Tag: neurodiversity

Although the term is increasingly used/appropriated (not least by World Economic Forum and Nesta et al as a strategy in Industry 4.0), ‘neurodiversity’ remains a complex and contested – and hence exciting – term and framework. It is a highly-problematic term, not least because it isn’t as diverse as it purports to be (the most vocal are too white, too autism-centric and too privileged), and mirrors some of the biases, hierarchies and hypocrisies I have described elsewhere in ‘disability arts’ and arts-health’ and the ‘mad pride’ movement. It is most meaningful when aligned with ‘biodiversity’ (by Baron-Cohen and Singer et al), and as part of an inclusive and creative ecosystem (Tan and Northey 2020). I began working with and against ‘neurodiversity’ from late 2015, which was also when I was officially declared ‘non-neurotypical’. I have since interrogated the cultural/political/ideological constructs of the term, which had also entailed flirtations with other neologisms like ‘neurodiverse art’, ‘#ADHDart’ and ‘neurodivergency’. The key bodies of work include: the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 8th ASEAN Para Games (2015), Dysservice Cat(Suit) (digital drawing 2016, now in Wellcome Library collection), the award-winning art-psychiatry commission #MagicCarpet (2017-2019) and now, the Neurodiversity In/& Creative Research Network (since February 2020, with members including the founder of the term ‘neurodiversity’, Judy Singer). Recent terms I am favouring are ‘artful’, ‘agile’ and ‘atypical’.

INTERVIEW: Watch mine 46’26” (plus those with Steve Silberman & Rees Finlay)

Watch my chat with artist Jonathan Drury, of Dialogue Village. Other interviews in the series include one with author of the 2016 cult book NeuroTribes, Steve Silberman, as well as official Star Wars and Stranger Things artist Rees Finlay.

INNOVATION/INTERVENTION: Systemic inequity, Autonomy, ADHD and HM Prison Service

Of my involvement in this £1,397,685 NIHR project: ‘Kai visited HMP YOI Isis during the trial to understand the prison environment and what might motivate participants to engage in the trial. Following this, Kai generated images that emphasised choice, control, autonomy, self-care, self-respect, and, at the same time, was mindful of the stigma attached to ADHD.’

KEYNOTE LECTURE + FILM (5’20”): for EU-funded design futures pedagogy event + UAL design management staff & students

This new short film was created at the invitation of a design pedagogy event by European consortium FUEL4Design: Future Education and Literacy for Designers as International Respondent. A performance-lecture version was created as Keynote Lecturer for Deep Meaningful Conversations of the Design Management course, London College of Communication, University Arts London.

INTERVIEW: Why should normality be ‘gold standard’?

Why is normality the gold standard, when the “norm” hasn’t worked for a while? Isn’t it time for new models of leadership, and new role models? Isn’t it more exciting to be non-standard, to be covered in glitter, and to embrace a phenomenal spectrum of colours and possibilities?’ Read my interview on neurodiversity and creativity with Jane Clark at Beshara magazine.

WORKSHOP: Why must we bang on about ‘Adult Themes’? How to push back polite censorship and other pushbacks?

In this course, we will look at clips from my commissioned film about a ‘neuro-futuristic’ 2050, How to Thrive in 2050, then break into groups and share thoughts and action for our immediate and longer term future. We will cover tactics to push back the pushback, such as forms of censorship and control. Premiere: 3 May 2022, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester UK.

ARTICLE: The Artful Agile Atypical Octopussy

My new, not very good article ‘The Artful Agile Atypical Octopussy’ is live in the peer-reviewed Performance Research: A Journal of the Performing Arts, On (Un)Knowns, 03 March 2022. This was one of 30 selected articles out of 160 proposals, and one of two that are in full colour.

BJPSYCH COMMENTARY: Beyond inspiration porn

Click here to read my invited commentary, ‘Art and psychiatry in the 21st century: here’s to more messy – and magical – entanglements’ on the British Journal of Psychiatry Bulletin (Cambridge University, open access), in its new the new culture section, Cultural Reflections.

