IOE academic presents work at Bloomsbury Festival
1 November 2021
UCL Institute of Education (IOE) researcher Dr Georgia Pavlopoulou has presented art made with and for autistic people that tackles inequalities and dismantles stereotypes at Bloomsbury Festival.
The work was created as part of Flow Unlocked, a collaborative knowledge exchange project that highlights the importance of relationships to autistic people's mental health and quality of life. In creating the work, group participants reflected on the breadth of personal and sensory relationships that have sustained them before and during the pandemic, as well as those they have missed. These reflections are revealed through poetry, photography, drawing and film.
Dr Pavlopoulou, Lecturer at the IOE and Flow Unlocked co-founder, said:
“Autistic relationships are rich, nuanced and creative and have proved to be a wonderful theme for a dynamic creative collaboration. Traditionally research and public engagement activities are made about autistic people not with them, the consequences of which continue to harm autistic lives. Flow Unlocked breaks the mould. Redefining the autistic narrative from the perspective of lived experience, is vital to building an inclusive community. When projects involve autistic people in genuine participation, we create safe spaces where creativity, friendship and authenticity can flow.”
Briony Campbell, artist, project manager and co-founder of Flow Unlocked, said:
“In spring 2020, we began a six-month autistic-led consultation process with autistic community consultants, artists and UCL staff during which we established our mission and methodology. Based on this process, in autumn 2020 we invited autistic East Londoners to join creative writing workshops and explore their relationships with place, people, objects and nature for another five months. As a group we built a safe space to share perspectives and write poetry on relationships, and the effects of lockdown. We made visual works inspired by co-creators’ words and the collaborative process. These works were developed and honed in response to regular feedback from our workshop participants. We are also investigating the questions of co-authorship and representation inherent to our process.”
Jon Adams, neurodivergent artist and Flow Unlocked co-founder, added:
“This project has gifted me the opportunity and encouragement to express, through a creative and open peer-led safe space, my hurts and hopes for the relationships I struggle to maintain during Covid-19.”
Bloomsbury Festival takes place annually and brings together a programme of arts, science and cultural events. This year the festival took place from 15-24 October 2021.
- View Dr Georgia Pavlopoulou’s research profile
- Flow Unlocked
- Bloomsbury Festival
- Department of Psychology and Human Development
- Top: Georgia Pavlopoulou
- Above: Flow Unlocked artwork curated by Briony Cambell