The creative talents of young people with autism are now on display in Leamington as part of a new project focusing on support for people with the condition.
The Art of Consultation, which opened at the Pump Room Gallery on Monday and runs until Sunday October 6, showcases works by young people who took part in a series of ‘creative consultation’ events organised by Warwickshire County Council.
Participants were asked to provide feedback on what it feels like to live with autism for a new All-Ages Autism Strategy that it is currently developing.
Results show that many people with autism find it difficult to take part in traditional consultations as they struggle with having to write their responses.
Staff working on the project decided to take a different approach and appointed an artist, Janetka Platum, to work with small groups of young people with autism and create pieces of artwork that reflected how they felt.
Eleven pieces of artwork produced between March and May this year are on show at the exhibition, alongside audio-curation by Janetka Platum.
Rachel Flowers, customer engagement officer at the county council, said: “Social skills and social interactions are often a barrier for people living with autism. For those who find verbal or written communication barriers to expressing their views, then art can open up a non-language based ways of enabling that meaningful expression to happen.”
Artist Janetka Platum said: “Working with young people on the spectrum teaches me that a lack of imagination on our part contributes to them feeling misunderstood.
“Creative approaches allow for different imaginations to not only express themselves, but also reveal original and insightful ideas we should be listening to and be guided by. I’d like to thank the 147 young people who participated in the consultation. I was moved by their courage to express the realities of their lives.”
County councillor Jose Compton, responsible for policy on adult social care, added: “I am excited that we have approached this consultation in such a creative and innovative manner.”
The consultation results are being used to develop a first draft of the strategy, which will be going out for further comment in October.