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Advocacy for All

bigger voices – better lives Peer Support Project in Kent

Our News

website: June 2017


issue 7

Kent Artistic Spectrum exhibition goes down a storm The Kent Artistic Spectrum has been very well received by the general public and some of the contributions swiftly found their way onto the walls of happy art lovers. The opening was positively packed and there was an overwhelming sense of achievement by the contributors who put their heart and soul into their work. Of course, not forgetting to mention the Advocacy for All staff who worked tirelessly to make this all possible. I felt truly elated by the beauty and originality of the art and poetry on display. Each and every one of them young, old and from all walks of life wanting to tell their own stories and what an inspiration they were. What was interesting was how all of the artists had been diagnosed at various different points in their lives. From 5 to 50 and in the cases of the late diagnoses the artists found their passion for art as if they had found some sort of an answer or release for why they were different. In some cases having felt like misfits for many years and not knowing the reason why. A visitors book was on display at the event and it was awash with wonderful and encouraging messages such as “this exhibition has really touched me” “extraordinary and powerful exhibition” “Very thought provoking and enjoyable” “Blown away by the AMAZING diversity of talent here.” “This collection of work is truly inspiring and influential” “Beautiful, left in tears!!” I think events like this are crucial. They are important for society and everyone who is on the Autism Spectrum to be portrayed in a positive light. This is a massive breath of fresh air to the overwhelming doom and gloom autism stories currently churned out by the mainstream media on a regular basis. As someone on the spectrum myself I have become so frustrated by so much negativity. 2

This event also proved to be useful because it was a culmination of artists and organisers and members of the public coming together which has given us a platform to focus on the importance of being different but nonetheless contributing enormously to society in a useful and productive way. The way forward is to embrace our differences whilst contributing fully in society in a positive light. People gathered over wine and snacks which enhanced the informal and relaxed ambience of the whole event. This meeting and mixing of people was great in getting contacts and building connections. There was a chance to talk to each artist about their life experiences and how it comes out in their work.

There was a multitude of different mediums from illustration, traditional arts such as impressionism, and surrealism all the way to digital arts and computer manipulated images. Some of the more abstract pieces reminded me of surrealist artist Joan Miro, the Spanish painter and sculptor whose art would remind one of the subconscious brain at work. The venue itself was lovely and just perfect for this event and conveniently close to the station. Attendees were treated to live singing by the talented “Songbird� and a whole repertoire of poetry recitals from various poets. I also contributed by reading out some of my own work. There are plans for more events like this in the very near future and we look forward to this with great anticipation. written by PW 3

interview with Oliver, photographer Oliver was recently interviewed for a local newspaper. Here’s what he said. Age? 20 Area? Maidstone How long have you been interested in photography? I've always been interested in art. Before I could even walk and talk I would be seen in the living room with paper and crayons constantly drawing pictures of steam trains. As I've grown up it's now developed into a passion which I now enjoy doing as either a hobby or a pastime, whether it's painting or just drawing silly sketches on the back of my maths books. Photography I admit is a medium that I am still very new to, my three pieces on display in the gallery are in fact some of the first photos that I ever took using a professional DSLR camera. How does your condition impact your work? My condition can cause me to be really over obsessive about things, I constantly strive for everything in my life to have a balanced structure and be 100% perfect. This can cause me to be very OCD about my art, whenever I'm photographing something I always have to take more than one shot just to be sure that I got everything that I wanted in the frame. I also strongly believe that my work actually impacts my condition, for all it's good my autism can also cause me to feel extremely stressed and anxious in bad situations. As well as a hobby, art can also be treated in my life as a form of therapy to help relieve me of any tension.

When where you diagnosed? I was 3 years old when I was first diagnosed. What advice would you give to young people with autism? I would encourage any person (young or old) who is on the spectrum to try and embrace it and not feel ashamed. I believe that autism is a gift, an incredible gift that allows us to see the world through a different and creative perspective. 4

What advice would you give to people without the condition? Even if you don't have a condition such as autism just remember that everyone in the world is still different to one another. Be patient, kind and respectful to everyone, autism is not a visible condition. It can make life harder for those who are affected by it, some of us find communication and eye contact really difficult to maintain, it can take us a lot longer to process information so if you ever talk to someone who you think is on the spectrum give them more time consider information and to respond. The whole point of this exhibition is to show the public that even though we, the artists, are all on the spectrum, we are not all the same as one another. All of us have our own talents, skills and personality identified within each of our work that helps to define who we all are as individuals.

Drive in Vegas

To see more of Oliver's and our other artists work go to 5

artist comment I really enjoyed being part of the exhibition. I feel that anything that promotes Autism and Asperger’s is a great thing and that people with these problems are capable of much more than people think. Just because you have a label doesn’t mean you are just governed by that label. I am currently doing a Fine Art degree at UCA in Canterbury which I find very fulfilling and being part of this exhibition has helped me connect with more people and helps me on my creative journey. All in all it was a great experience to be involved with. Josie

art workshop in Canterbury

The art continues! If you have been inspired by the art exhibition please let us know your ideas. 6

Kent and East Sussex railway trip

How did the Kent and East Sussex railway trip come about? I suggested Kent and East Sussex Railway for a day out because I love trains so I call myself a train enthusiast. I heard really good reviews about the railway and I knew it be a good day out for fellow project members.

How did the trip go? I enjoyed the train journey on the Kent and East Sussex Railway as I love the smell of train steam and the smell of coal. I love hearing the train wheels on the railway as it moves on old rails and I enjoyed the walk to Bodiam Castle CafĂŠ as the countryside was peaceful.

Who did you go with? I went with Will Pook, the group supporter, and between 7-8 project members.

How has the peer support project been useful to you overall? The peer support project been useful to me by meeting new friends who are also autistic and the project got me walking again as before I started going to groups I used to stay at home all day playing games and got depressed but the peer support project got me out of the house. written by DE 7

crazy golf in at Manston We played crazy golf as a group in Manston. People from all over the area came along. We played together in groups of 4 which was a good way to get to know other people. The game was really fun and I got a whole in one but didn’t win. The winner got 59 which was a brilliant score. written by HA

contact us Will Pook, East Kent tel: 07702 252 805 email:

Carol Detnon, West Kent tel: 07715 068 948 email: 8

Kent Artistic Spectrum newsletter June 2017  

News about our peer support project in Kent

Kent Artistic Spectrum newsletter June 2017  

News about our peer support project in Kent