Registration now open

Two day conference with a difference

Inside Out:

Autistic identities, participatory research & gender


Day 1: Perspectives on participatory research practices, ethics and themes

Day 2: Perspectives on gender and creativity


When: Thursday 4th July & Friday 5th July

Where: The School of Arts, University of Kent

Cost: £25/day or £40/two days (fee waivers available by emailing the organisers)

To register click here

Confirmed Contributors include:

  • Sonia Boue (autistic advocate; multi-form artist and autistic practice)
  • Dr Laura Crane (Deputy Director and Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Research in Autism and Education, CRAE; co-author of Making the future together: Shaping autism research through meaningful participation)
  • Prof Jonathan Green (Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Manchester)
  • Dr Helen Kara (author of Creative Research Methods for the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide)
  • Dr Will Mandy (clinical psychologist and senior lecturer at University College London, UCL)
  • Dr Damian Milton (autistic advocate; academic; Chair of PARC)
  • Dr Dinah Murray (researcher, developer of the theory of autistic monotropism)
  • Dr Katrien Schaubroeck (Autism Ethics Network; co-author of The ethics of autism)
  • Dr Catriona Stewart (Founder and Chair of Scottish Women’s Autism Network; Scottish Convenor for PARC; writer and contributor to Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism)

In-residence stand-up poet: Kate Fox, stand-up poet, researcher and broadcaster

In-residence journalist: Sara Harvey AKA Agony Autie, autistic self-advocate, vlogger, speaker

Topics covered in the panels include:

  • Exploring an interest model of mind (i.e. monotropism)
  • Autistic girls’ experiences of education
  • Autistic mothers and daughters
  • Autistic experiences of pregnancy and childbirth
  • Autistic girls and the BAME community
  • LGBTQ+ and gender fluidity within the autistic community

This two-day conference is a collaboration between the Participatory Autism Research Collective, and the Playing A/Part research project in which the experiences and identities of autistic girls are being investigated through participatory, interdisciplinary and creative research methods (AHRC funded, Universities of Kent and Surrey). The event is in the context of increasing interest in processes and practices to facilitate research across different communities of practice and considers how these approaches are informing research on autistic identities and neurodiversity. In ‘Making the future together: shaping autism research through meaningful participation’ (Fletcher-Watson et al, 2018), the authors identify a need for more work to create supportive and inclusive research environments, to address the methodological challenges of participatory research and encourage researchers to work with autistic led organisations within the UK:

The opportunity is to create a burgeoning, merged community of research practice, including autistic and non-autistic people and other partners who work collaboratively to create facilitative environments and resolve important, relevant questions.

The event responds to this call as an invitation for researchers investigating autistic identities using participatory and/or interdisciplinary or creative methods to share their work. We particularly encourage contributions from the autistic community and we are designing the conference as an accessible event, informed by recent research on good practice (Brown, Thompson & Leigh, 2018). As we are seeking to facilitate conversations and to share practice, this call is for posters or exhibits based on research and creative practices rather than traditional paper presentations. We will publish contributions on our website and will consider ways of developing and disseminating the work featured through, for example a special issue or edited volume. Examples of practice-based contributions to the Day 2 event will be considered for inclusion in a tool box of creative resources for working with neurodiverse groups.

Our purpose is to map the current state of play in researching autistic identities and to facilitate dialogue between autistic and non-autistic researchers within a supportive environment. Each day will consist of a dialogue event (short presentations by two invited speakers addressing key questions), panel discussions, open space forums (focussed on posters and examples of practice) and workshop activity. The conference will bring autistic and non-autistic researchers and practitioners into dialogue about future research, new directions, new methods and creative opportunities. In creating dialogue between different communities of research and practice we aim to recognise and respect differences rather than attempting to force a consensus (Milton et al., 2012).


Click here for full schedule


We are also very excited to announce that we are going to have a performance of

The Duck – A one woman play by Rhi Lloyd-Williams

Thursday 4th July 6pm Aphra Theatre

Tickets available soon

A glimpse beneath the surface of one autistic woman’s world.

Imagine you spent your whole life believing everyone was pretending and that everyone wore a mask. Imagine you are the swan who instead of finding your place in the world, built a duck-mask and learnt to waddle instead.

A funny and moving new one-woman play by autistic writer and poet, Rhi Lloyd-Williams. The Duck is an exploration of life after a late-diagnosis of autism.

Patterns and connections are fashioned from fragments of memories, as you follow the tangential threads through her mind, in this powerful and beautiful play, starring Lucy Theobald, and Directed by Jo Loyn.

Find out more at

How to get here

Please see here for information on how to get to the University of Kent Canterbury campus

The conference is taking place in the Grimond building, University of Kent, Canterbury.

Accessibility information available here