Technology | Diversity | Democracy

Neurodiversity and innovation

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2019 was a year of promise for neurodiversity; the National Autism Strategy has been undergoing a revamp since March, and in April a new All-Party Parliamentary Group was founded to support diversity in the creative sector. In light of these breakthroughs, Fossbox wants to move beyond ‘rights’ – it’s time to mobilise a more intersectional, critical and contextual attitude towards autism and neurodiversity.

I’ve recently written a brief overview of some of the issues for the creative sector in Arts Pro, and as an organisation we’re developing research proposals to explore these themes in more detail, setting up a Meetup Group for Neurodissident Women to share ideas. 

Led by a diverse steering group, Fossbox spans a mosaic of networks, uniting the creative, digital, artistic, and academic professionals among us. Many of our members are neurodivergent as well as queer. We’re struck by the way that employment initiatives and equalities discussions focus on men and the 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 the disciplines and sectors.

At Fossbox, we are motivated to explore autism as a cultural construct, as much as it is (considered) a neurological divergence. 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.

As a network, we recognise the growing interface of technology and neurodiversity. We’re not just interested in how technology could help autistic people, but we’re also keen to explore how the structures imposed by an increasingly data-centric world impact our day-to-day living, wellbeing, and functionality in the modern workplace. In order to improve conditions for neurodivergent people across the creative industries, Fossbox is aiming to develop a co-design-based approach that will build services and pathways for professionals nationwide/in London (omit as you choose).

We will also aim to help move the dial on how autism is talked about more widely in society.