‘Inside Out’ Symposium – Call for Contributions


Inside Out: autistic identities, participatory research and gender

2 day symposium: Thursday July 4 & Friday July 5 at the University of Kent

Day 1: Perspectives on participatory research practices, ethics and themes
Day 2: Perspectives on gender and creativity

Call for Contributions

This two-day symposium is a collaboration between the Participatory Autism Research Collective, and the Playing A/Part research project in which the experiences and identities of autistic girls are being investigated through participatory, interdisciplinary and creative research methods (AHRC funded, Universities of Kent and Surrey). The event is in the context of increasing interest in processes and practices to facilitate research across different communities of practice and considers how these approaches are informing research on autistic identities and neurodiversity. In ‘Making the future together: shaping autism research through meaningful participation’ (Fletcher-Watson et al, 2018), emerging from the Shaping Autism Research series, the authors identify a need for more work to create supportive and inclusive research environments, to address the methodological challenges of participatory research and encourage researchers to work with autistic led organisations within the UK:

‘The opportunity is to create a burgeoning, merged community of research practice, including autistic and non-autistic people and other partners who work collaboratively to create facilitative environments and resolve important, relevant questions.’

The event responds to this call as an invitation for researchers investigating autistic identities using participatory and/or interdisciplinary or creative methods to share their work. We particularly encourage contributions from the autistic community and we are designing the conference as an accessible event, informed by recent research on good practice (Brown, Thompson & Leigh, 2018). As we are seeking to facilitate conversations and to share practice, this call is for posters or exhibits based on research and creative practices rather than traditional paper presentations. We will publish contributions on our website and will consider ways of developing and disseminating the work featured through, for example a special issue or edited volume. Examples of practice-based contributions to the Day 2 event will be considered for inclusion in a tool box of creative resources for working with neurodiverse groups.

Our purpose is to map the current state of play in researching autistic identities and to facilitate dialogue between autistic and non-autistic researchers within a supportive environment. Each day will consist of a dialogue event (short presentations by two invited speakers addressing key questions), panel discussions, open space forums (focussed on posters and examples of practice) and workshop activity. The symposium will bring autistic and non-autistic researchers and practitioners into dialogue about future research, new directions, new methods and creative opportunities. In creating dialogue between different communities of research and practice we aim to recognise and respect differences rather than attempting to force a consensus (Milton et al., 2012).

Contributions are invited in the form of posters or creative artefacts from projects that engage with the symposium themes, issues and questions. These might include (but are not confined to):

Creative practices with autistic participants
Participatory research, neurodiversity and inclusive practices
Ethical issues in participatory autism research
Creative research methodologies and neurodiversity
Gender, sexuality and neurodiversity
Monotropism and related concepts
Interdisciplinary and inclusive research outcomes

Proposals for contributions are invited in the form of 150 word abstracts. These need to outline the rationale, content and form of the work to be featured (poster or creative artefact). The contributions will be presented as part of an exhibition in which there will be an opportunity for presenters to talk to their work and to engage in discussion of key themes emerging from the exhibition.

Please send proposals for contributions to playingapartconference@kent.ac.uk
with the subject line Inside Out Proposal. The deadline for proposals will be Friday 24 May 2019. Please note the preferred language for this event is identity first.

The symposium will be based in the School of Arts at the University of Kent at a cost of £25 per day or £40 for two days. This is to cover catering and administration. Fee waivers are available by writing to the conference organisers to request special circumstances consideration. The symposium will be inclusive and accessible, informed by the training and practices Kent has developed through its pioneering autism arts festival and research projects such as Imagining Autism and Playing A/Part.

For more information please visit (playingapartautisticgirls.org)

Brown, N., Thompson, P. & Leigh, J. S. (2018). Making academia more accessible. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 6(2), 82-90. DOI: 10.14297/jpaap.v6i2.348

Fletcher-Watson, S. et al. (2018) ‘Making the future together: Shaping autism research through meaningful participation’, Autism. doi: 10.1177/1362361318786721.

Milton, D, Mills, R, Pellicano, L (2012) ‘Ethics and autism: where is the autistic voice? Commentary on Post et al. ‘Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 44(10): 2650–2651.

Conference Organisers
Professor Nicola Shaughnessy (PI Playing A/Part), Dr Damian Milton (Chair of Participatory Autism Research Collective), Dr Hannah Newman (Research Fellow, University of Surrey), Chloe Farahar (PhD University of Kent and Playing A/Part Steering Group), Dr Dieter Declercq (University of Kent).

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