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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.
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