KEYNOTE: A ‘Tentacular Pedagogy’ to Lead 2050 for ELIA Academy

What should art schools change, so that we can lead change and thrive in, with and for the next generation? Since you asked me, I’ll recommend growing tentacles. This is my new keynote for Network for higher arts education with >300,000 members in 282 institutions in Europe, N and S Americas, and AustralAsia.

INNOVATION/INTERVENTION: Theorising ‘Neurodivergent Leadership’ (2022-2023 project)

What can ‘Neurodivergent Leadership’ look like? A 15-month creative practice-led research project. Get in touch now to support/collaborate!

NEW COMMISSION: Let’s Imagine A Neuro-Futuristic 2050 together at Attenborough Arts Centre

What would a neurodiversity-led reality look like? My installation and performance at the Attenborough Arts Centre in the exhibition The World is A Work In Progress (curated by Rachel Graves, 25 September 2021 – 16 January 2022) in Leicester, UK proposes that art and neuro-inclusion are key in creating bold visions of how things can be better, and that each of us can play an active part in that process.

NEW COMMISSION: How To Thrive In 2050! BBC film press kit

How To Thrive In 2050: 8 Tentacular Workouts For A Tantalising Future! is a new short film I made in Spring 2021. This is an art manifesto calling for a creative, equitable and ‘neuro-fantastic’ future by an Octopussy. The World Premiere is on BBC Culture in Quarantine Autumn 2021

2 CPD units for 1056 live participants

In Spring 2021, I gave two presentations that were also CPD units, including one to 870 Europe-based mental health specialists from 17 countries (+ 6 languages and interpreters – almost as fabulous as Eurovision).

Working with Kai

Want to work with me? Here’s how.

INVITED RESPONSE: Neurodivergent reading of National Archives artefact 3’49”

I was invited to select from and respond to a range of museum artefacts through a neurodivergent prism. I selected an artefact from the National Archives, which is an extract from an Education Department draft circular on the introduction of 11+ exam, July 1945.

Disability History Month 2020: MMU Role Model + UAL chat 48’42”

It is Disability History Month and this article was published by Manchester Metropolitan University. As its ‘Disabled Staff Role Model’, I talked about being a neurodivergent academic, and how I spent 12 hours to write 160 words in a form.

Come conjoin with the Octopussy

My human-beast chimera performs a novel, embodied interdisciplinary mode of knowledge exchange and creation.

Love letter

The following was my ‘Lockdown Diary’ entry for the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre upon my final week there as its Visiting Fellow and first Artist in…

What could a neurodiversity-led 2050 look like? Re-run at Reading University 20’57”

This is a recording of a performance lecture I delivered on 6 August 2020 for University of Reading, a repeat of a keynote-lecture that premiered for Royal Society of Arts on 9 July 2020 which was attended by up to 130 people.

What could a neurodiversity-led 2050 look like? RSA premiere

Instead of OBE/MBE/CBE, we’ll have NDE (NeuroDiversity medal of Excellence). Universities will finally stop failing or boring people, offering interdisciplinary MASc and PhDs. ‘Neurodiversity’ will also become truly diversified. We’ll then run around with tentacles on our heads. New performance-lecture at Royal Society of Arts attended by 130 people.

#MagicCarpet: Gatecrashing the world of mind and brain sciences 07’19”

We Sat On A Mat and Had a Chat and Made Maps! #MagicCarpet (2017-2019)was an award-winning art-psychiatry commission, mentored by Professor of Psychiatry Philip Asherson.

Speed-dating

Speed dates are the perfect format for the short-attention spanned, novelty-chasing, risk-desiring, boredom-adverse, intellectually-promiscuous ADHD person. Thus, I curated this speed-dating event at the South London Gallery in June 2018.

BUNKER TALKS: Being ‘artful’ and ‘ill-disciplined’ amid/beyond a pandemic 40′ 00″

04/2020: Watch this interview (40 minutes) on ‘artful leadership’. With Dr Michael Pinchbeck.

AFFILIATIONS

I am (co-)founder, (co-)leader, trustee, consultant, co-leader or member of 20 national and international networks and organisations in research, arts, health, and human rights.

