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Material Voices: intermediality and autism

Trimingham, Melissa F., Shaughnessy, Nicola (2016) Material Voices: intermediality and autism. Research in Drama Education, 21 (3). pp. 293-308. ISSN 1356-9783. E-ISSN 1470-112X. (doi:10.1080/13569783.2016.1194748) (KAR id:56933)

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The autistic community provide a cultural context that is still little understood. There is an urgent demand for new social and pedagogical engagement since autists often do not have the means to communicate in conventional ways. In the AHRC funded project Imagining Autism: Drama, Performance and Intermediality as Interventions for Autistic Spectrum Conditions (2011-14) ‘intermediality’ unlocked some of the many and various languages that autists use. In this article, we draw upon detailed participant observations to analyse how the interactions between the participants, media and the facilitators created new ways of engaging with and connecting to the social world. We argue for the centrality of intermediality as a bridge between the lived experience of autism and the practices of education and care. We demonstrate the value of communicating differently through the multi modalities of participatory performance and interactive technologies. The radical conclusion is that pedagogical demands for ‘normalization’ of such children may result in only tiny gains until educators in day to day contact with such children ‘re-perceive the whole’ of their often isolated worlds through new, unexpected and highly creative ‘material’ and intermediate languages.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/13569783.2016.1194748
Projects: Imagining Autism Drama, Performance and Intermediality and Interventions for Autistic Spectrum Conditions
Additional information: Supplemetal video material is available online for this article via the link
Uncontrolled keywords: autism, joint attention, joint action, cognition, camera, photographs, puppets, puppetry
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1600 Drama
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council (
Organisations -1 not found.
Depositing User: Nicola Shaughnessy
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2016 15:31 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 12:21 UTC
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