You can follow the Rewilding the Artist dedicated blog here
Rewilding the Artist is a research and development pilgrimage to myself while exploring and reflecting on the sensory environment and how it can form a nurturing practice to balance and manifest peace through practice.
One of the difficulties of being autistic is finding a sustainable way to work due to the levels of anxiety, mental & physical exhaustion that we can experience from living in a neurotypical world. Being autistic in a neurotypical world isn’t easy. The world can seem totally alien where everyone talks a different language & acts differently to how I experience the world, which causes very high levels of anxiety, misunderstandings/confusion & isolation.
I have exercises and activities that nurture and support me to be able to manage day to day life, my sensory practice. These activities are essential to my wellbeing however they need to be carried out in addition to my work and other activities which takes up a lot of extra energy which I do not have.
What if they were my arts practice?
What if those activities were my work? Could my arts practice be my way of life that nurtures and sustains me & the process shared to benefit others? What could that look like?
The Office of National Statistics reports that 81% of non-disabled are in work, 52% of disabled are in work, only 22% of neurodivergent people are in work (2020/21). There is also a disproportionate number of those that are neurodivergent in the arts. Finding a way to peace through a solid nurturing practice must be the first step to overcoming barriers to access in the visual arts & the creation of wellbeing.
Rewilding the Artist is a test bed for myself as to how I can use my practice to nurture my wellbeing using my sensory diet as a start point. For seven months I shall research, imagine and test what a neurodivergent, sustainable practice could be. I am pleased to be supported by Susan Goundrey-Kruse, Morag Ballantyne, Oriel Davies and Disability Arts Cymru (DAC). The process will start with a survey of my studio, focusing on its sensory effect on me. I shall then progress onto small sensory experiences and develop a creative response to each while documenting the process including writing a public blog. This will document me from the inside out, a view of neurodivergence that is rarely seen. A selection of ideas will then be developed further. Finally, the whole experience will be shared at an online event for which I am partnering with DAC. Questions to address: How do I document my positive sensory difference; what I see and feel that is different to the norm? Can I illustrate / document it with sound, movement, placement, other...? The process will be a flowing and intuitive experience. I don't yet know what direction it will take or what will emerge other than I intend to work towards a practice of sensory calming that will inform myself and be shared with others. I would like to thank the Arts Council Wales & The National Lottery for making this project possible.