who am I

I am a ‘middle aged’ white woman, based in Warwick in the UK.

I am an advocate and activist for the celebration of human Neurodiversity (brain and behaviour trait difference), and inclusion in its widest sense.

Mum to 4 school aged boys, two of whom are Autistic and have ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). I also have a diagnosis of an ASC (autism spectrum disorder) and ADHD and recognise ticcing in my neurology too.

I am currently spending my time as an artist, researcher, coach, somatic practitioner and writerSometime speaker/ trainer. These disciplines work together in complement in my practice with families and clients as well as in my artistic expression.

Following an undergraduate degree in Psychology (BSc York Uni) many moons ago, my career background is in performance events management with experience across charity, local authority and academic venue settings, as well as freelance work. I have campaigned, since 2012, for more equitable school provision and access in the UK, involving myself in local and national strategic policy, as well as supporting and advising individual families via ‘Siblings at the Same School‘. I am a parent carer representative for my local area (Warwickshire) and in that role am involved in co-production of pathways for diagnostic and support services for children and young people within the district. I am a Clore 15 Leadership Fellow (2019) and that year of intense study and leadership development training precipitated a change in career focus away from behind-the-scenes events and building management and towards the more personally directed leadership path that I am now following.

Some relevant Qualifications;

TRE – certification via TRE For All pending (currently working under supervision, ongoing training since 2019)

Coaching – Brain and Behaviour Change Practitioner (ITS – 2019)

Clore Coaching conversations – Diverse City and Sarah Pickthall (2020)

Relational Dynamics 1st – certified coach (2021)

Prince 2 practitioner – ILX (2011)

I am interested in exploring human difference, and the neuroscience of human behaviour and relating. I have a particular interest in supporting the wellbeing of autistic and otherwise neuro-divergent adults in the Cultural work place, which is the arena that I know best. Current estimates are that one in 5 people; 20% of the population have a diagnosable neuro-divergent condition. To include (but not limited to) dyslexia, dyscalculia, adhd, tourettes, dyspraxia, and autism spectrum conditions.

Creatively I develop multi-sensory and interactive pieces that are often research based or have elements of data visualisation in them, and that challenge a conventional world view of human cognitive experience. I am currently working with film and writing, drawing, acrylic and light and VR work, often in installation. (You can see examples on these pages) My approach is informed by a neurodiversity perspective, that invites reflection and celebration of different cognitive and cultural understandings of the world and our ways of interacting with it and with each other.

Research

I am an arts council supported Clore Fellow (15), and completed a period of empirical research funded by the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) alongside Bath University CAAR (Centre for Applied Autism Research) in 2019, that is being prepared for publication. This research looked at bias around autism within the cultural sector.

My research focus in this next phase for 2021 is to pilot the use of TRE methodology as an in-work support for autistic people working within the UK cultural sector. We know that anxiety is a huge limiting factor for autistic people in gaining and staying in meaningful work, and that the cycle of ‘crash and burn’ is real for very many. In work supports and interventions that support and respect autistic neurology are rarely prioritised. The focus until very recently has been to train neuro-divergent people to ‘fit in’ and conform. (Here’s a recent meta study demonstrating this point!) https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1362361318787789

It is my firm conviction that inclusion cannot be realised until the culture shift is complete; when neurodivergence and neuro-divergent conditions can be recognised as valid and important expressions of human cognitive difference, and disability is understood as more than pathology and is respected and supported.