Posts Tagged ‘University of Essex’

Some of the World I have seen…

Todd Landman’s Travel Map

The past 21 years at the University of Essex have allowed me to explore the world in ways that were never imaginable when growing up in the United States. Work in the Department of Government, Human Rights Centre, and the Institute for Democracy and Conflict Resolution has sent me to over 35 countries for keynote speeches, capacity building, workshops, seminars, conferences, and some down time. I am very grateful for all these opportunities and for all the wonderful people I have met. This nice web-based piece of software allowed me to map my journeys and take stock of the parts of the world I have seen. I am also aware of the remarkable changes in the politics of these places that has allowed such engagement, and the nearly 140 countries that are represented on our University campuses. I take heart from this level of mobility and engagement; an increasing degree of connectedness can only be good for enhancing mutual understanding, shared experience, and dampening down of the kind of intolerances that lead to convict. As I catalogue in my recent TedX talk, the world has seen a secular decline in conflict and military coups, and a gradual improvement in the protection of civil and political rights.

Todd Landman has been to: Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Vatican. Get your own travel map from Matador Network.

TEDxESSEX

Yesterday 21 October 2014, the University of Essex was host to an independently organised TED event, known as TEDx. The theme of the day was ‘Promise through research’. In following the TEDx guidelines, the format was for our speakers to present an accessible talk on a key theme from their own research that addresses the question of promise or offers promise on some issue.We also had a selection of pre-recorded TED talks that fit our chosen theme.

Todd Landman, Neli Demireva, Pam Cox

Todd Landman, Neli Demireva, Pam Cox
TEDxEssex 21 October 2014

Scheduled across four clusters, we had talks on human rights, multiculturalism, a working women’s charter, technology and the regulation of war, modelling complex and big data, public faces and new technology, the breakdown of authoritarian regimes, solutions for dyslexia, feeding the world, brain drain, moral disagreements and citizenship, and equality in the world. It was fantastic to see Essex colleagues participating with a live audience of Essex students and a live streamed audience across the internet.

The cross cutting themes of humanity, opportunity, constraints on authoritarianism, liberation, struggle, and promise were all on display with timely examples and provocative claims based on firm research and analysis. The University of Essex will in due course will be releasing some of the talks on line as per the TED guidelines and practice. An excellent day featuring amazing individuals.

The full video recording for the talk is here:

 

Academic Magic comes to life!

Yesterday I had the honour and privilege of performing my show Then and Now as part of the alumni weekend and launch of the 50th Anniversary of the University of Essex.

I performed twice yesterday for a total audience of 400 people in the magnificent Lakeside Theatre. The show was designed around the idea of highlights of our academic strengths over the last 50 years, including politics, mathematics, memories, history, literature, human rights, and philosophy. The show covered a wide terrain of ideas reminiscent of times at university, as well as enduring themes and concepts that have importance in our everyday lives.

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The audiences comprised Essex alumni from the last 50 years, staff and colleagues (current and past) and current students. We had wonderful interactions, laughter, surprises, uncanny demonstrations of mind reading and precognition, and downright magic which will be hard to repeat. The atmosphere was electric and filled with what has become known as The Essex Spirit.

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By combining academic thinking with magical performance I have sought to challenge convention, create a platform for metaphysical plurality and bring edutainment into the lives of the Essex community. It was superb to learn of people’s experiences at Essex, the subjects they studied, their friends and their favourite professors and lecturers.

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I have been at Essex since 1993 and it has been a wonderful foundation and steady firmament for an academic career that has taken me all over the world. The University was founded as an experiment with ‘fierce’ architecture filled with open squares, tall towers, and a research mindset that provides an extraordinary educational experience for all our students.

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We continue to expand and improve the University (with the highest recruitment to date) while strengthening our commitment to excellence in eduction and excellence in research.

I am grateful for our newfound confidence and the popularity of our offer to students. Celebrating our history through magic gave me a great opportunity to reflect on my time at Essex (42% of its history as I mused last night) and look forward to a very bright future indeed!

I know it will be bright, I am a mentalist after all!

