RawMinds: Performing Magic at the Wellcome Collection

I loved learning magic, meeting new people and coming out of my usual comfort zone.

The challenge

Wellcome Collection’s remit is to connect science, medicine, life and art. And under that umbrella, the RawMinds project aims to offer opportunities to young people – to develop new skills, collaborate and socialise with peers, work with professionals, engage with Wellcome Collection’s content, and have their work showcased to the general public visitors.

We were tasked with teaching this year’s RawMinds group magic and support them to put together a show for a grand finale – performing to the public at the Smoke & Mirrors exhibition. A significant component of the project brief was to boost confidence and engage the young people with the science of magic, in order to echo the exhibition content.

How the magic happened

Over the course of ten days, we worked with the group to go from novice to stage-ready. We started by introducing the foundations of magic. Using the Magician’s Toolbox we looked at knowing your audience, performance styles and the science of magic. We then dug deeper to identify and refine their individual performance styles, develop their storytelling and scripts, and of course – rehearse rehearse rehearse!

Thanks to the Wellcome’s fantastic network, the group met guest speakers from the worlds of magic and science, as well the Wellcome itself – Alastair Hopwood,  curator of Smoke and Mirrors. The group were able to watch other performers and talk to them, getting tips and advice.

The most important aspect of this project was the journey of personal development that the group went through. In order to get them to their final performances, we had to, among other things, develop their presentation and social skills, imagination and creativity, confidence, and belief in themselves. Each individual within the group learned a lot about themselves – how to make choices, how to be intentional about what they do, and the strengths they engage while interacting or presenting to others. By the end of the project they were not only ready to perform, but better prepared for a more meaningful life by unleashing their own inner magic. Boom!

Their performances were part of the in-gallery series of shows developed by professional magicians and academics for the Smoke and Mirrors exhibition public programme. It was a huge opportunity for the young people to share that platform and the fact that they excelled so brilliantly was the icing on the cake! 

The outcomes

  • Learning the power of collaboration
  • Stepping out of comfort zones
  • Increased confidence
  • Improved presentation and communication skills
  • Strategies to cope with stage fright
  • Dealing with adverse situations, when things go wrong

⚡ Success! ⚡


of the group performed to the public at the Smoke & Mirrors exhibition!


elated, confident and newly-skilled young people graduate from RawMinds 2019


visitors performed to during RawMinds performance week!

“Working with Abracademy to develop and deliver such a positive experience for the RawMinds project participants has been great. It was incredible to witness all of the young people enjoying the opportunity to confidently perform to such large audiences in our gallery, which would not have been possible without the care and expertise of the fantastic Abracademy team!”

Chloe Trainor, Youth Programme Producer

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