J.A.’s paintings make it to the UK

After their journey across the Atlantic, J.A.’s paintings have finally been framed and are now proudly hanging in our building at the University of Exeter.

We love both these paintings and think they are excellent and thought-provoking additions to our hallways.

Thanks again to J.A. and his family for arranging for us to pick up the paintings and meeting us in Canada.

#ExDxFilms Screening at Spike Island, Bristol

Thursday 20th June marked the fourth screening of our Exploring Diagnosis Films. This time we were hosted by Calling the Shots (CTS), the Film Production Company involved in the making of the #ExDxFilms. The venue was Spike Island in Bristol, home to CTS.

We really enjoyed the insightful discussion that interspersed and followed the films. It is important to us that our films have impact so we are particularly please when we receive feedback indicating that the films do appear to be stimulating people to consider various aspects of autism and neurodiversity.

So far, we have two more screening events lined up for this summer (information to follow) and hope to also have the Films available as Open Access online before the Autumn. Watch this space!

Mozart & The Mind Symposium 2019

We are taking our films International this weekend! The #ExDxFilms will be shown at the Mainly Mozart and the Mind Annual Symposium in San Diego on Sunday (2nd June).

This day of the symposium aims to share practical strategies to help families and professionals amplify and expand interests, strengths or talents of autistic people. The day’s talks will culminate in an interactive expert panel – on which our team member Jean Harrington will sit – addressing questions from the audience.

We’re very excited to see how our films will be recieved at such an important festival where the audience will include prominent autism researchers and activists.

Full festival timetable can be found here: https://mainlymozart.org/mozart-the-mind-2019-calendar-events/

#ExDxFilms at SAP Diverse Minds Charity Gala – 11th April 2019

What a success!  Exploding into Old Billingsgate on Thursday evening the Diverse Minds Gala, run by SAP, was an amazing event raising over £77,000 for the National Autistic Society and Ambitious About Autism.

Trailers for our #ExDxFilms were beautifully displayed on large screens in the exhibition area for the entirety of the evening.  This was our first external event and we were very excited to be showing our work to over 350 supporters of the SAP event.

Meeting Eddie Callis, whose animation features in our films, and seeing his exciting new artwork were such a delight.  For those of you who might like to have an opportunity to see his paintings and craft work Cornwall has its ‘Open Studios’ event running from the 25th May to 2nd June.  We also had the opportunity to meet two other artists from The Art of Autism, Mahlia Amatina and pencil artist Chris Baker who are both, like Eddie, amazingly talented.

All in all it was a wonderful evening and we would like to sincerely thank SAP for giving us a great opportunity to bring our work to such an interested audience.  We would also like to particularly thank Georgy Southall from SAP for being so helpful and such a great host on the evening and Gareth Skade from ICF Next for setting our trailers up so beautifully.

As we mentioned in our previous blog we have lots more festivals planned for the summer as well as a big online launch of the films later in the season.  To make sure you don’t miss the date keep logging into this blog and our Twitter (@ExDx_UoE).

SAP Diverse Minds Charity Gala

Jean Harrington, Research Fellow and Project Manager of the films, and Steven Kapp, another Research Fellow on the Exploring Diagnosis project, are taking our films to the SAP Diverse Minds event in London on the 11thApril.

Diverse Minds is an entire event dedicated to raising awareness and educating attendees on how those on the spectrum can bring invaluable people and minds into the workforce. The ethos of the event is to maximise talent through inclusion, which is something we hope our animation workshops and the process of making our films has helped achieve.

This is our first external event. We are very excited to show them to people completely unconnected to the Exploring Diagnosis project.

Eddie Callis, one of the artists whose animation features in the films, is also scheduled to be at the event exhibiting some of his artwork through the organisation Art of Autism.  Further, Adam Feinstein, author of Autism Works: A guide to successful employment across the spectrum, and a member of the Exploring Diagnosis project Advisory Board, will be speaking.

