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The first Interdisciplinary Autism Research Festival for creative approaches to mental health, research and public engagement. #IARF21

About this event

This festival will explore creative ethical and methodological approaches to autism research by focusing on insider experiences, social relationships and the arts.

We will be working across neurological and disciplinary divides to explore what is missing from current conversations about autism and to improve mental health outcomes and social inclusion for autistic people and their families.

Speakers and audience members will work across neurological and disciplinary divides to explore what is missing from current conversations about autism and to improve mental health outcomes and social inclusion for autistic people and their families.

The festival is also aiming to address the barriers we face in communicating the relevance of embodied cognitive difference more generally. In this way, we intend to challenge the idea that there is one ‘central’ narrative that conveys the experience of autism.

Last but not least, the event aims to dispel the myths that autistic people are not interested in the arts or social relationships.

Attending the festival:

The event will run online with a mixture of invited and open-call participants over three days – between 19 and 21 May 2021.

We are working on the festival programme, a festival booklet with more information and shared ground rules for our working together. Please look out for these towards the end of April. The festival will include a mixture of talks, workshops, performances and discussions and we hope you will join in as much of this as you can.

If you have any access requirements for discussion events please let us know as soon as you can. We will provide facilitators, note-takers, captions, BSL and a platform for discussions to take place, to support alternative communication modalities.

During the event, we will be asking participants to share ideas about participatory research, co-production, mental wellbeing, narrative research, families, creativity and representation in the context of autism.

Alongside the expertise of Participatory Autism Research Community (PARC), the Flow Unlocked artists, community members and researchers in different fields, we will celebrate the achievements of the second stage in the Flow Unlocked project funded by UCL Culture.

We would like to see this as the first stage towards research events that are run by and for autistic people, and which celebrate the cultural contributions of our community.

About the Organisers:

Anna Stenning is a Wellcome Trust Fellow, based in the School of English at the University of Leeds; Georgia Pavlopoulou is a senior fellow in Psychology and Mental Health at University College London and mental health NHS workforce trainer at UCL PALS/Anna Freud Centre; Damian Milton is a lecturer in Intellectual and Developmental Disability at the Tizard Centre, University of Kent.

About the Funders: The event has been supported by funding from the Wellcome Trust, The John and Lorna Wing Foundation and UCL Culture.

Contact email: iarfestival21@gmail.com

Tweet @IARFestival #IARF21


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