Performing Surgery

  • Workshop
  • 14 to 19-year-olds
Photograph of a group of young people holding various parts of a white puppet which is standing on a table. The workshop facilitator is right of frame and talking to them.
Performing Medicine workshop, David Bishop. Source: Wellcome Collection.

Get hands-on with medical skills that go beyond anything a textbook can teach you. Join a team of surgeons and craftspeople to explore the common skills they use in their professions.

You’ll rotate around activities and learn about:

  • How a magician’s techniques of holding people’s attention and making memorable moments can lead to better medical consultations.
  • What stonemasons can reveal about how to work with, rather than against, tough materials like bones.
  • And how textiles can teach surgeons about moving through the different layers of the body when they operate.

About your facilitators

Photograph of Professor Roger Kneebone

Professor Roger Kneebone

Roger Kneebone is a clinician and educationalist who leads a multidisciplinary research group at Imperial College London. Roger leads on a variety of projects, including the running of the master’s degree in Surgical Education at Imperial College, has received a Wellcome Public Engagement Fellowship and hosts a regular podcast series, Countercurrent.

Photograph of Fleur Oakes

Fleur Oakes

Fleur is a lacemaker and three-dimensional embroiderer interested in the spaces between emotion and the senses. Fleur works on a variety of interdisciplinary projects and is currently an artist in residence at Imperial College London’s vascular surgery unit.

Photograph of Will Houstoun

Will Houstoun

Will Houstoun has a PhD in the history of magic and a Literary Fellowship from The Academy of Magical Arts in Los Angeles. He is the Magician in Residence at the Royal College of Music/Imperial College London Centre for Performance Science and a research associate in Imperial College's Faculty of Medicine. Will is also a Member of the Inner Magic Circle and past winner of The European Magic Championships.

Photograph of Samantha Gallivan

Samantha Gallivan

Samantha Gallivan FRCS is an orthopaedic surgeon working in London at St George’s Hospital. She is also Deputy Academic Lead (Collaborative Projects) at Imperial College London, where her research focuses on understanding tacit and embodied knowing in the expert practice of surgeons, stone carvers and sculptors.


Arrive early to register

Need to know


We’ll be in the Studio and the Forum on level 1. When you enter Wellcome Collection, head up the stairs or take the lift, then follow the signs through the ‘Being Human’ gallery.

Extra information

Registration for all three sessions will open at 10am on the morning of the event. You can add your name to the sign-up sheet in the Medicine Now gallery on level 1. This event is often busy so you may need to queue.

If you’re visiting the museum with a parent, guardian or support worker, they are welcome to drop you off at our Studio. If you’d like someone to support you during the session or you have any access requirements, just let us know in advance of the session or on the day.

Our event terms and conditions