The Media of Mediumship
Encountering the Material Culture of Modern Occultism in Britain's Science, Technology, and Magic Collections
Encountering the Material Culture of Modern Occultism in Britain's Science, Technology, and Magic Collections


Laurence Cliffe is a creative technologist and currently a research associate based at the University of Nottingham’s Mixed Reality Laboratory. Laurence has a background in communications, web and mobile application development as well as designing immersive installation experiences. With an interest in interactive sound technologies, specifically audio augmented reality, Laurence was a collaborator on the AHRC-funded Sonic Futures project at the National Science and Media Museum and has worked with the Science Museum Group developing and researching prototype sound installations that seek to explore the potential of audio augmented reality in re-sounding silenced museum exhibits and providing interfaces to digital audio archives. In 2015 Laurence was awarded a Net Art grant from The New Museum, New York and his work with audio augmented reality has been demonstrated at a number of international conferences.

Andy Cooper (performing under the stage name Ashton Carter) is a magician and storyteller specialising in bizarre magic and the recreation of séances.  He is an independent scholar and an associate of the Magic Research Group with interests in spiritualism, magic and immersive events. He is the only Wizard in Residence in the UK providing magical services to the Steel Cauldron in Sheffield.  Andy co-curates Mr Punch’s Cabinet of Curiosities a dark museum of weird and haunted artefacts.  He is a member of The British Society of Mystery Entertainers and Equity and has been summoning the spirits for many years.  His blend of traditional techniques, stage magic, technology and performance allows the audience to safely explore beyond the veil and experience seances that their great, great grandparents would have experienced.

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Richard J. Hand is Professor of Media Practice and Head of Drama at the University of East Anglia, UK. He is the author of two books on horror radio drama as well as several books on Grand-Guignol horror theatre, Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene and Octave Mirbeau. He has co-edited academic volumes on horror film and radio studies. He is also an active theatre and radio director, radio scriptwriter and occasional actor. He is the founding co-editor of the international peer-reviewed Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance and his interests include adaptation, translation, and interdisciplinarity in performance media (with a particular interest in historical forms of popular culture, especially horror) using critical and practical research methodologies. 


Aleks Kolkowski is a violinist, composer and currently a Research Associate at the Centre for Contemporary and Digital History, University of Luxembourg. His practice-led doctoral research into the creative uses of antiquated audio technologies and obsolete media led to a PhD from Brunel University, London (2012). He has since held Research Associateships at the Royal College of Music, the Science Museum, London, and was a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. Aleks has a long international career as a creative musician. His performances and sound installations often emphasise archaic methods of sound recording, reproduction and modes of listening. As the first Sound Artist-in-Residence to be appointed at the Science Museum, London, he worked closely with museum collections, involving artefacts in historical re-enactments, recreations, and sound installations. Other tenures include Composer-in-Residence at the British Library Sound Archive, where, inter alia, he created works that explored the early years of broadcast radio, including the sound installation Boy Wireless, featured in Listen: 140 Years of Recorded Sound (2017–18).

kitt price (they/them) uses found text to inhabit histories of sound and technology. Previous work includes ‘Hello Test’ with Aleksander Kolkowski (London Science Museum and Resonance FM, 2014), ‘Babble Machine’ with Aleksander Kolkowski and Alison Hess (London Science Museum, 2012), ‘Under the Yoke‘ with Tom Hall (SuperCollider Symposium 2010, Berlin) and ‘Bookmachine’ with Andrew Nightingale (Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, 2010). kitt teaches Modern and Contemporary Literature in the Department of English at Queen Mary University of London.

Shannon Taggart is an artist and author based in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. Her photographs have been exhibited and featured internationally, including within the publications TIME, New York Times Magazine, Discover, and Newsweek. Her work has been recognized by Nikon, Magnum Photos and the Inge Morath Foundation, American Photography and the Alexia Foundation for World Peace. Taggart’s first monograph, SÉANCE (Fulgur Press, 2019) was listed as one of TIME magazine’s ‘Best Photobooks of 2019’.

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Nik Taylor is School Director of Teaching and Learning, and Subject Lead for Drama, Theatre and Performance at the University of Huddersfield. As a Research Magician, he is coordinator of the Magic Research Group and co-editor of The Journal of Performance Magic.  Nik has published on such topics as performance magic, bizarre magick, and the Gothic.  He is currently writing a monograph examining the cultural history of performance magic. As a magician Nik specialises in Bizarre Magic, Sideshow, Séance and Divination.  Nik co-curates Mr Punch’s Cabinet of Curiosities a dark museum of weird and haunted artefacts. He recently advised on the Thackray Medical Museum’s The Magic of Medicine exhibition and Proper Job Theatre’s Nosferatu and performed in Hester Reeve’s YMEDACA at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. He is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and The British Society of Mystery Entertainers. As a performer, writer and director Nik has been involved with projects in the UK and Europe, including Discurs’96 & The Festival of Contemporary European Plays. He has designed for Performance City, FestCEP & Sapajou, produced a low budget feature, and performed as a dancing penguin. 

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