One Thousand Mindreaders was a year-long collaborative artwork during which the artist Stuart Nolan trained one thousand new mindreaders.

One Thousand Mindreaders appeared in the UK, Sweden, Slovenia, Denmark, and the USA.

The sessions involved a host of great people from all walks of life, including game designers, filmmakers architects, festival-goers, dancers, healthcare professionals, psychologists, artists, actors, neuropsychologists,  athletes, musicians, neurotech developers, and designers.

One Thousand Mindreaders is deeply indebted to the wonderful support of the following lovely organisations: IGLAB, Watershed Bristol, We The Curious, NHS R&D NW, Oriel Davies Gallery, Hyper Island, W.I. Huddersfield, Pervasive Media Studio, ZU-UK, University of Sussex, Sci Foo, Google X, Noisebridge, The Architectural Association, Dursley Library, Sensorium Bratislava, The Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, Lighthouse Brighton, HOME Manchester, Bath Spa University Empathy Research Group, Lancaster University, Green Man Festival, Digital Science, The University of Huddersfield Magic Research Group, Stranger Collective, Liverpool John Moores University, The University of Southampton, and Storythings.

The Trainee Mindreaders learned the skill of muscle reading, sensing the small subconscious movements of another person’s hands. This enabled them to recreate drawings that another person is merely thinking of. They also learned how to find objects that another person has hidden in a room or building.


Groups of up any size can take part and no drawing skills are required.

Sessions last from 30 mins to 3 hours depending on numbers and on how many skills you want to learn.

Participants require tables they can comfortably draw on.

Blank paper, preferably A3 size, and soft pencils will be needed.

Sessions can be arranged both for the general public and for specific groups.

Some hosts get involved because One Thousand Mindreaders is relevant to their work in drawing, design, psychology, architecture, performance, interaction design, sport science, or biomedical science.

Other organisations use One Thousand Mindreaders as a powerful and fun way for people to get to know each other. 

“I love the fresh perspective and thought bomb Stuart explodes in our crew. The muscle reading workshop was incredibly interactive and I watched in awe as Stuart managed to have 40 students from 28 different cultures each have their own moment of OH! NO WAY! – including myself.” – Tash Wilcocks, Programme Leader Digital Design Management, Hyper Island.

“The workshop with Stuart Nolan changed my perception of magic and illusion forever. Not only could I see the depth of thinking and craft involved, it also transformed my attitude to my own design practice.” “A wonderful experience… a real stand out moment in my education.” – Students at The Architectural Association

“The directors of ZU-UK had the pleasure of participating in Stuart’s muscle reading workshop. It was an unforgettable experience that imparts the vital skills of listening, concentration, focus and collaboration. Stuart’s skills are invaluable for strengthening connection between partners increasing powers of empathy”. – ZU-UK

“Stuart’s workshop was the most popular event in our Sound:Vision:Place programme. The results were astounding and provided valuable insight into micro-muscle moments and how these could translate into empathy exercises for performers.” – Nik Taylor, Subject Leader for Drama, Theatre and Performance & Co-ordinator of the Magic Research Group, The University of Huddersfield.

“We asked Stuart Nolan to run a workshop for us to share some of his techniques and approaches. Stuart was really skilful at making the link between magic, mind-reading, and the world of health and social care in which we work.” – Professor Stuart Eglin, BA Hons, Cert MHS, PhD, FRSA. Chief Executive, NHS R&D North West


One Thousand Mindreaders works on a Pay It Forward model where those who can afford it support those who can’t.

Organisations are asked to provide travel and accommodation expenses for the artist.

One Thousand Mindreader events are now planned for over a dozen locations. If there is one already planned in your area you may be able to share planning and costs with another host.

Those organisations that can pay more should do so as their support will fund sessions for less advantaged groups.

All donations made below will fund One Thousand Mindreaders work with less advantaged groups.


Stuart Nolan is an artist, performer, and creative technologist who combines traditional disciplines of deception with innovative and questionable technology.

His recent work uses public workshops that explore the science of mindreading to create collaborative performances.

His gallery show, Season of Sleeps, premiered at the 2015 Venice Biennale.

His mindreading devices IdeoBird and OuijaBird, developed as Magician in Residence at Pervasive Media Studio, have performed internationally and have been featured in the BBC Click Christmas Special, The Guardian, and US Wired’s Connectivity 2.0.

Stuart is currently writing The Trick: How Magicians Invented Invention, a history of theatrical magic and technology innovation, and co-writing The Magical: 100 Principles of Design, a book for all creators concerned with the magical, the impossible, the mysterious, the illusory, and the deceptive.



One Thousand Mindreaders can work and play in many different ways.

To start a conversation please drop me a line.

If you give me as much information as you can regarding your location, your organization, and your needs that will help me respond as fully as I can.