An association for autistic artists

Seen just now in an autistic blogger's post over on Tumblr,
Working on our terms - not yours
Jon Adams explains how a Portsmouth-based project aims to become a national hub of excellence led by and for neurodivergent artists.

In early 2015 I set up Flow Observatorium, a national project initially granted funding from Arts Council England and now a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. The aim was to become a hub for neurodivergent artists, providing peer support and campaigning for recognition, parity of opportunity and funding. We wanted to become a go-to organisation, with expertise tailored from lived experience.
As an artist, I’m not separate from society. In the conversations we have had with other artists, it seems the biggest barrier to engaging with the arts, whether as a creative or an audience member, is mental health. Many autistic creatives suffer from poor mental health due to the way society treats them. This is something Flow hopes to illuminate and change with the help of universities researching autism and mental health.
Neurodivergent cultures, I feel, need space and respect to evolve, experiment and grow. It’s not that we wish to silo ourselves, but historically, outsiders have hijacked narratives and spoken for us.
As an autistic person, I’ve often been hurt by people’s good intentions and imposition of what they believe they would want if they were in my position. This is a fundamental problem we need to change: a non-neurodivergent person cannot see the world as a neurodivergent person does.
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