Having worked for the past year towards achieving charitable status, Flow Observatorium’s official launch as England’s first equality and diversity charity for neurodivergent creatives will be held at the Zodiac Room in Portsmouth Guildhall on September 27th 2018, 4 – 6pm.
Flow Observatorium is led by Jon Adams, a nationally recognised neurodivergent artist and neurodiversity campaigner and Donna Bish, an arts and dance practitioner, researcher and archivist. They have been working collaboratively for the past three years, researching and advocating for acceptance of neurodivergent culture, and are now based at Portsmouth Guildhall which marks the beginning of an exciting new partnership with Portsmouth Cultural Trust.
“We’re delighted to welcome Flow Observatorium to the Guildhall. They represent one of the first artistic organisations we’ve embraced through the work of our new trainee associate producer Ben Clabon. We will provide them with a supportive environment so that they can continue to be creative and productive and therefore tackle the important issues concerning neurodiversity. We were delighted to have previously featured an exhibition by Jon and we hope that having the Guildhall as a permanent base Flow can develop to its full potential” Andy Grays, CEO, Portsmouth Guildhall
Flow Observatorium is achieving its aim in becoming a national hub and centre of excellence for, and led by, neurodivergent artists. Their Neurodivergent Arts Manifesto has been picked up internationally and is being used by organisations and individuals in Singapore, Australia, South Africa and the States as well as in the UK. Flow will be continuing to work with its partners Threshold Studios, based in the Midlands, developing best practice for neurodivergent artists’ residencies and opportunities and is also building new relationships with local and regional organisations to run neurodivergent led creative projects.
This year Jon Adams has delivered conference talks at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, ASSERT in Brighton (a support organisation for autistic adults) and conducted podcast interviews with international autism researchers at INSAR (International Society for Autism Research) in Rotterdam. Flow received start-up funding from Arts Council England last year and is continuing to work with them towards achieving recognition, equity and parity of opportunity, funding and understanding for neurodivergent artists. Phil Gibby, Arts Council Area Director, South West, said: “Flow Observatorium (FlOB) have been making waves locally and nationally with the creation of a hub for artists who identify as neurodivergent. We’re proud to have been able to support this project from its inception; and it is fantastic to see how investment at this critical time has enabled the company to develop and reach charitable status. This organisation enriches the arts and culture we consume by providing a different perspective to the typical world view we often see presented, FlOb embody the Creative Case for Diversity and we look forward to seeing more of what’s to come.”
MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, will be one of the speakers at the launch, and is a vocal advocate for the arts and neurodiversity: “It’s really exciting that this national hub for the creative work of neurodivergent artists will be based in Portsmouth. “Neurodiversity and Autism is something to be nurtured and celebrated as an important part of our society and I am glad to see the project has so much support across the city especially from the Portsmouth Guildhall where they will now be based. “I wish Jon and Donna every success going forward.”