Transformational Education

This week I was asked to speak to our first year business students about what a transformational education means at the University of Essex. This was both an honour and a privilege as I have always believed that a University education is truly transformational and is one of the most incredible times in your life. My own time at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1980s was unbelievably good. The professors, the campus, the extracurricular activities, and the dense social relationships all combined into four years of learning, living, and lucidity that have been a great foundation for all that I have done ever since.

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In preparing my comments for our new students, I reflected on my time at Penn with great fondness and thought back on all the changes I experienced. I also reflected on the word transformation and its different meanings. For the talk, I made reference to the natural world and included images of the life cycle for a butterfly and a frog. I then reflected on the Aristotelian notion of telos accompanied by an image of an acorn and an oak tree. Inside all of us (acorns) is an oak tree waiting to get out.

As a magician, I had of course to reflect on alchemy and the scholar magicians of the 16th century, who were interested in the conversion of base metal into gold, as well as the process of spiritual development. For me, the notion of the vessel from alchemy was important for my talk. Inside the vessel, all sorts of changes happen. The vessel as a metaphor was useful for my point about education at Essex.

We take our base material (the students), put them in a vessel (library and classrooms), ferment the students (books, lectures, knowledge, skills, relationships, learning environment), and distillation (the newly formed graduate), the result of which is a person ready to take on the world.

I shared my own personal transformation from an idyllic childhood in rural Pennsylvania to an Academic Magician living in England. To cap off the event, I performed a quick demonstration using a Rubik’s Cube and a mind reading experiment using Thomas Hobbes classic tome Leviathan.Wivenhoe House

I like the openness of the University of Essex to these kinds of ideas. It is a University that has been challenging convention since its founding in 1964 and this week was ranked among the top 100 in the world for the social sciences. It has been my professional home since 1993 and a base from where I have been able to explore the world.

Next week, the Edge Hotel School, the first of its kind in the UK for work based learning in the newly refurbished Wivenhoe House Hotel, will host my new show ‘Lifting the Veil of Ignorance’, which explores many foundational philosophical ideas through the medium of magic and mentalism.

Like the lecture, the show offers a different opportunity for transformational education, which for me, is something that is ongoing and never really reaches an end…

The Travails of Free Speech

‘Freedom of expression is the foundation of human rights, the source of humanity, and the mother of truth.’

Liu Xiaobo, 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

On Wednesday 20 February 2013, the University of Essex sought to host the deputy ambassador of Israel, Mr Alon Roth-Snirto to speak about Middle Eastern politics and the Arab-Israeli conflict for a select number of students on degree courses in the Department of Government.

The details of the event were made public a few days before, which prompted a number of students within the student union to mobilise against his appearance. On the day, it is estimated that 50 to 100 students started a demonstration outside the lecture theatre block where the Deputy Ambassador was meant to speak. His speech was interrupted, relocated and then abandoned altogether.

The student union claimed victory for their protest action and the University claimed that the students had compromised the principle of free speech. The University argued further that the actions of some students went beyond legitimate forms of protest and may well have contravened University policy as well as student union policy. The University announced that an investigation would be started into the incident. The story is covered in the Student Union’s Rabbit Newspaper.

This event reminded me of my days as a student in the 1980s at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. At that time, the students protested the University’s investment policy in South Africa to put pressure on the Apartheid regime to leave power and bring about a democratic transition. We also discussed the principle of free speech in our constitutional law classes, our politics of Latin America classes, and our history of modern Europe classes.

In my final year at Penn (1988), Louis Farrakahn, leader of the Nation of Islam was invited to the University to give a speech, this at a University whose student body was about 30% Jewish. The event was controversial but it was not cancelled. The New York Times reports that,

‘Mr. Farrakhan’s appearance is being billed by its sponsors, a coalition of 10 campus groups, as an exercise in the defense of freedom of discourse on behalf of black students who say they believe that Mr. Farrakhan’s views have been distorted and who want to hear him for themselves.’

