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LIS Wellcome Smoke and Mirrors

For the Curious: August in London for under £10

Kristen Stockdale

London is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to London.

Ok fine, that’s actually Douglas Adams talking about space – but you get the point. London is a big city with a lot going on. To the outsider (and to many insiders) it can feel difficult to really tap into everything that London has to offer. This is why we’ve put together a events calendar for August, featuring a variety of interesting talks and exhibitions – all for £10 or less.

In chronological order…

– On now: Smoke and Mirrors: The Psychology of Magic at the Wellcome Collection. Explore how our biases affect our perception and whether our senses can be hacked. Discover spirit photography, magic props and psychology experiments to see how magic works on – and in – the mind of the spectator. (free) 

– 1st August: PechaKucha: Transformations at the Geffrye Museum. Originating in Japan, PechaKucha is a fast and fabulous night of individual presentations, but there is a rule…nobody can speak for more than 6 minutes and 40 seconds, which means that you really can’t afford to be boring. (£6-8) 

– 2nd August: US Antinuclear Movement / The Mayflower at the British Library. A public lunchtime talk on American citizens’ concern over nuclear testing, followed by a second talk on the story of the Mayflower and settler colonialism. (free)

– 3rd August: To the Moon and Back at the Natural History Museum. What did we learn from landing on the moon? Why should we go back? Where should we go? Join Museum scientist Natasha Almeida to explore the intensive planning and preparation required for missions to the Moon. (free)

– 5th August: Witnessing History, Writing Nostalgia: The Progressive Women at the British Library. Farha Noor discusses the role of women writers within the Progressive Movement in India, while investigating the entanglements of genre and gender. (free)

– 7th August: A History of Water on Mars at the Natural History Museum. Scientists have recently found evidence of water on Mars. What does this mean? Join Museum scientist Zach Dickeson and discover the history of water on Mars and what this reveals about the evolution of our nearest planetary neighbour. (free)

– 8th August: How To Be An Antiracist: Ibram X. Kendi in conversation at Foyles, Charing Cross. Discover radical new ways to think about racism with National Book Award Winner and author of How To Be An Antiracist Ibram X. Kendi. (£8)

– 16th August: Curating Fashion at the V&A. Dani Trew will speak about her role as Assistant Curator in the Furniture, Textiles and Fashion Department at the V&A, with particular responsibility for the Fashion Gallery. Trew has studied at the University of Oxford and Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and Design. (free, 16-25 only)

– 20th August: Level Up Human at the Barbican. Scientists can already build robotic limbs, edit human genomes and create bionic eyes. What will be the next step as we upgrade our bodies? Wouldn’t it be great to have a zoom function for your eyes, change colour at will or type with your feet? (free)

– 21st of August: The AI Will See You Now at the Barbican. How close are we to swapping our GPs for AI’s? Join the Barbican’s panel discussion that looks at the ethics of AI-driven healthcare.

– 23rd August: Venom at the Natural History Museum. From spiders to scorpions to snakes, lots of creatures are venomous. Join a museum scientist to discover the different varieties and uses of venom. (free)

– 27-28th August: Open Days at the Supreme Court. Visit three beautiful courtrooms and explore the building’s extensive artwork collection. Explore rarely seen parts of the building which are not normally on show, including the magnificent triple-height Library, which is a hidden gem not usually open to the public. (free)

– 28th August: What Does Race Science Look Like in the 21st Century? A panel of authors and journalists come together to discuss the disturbing re-emergence of scientific research into racial differences. (£10) 

We’ll share our September event calendar soon. If you have anything you’d like to add, please get in touch at

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