Drawing, Diagnosis and DYCP

Since I first started exploring the idea that I might be autistic, I’ve been using drawing to help process my thoughts and feelings about it. Drawing has always been something that I’ve done, from drawing trees and birds as a child, to developing ideas for sculptures at University and more recently using drawing as part of my Queer River research.

Drawing in the kitchen

My most recent drawings often explore thoughts and feelings that are too complex, or not fully formed enough, to express in words alone. It’s often thought that autistic people don’t understand or can’t express emotions, and as with many autistic traits this thought of as a lack or a delay. I’m not so sure about that, I think my feelings and thoughts don’t always fit into words, and to do so limits them, pruning and squashing them to fit, and so missing something of the shape and complexity. The feel of them… they are feel-ings after all.

Recent drawings explore the (my) body-mind, the idea of neurotypes and the relationship between brains, bodies and the more than human world, with whom we are continuous. Autistic thoughts and feelings go beyond the accepted norms and bring ways of knowing and being with the world that we could all learn from.

I’ve been busy talking with other neurodivergent artists to develop and construct a period of research and development, that I plan to carry out in collaboration with them, should my recent DYCP application be successful. I’m keeping everything crossed and will hear back from the Arts Council at the end of May. This new period of research and development will support me to navigate the ‘art world’ as an autistic person, and to research ND artists’ experiences of place, with a working title of Neuroqueer Ecologies.

The last time I applied for a DYCP grant, was to support my Queer River esearch, and was unsuccessful that time, so ended up adapting it and turning it into a self-funded project, which was then supported by commissions from organisations such as Yarmouth Springs Eternal and The University of Glasgow.

The thinking and planning I’ve carried out for this application means that the learning has started already in some ways, but the funds will be crucial to pay my collaborators and mentors. I’ll let you know what happens…

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