1. An ecosystem in rude health
  2. Being tentacular and ill-disciplined
  3. PhD and MSc for the ill-disciplined
  4. Battle Cat(suit) for All for Industry 4.0
  6. Your President Will Change the World
  7. Neurodiversity: Actually Diverse and Divergent
  8. We’ll look out for one another


On 9 July, I presented 2050 on Zoom. This was part of Virtual Coffeehouse Conversation: Neurodiversity and the Future of Work. The invitation was a result of a well-received op-ed I wrote, on artistic and neurodivergent leadership in the Covid-19 recovery, and was organised by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). Set up in 1847, the RSA is an organisation committed to finding practical solutions to social challenges. I have been a Fellow since 2014, and past Fellows include Charles Dickens, Benjamin Franklin, Karl Marx and Tim Berners-Lee. The session was attended by up to 130 people at a point. RSA Fellows aside, they include academics in Higher Education and theatre, curators, PhD students in neuroscience, activists in neurodiversity, media artists, neurodivergent technologists. The 60-minute event featured another speaker, and each of our 10-minute presentation was followed by discussions in breakout rooms, and a final open forum.

Across 12 slides, I shared eight visions of the future. This was my creative, neurodivergent and decolonised interpretation and interrogation of RSA’s own outline of the future. Situated in the year 2050, my version celebrates – not ignore or punish –people with ‘non-standard’ cognitive, communication and learning modes, including those with dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism and more, and how these intersects with race, class and gender. 2050 is snappy – fast-paced, as well as irritated and impatient with the socio-political injustices and hungry for change. Satirical and absurd, it is also angry and hopeful. Instead of OBE/MBE/CBE (‘Haven’t we had enough of the empire?’, I asked), I urged for NDE – NeuroDiversity medals of Excellence. By the next generation, HE should also finally stop failing or boring people with divergent learning approaches. Instead, it will reward interdisciplinarity and intellectual promiscuity with MASc and PhDs. Rather than penalising those who can’t read or write, or who cannot sit still, we will celebrate the next generations of Leonardo Da Vinci-s, whose dyslexia and ADHD are behind his prolificacy and polymathy (eg Catani and Mazzarello 2019; Røsstad 2002; Mangione and Maestro 2019). I also suggested that, in 30 years’ time, ‘neurodiversity’ will also be truly diversified, and we will stop using the excuse of the fight against ableism and neuro-normativity to perpetuate white privilege, racism and elitism, but celebrate people in all shades and interpretations, identifications and presentations of neurodiversities.

Reactions were highly-positive (below). Feedback in the form of 12 tweets, 6 emails and live chat reveal that concepts learnt invited further reflection and evaluation of issues around workplace discrimination, racism, and systemic change. There were also 4 new subscriptions to a network I co-lead on neurodiversity, an invitation to repeat the presentation, and another to be Co-Principal Investigator for an interdisciplinary funding bid on neurodiversity in adolescents to the Medical Research Council.