Stills from video capture: Sonia Boué, 2017 I’m autistic. It’s my job to be anxious. Being anxious is one of the things I do best, so I’ve done some good worrying about some of the more recent approaches I’ve experienced from arts organisations who I am not in partnership with. I’ve started to fear theContinue reading “Neurodivergence and tokenism in the arts!”
Paradoxically, artists like me are ‘relevant’ by our very nature, but demonstrating the relevance of our projects may be beyond our ken because it will be further encoded by a neurotypically-led bureaucracy.
What NUNO has created – through it’s emphasis on people and relationships – is a warm hug. Soon I will be asking the artists on the Arts Council England (ACE) funded Neither Use Nor Ornament (NUNO) project, how was it for you? I have to do this as part of my evaluation process, but I’mContinue reading “How was it for you? #NUNOproject”
Working with traumatic memory has consequences, and I’ve often been aware of the need to pace myself over the years. You can’t work close up with this material and not be affected. What I’ve learned in this anniversary year us that it’s incredibly hard when such a tidal wave hits your global network. I finally realised this when a friend sent me a video the other day which I just couldn’t open. Earlier in February I wept at 6am as I logged onto FaceBook with my morning coffee and viewed footage of the countless Republican Spaniards streaming towards the border. That was my family, my dearest ones. I can’t help myself, I scan the screen searching for them. It’s quite terrible. All the footage which emerges has this effect. I relive it, and the deeply painful truths that were hedged as they gave my sister and I golden summers on the beaches of Barcelona
My story is just one – of exclusion, and of pushing through. Each of the neurodivergent artists on my Arts Council Funded project, Neither Use Nor Ornament, (NUNO) will have their own story. On NUNO we are working to address the impacts of exclusion over a lifetime. It is very deep work indeed, which has required great thought and adaptations along the way.
So despite the sweat at times – or more likely because of it – we have some really important half-time outcomes to feel good about. I want to be very un-British and blow our project trumpets loudly!
I’m immensely grateful for the welcome given to neurodivergence at NYFA on this occasion. To reach out to an artist like me, to really listen and go the extra mile by incorporating their learning from me into the fabric of the Q&A feels like a dream. It has been a marvellous end to a truly remarkable year for me.
A great deal of what I encounter in my mentoring and consultancy practice is a gaping hole around ‘mindfulness’ where diverse neurologies intersect. I’m not talking about a buzzword version of mindfulness. I’m referring to slowing down to a speed at which we can ALL process more effectively. I ‘m talking about (where we can) controlling the parameters of our engagement. This is my ambition for my cohort.
In my day job I am a visual artist with my own practice, but I’m also a community artist, mentor, trainer, and consultant. I work on various community arts projects as a freelancer, and I also lead my own project over on The Museum for Object Research. I’m writing to share some of my findingsContinue reading “What does inclusion look like?”
This is a specific issue in my life – but I also want to make a more general point that bureaucracy physically hurts us.