Neurodissidence in a digital world

connection photo

In the context of the current re-vamp of the National Autism Strategy and the formation of a new All Parliamentary Group for Creative Diversity we’ve been thinking about going beyond ‘rights’ to mobilise a more intersectional, critical and contextual attitude towards neurodiversity. I’ve recently written a brief overview of some of the issues for the creative sector in Arts Pro and we’re developing research proposals to explore these themes in more detail and set up a Meetup Group for Neurodissident Women to throw around ideas. 

Fossbox’ networks cross creative, digital, arts and academia and many in our steering group are neurodivergent as well as queer. We’re struck by the way that employment initiatives and equalities discussions focus on men and tech sectors almost exclusively. But, far from the ‘hypermasculine’ stereotype restricted to technical interests, it is becoming increasingly clear that neurodiversity is remarkably gender variant with an omnivorous attitude towards disciplines and sectors.

Neurodissidence is a new way of looking at autism through a cultural and historical lens to try to understand the interactions between models of neurological divergence, wider cultural narratives, and technological development. That is, to explore autism as a cultural construct as much as a neurological divergence. We also want to look at the interface of technology and neurodiversity – not just how technology could help but also how a world increasingly structured by data really impacts us.

As a group we’re thinking about how we might develop a co-design-based approach to improving conditions for neurodivergent people across the creative industries. We’d also like to help move the dial on how autism is talked about more widely. An agenda is taking shape, and we’ll be relaunching Fossbox with an expanded focus and new steering group early in 2020.