linguistics teams. He is a Fellow of CILIP, a Principal Fellow of the HEA, a National Teaching Fellow and an author on teaching and learning and library spaces.