Circle I. Cosmology as Method

"I’m Kate Adams, I’m an artist and co-founder of Project Art Works. I am the mother of a man who's 39 now with quite complex support needs, and he prompted me to find a way to combine art, life and care in work."
Kate Adams, in ‘Navigating Systems of Care and Control’: A Conversation Between Trampoline House and Project Art Works. April 2022

Cosmologies of Care are large-scale circular drawings that represent the lives of neurodivergent people. Created by artist Kate Adams from Project Art Works, they are tools that help visualise the social systems of care that people in the UK and their families must go through to get their needs met.

The Cosmologies of Care give visibility to care labour, together with the bodies, environments and technologies who are involved, alongside the ambiguity of social care systems.

Through placing individuals at the centre, they produce healing visions and invite conversations: they mitigate systemic violence through visualising the social systems of care that affect a person, and how these might hamper or enable them. But they can also put in place actual strategies and tools for people to reach their goals and aspirations.

In making visible, and describing, individual or collective human needs, provisions and desires, which are often dismissed in marginalised groups, cosmologies can also produce imaginaries and visions for living otherwise, and for building better social systems. That's why, even though they were born in the context of disability and social care in the UK, they worked well to visualise people's lives in the Danish asylum system.

Listen to an interview with Kate Adams here:

Notes for interview with Kate Adams Project Art Works, Arch 1, Braybrooke Terrace. Hastings 17/05/2023
Trace history and emotions around the first cosmology of Kate’s - When did you draw it, and why did you feel you needed to draw it? How were you feeling? What was your situation at the time, and how did the drawing enhance it? Did you draw it for yourself, your son? Looking at it, and knowing your work, it feels like the cosmology is as much a tool for Paul as it is a tool for yourself, to situate yourselves in the world.
What do cosmologies do when they put people in the centre? What happens to them, how do they mobilise emotions? Are they a form of therapeutic activism? I think emotions emerge particularly powerfully in cosmology drawing with others because they are relationally produced. When people feel that they can take up space, that is a result of the relationship that is created between the artist and the participant. But also when people can relate to one another’s experiences. Can you describe the process?
Translation into the space of Trampoline House - what happened? What was meaningful? How did it feel working with a community you don’t know? Do you remember any cosmologies in particular? What did you take away from this experience - applying the method to a different community?
The duality of the cosmologies: How are they practical vs utopian (visualising other worlds)? Have they changed over time?
Photo: Cosmology by Kani, in Massaging the Asylum System: A Creative Exploration. Trampoline House, May 2022. A collaboration between Trampoline House and Project Art Works. Curated by Carlota Mir and Sara Alberani. Photo: Britta Ny Thomsen.

Kani's Cosmology - on Trampoline House, 'Massaging the Asylum System', Workshop with PAW, Trampoline House. May 2022

‘This is my small life. [...]  but in my mind it's very big; very big thing I have in my mind. But I put it here for a small picture. If somebody they... can already see the picture, they understand me, yeah...
This is a job centre. This is my city, Farum [in Denmark]. It's great, it's nice, people are very good people. This is job center. Office. When I come out I see the job centre. They have a Danish flag, yeah. When I want something, the job center at Kommun [municipality] they don't answer, they don't do anything. They say this is [...] in Denmark, we cannot help you.
But after that, I'm starting to come to Trampoline House. Trampoline House for us, like… is our house. I feel, when I come here... I sit with my family, with my children, with my sister, like this. I want to sit every week... see the people, the sweet people, when they come here. We are now together, we sit, we eat, we speak about our culture, our country... We are very happy here. [That's why] I put the Trampoline House up here. Every week. Yeah. The Trampoline House is the first thing for us in our life. I feel like this. We love Tone also. She is very sweet. Tone and Morten. She helped so much when I was [in] court. She helped me too much, Tone. Never, ever forget how big this help was for me when I go to court that time, 2014. She gave to me every activity paper, what can I do in Trampoline, we must have so many activities there, or shop and cook, at Sister's Cuisine: when [there] is a party, we're cooking for restaurant and for outside, for the lawyer, for many different places. Yeah. And we say thank you for Tone and Morten. We hope continue, continue, continue, until we stay in Denmark. Thank you’.
Kani is a Trampoline House member and lives in Denmark, where she has applied for asylum.