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5 minutes with... Richard Wingate

Richard Wingate, is the Director of the Centre for Education and Head of Anatomy at King’s College London and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. We took 5 minutes with Richard to learn more about his career and life outside of work.

richard wingate 5 mins with

Briefly, tell us about your background and career up to this point?

I studied Biology at Manchester University and the went to Oxford University to do my DPhil in Neuroscience. I was then really fortunate to have a series of fellowships that allowed to me to develop an independent career and travel - including spending a fantastic year at Rockefeller University in New York. I started to become really interested in education when I enrolled for a postgraduate certificate at Kings College London, which led to a Master’s degree. I’ve combined research and education with public engagement and working with artists and curators and organisations such as the Science Gallery, Wellcome Collection and the BBC amongst others. I’m always searching for the synergy between these interests and constantly delighted by how mixing things up leads to new ideas and projects.

Looking back, what has the pandemic and resulting lockdowns taught you?

I think I have seen new depths of commitment to making the best possible learning environment for our students. It has been inspirational to see how the friends I work with in technical teams, professional services as well as the academics have responded with energy, intelligence and compassion. We have to hold on to this creative potential – we are a remarkable team.

What do you think people in the School would find most surprising about you?

I’m surprised thinking back to some interactive dance animation that I made for raves in the mid-nineties. It was featured on a late night BBC2 Arts programme but failed to launch my career in either film or dance music I’m relieved to say)

Do you have any current projects that you’d like to tell us about?

I am part of a really excellent team from the IOPPN and SSPP looking at “knowing through making” in Higher Education. This covers a lot of territory - from community gardens to 3D printing – and has been uncovering some amazing projects and new spaces across King’s and new ways to think about undergraduate learning and bringing disciplines together. I am also helping to lead on the new flexible curriculum – part of the hugely exciting strategy for 2029 that will be perfectly pitched for a a generation of students emerging from the pandemic.

What do you do with your time outside academia?

I am a beginner kite surfer – full of enthusiasm but not much skill. Probably the same can be said for my skill as in guitar playing and water colour painting. Mostly, I seem to be spending a lot of time doing craft projects with my youngest daughters and a big chunk of time writing a popular science book for Wellcome that I hope is good enough to see the light of day in 2022.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

I’m really looking forward to seeing the Centre for Education grow and become a force for education excellence beyond the Faculty and King’s. It is really exciting to see how the flexible curriculum is beginning to take shape and looking forward to seeing the ambitious King’s education strategy become reality.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

As most academics would say I’m sure, I am enormously proud of having being able to bring people closer to their ambitions who have been part of my research group or academic team - regardless of what they gone on to do in life.

What is your favourite thing about working at King’s?

King’s has always been a great place to develop ideas and give new projects a chance. There’s a sense of academic freedom and collaboration that is exceptional. My research buddies are fantastic and the academic and professional teams are packed with great colleagues and friends – it is hard to remember sometimes how exceptional King’s is as a working environment.


Favourite London restaurant: Ekte – sitting at the bar looking into the kitchen

Favourite scientist: Julian Lewis – one of the authors of “The Cell” and a developmental biologist who approached science in the right way.

Coffee order: Cortado (yes- it’s pretentious)

In this story

Richard Wingate

Richard Wingate

Professor of Developmental Neurobiology

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