Nicky Clayton is the Professor of Comparative Cognition and a University Teaching Officer in the Department of Psychology at Cambridge University, and a Fellow of Clare College. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2010.
Her expertise as a scientist lies in the contemporary study of how animals and children think. This work has led to a re-evaluation of the cognitive capacities of animals, particularly birds, and resulted in a theory that intelligence evolved independently in at least two distantly related groups, the apes and the crows. She has also pioneered new procedures for the experimental study of memory and imagination in animals, investigating its relationship to human memory and consciousness, and how and when these abilities develop in young children.
In addition to scientific research and teaching, she is a dancer, specializing in tango and salsa. She is also Scientist in Residence at the Rambert Dance Company, collaborating with Mark Baldwin, the Artistic Director, on new choreographic works inspired by science (Comedy of Change, 2009; Seven For A Secret Never To Be Told, 2011; What Wild Ecstasy, 2012). She has appeared on BBC television and radio on numerous occasions.
Her most recent collaboration with artist Clive Wilkins arose out of their mutual interest in imagination, and its consequences for consciousness, identity and memory. They also regularly dance tango together.
Clive Wilkins works as a fine art painter and has exhibited widely including at the National Portrait Gallery, London on several occasions. He has also exhibited at the Royal Academy and various Mayfair galleries. He had a one man show at Petley Fine Art, Cork Street 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. He is currently Artist in Residence in the Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge.
His writing and paintings have been 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.
His most recent work, ‘The Moustachio Quartet’, is a novel in four parts published by ‘Wind on the Wire Publishing’. The series [‘Caruso’, ‘Zapik’, ‘Mannikin’ and ‘Eissenstrom’] explores imagination and questions aspects of consciousness, perception and reality amidst the miasma of being. The first three volumes were featured at the 2015 Hay Literary Festival. The final book in the series ‘Eissenstrom’, published in 2017 was featured at the 2018 Hay Festival.
Clive is a performer and professional magician (MMC) with a particular interest in the nature of illusion and the psychology of perception and the methods used to make sense of a strange world.
He lives in the heart of England in the small county of Rutland. In his spare time he is a teacher, flautist, origamist and tango dancer. Clive was awarded a professorship by Nanjing University of Technology in 2018.
Wilkins is currently working on a new novel entitled ‘The Lost Library of Miraculous Metaphors & other Short Stories, due for publication before 25th June 2024.