There are several other networks focussing on neurodiversity at the moment, who we are partnering with. We’ve included details of them below.
The Neurodiversity In/& Creative Research Network, an online, transversal platform for/with 240 neurodivergent innovators and allies keen to explore the messy, magical and contentious.
The Network reveals a powerful, evolving portrait of the potential of how neurodivergence entangles with creativity. Our narratives do not just describe existing ideologies; rather, they create them (Weeks 1998). The Network itself was born largely from the UK’s first lockdown. 120 people joined by March 2020. Self-starters with initiatives in diverse fields abound. We are from the arts (eg an artist featured at London 2012 Paralympics and Rockerfeller Centre), performance (eg Scottish Neurodiverse Performance Network), mental health (eg AttentionUK), galleries (eg Attenborough Centre), festivals (Whistable), culture (eg UK’s leading autism podcast The Autism Podcast), think tanks (eg Royal Society of Arts), technology (JV-LA), employment (Genius Within, which authored the Neurodiversity at Work guide for the British Psychological Society and advises ACAS), HEI (Cambridge, Waterloo) and research (Australian sociologist Judy Singer, who invented the term ‘neurodiversity’).
Interdisciplinary and creative approaches to research is de rigueur here, not the exception. Examples include ‘disordering dance’ (Watson 2020); ‘neurodiversity rong table’ (Oliver 2020), and innovative approaches to studying neurodivergence spanning philosophy, social science, film and more (Russell Exploring Autism project 2015). Members have also created methods through the Network’s regular creative seminars (eg Watson’s ‘dysco’ which is touring Southbank Centre 2021).
It was co-founded by an artist-curator Dr Kai Syng Tan with a sculptor-social scientist Dr Ranjita which evidences its mission to ‘diversify neurodiversity’ (Tan 2020). Distinct to advocacy or support groups and related blogs, or other Jiscmail groups, the Network is ‘open to anyone with an interest in the messy and magical nexuses of creativity, neurodiversity, and research’, and to ‘support others as critical friends’ (Tan and Dhital 2020), within and beyond UK (members are in US, Canada, Taiwan, India, Europe and Australia).
That the Network includes people with OCD, dementia, stroke and fibromyalgia enacts disidentification, which has upset the purists/police of neurodiversity. Members tell their own stories, rather than having their voices appropriated, commodified, co-opted, distorted, white-washed, re-packaged by others. If disabled people have been historically and culturally silenced (Berger 2013) and representation is often ‘oppressive or negative’ (Hevey 1993, 423), the Network bypasses academic presses as gate-keepers of the ‘intelligibility of knowledge’ (Manning 2018) and enables those ignored in popular media a voice, which can now be examined (Egner 2019).
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