Johanna Roehr

Imagining Alternative AAC Futures Together: Can Artistic Literacy Help Neurotypical Communicators Integrate into a Neurodiverse World?

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In a wider context, this practice-based research is part of the medical humanities-led project Imagining Technologies for Disability Futures - a Wellcome Trust funded collaboration which explores connections between disability, culture, design, and technology.  

The itDf project’s Dundee workstream focuses on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) as used by many people with complex communication needs. This includes a range of strategies and ‘technologies’, from paper-based communication sheets to digital speech technology. 

Within this framework, my project explores non-linguistic communication through creative practice with people described as having Profound Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities (PIMD). The research takes place within The Sensory Studio, a mobile workspace purpose-built for artistic exchange and co-creation between artists with PIMD and Frozen Light Theatre, a Norwich-based organisation who create multi-sensory shows specifically for PIMD audiences. 

Using illustration-based methods to tune into the sensory frequencies of this collaborative workspace, the research methodology is designed to identify more equitable ways of interacting with people who do not process information through words, while recognising and valuing their non-linguistic contributions to knowledge. 

Names of Supervisors: 

  • Professor Graham Pullin
  • Professor Fiona Kumari Campbell