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States of Wordlessness: Exploring Neurodivergent Space through Creative Practice

POSTED: 09 May 2023

Neurodivergent Space is distinct from neurotypical experience, but it cannot be described. The neuroverse must be experienced, and you are warmly invited to experience it here

About the event

What is Neurodivergent Space? You are invited to experience it by watching Autograph's popular online event, in which artists Sonia Boué, Sonja Zelić and Lucy Barker present text, audio, film, and photography from their creative practice, to articulate and share their experiences of Neurodivergent Space, wordlessness and situational mutism.

about the artists


Sonia Boué

Sonia Boué is a multiform neurodivergent artist. She is also a writer on autism and art, and a consultant for neurodiversity in the arts. She has a significant archive of postmemory work and her current focus is neuro-inclusive practice-led research.

Sonia is a Board member for a-n The Artists Information Company and Artist Member for CVAN SE and member of the acquisitions panel for NDACA. She has designed and facilitated anti-ableist training for the Wellcome Collection's Social Justice Curriculum, and worked with Plus Tate Network and DANC/TripleC on a series of events for the Network. She recently convened the event Beyond othering - curatorial practice and the neurodiversity paradigm for the British Art Network. You can follow Sonia on Instagram and Twitter, and see more of her work on her website.

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Sonja Zelić

Sonja Zelić is a visual artist and filmmaker who has worked across art forms, and collaborated with a diverse range of artists and audiences, with years of expertise working in participatory/community and often also site specific settings.

Her work explores relationships between the physical, social, and emotional environment, and is informed by stories, conversations, research and lived experience of situational mutism (aka Selective Mutism / SM). supports adults and teenagers with Selective Mutism, and their parents.

Sonja is currently exploring the creative possibilities generated by differences between neurotypical and neurodivergent styles of communication. She advocates and posts about SM from an activist perspective via ISpeak’s Facebook page and has recently created a resource manifesto: Sensory Philosophy: Exploring the margins of speech and silence — supported by a bursary from a-n The Artists Information Company. Find out more on Sonja’s website.

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Lucy Barker

Lucy is a Bradford-based, interdisciplinary artist with over 20 years’ experience in arts, community and research contexts. She works across a broad spectrum of art forms, including animation, photography, film and sound, often exploring themes such as ritual, nature and hybridity.

Lucy is currently revisiting her work through a neurodivergent lens, revealing identity and reworking narratives about herself and the world around her. Her socially engaged practice questions processes of co-creation, participation and practice development, with a focus on approaches that are sustainable for her and welcoming to every body. Find out more on Lucy’s website.

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in review


What more is there left to say

Artist Ashokkumar Mistry reviews the States of Wordlessness event and considers the importance of making space for neurodivergent practices in the arts


related CONTENT

Dismantling Intellectual Ableism in the Arts

Sonia Boué on the work of artist Sharif Persaud

Read blog post | 4 min read

Neurodiversity and Collective Approaches to Art Making

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Totally Brilliant Chaos

On the politics and practice of Autograph's creative programme for children with complex needs

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Part of Autograph's 2022 Open call

Each year, Autograph has an Open Call for event proposals from emerging cultural producers who are working on a new or early stage project. For successful applicants, Autograph provides a budget, curatorial fee, and support to help make the event happen. This event is a result of our 2022 Open Call.

About the artists images: 1) © Sonia Boué, 2020. 2) Lucy Barker, courtesy of the artist. 3) Sonja Zelić, courtesy of the artist.

Discover more: 1) The Mask [still], 2017. 3 mins 46 seconds © Sharif Persaud and courtesy of Project Art Works. 2) Image from a Family SEND Programme workshop at Autograph, with thanks to the attendees. 3) Image © and courtesy of Submit to Love Studios / Headway East London.