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Neurodiversity, Networks, and Narratives: Exploring Intimacy and Expressive Freedom in the Time of Covid‐19

Betts, Kerri and Creechan, Louise and Cawkwell, Rosemarie and Finn‐Kelcey, Isabelle and Griffin, C. J. and Hagopian, Alice and Hartley, David and Manalili, Marie Adrienne R. and Murkumbi, Inika and O’Donoghue, Sarinah and Shanahan, Cassandra and Stenning, Anna and Zisk, Alyssa Hillary (2023) 'Neurodiversity, Networks, and Narratives: Exploring Intimacy and Expressive Freedom in the Time of Covid‐19.', Social Inclusion, 11 (1). pp. 60-71.


The Narratives of Neurodiversity Network (NNN) is a neurodivergent academic, creative, and educator collective that came together with allies during the Covid‐19 pandemic to create a network centred around emerging narratives about neuro-diversity and exploring new ways of learning and socialising. The network focuses on exploring the roles of written, spoken, and visual narratives across cultural locations about neuro‐atypical experiences in generating improved agency and self‐advocacy for those who have been subject to pathologization through neuro‐normativity and intersecting oppression. During the last year, widening access to digital platforms has provided a space to explore these issues outside of traditional academic spaces. We run a monthly “Salon,” our mixed‐media “reading, listening, and watching” group, in an effort to find positive representation within contemporary culture. Discussions have moved beyond mimesis and into a consideration of how narrative and storyworlds can question the supposed naturalness of certain ways of being in and perceiving the world. This article interrogates the network’s core principles of nonhierarchical co‐production, including the roles of creativity, community, identity, and emancipatory research which were animated by the new techno‐social context. We consider the cultural lives of neurodiversity in the West and beyond, including ethical and aesthetic dimensions. We share a faith in the power of storytelling to inform new social identities for neurodivergent people and to inform scientific understandings of atypical cognition. In exploring this, we speak through a porous first‐person plural narrator, to unsettle the idea that there is a hegemonic “we” speaking on behalf of all neurodivergent people.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2023 by the author(s); licensee Cogitatio (Lisbon, Portugal). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY).
Date accepted:18 July 2022
Date deposited:17 January 2023
Date of first online publication:17 January 2023
Date first made open access:17 January 2023

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