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'Crossing the Barriers' Lecture Series 20 April 2017

Crossing the Barriers Lecture Apr2017: Nicky Clayton and Clive Wilkins

Observations from the Edge of Beauty~

an Arts-Science Collaboration


Clive Wilkins (Artist-in-Residence) & Nicky Clayton (Professor of Comparative Cognition)

Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge


Thursday 20 April 2017

Theatre, Peterhouse


The Lecture is free and open to all postdocs (registration needed)


Lecture Poster - please download and display in your department

We shall argue that the ontogeny and evolution of art has been systematic, plotting the vicissitudes and changing perceptions of Homo sapiens. Patterns for mark making and the establishment of wordless thoughts, as they have unfolded over millennia, signpost aspects of our humanity, our ways of seeing and our strategies for thinking. They provide crucial insight into memory, mental time travel and perception in ways that have seldom been explored. We stand at a cross roads where the integration of the history of art with the cognitive neuroscience of memory and perception affords a unique access to the potential for human development. If we choose to believe the future exists outside of our expectation, we may discover it lies within our grasp.

The Crossing the Barriers lecture series aims to promote University of Cambridge postdoc research visibility by offering an environment to exchange ideas, concepts and views across different fields of research, as well as offer postdocs an experience of college life and an opportunity to meet and network.  

Postdocs from all disciplines are invited to come to the Lecture.



Professor Nicola Clayton

Nicky Clayton is the Professor of Comparative Cognition in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. Nicky is psychologist, ornithologist and dancer. She has written over 250 publications on cognition and ways of thinking in crows and humans, and is particularly interested in the processes of thinking with and without words. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2010 and she is also Scientist-in-Residence at Rambert (formerly Ballet Rambert), a position she has held since 2011.

Clive Wilkins

Clive Wilkins is Artist-in-Residence in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, a position he has held since 2012. Clive is a writer, fine art painter, and dancer. His paintings have been frequently seen in London Mayfair art galleries. 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 series of four novels designed to be read in any order as an intentional exploration of memory, perception and mental time travel.

Nicky Clayton and Clive Wilkins dancing the tango

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 ofthinking and the nature of creativity ( They have lectured and performed widely in the UK, Europe, USA, Asia and New Zealand to science and arts audiences in universities and in public venues including Tate Modern, Wellcome Collection, British Library, Royal Institution, Contemporary Arts Society, Cheltenham Festival and the Hay Festival.



This event will take place on Thursday, the 20th April. The Lecture will start at 6pm in the Theatre.


Attending the lecture is free, but registration is needed.

How to Book:

You need to register using the form below if you plan to attend the Lecture.

We expect that this event will be sold out so please register to guarantee a place.

▪    STEP 1: Complete the registration form below

If you are only attending the Lecture that is all you need to do.