The shape of me – the shape of you: project development.



A great deal has happened since our last blog entry and our press release. Our collaboration (Elena Thomas and Sonia Boué) is working behind the scenes on research and development for the project, and in the next few weeks our archive from the a-n site will appear on the menu here at WordPress.

The project at times feels like a many tentacled beast, and as Elena and I go deeper into our professional (and of course personal) relationship, the far reaching nature of my professional template – for my work as an autistic artist and project lead – is becoming clear.

This is no add on, no mere list of accommodations – this research into my needs and how I work best will filter into every aspect of the Museum. What’s so very exciting about this is – that despite the focus on me – the project as a whole stands to gain so much through its inclusive imperative. What’s good for the goose may well be good for the gander.

For the time being there’s not much more I can say because we’re only a few weeks into the process – and I don’t want to jinx the progress we’ve made so far. A very superstitious autistic am I!

But, I’ve been blogging a great deal on my own site about my autistic life. Professional development issues have dominated the last three posts, in which I dissect some of the more problematic areas of working life as a freelance autistic artist in a neurotypical world. It’s a good place to catch up on some of the issues which will inform this project design.

Moving beyond our collaboration, our core team is also taking shape, and Elena and I are delighted to be working with Dr Jacqueline Taylor, who is both artist practitioner and researcher, and will lead on the research element of our work. As the project goes forward Jacqueline’s role is emerging as being quite simply fundamental.

As the weeks go by we’ll be talking with  more members of the team, but for now this is starting to feel more than good. This research is taking us to the cutting edge of inclusive practice.

The creative work for the project still feels a long way off, so it’s important to keep making. You can read Elena’s take on this issue on her blog in post called Equilibrium – it’s about the difficulties of maintaining a balance between project development and the hands on side of creative practice.

Meanwhile I’ve been enjoying following our artists online (okay we’re only borrowing them but it’s a fine feeling to claim them temporarily!), and chatting in emails and private messages too. Jenni Dutton is currently rightly enjoying huge success with her Dementia Darnings (they are presently on show at The Hague), and Dawn Cole is working on the fascinating Arts Council England funded, Wasteland to Wasteland project. I’m often warmed to the core to find Kate Murdoch’s images online of her Nana’s Colours series, as well as her eloquent and timely interventions on political matters. Ruth Geldard’s drawings – especially one stunning portrait of her mother posted on the six month anniversary of her death, quite recently – have often moved me and brought us together for a brief exchange.

Patrick Goodall‘s recent residency at New Art Gallery Walsall has provided some particularly memorable video footage and images from his incredible Tool Workshops. Finally, Neil Armstrong has given us a tantalising glimpse of his proposed work for the Museum in his  blog about his collaboration with his longtime friend, the art psychotherapist, Dave Edwards. You can read all about it here.

So watch out for more news in this space and follow us as the project grows.

Thanks for reading!








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