The 1980s had other memorable free speech events, most notably the exhibition of the publicly funded photographic work of Andres Serrano, entitled Immersion (Piss Christ) in 1987, which features a plastic crucifix immersed in a jar of the artist’s own urine, and the flag burning case Texas v Johnson, where during a communist rally in Dallas, Mr Johnson set an American flag on fire.

This latter case was brought into my own after dinner discussions at home as my father, a naturalised American citizen (he had emigrated from the Netherlands in 1955) was very upset at the flag burning act itself and initially wanted the Supreme Court to uphold the rights of states to ban flag burning. I argued at that time that to allow flag burning would uphold the very principles for which flag stands. I too find flag burning morally reprehensible, but I also know that the rights for which the flag stands are far more robust than isolated incidents of anti-Americanism.

In both cases, the principle of free speech prevailed. Senators, religious leaders, and commentators have been incensed by the work and that funding from the National Endowment for the Arts had supported Serrano’s work; however, it has featured across a variety of art exhibitions and retrospectives. The work was subsequently vandalised in Avignon in 2011. The majority decision in Texas v Johnson upheld the principle of free speech, even though the justices were not happy with the result. In the concurrence with the majority opinion written by Justice Brennan, Justice Kennedy argued,

‘For we are presented with a clear and simple statute to be judged against a pure command of the Constitution. The outcome can be laid at no door but ours. The hard fact is that sometimes we must make decisions we do not like. We make them because they are right, right in the sense that the law and the Constitution, as we see them, compel the result. And so great is our commitment to the process that, except in the rare case, we do not pause to express distaste for the result, perhaps for fear of undermining a valued principle that dictates the decision. This is one of those rare cases.’

Now back to the University of Essex. A debate has ensued on campus between the leadership of the student union, dissenting members of the student union, academic staff, and University officials (although their role is not necessarily to debate but to apply University policy).

The student union leadership position can be broken down into two syllogisms. The first makes a logic of equivalence between Israel’s policy and the Apartheid regime in South Africa:

  1. The Apartheid regime in South Africa used oppressive force against black South Africans
  2. Israel uses oppressive force against the Palestinians
  3. Therefore Israel is an apartheid regime

The second syllogism argues why the Deputy Ambassador should not appear on campus:

  1. Representatives of Apartheid regimes do not have the right to speak at Universities
  2. The Deputy Ambassador is the mouthpiece of the Israeli Apartheid regime
  3. The Deputy Ambassador has no right to speak on campus

Whether such syllogisms stand up to logical scrutiny is not really relevant for this discussion. Even if they do pass a strict test of logic, there is still a very strong case to be made on the grounds of free speech for the University to allow the Deputy Ambassador to appear on campus.

The dissenting members of the student union argue that the University is meant to encourage free speech and that regardless of Israeli policy or the characterisation of the regime as Apartheid: (1) the deputy ambassador has the right to speak and (2) the students have the right to attend and engage in intellectual debate and argumentation to test the claims that would have been advanced by the Deputy Ambassador.

The university agrees with the dissenters, and so do I.

As I am teaching a course called the Comparative Politics of Human Rights, I wanted to address this issue in my class. To place our discussion in the context of the International Law of Human Rights, I began with Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

‘Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.’

And followed with Article 19 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

‘1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.

2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:

(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;

(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.’

I then showed the Serrano picture, the Farrakahn case, the Johnson case, and added the case of a recent approval from Memphis Tennessee of a march led by the Ku Klux Klan. I then showed pictures of the student protests on campus at Essex and opened the discussion.

What ensued was a mature one-hour debate on free speech, the nature of the Israeli regime and the role of the University in modern life.

There was overwhelming support for the principle of free speech. What I do find interesting is that a small proportion of the student body was able to deny the right of free speech both to the speaker and to fellow students. Moreover, the event raises the further questions concerning what other regimes this small proportion of the student body finds reprehensible and therefore ineligible to speak on campus.

Israel has sought an audience on other campuses and run afoul of other student protests (e.g. Manchester). Further afield, the President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was allegedly invited to a dinner at Columbia University (see commentary from Stanley Fish in the New York Times), while a controversial speech from Narendra Modi (Governor of the State of Gujarat) was cancelled at the Wharton School of Business at the Univesity of Pennsylvania.

