On the Essex coast there are places that still feel wild, places that remember when the water was lower and remember when it was higher. Here the elements sing and squabble. Doggerland feels close. Ancient spirits tell of the homes lost to the water, the hand that built them and the giant creatures that once sailed up there in the water above where our heads are now. We invite you to join us on an adventure that aims to illustrate poetic versions of the deep past and imagine prophetic versions of possible things to come. Three autistic female artists collaborate to read and retell the landscape, developing an AR and online experience that can bring magic outdoors to Cudmore grove…or transport the special landscape back home to you.
This practice PhD will look at new insight into artistic methodology through the lens of autistic stimming, a self-regulating mechanism. The act of stimming is often the only way autistic people can exist or function in the world (Charlton et al. 2020; Kapp et al., 2019), yet it is often vilified by professionals/society as a behaviour that affects autistic people in negative ways and must be prevented (Boyd et al. 2012).
During art-making, stimming provides a quilting point between an autistic person and their body. The margins of what constitutes imaginative creative practice is varied and wide, yet there is a knowledge gap in the understanding of how the qualities of autistic and neurodivergent people, and the emotional and sensory chaos that is associated with their experience can be positively employed and harnessed into productive creativity within Visual Arts. This research identifies a contribution to knowledge from an autistic perspective.
To explore the qualitative dimension of stimming, a new body of work will be produced, testing it through public facing and interactive processes of exhibitions and screenings. Through collaborative practice in workshops and events at NTU and other research methods, a thorough literature review will be explored. Case studies on other autistic artists who use stimming in their practice will highlight how stimming opens up a wealth of creative possibilities.
Additionally a toolkit will be produced offering interactive resources for new insights into artistic methods/methodologies and for good practice for arts organisations working with autistic/neurodivergent artists.