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Hard or Easy? Exploring Autistic Influence at (In)sane

This coming Sunday (14th Oct) sees the debut of a new piece of music/writing fusion written and composed by me and brother Rick. It's a 20 minute piece of non-fiction set to Rick's beats punctuated by samples of our sister Jenny's voice. The latter, pictured above saluting the future, is autistic and our composition Hard or Easy? reflects on our thoughts on autism from our particular sibling perspective. We tackle our life and times with Jenny, how our artistic endeavours have been influenced and shaped by autism, and a few other similar reflections. It is, we hope, quite light and fun, given that much of the dialogue around autism tends to be somewhat heavy and tinged with tragedy.

We're performing it at the wonderful (In)sane mental health arts event at NIAMOS in Hulme, Manchester. We're on in the evening, roughly 7:15, but the event itself is happening all throughout the day. It starts at 12 midday and will feature art, dance, theatre, and other bits of audio and spoken word, all around the theme of mental health, all in support of charity. It's a wonderful initiative started up by former Drama students of UoM and is bound to prove as insightful as it will challenging. Tickets are only a fiver and there will be plenty on the door at NIAMOS.

Siblings are in curious position in relation to autism. We grow up alongside it and we are perhaps the ones who are most actively shaped by autism, outside of autistic people themselves. We quickly learn about difference and responsibility and in a sense we already know the truth of neurodiversity well before we hit adulthood. In most cases, we don't have a life before exposure to autism and, again in most but not all cases, we have a future intimately bound up with autism too. I've often wondered if siblings are best placed to see the positive impact of autism, more so than parents, perhaps even more so than the autistic people themselves? Perhaps, perhaps. It's all subjective and dependant on context. But all we can say is: Rick and I are very autism-positive. It is hard, but it can also, in some senses, be easy. Come down to (In)sane to hear more...

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