These cases and the general principle of free speech intrigue me, as much of my work takes place in parts of the world where such a fundamental right is not so guaranteed (hence my quote from Liu Xiaobo above). The jurisprudence on Article 19 of the ICCPR and two general comments (GC10 and GC34) from the UN Human Rights Committee suggest that these kinds of speech events at Universities are consistent with the principles therein, and that forced cancelling of such events runs counter to the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of opinion.*

I only wish the small proportion of students that disrupted the event at Essex would reflect on this contrast and value the freedoms that are upheld in the UK in general and at our University in particular.

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*For in-depth analysis of the principle of free speech and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, see O’Flaherty, Michael (2012) ‘Freedom of Expression: Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Human Rights Committee’s General Comment 34,’ Human Rights Law Review; de Zayas, Alfred and Martín, Áurea Roldán (2012) ‘Freedom of Opinion and Freedom of Expression: Some Reflections on General Comment 34 of the UN Human Rights Committee, Netherlands Human Rights Law Review, LIX: 425-454.

Reflecting on 2012 & Looking Forward

My year was topped and tailed by quality time with mother. In January I spent a week in Virginia with her catching up on life, love and politics while sampling many musical delights and taking in the southern charm of Norfolk. The end of the year saw her come to our home here in England to enjoy the best that country life in Suffolk can offer.

My mother is what I would describe as a ‘quiet feminist’ who battled against deep patriarchy in corporate America in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, first by returning to University to get a BA and then MA, and then in the world of health insurance. She worked hard, put her head down, and achieved great success despite the odds. While the glass ceiling was there, it certainly needed to be raised after her career and I am immensely impressed by her and hugely proud of her. She is a bedrock of wisdom in difficult times and a sheer joy to be with.

Family life has been a joy this as my eldest daughter continued in high school, my stepson finished primary and entered secondary school, and my youngest started in reception. Three kids in three schools makes for a hectic but rewarding schedule, while our menagerie of animals at home keeps us quite busy!

My year’s activities involved travel, publishing, teaching, business development, institution building and of course magic! In many cases, these activities were not mutually exclusive, but reinforcing and interdependent in ways that have enriched my experience.

Travel

The travel schedule was heavy this year with international obligations taking me to the United States, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Mozambique and Ukraine. In each location, I have met truly wonderful people and made new friends, while nurturing old friendships. Work involved lecturing, training, and giving key note speeches primarily on global trends in democracy and human rights, as well as the value of systematic research and evidence-based advocacy and policy making. Downtime in these venues allowed for a little sightseeing and walking as well as bit of magical entertaining.

Publishing

2012 saw a lot of work come out in books and articles, with some pending publications coming out in 2013 that have been completed from my desk. These include:

Books

Articles

  • Bent Flyvbjerg, Todd Landman and Sanford Schram (2013) ‘Tension Points: Learning to Make Social Science Matter,’ Critical Policy Studies, forthcoming.
  • Bent Flyvbjerg, Todd Landman and Sanford Schram (2013) ‘Political Political Science: A Phronetic Approach,’ New Political Science, forthcoming.
  • Todd Landman, David Kernohan and Anita Gohdes (2012) ‘Relativsing Human Rights,’ Journal of Human Rights.
  • Todd Landman (2012) ‘Projecting Liberalism in a World of Realist States: David Forsythe and the Political Science of Human Rights’, Journal of Human Rights, 11 (3): 332-336.