Novel Viruses Demand Artful Solutions

05/2020: Germany and France have enlisted the help of humanities scholars, but we’ll need atypical thinkers and agile makers for artful ways forward.

Cat(suit)s & Caring In The Time of Covid-19

03/2020: Struggling with social distancing and self-isolation? Here, put on my Catsuit. Meow.

Hijacking neuronormativity & complacency with ‘artful leadership’ as creative strategy

04/2020: An early outline of ARTFUL LEADERSHIP artful, sly ways forward, led by artists, in productively antagonistic dialogues with members of other species, through artistic processes and outcomes, exploiting art’s power to provoke, confuse/amuse/bemuse.

Matchmaking: What could a neurodiversity-led 2050 look like?

Seeking collaborators/sponsors: I aim to curate a residency-cum-collaboration programme that will lead to an exhibition asking, ‘What Could A Neurodiversity-led 2050 Look Like?’ I want to matchmake unlikely pairs of neurodiverse artists and designers with scientists and technologists, and choreograph ways for them to work collaboratively towards the co-creation of new pilots and prototypes of apps, objects or experiences.

Neurodiversity Manifesto version 2019

I. Step Up the Game II. Step into the Unknown III. Step Away from Comfort Zones IV. Embrace Errors V. Take Risks VI. Play VII. Change Culture VIII. Break Locks and Challenge Gatekeepers IX. Be Athletic X. Be a Running Post(hu)man XI. Be Promiscuous XII. Not All Dead White Men XIII. Be Ill-Disciplined XIV. Embrace Athletes of Creativity XV. Be Happy With The Unfinished

How ‘lofty’ art can help the medical world reimagine mental health

Article in The Conversation 2018 (10.6m subscribers) which was read 2000 times in the first 2 days. Using #MagicCarpet as an example, it introduced the notion of being ‘ill-disciplined’ (Tan & Asherson 2018).

On Art, Neurodivesity & Giant Octopussies: Reflections on #MagicCarpet

The booklet documents my reflections of #MagicCarpet (2017-2019), and was launched at the public view of my solo exhibition at the Craft and Design Centre

Why should you work with neurodiverse + creative allies? Here are 10 reasons 39’21”

This was a commissioned keynote lecture and masterclass for an EU-funded consortium of scientists CoCA at their Annual Meeting, University Hospital Frankfurt, Germany.

PODCAST: Where are neurodivergent leaders in the cultural and academic sectors? 17’00”

Where are neurodivergent leaders in the Cultural and Academic Sectors? Premiered at Birkbeck, Arts Week May 2019.

PODCAST: Too much / not enough neurodiversity in UK academia? 17’00”

Is there too much, or not enough ‘neurodiversity’ in art & academia in the UK? Premiered at Birkbeck, Arts Week May 2019.

Diversifying ‘neurodiversity’

Disability Arts Online 2018 article. One of its top 10 editorial pieces, later presented as a performance-lecture at the Science Museum.

Brisk/Risks 06’52”

What’s the riskiest thing you have ever done? What do you dream of doing but dare not? Do you dare share something that you’ve never told anyone else before? Go on – what’s the worst that can happen?

JOIN NOW! Neurodiversity In/& Creative Research Network #NeurodiversityCreativeResearch

03/2020: Keen to explore the messy and magical entanglements between neurodiversity, creativity and research, and all the possibilities and intersections in between? Join the Neurodiversity In/And Creative Research Network, a new international hub.

EU-funded film with 50K views (03/2022): Shine a light 11’15”

EU-funded film on ADHD that was viewed 17,000 within first month.

ESRC FILM: Let’s Talk Mental Health 13’00”

Economic and Social Research Council commissioned film by Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences Professor Louise Arseneault. I interviewed Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive of Centre for Mental Health.

Seeking risks

Do you take risks? Why? Why not? What’s the greatest risks you have taken? Step forward, tell us. Go on – what’s the worst that can happen?

Craft and Design Solo Exhibition

03/2020: My show at the Craft and Design Centre was shut, but I redistributed some of my fee and have begun to think more about the importance of being ‘crafty’ and ‘artful’.