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On Art, Neurodivesity & Giant Octopussies: Reflections on art-science commission #MagicCarpet

Tan, Kai Syng (2019) On Art, Neurodivesity & Giant Octopussies: Reflections on art-science commission #MagicCarpet. King's College London, King's College London, 0-55. ISBN 978-1-908951-28-1


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I created, designed, edited and wrote this 55-page booklet, On Art, Neurodivesity & Giant Octopussies: Reflections on art-science commission #MagicCarpet. It documents my reflections of the award-winning art-psychiatry commission We Sat On a Mat and Had A Chat And Made Maps! #MagicCarpet. It is my invitation for feedback, and participation for #MagicCarpet’s next adventures, and will be launched 30/1/2020 as part of the exhibition launch of a solo exhibition at the Manchester Craft and Design Centre (30/1/2020 - 04/04/2020). I initiated, led, curated and created #MagicCarpet as the first artist-in-residence of Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre (SGDP), King’s College London. My mentor was Professor of Psychiatry Philip Asherson. #MagicCarpet was commissioned and supported by Unlimited, celebrating the work of disabled artists, with funding from Arts Council England. The project was also supported by Cultural Programming and SGDP, both of King's College London. The 18-month programme generated a creative space for people from diverse and divergent backgrounds to gather and chat about mind wandering, constructs of ‘normality’, and neurodiversity – all problematic, unstable terms and, thus, fascinating. Created in dialogue with Professor of Psychiatry Philip Asherson, #MagicCarpet mobilises Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and how that relates to mind wandering and visual art as a case study. Processes include an artist-in-residency programme, workshops and a range of artistic outputs, including a tapestry art installation, drawings, performances and badges. 10,000 people have experienced #MagicCarpet through its exhibitions, workshops and keynote lectures. Venues include the Science Museum and Southbank Centre. Platforms include the Arts in Mind Festival in London and SOS Dyslexia Conference in San Marino. Press include Big Issue North and Resonance FM. There were also 2 podcasts and 13 short films. One of the films was in the Official Selection of the 2019 Arts and Humanities Research Council Research In Film Award, while another was an EU-funded one viewed 17,545 times in the first month of publication. Publications include an article that was read 2000 times in the first 2 days in The Conversation (10.6 million readers) and a top 2018 editorial on neurodiversity and women in Disability Arts Online. 100% of the feedback for several events state that the work challenges existing understanding of cognitive differences, mental health and interdisciplinary collaborations. An image won a National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement 2018 Images Competition Award for Culture Change, while another was on the cover of British Journal of Psychiatry. #MagicCarpet artworks have also been nominated for Sovereign Asian Art Award 2019, the largest art prize in Asia Pacific. Exuberant and playful, #MagicCarpet exploits art’s propensity for ambiguity, and extends the ambition of the All Party Parliamentary Group report on Arts Health and Wellbeing with its high- quality artistic outcomes that build cultural intelligence. Inclusive and empowering, #MagicCarpet contributes to discourses and practices around: arts leadership; socially-engaged art; drawing; installation, tapestry, performance, disability and participatory art; art writing; interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial collaboration, feminism, intersectionality, medical humanities, inclusive practices and (neuro)diversity, while spearheading what could be termed ‘neurodiverse art’ and ‘ADHD art’. View booklet as slideshow: https://issuu.com/kaisyngtan/docs/2019_magiccarpet_booklet_drkaisyngtan Download booklet: http://kaisyngtan.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/2019_MagicCarpet_booklet_DrKaiSyngTan.pdf Solo exhibition: https://www.craftanddesign.com/events/magiccarpet-a-tapestry-art-exhibition-by-kai-syng-tan/ Website: www.kaisyngtan.com/magiccarpet Twitter: https://twitter.com/wesatonamat

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