We have lots more festivals planned for this summer as well as a big online launch of the films. Keep an eye on this blog and our Twitter (@ExDx_UoE) for more information

#ExDxFilms – Exeter Launch

We were delighted with how well our #ExDxFilms launch went on the 2nd April, World Autism Acceptance Day.

Interviewees from the films, people who took part in our animation workshops and colleagues from the University of Exeter came to support our Autism Friendly event. The response to the films was very positive with those who did not know much about autism, its diagnosis and neurodiversity saying they had learnt something new.

Adam Feinstein, a member of our advisory board who has published books promoting autistic strengths commented, “Strengths, for example being able to focus, and weaknesses, for example being locked on to one subject, are part of the same features of autism. The deficit model of autism still pervades, but is changing”. He further commented that he thought our films helped promote a step away from the model.

Our next step with the ExDxFilms is to take them to numerous film festivals over the summer, both national and international. In addition we have planned a big online launch of which more details will be provided at a later date.

Big thanks again from us at ExDx to all the autistic voices and neurodivergent artists, as well as Calling The Shots and Art of Autism in helping us create the films.

Angela’s Thoughts on Neurodiversity, Animation and Her Experience Working on #ExDxFilms

Angela Weddle, one of the talented artists who has been working with us to produce our 3 Films on autism, diagnosis, neurodiversity and art, shares with us her thoughts and experiences.

Working on the films with the University of Exeter has been a wonderful and engaging experience. The process of learning animation by doing it, essentially jumping right in, may seem overwhelming to some, but as an artist with autism and other neurodiverse conditions, it is helpful as it circumvents overthinking and some executive functioning issues that can arise with too much planning.

It throws one’s brain into gear and bypasses some of those problems. And having guidance to handle any situations that do arise during the process made it very manageable.

It is also an exciting time to use technology. As an artist who does both traditional and digital art, it is still amazing that I possess the technology for making a movie, for animating something, that I can hold in my hand.

That even as a beginner in this medium, I can continue to learn it at my own pace and watch it evolve, and bring it into the creative process almost as naturally as one would a pencil. It has been a great opportunity to not only tell my story, and those of others, but to expand my own artistic practice and see new possibilities for communication, expression, and art making.

An example of Angela’s art work. This piece is entitled ‘Industrial Storm’.

Almost ready to launch our films!

Over the last 3 years we have been working with neurodivergent artists teaching them the craft of animation. Just in the past year, four artists have been working with us more closely to produce three short films about the experiences of autistic people. These artists are: Eddie Callis from Cornwall, James Frye from Washington State, J A Tan from Vancouver and Angela Weddle from Texas.

All of them produce paintings that they sell through the Art of Autism. These artists wanted to find out even more about animated film making-and our partners Calling the Shots have been visiting them and helping them to produce some visual footage. You’ll be able to see the results later this year when we launch the Films on this Blog. In the meantime here are three short trailers!

Eddie Callis

Not only has Dom been working with Angela, James and JA in the States, but he has also spent time with Eddie here in the UK.  Below is a still from a short video of Eddie’s work that, incidentally, will be featured in one of our soon to be released films!

BACK IN THE USofA!

After first visiting our three Stateside artists in April – James Frye, JA Tan and Angela Weddle – Dom and Jeremy have been back for a second visit to again work with them and to see the artwork that they have been preparing for our films on Diagnosis, Neurodiversity and Art.  The trip was a great success with Dom and Jeremy thoroughly enjoying the time they were able to spend with the artists.

A Glimpse into Angela’s sketchbook.

 

AN UPDATE ON OUR FILMS

The three short films that we have been working on during 2018 capturing the voices of autistic adults, and the art and animation of autistic artists, are nearing completion.  Complemented by the beautiful cello compositions and playing of Sarah Moody we now are approaching the final cuts.  This is an exciting time!  Now into 2019 we shall be making the last minute changes ready to roll the films out at various locations during the Spring. Watch this space for an update on our progress and the locations where the films will be screened!