Chapters

  • Todd Landman (forthcoming 2012) ‘Social Science, Methods and Human Rights’ in Mark Gibney and Anja Mihr (eds) The Sage Handbook of Human Rights, London: Sage.
  • Todd Landman (forthcoming 2012) ‘The European Union and the Promotion of Democracy and Human Rights’.
  • Todd Landman (forthcoming) ‘Measuring Human Rights’ in Michael Goodhart (ed) Human Rights: Politics and Practice, 2nd edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Todd Landman and Anita Gohdes (forthcoming 2012) ‘A Matter of Convenience: Challenges of Non-Random Data in Analyzing Human Rights Violations during Conflicts in Peru and Sierra Leone’ in Taylor Seybolt, Jay Aronson and Baruch Fishoff (eds) Counting Civilian Casualties, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Todd Landman (2012) ‘Foreword’ in Bethany Barratt, The Politics of Harry Potter, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Todd Landman (2012) ‘Framing the Fight: Public Security and Human Rights in Mexico’ in George Philip and Susuna Berruecos (eds.) Mexico’s Struggle for Public Security: Organized Crime and State Responses, London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 99-118.
  • Todd Landman (2012) ‘Narrative Analysis and Phronesis’ in Bent Flyvbjerg, Todd Landman, and Sanford Schram (eds) Real Social Science: Applied Phronesis, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 27-47.
  • Bent Flyvbjerg, Todd Landman and Sanford Schram (2012) ‘Introduction: New Directions in Social Science’ in Bent Flyvbjerg, Todd Landman, and Sanford Schram (eds) Real Social Science: Applied Phronesis, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1-12.
  • Bent Flyvbjerg, Todd Landman and Sanford Schram (2012) ‘Important Next Steps in Phronetic Social Science’ in Bent Flyvbjerg, Todd Landman, and Sanford Schram (eds) Real Social Science: Applied Phronesis, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 285-297.

Papers and Reports

  • Anita Breuer, Todd Landman and Dorothea Farquhar (2012) Social Media and Protest Mobilization: Evidence from the Tunisian Revolution, Paper prepared for the 4th European Communication Conference for the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA), Istanbul, Turkey, 24-27 October 2012.
  • Todd Landman, Alejandro Quiroz-Flores and Dorothea Farquhar (2012) Democratic Governance and Sustainable Human Development, United Nations Development Programme, Oslo Governance Centre, Oslo.

Teaching

I was honoured to teach a methods course in Vienna for human rights students, a comparative methods course for the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis, and my course The Comparative Politics of Human Rights.

Business development

My work as the Director of the Institute for Democracy and Conflict Resolution at the University of Essex has me engaged with partner organisations from the public and private sector as we seek to generate new high value content for a wide range of users. We developed a pilot mediation training course, and delivered other forms of training as part of our work in parliamentary strengthening. Our research capacity was used for a wonderful UNDP project on democratic governance and sustainable human development and we engaged with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance on staff training.  Our work with the Mackman Group has been excellent and culminated in the launch of our ESRC-funded Human Rights Atlas.

Institution building

The year has seen continued development of Institute for Democracy and Conflict Resolutionand Psycrets: The British Society of Mystery Entertainers. The IDCR goes from strength to strength as we engage in a variety of challenging and rewarding projects across training, research and policy analysis. Psycrets has expanded its international network and celebrated its 5th Anniversary with an amazing volume entitled Liber Mentis, edited by Steve Drury.

Magic

Finally, the world of magic continues to inspire me and push my capacity for creativity and innovation. I have enjoyed performing with Pool Voodini in our show The Edge of the Unknown. I have performed around the UK and further afield as I never leave home without a little magic. The highlight of the year has been my appointment as a Visiting Professor of Performance Magic at the University of Huddersfield where I conducted a drama workshop entitled The Magician, the Mentalist and the Mystic. I have joined the editorial board of the new Journal of Performance Magic, which will have its inaugural issue in Spring of 2013.

While 2011 was the year of the Arab Spring, 2012 featured the prolonged and inclusive struggle in Syria that has taken so many lives, a regression in the positive steps taken by Egypt, and another unfortunate conflict between Israel and Palestine. A large proportion of the world breathed a collective sigh of relief with the re-election of Barack Obama in the United States, but he faces many challenges not least of which his increasingly worrying drone policy, the fiscal cliff solution (which may or may not happen tonight), and the on-going battle over gun control after yet another mass shooting (this time in a primary school).

