Livestream by Howlround
  1. Leadership: What is it? What could it be?
  2. Power posing: How is power performed? Why pose questions for those in power?
  3. Neurodiversity or neurodivergence?
  4. Being/becoming ill-disciplined: How to draw on abnormality to disrupt norms?
  5. (Catalysing) Change: In an ever-changing world, how does your practice (catalyse) change?
  6. Art + Agitation: How do you use your art to agitate norms?
  7. Artful ways: What are examples of neurodivergent approaches?
  8. Through: How: eco-systems, behaviours, cultures; sharing; caring
  9. Catalysing change through artful agitation: What is your manifesto?

WRITTEN FEEDBACK & RESPONSES: ‘You were fantastic. I was just riffing off what I heard from you. So much to take in and talk about. I was thinking afterwards about how this could become a stage performance, documentary or audio podcast. You to take the viewer into a range scenes and connect things together that are not obviously connected’; ‘Fantastic talk! Thank you Kai & all x’; ‘Thank you all involved – great session!’; ‘So so much to delve into – what would your top three desired actions be for us who are listening?’, ‘Really enjoying the term artful agitation. reminds me of art as activism. what do you suggest to artists that are tired of trying to real through this notion of the brick wall you referred to at the start?’; ‘Loved the talk and the ideas! Any recommended reading or viewing on the topic?’ ‘I found you point about ‘hands’ being such a great way of visualising different models and ideas around leadership and the body. Do you have a hand-metaphor for neurodivergent leadership?’; ‘What an amazing event today. I cant wait to hear how the workshop went, but after such a great performance lecture, I can only imagine how inspired they were!’; ‘Thanks so much for today’s brilliant work on both the lecture (so inspiring!) and workshop for young (brilliant) leaders.’

LINKS: Watch recorded clip here. See slide show (with bibliography) here or here. See details about the event here (on Howlround) or here (Contact Theatre) or here (PerformingBorders).

COMMISSION + CREDITS: This performance-lecture was commissioned by Contact Theatre (Manchester) and PerformingBorders. HowlRound Theatre Commons (Boston/US) live-streamed the 1 hour event. The event was sold out and attended by people in the UK and beyonod (including from Melbourne Australia), and was followed by a 1-hour workshop attended by 8 young people aged 21-30, with priority for people who are neurodivergent, BAME and/or a working class background. Live tweeting was by Queer Arts Project (London). Artist Ashokkumar Mistry led the Q&A and it was he who described the performance-lecture as a ‘mind map’ and ‘drawing with words’. Music by Philip Tan ( welcomed people as they entered the Zoom space. Andrew Howell provided live transcription.

SYNOPSIS: ‘We need new compasses, fresh tools, and untried directions.’.  With the pandemic, Black Lives Matter, and the ongoing crises in climate, health, and technological control, we’ve all been thinking a lot about leadership. What makes a  ‘good’  leader? What could a new kind of leader look like?
As artists, curators, creative producers and theatre-makers, how can we make art, make shows   and make  change?  Kai Syng Tan  is an artist, curator and academic. She argues that artists – especially artists with ‘non-standard’ and neurodiverse ways of thinking – can help invent new solutions to the major challenges facing our societies, and work to co-create a fairer world.  In this online performance lecture, Kai will explore how creativity and neurodiversity can drive social change. ‘Normal’ hasn’t worked, so we need leaders with  atypical  ways of being, thinking, making, and organising for our ‘new normal’.  Be Ill-disciplined  invites you to critically and creatively explore leadership – and to think about yourself as a leader.  The lecture will include a chance for discussion and questions.


Performingborders: Part of  performingbordersLIVE20  programme (March – November 2020).  performingborders  is a space for artistic research and creation that explores physical, cultural, juridical, racial, gendered, class, and everyday borders through live art and performance practices. In partnership with Contact Theatre and supported by the Arts Council England.

Contact Theatre: We are the leading national theatre and arts venue to place young people at the decision-making heart of everything. At Contact, young people aged 13-30 genuinely lead, working alongside staff in deciding the artistic programme, making staff appointments and act as full Board members.The result is an outstanding, diverse and accessible artistic programme for everyone.

HowlRound TV is a global, commons-based peer produced, open access livestreaming and video archive project stewarded by the nonprofit HowlRound. HowlRound TV is a free and shared resource for live conversations and performances relevant to the world’s performing arts and cultural fields. Its mission is to break geographic isolation, promote resource sharing, and to develop our knowledge commons collectively. Participate in a community of peer organizations revolutionizing the flow of information, knowledge, and access in our field by becoming a producer and co-producing with us.