The word ‘autism’ encompasses both diversity and complexity. People diagnosed with autism have unique ways of experiencing the world and perceiving others, are diverse in their abilities and behaviours, and are often represented from the ‘outside’ by books, films, the media and science. It can be hard for society to understand their specific and complex needs, which in turn can negatively impact their quality of life, relationships, support networks and job prospects.
Open Minds is an exhibition which aims to improve public understanding of autism by highlighting the perspectives of autistic people*, their parents and their carers. Doctoral researcher Brett Heasman, from the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, LSE, brings together stories collected from one community in Hull, East Yorkshire. With professional portraits by Lydia Meredith, visitors can listen to the portraits speak about their experiences of life on ‘the spectrum’.
The exhibition also includes a ‘Sensory Zone’, in association with Sensory Spectacle. Founded by Becky Lyddon, Sensory Spectacle creates immersive experiences to educate and improve awareness of Sensory Processing Difficulties (SPD).
* Participants in the project have indicated that their preferred term is ‘autistic people’.
Brett Heasman is a third year doctoral researcher, in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science at the London School of Economics. His research specialises in understanding the sociality (i.e. factors which extend or limit interactions) of people with Asperger’s syndrome. His research is supervised by Dr. Alex Gillespie, Associate Professor of Psychological and Behavioural Science at the London School of Economics. His doctorate is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
Twitter Hashtag for this exhibition: #LSEArts
This exhibition runs from 27 March to 21 April.
Just economics and politics? Think again. While LSE does not teach arts or music, there is a vibrant cultural side to the School - from weekly free music concerts in the Shaw Library, and an LSE orchestra and choir with their own professional conductors, various film, art and photographic student societies, the annual LSE photo prize competition, the LSE Literary Festival and artist-in-residence projects. For more information please view the LSE Arts website.