Portrait of a Brain commission!

overlapping irregular coloured shapes with straight sides. The additive effect of the colours makes white in the centre. Around the edges where the colours dont overlap shows as varying colour. Yellow and green and purple.

A still from a VR proof of concept.

I’m delighted to announce that I have been awarded an emerging artist commission by Unlimited with Coventry City of Culture, to develop my piece ‘Portrait of a Brain’.

This iteration of the work will be an installation in acrylic and light, of a single cognitive portrait. A celebration and commemoration of a neuro-divergent life.

This work is a celebration and exploration of the uniqueness of our human brains. No reference is made to external appearance.

This image shows two individual cognitive portraits. The overlapping coloured disks represent a radar graph of cognitive ability, the additive colours making up white light towards the centre, and the individuality expressed by way of the colour revealed at the edges. 

Each person’s cognitive profile is unique to them, with the 20% of the population who are Neuro-divergent (autistic, ADHD, Tourettes, Dyslexics, Dyspraxics, DCD, Dyscalculics) typically displaying a so called ‘spikey’ profile of abilities, in comparison to the more regular  distribution of skill set in Neurotypical people. 

The more Neuro divergent the individual, the more colour we are likely to see in this representation, rather than white. 

https://www.acamh.org/freeview/developmental-coordination-disorder-professor-amanda-kirby/(this data work was done by Prof Amanda Kirby, who is CEO and founder of Cardiff based organisation ‘DO-It profiler’) 

Represented in this way, the shapes that form from the data points overlap to create a kaleidoscope of colour as they move adjacent to each other. This formation illustrates the complementary and intersectional quality of cognitive ‘thinking’ styles amongst groups of people. It offers an expansive paradigm for understanding human individuality and inter-relational possibilities.

This piece is envisaged as a celebration of the power of cognitive difference and the intersection of skills working together. Specifically, it is a celebration of the value of Neurodiversity amongst a population. And it is a celebration and commemoration of an individual neuro-divergent woman.

REACH series 2021 – installation

This series of photographs reflects on the nature of human loss and connection.

Using reflective mirrored surfaces in some images, and coloured light in others, to illuminate and animate transparent static sculptural acrylic pieces. The resultant images are meditative and evoke a sense of transition, hope and constancy . They invite us to experience a culturally nuanced phenomenon of commemoration, through the lens of these almost universally significant religious symbols; Fire, Water, Light.

The images form part of a larger installation work in development.

My Heart Cannot Hear Yours From Here

premiering 27/02/2021 a short film on the theme of ‘Liveness’ for Newcastle University Performance Research Department. Captions can be enabled in youtube.

My Heart Cannot Hear Yours From Here


A yellow social distance floor marker circle with the words ' please keep your distance, thank you for practicing social distancing' and a black and white outline of two stylized people and a double headed arrow between them which has 2m above it.
A yellow social distance floor marker circle with the words ‘ please keep your distance, thank you for practicing social distancing’ and a black and white outline of two stylized people and a double headed arrow between them which has 2m above it.

Humans ‘know’ that we are alive, as we breathe and sense the other in same space/time/place. Our species is tribal and collective. Like most mammals we seek to associate in groups and we communicate and sense via Heart Connection (electro-cardiac impulses) – perceiving the other within a critical 3 feet of our hearts – and co-regulating to the nervous system of one another.

Science validates this powerful, unspoken resonance. It’s why we seek out gathering – to connect and to feel part of; alive and whole. All other communication is secondary; The body feels relationship – proximity – and commands the brain against reason or logic to defer to ‘sense’. Being together matters because without heart connection we start to feel bereft; without reference point or sense of human agency-in-community. We are compelled to find resonance in space and time and place to feel real.

The voiced expression of this connection – this liveness – this mutuality of experience – is story. And story sustains us, but it cannot replace the felt sense of temporal and spatial proximity. Collective bodily experiencing.

