The Words on Wonder concept is simple, I interview a host of creatives, magicians and scientists about their work and how they cultivate & share wonder. They are all people who have inspired me in my own work or just made me go “Wow!”
Mark McGuinness is an award-winning poet who coaches talented, inspiring and ambitious creative professionals to fulfil their potential. He has written four books for creative professionals and contributed to two international best sellers published by 99U. He is the host of The 21st Century Creative Podcast.
Susan Engel is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Founding Director of the Program in Teaching at Williams College. Her research interests include the development of curiosity, children's narratives, play, and more generally, teaching and learning. She has authored 9 books including The Hungry Mind: The Origins of Curiosity in Childhood and the upcoming release The Intellectual Lives of Children.
Rubens Filho is a man not afraid of change. He was a lawyer, then a creative director for many years. Now Rubens is an entrepreneur, innovator, CEO and Director of Spells at Abracademy. He believes the world needs magic. Abracademy wants to change the way companies think by helping them understand the magic of their people. Using magic (yes, real magic!) as a tool, Abracademy helps people and teams connect, and collaborate. They're putting belief and wonder back into business.
Tiu de Haan is an Oxford-educated creative facilitator, imaginative mentor and ritual designer, specializing in reminding people how to shift their perspective to see the magic in the mundane. Her talks, workshops and unique curated experiential adventures are all about creating moments of meaning that connect us to ourselves, each other, and our own creativity.
She has worked with Google, the World Economic Foundation, L’Oreal and the UN, and collaborates with world-leading neuroscientists, quantum physicists and chemists to create experiences that wake up our sense of wonder.
She is also consults for global brands on rituals for beauty, food and wellbeing, as well as creating bespoke rituals for times of transition for individuals, communities and organizational change. Her Tedx talk ‘why we still need ritual’ is about the art of celebrating the transitions of life, love and death and has had over 20k views.
Kalyani is a science television researcher and a travel and wildlife photographer. Her adventures have taken her to the peaks of the Himalayas to the depths of the South African oceans. As a biologist and science communicator, wildlife photography and filmmaking is her main passion and she has been fortunate to have slept in bear hides in Finland, diving with sharks and she even slept through a leopard attack in India.
Alex Staniforth is a record-breaking adventurer, endurance athlete, inspirational speaker, author and mental health activist, aged 24 from Chester – now based near the Lake District. Alex knows a thing or two about overcoming adversity, having experienced the two biggest consecutive disasters in Mount Everest history, including the 2015 Nepal earthquake which trapped him on the mountain for two days. In July 2017 he became the fastest person ever to climb all 100 UK county tops to raise awareness of depression and eating disorders, and winning the Pride of Britain Granada Reports Fundraiser of the Year 2017. In 2019 he founded ‘Mind Over Mountains’ to help others restore mental well-being through outdoor experiences.
Professor Chris French is the Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and a Patron of the British Humanist Association. He has published over 150 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics. His main current area of research is the psychology of paranormal beliefs and anomalous experiences. He frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal claims. His most recent book is Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Belief and Experience.
Jon Marshall is potty about sideshows, for over thirty years he was a friend of the late Jon Gresham, Magician, Fire-eater and Sideshow proprietor. Jon Marshall is the founder of Sideshow Illusions and has led a creative team in restoring and presenting Gresham's shows using their original frontages and props. Jon has worked in theatre all his life, performing magic professionally as a teenager and in 1970 becoming Director of Theatre in Education at Hull Arts Centre and later Director of Humberside Theatre. In 1982 Jon formed Magic Carpet Theatre presenting children's theatre productions and other shows throughout the UK and internationally, they are still touring. Jon is a Member of The Inner Magic Circle with Gold Star and in 2017 was awarded the David Berglas Award for Outstanding Contribution to Magic by the British Magical Society. Jon has been able to combine his passions for magic, sideshows and theatre in many projects, whether training Zombies for the University of Sheffield or presenting Professor Jon's Flea Circus.
Luc is a French Canadian professional illusionist from Montreal. For the last 12 years, he has been performing on Canadian and French TV, and on tour around the province of Quebec and in Europe (mainly in France). He started performing magic full time in 2008 while he was doing his physics Ph.D (in biophotonics). His scientific background plays a big role in the creation and presentation of his routines.
Paul is a well-known industry speaker on Behavioural Science – a topic he describes as “understanding how real people make real decisions in the real world”. After three decades in the investment industry, he left Goldman Sachs in 2014 to set up Paul Craven Partners Ltd. to help his clients enhance their communication and sales skills.
Outside of work, he is privileged to be a member of the exclusive Magic Circle, thus bringing an extra psychological perspective on how “your mind plays tricks" to his business talks.