‘To take a little of one world, into another’.
Welcome to the Creative Ideas Page where people conencted to autism in Midlothian have been meeting up to propose cultural or creative ways for others to experience another perspective on autism. The aim of this group is to open up ways for people to engage in something which makes them think differently and positively about autism.
We’ve had one meeting so far (March 2017) so for those who couldn’t attend, our discussion was conversational rather than action orientated, but here’s a summary.
We heard from
- Engross Theatre who use slapstick comedy as educational entertainment around social situations like ‘stranger danger’ or personal space for young audiences with learning disability.
- Gail Keating – a retired specialist teacher who uses creative communication for understanding and reducing anxiety, and is developing these into stories and essays which might benefit others.
- Vicky Murray spoke about a desire to focus away from need and instead on the value of special interests and individual fascinations; more than one way to show joy. She is interested in the idea of sensory language which is less reliant on prescribed symbols but on self-directed objects, dreams, sounds or stories as a means for conversation. Vicky is interested in opportunites for others to experience another way of thinking. Vicky very interestingly pointed out that people with autism were both participant and audience in their own projects or fascinations. An interesting point to take forward and one which stimulated very specific conversation within the group.
- Fiona Bailey whose artistic practice is informed by her personal experience and interests in psychogeography and differences in social imagination. She proposed a number of different ideas to allow people with autism to adapt an environment for the experience of a non autistic audience or for themselves. We suggested a building in Midlothian that perhaps could be a site for this work.
- Paul Macdonald from Garvald proposed a number of ideas about individuality – describing a café defined by different sensibilities – ie,. A menu by a cook with very particular way of putting tastes together, or in a similar vein to Fiona, a cafe space defined by the imagination and sensibilities of people with autism.
- John and Brenda Fletcher who described the changes they’ve made to a sensory space for their son, and activities he’s informed through a playing cards game of chance. They described some of the difficulties they faced and ways in which they had got around them. Very particular but surprisingly simple solutions that allowed their son to be himself.
We also have work proposed by sound researcher Cr Chris Looks, visual artwork proposed by artist Gayle Nelson and music and sound artist Penny Stone.
Given the diverse ways of working, our conversation began to look for common ground, as well as ways of thinking or ways of working which could stimulate future work. It didn’t take long and it soon became clear that there was a collective desire to move away from always focusing on needs and instead to focus on exploring different perspectives to open up new understanding.
The group agreed that they could focus on the creation of some events – where autistic people could create experiences to allow another way of thinking/seeing/understanding the world to be shown. As Fiona Bailey said ‘To take a little of one world, into another’.
The next meeting is proposed for Thursday 6th April, 10.30-12.30, Artlink Studio, Unit 5, Buckie House, McSense Business Park, Sycamore Road Mayfield, EH22 5TA. We will be looking through all our ideas and making a practical plan for the events we’d like to stage.
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