I am very excited to be running a free online photography workshop specifically tailored to a small group of autistic adults.
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, and since then I have come to appreciate the many ways in which photography supports my wellbeing by helping me understand and manage my autism. Passionate about photography and mental health and keen to promote inclusion within education, the idea of a setting up a photography workshop seemed the obvious direction to go in.
The aim of the workshop is to provide a comfortable environment in which participants are encouraged to explore their individual creative expression through photography. Accessibility is a key element, and the themes of shadows, reflections, patterns and textures were chosen so that participants can create images at any time of the day either at home or out and about. Emphasising that there is no need to have any particular equipment is also important as I am keen to dispel any apprehension triggered by a fear of not having the right sort of camera.
In addition to working on creative expression, the workshop explores a variety of ways in which photography can provide tools to help improve wellbeing by alleviating some of the anxiety caused by autism.
With the help of Liz Williams from the RPS and Alan Thomson from the National Autistic Society, I was delighted to be able to launch the first workshop in November this year.
I have received a great deal of encouragement from other people and I am always thrilled to let them know just how much I enjoyed running the workshop. It was so nice to witness a high level of positive engagement from all the participants together with such a refreshing diversity of thoughts and ideas.
Looking into the future, I very much hope this workshop is just the beginning of a bigger project aimed at helping, not only adults on the autistic spectrum, but also young, autistic people as well as others suffering from mental health conditions.