The filmed group experienced live-ness then as pure connection (other sense redundant). Before story; In the beginning. The viewer here is left free to create story from the visual – there are no imposed clues or caveats. Viscerally, the watching soma in this iteration is not in that screened live-ness and feels the frailty of secondary sensing.

I wrote ‘FU’ on her back (chalk is dust but lotion sinks)

3 images of the same face - one in black and white, two in colour. (female, white skinned, dark messy hair, 40 something)  Skin greasy with sun lotion, and a medical mask covering nose and mouth. Eyes closed. On the forehead is written in white chalk pen; 'I WROTE FUCK YOU ON HER BACK'  The other 2 images show the same face, one with eyes open and the other without the face mask.
I wrote FU on her back (chalk is dust but lotion sinks)

Skin, sun lotion, chalk and cloth.

A series of photographs. Selfies. skin, sun lotion, chalk and cloth.

Referencing ideas of public shaming and retribution, but also accountability and ownership. (These images also reference an episode in my own life – 20 years ago now)

Lines of chalk on a board to instil learning. Crimes etched in skin. Police mugshots. Masking our true nature or identity. What can be brushed off like dust and what sinks into our skin indelibly?  What happens if we subvert the protective qualities of lotion that covers our skin, or of skin itself?

How can we understand what ally-ship is? What does it mean to take ownership of our own actions and the consequences of them? How do we enact justice in our lives and who do we offer peace and belonging to?  What do we insist is worn publicly and what may be hidden or brushed off? Who is allowed to hide and who do we expose?

In Praise of Fidgetting! Portraits over zoom

Chuffed to have my fist commissioned piece shown at the online Unlimited! Festival via Southbank this last week. (Its audio described and captioned too)


Single line drawing of a beautiful friend, sketched while on zoom gathering

“During lockdown, I have been embracing the singular possibilities of Zoom meetings and managing my ADHD by drawing impulsively during them. I draw my response to the faces on screen. (But claim no merit in technique!) The images of these lockdown doodles are accompanied by a voiced reflective response to my own Neurodiverse experience of the world – specifically here, ADHD. The video starts with the last 6 minutes of the 3rd movement of Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto in D, and its accompanying sound wave. Observers are invited to experience the music with paper and something to mark make with, and to record their response to the sound and the movement and colour on screen in whatever way feels most instinctive. The viewer is thereby drawn in to an empathic experience of having a mind driven by a neurochemical difference.

“Making this piece for Unlimited and Coventry City of Culture Trust has been a wonderfully freeing process of leaning into my experiential world and describing it visually, audibly and texturally. It was an instinctive process for me – both the drawings, and the voiced words – which were not scripted and just came while I was sat in my car, as I often do. Stalled and unable to initiate the next activity. New to making, I am moved almost to tears that with these kinds of opportunities and invitations space opens up – to consider that it might be possible to live and work in a manner that honours the natural rhythm of my neurology.”

Commissioned and supported by Coventry 2021 and Unlimited, celebrating the work of disabled artists, with funding from Arts Council England.

This work is one of five micro-works programmed as part of Southbank Centre’s Unlimited Festival, January 2021.

For Laura – on beauty and dressing up

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
But what if the beholders do not see? What then?

Perhaps we dress in pretty things
to make ourselves feel (practice preceding)
what we should not need to dress for.

As if you mean to flirt with magpies;
You layer gilt and sparkle
thinking your own jewellery has
been utterly consumed.

It is not true.

Shaping fun

What fun am I having
or am I having
You tear off the perfect coat and
sensibly fold it up, neatly, and clutch it
to your chest
Sensibly you say, and firmly;
Go and have some fun!
Go and shop. Don’t settle for this old thing and worn
It’s not what you really want at all. It’s not.

So I shiver. And then obedient
walk about the windows which do
promise marvellous deals in red exclamation;
looking for you.

I think girls are supposed to like shopping
But all these others pinch me or hang
careless of my shape.
Still, I shall pretend to have fun because
you think you are being generous.