The second Participatory Autism Research Symposium presented by Bishop Grosseteste University and the Participatory Autism Research Collective will be held online on Wednesday 13th October from 10am-12pm.

Participatory autism research is defined as research where members of the autistic community have control over the research agenda and the analysis of, and reflection on, the data that is generated. It embeds the values of the draft framework for inclusive autism research (Chown et al., 2017), including that autism research should be aimed at improving the lives of autistic people.

Each participant in the symposium will introduce an element of their current research and this will then be discussed by the group. Each presentation will last for approximately 15 minutes. Comment by audience members will not be supported during the symposium, but there will be an opportunity for delegates to discuss the event in groups at the end.


Autistic women and university

This participatory PhD research focuses on autistic women's experiences of university, with specific regard to wellbeing. Participants expressed barriers to university and wanted universities to be more inclusive. As part of this project participants created creative pieces such as poems or artwork. Sophie is particularly interested in the use of creative methods as a research tool.

Sophie is a BGU alumnus.

Using the short film ‘Broken’ to explore autism in the classroom

The short film Broken (Rimmer, 2020) is an artistic impression that aims to articulate autistic pupil dysfluency from an autistic viewpoint. The film has been used a tool to support trainee teachers’ understanding of fluency issues in autistic pupils in the mainstream classroom. The film (6 minutes) will be shown as part of the presentation.

John is a member of BGU academic staff. The film’s co-creator, ‘Fauxparl’, is a BGU alumnus.

Representation of Black autistic characters in picture books

In 1990, Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop published an essay outlining the importance of children’s books as both ‘windows’ and ‘mirrors’: books that are windows enable children to learn about the lives of others, and those that are mirrors support children to see themselves reflected.

This project looks at the representation of Black autistic children in picture books – a hugely under-represented demographic. It critiques this representation both from a Black and from an autistic perspective and investigates how these books work both as windows and mirrors.

Clare is undertaking a PhD in children’s literature at Cambridge University. She is supporting three members of BGU’s academic staff with this project.

BGU’s ARCH project

BGU has this year started an Autism Resources Community Hub (ARCH), which aspires to be a one-stop starting point for all members of the BGU autism community (autistic students and staff, family members, friends and allies) to access information about autism at BGU. This community-based, exploratory work aims to build a positive resource that emerges from our autistic community.

Helen is BGU’s Student Engagement Facilitator.

10th September 2021