18th June 2021, 12pm-1pm – Talking Difference
“ this stuff is not niche, it’s not little… it’s vital actually.”– Kate Fox
Happy Autistic Pride Day! We celebrated by unpacking our cakes and sarnies at our virtual picnic, co-hosted by Kate Fox. We settled down to unpack some ideas and assumptions around Neurodiversity. Importantly, we also spoke about the joys of being neurodivergent and our unique ways of seeing the world. After all, the term Neurodiversity is based on the concept of Biodiversity. This is the idea that nature is all the richer for having a great
We discussed what Neurodiversity is and how it affects our everyday lives. We then moved on to think about how we can make life more inclusive for Neurodivergent people.
What did we learn?
Difference members; Matthew Moon, Becki Parker, Kate Fox, and Clare Hussey made up our panel of experts who shared their own perspectives and experiences.
Becki described feeling like she had a billion keys and one lock and that throughout her childhood she had tried each and every key. She told us that her diagnosis of Autism, ADHD and OCD has finally given her the right key to understanding herself better. As Kate says, self-knowledge is power!
Clare said that her diagnosis of Dyslexia at the age of 44 came as a surprise, but also as something that allowed her to make sense of her past experiences. She shared that being Neurodivergent gives her an amazing ability to make conceptual and personal connections with others.
We then spoke with Matthew who shared his experiences of growing up knowing that he was Autistic, after receiving a diagnosis when he was a young child. So, the term Neurodiversity is quite new to him but he describes it as the unique ways in which different people experience the world around them, with both its upsides and downsides.
What do we need to do?
“ ..it would be really good if society could meet us halfway and try and adapt things to make them more accessible… so that we’re not always, it sometimes feels like, at a disadvantage’ Becki Parker
It was a brilliant opportunity to share conversations about how we can create a more inclusive, diverse world. We need a world that not only takes away disadvantage but acknowledges difference as essential and amazing.
Moreover, the picnickers highlighted the need for more events like this one, where we can keep the conversation going, so we’re working on that. It is important to keep thinking across the spectrum. In the meantime, you can join us as a member and help us make change happen.
We will post our future events on our social media pages. You can access a recording of the event below. You can also read Richard’s blog post here.
Thank you to everyone who came along and especially to our speakers.
Film Screening ‘Writing the Missing- All at Sea’ by Lisette Auton.
2nd December 2021, 7.30pm-9pm
‘Writing the Missing- All at Sea’, by disabled author, activist, and Difference member, Lisette Auton, is a stunning piece of creative film-making that deals with disability, access, and kindness in ways you will not have experienced before.
We celebrated International Day of Disabled People 2021 with a screening of Lisette’s film. Lisette and Claire Malcolm MBE, Chief Executive of New Writing North, took part in a Q&A session afterwards, discussing disability, access, creativity, and being freezing cold lying in a rockpool whilst filming.
You can still catch the film online, which was commissioned for Durham Book Festival.
‘Things I know about this film: it will be a startlingly beautiful lyrical essay, mesmeric, with a thread of the dark and political, truth that bites. It will be audio described, captioned, and BSL interpreted. Roaring surges of anger, laughter and tears are to be anticipated. Expect the sea, a purple stick, care, access, disability and neurodiversity.’- Lisette Auton
Creative Careers: Equal Access to work in the Creative Industries.
We know that disabled artists and arts workers are hugely under-represented in the cultural sector, despite the abundance of skilled disabled people. So why is this? What are the barriers and how can we navigate them?
Creative practitioners Aidan Moesby, Melanie Shee and Leah Clements shared their experiences and insights, followed by a short Q&A session.
You can find more information and links to the websites, resources and organisations that were discussed at the event here.