Life under austerity will continue and the struggle in the Eurozone will continue for 2013, as European democracies search for long term solutions for failed economic models. I have stressed this year and will continue to stress that the financial crisis in Europe is a problem for democracy not a problem of democracy.

On a positive note, we all survived the Mayan Apocalypse and as 2013 marches on, may we agree with Daniel Pinchbeck and see a shift in global consciousness towards more peace, more understanding, and empathy for our fellow humans instead of over self-centred egotism and maximisation of material self-interest. The New Year brings many challenges, but the human spirit and capacity for overcoming adversity is strong. My new book Human Rights and Democracy: The Precarious Triumph of Idealsis guided by a simple belief that humans have incredible desire and capacity for demanding a better life and to challenge oppression wherever it may manifest itself. While 2011 saw the election of Dilma Rousseff the first female president of Brazil and former prisoner of the military regime, 2012 saw the election of Ayn San Suu Kyi to the Burmese Parliament. These examples and others serve as positive reminders of what is possible, which is why I welcome the new public and open letter from 73 Chinese academics calling on the new regime to accelerate the much needed political reforms to complement the otherwise impressive economic progress that has been achieved.

No doubt 2013 will be another roller coaster ride, but let’s hope the net experience is a positive one!

Happy New Year!

Recapturing the Essence of Magic

I am delighted to have been appointed as Visiting Professor of Performance Magic at the University of Huddersfield.

The post was launched on 13 October with a performance workshop with drama students in the Milton Theatre on the main campus of the University. The evening featured my show with Paul Voodini, The Edge of the Unknown to a sold out crowd who were taken on quite a mysterious journey influenced by none other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

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The workshop is entitled The Magician, the Mentalist and the Mystic, and explores different performance styles that are popular today in what Prospect Magazine has called ‘The New Magic’ (see my blog post The New Magic is the Old Magic). The participants experienced three very different short performances at three different ‘tables’:

  • The magic table involved classic close-up illusions using cards, coins, cups and balls, and a series of locked boxes;
  • The mentalist table used nothing more than a few envelopes, some dice, and a drawing pad to create hard hitting mind reading with numbers, names and choices that were seemingly divined out of thin air;
  • The mystic table was replete with books, crystals, boxes and a discussion of all things metaphysical as a route to quite a different set of experiences.

After each performance, participants were able to discuss their impressions and the impact of what they saw and experienced. In keeping with the Magician’s Oath* methods were not discussed, but the time was used to reflect on the framing of each performance experience and the different contract that was established with the audience.

The rich qualitative data gathered during this event will be combined with other results of research that I have been conducting on magical performance over the years and will appear as a scholarly article in the near future.

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The workshop participants then attended the evening performance, which begins with the question:

‘Is it deduction, deception, or something more?

The question is never answered, but the audience is asked to ruminate on it as they experience over 90 minutes of uncanny demonstrations involving mind reading, coincidences, alienism, psychology, visualisation, past life regression, and spiritualism among other enduring mysteries.

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The Professorship is also associated with the new Magic Research Group and the Journal of Performance Magic also based at the University of Huddersfield. There is a dearth of scholarly study of performance magic as an art form and a key aspect of popular culture. The public figure of the magician has evolved from the Rennaissance ‘magus’ and ‘cunning folk’ to sophisticted stage magician and now the ‘new’ magician embodied in such fugures as David Blaine and Derren Brown. The group and the journal are dedicated to the scholarly study of this popular art form in all its many guises and permutations.

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In additon to the roles and responsabilties associated with this new post, I am also pleased to be working with Marina Warner and Elizabeth Kuti at the University of Essex on a board to supervise fellow Magic Circle Member Will Houstoun (consultant on Martin Scorcese’s Hugo) on his PhD thesis that explores the social history and impact of one of the most famous magic books: Professor Hoffmann’s Modern Magic.

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*“As a magician I promise never to reveal the secret of any illusion to a non-magician, unless that one swears to uphold the Magician’s Oath in turn. I promise never to perform any illusion for any non-magician without first practicing the effect until I can perform it well enough to maintain the illusion of magic.”