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      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   06/04/2017

      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   Depression and other mental health difficulties are common amongst people on the autistic spectrum and their carers.   People who are affected by general mental health difficulties are encouraged to receive and share information, support and advice with other forum members, though it is important to point out that this exchange of information is generally based on personal experience and opinions, and is not a substitute for professional medical help.   There is a list of sources of mental health support here: <a href="http://www.asd-forum.org.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=18801" target="_blank">Mental Health Resources link</a>   People may experience a more serious crisis with their mental health and need urgent medical assistance and advice. However well intentioned, this is not an area of support that the forum can or should be attempting to offer and we would urge members who are feeling at risk of self-harm or suicide to contact either their own GP/health centre, or if out of hours contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or to call emergency services 999.   We want to reassure members that they have our full support in offering and seeking advice and information on general mental health issues. Members asking for information in order to help a person in their care are seeking to empower both themselves and those they represent, and we would naturally welcome any such dialogue on the forum.   However, any posts which are deemed to contain inference of personal intent to self-harm and/or suicide will be removed from the forum and that person will be contacted via the pm system with advice on where to seek appropriate help.   In addition to the post being removed, if a forum member is deemed to indicate an immediate risk to themselves, and are unable to be contacted via the pm system, the moderating team will take steps to ensure that person's safety. This may involve breaking previous confidentiality agreements and/or contacting the emergency services on that person's behalf.   Sometimes posts referring to self-harm do not indicate an immediate risk, but they may contain material which others find inappropriate or distressing. This type of post will also be removed from the public forum at the moderator's/administrator's discretion, considering the forum user base as a whole.   If any member receives a PM indicating an immediate risk and is not in a position (or does not want) to intervene, they should forward the PM to the moderating team, who will deal with the disclosure in accordance with the above guidelines.   We trust all members will appreciate the reasoning behind these guidelines, and our intention to urge any member struggling with suicidal feelings to seek and receive approproiate support from trained and experienced professional resources.   The forum guidelines have been updated to reflect the above.   Regards,   The mod/admin team

Aeolienne

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About Aeolienne

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    Kilimanjaro
  • Birthday February 21

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    Leamington Spa, Warks
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    Baroque music, green issues (esp. renewable energy), hillwalking, Quakerism, reading (astronomy, fiction, popular science), practical conservation, art exhibitions, royal-watching
  1. (Not written by me) Autism to ADHD: thinking differently about recruitment Despite having much to offer, neurodiverse people can struggle to land a job. Some firms are now looking at new ways to tap into their talents By Georgina Fuller Mon 3 Feb 2020 The term “diversity and inclusion” has become ubiquitous in the corporate world yet neurodiverse people – those with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyspraxia or dyslexia – are often overlooked. One in seven people are "neurodivergent", according to ACAS. Despite this, a recent study by the CIPD found that seven in 10 businesses ignored their own neurodiversity policy. Neurodiverse people can, however, often bring a dazzling array of skills and an alternative perspective to the workplace. Those with ADHD, for example, could have the ability to “hyper focus” and excel when working to tight deadlines. People with autistic spectrum disorder may have the ability to concentrate for long periods of time and be supremely reliable. And those with dyslexia might have strong verbal skills. Some employers have realised that standard recruitment methods, such as panel interviews, might not work as well for neurodiverse people: Ernst and Young, BT and Siemens all have programmes for neurodivergent employees. Consumer goods giant P&G has recently launched an apprenticeship programme in conjunction with the National Autistic Society (NAS) for its innovation sector. Emma O’Leary, who oversees the programme, says: “To attract different thinkers, your approach needs to be different. The traditional method of verbal-based interviews is very limiting if social communication is a challenge.” While the programme focuses on those with autism, P&G encourages anyone with a neurodivergent condition to apply. “So far, between the UK and Boston, P&G have had more than 50 people attend the assessment day, and 11 employees progressing on to internships,” O’Leary says. Liz Johnson, co-founder of The Ability People, a disability inclusion consultancy, says there are a number of measures employers can take to make apprenticeship schemes more accessible. “They include: training interviewers to allow neurodiverse candidates to perform at their best; eliminating jargon in job descriptions; explicitly stating you welcome neurodiverse candidates; and completing desk assessments for new joiners, so they don’t experience sensory overload.” Having a more neurodiverse workforce can help employers reflect the different needs and outlooks of their customers, Johnson adds. “The extra insight they gain will help them adapt their products so they best serve the needs of their whole customer base.” Emma Kearns, head of Enterprise and Employment at the NAS points out that only 16% of autistic people are currently estimated to be in full-time employment. “Most autistic people are desperate to find a job that reflects their talents but the recruitment process, with unpredictable questions, is often a huge barrier.” Ultimately, says Johnson, employers need to realise that failing to recruit and include neurodiverse people can mean missing out on new ways of thinking and untapped talent. “And in the incredibly competitive world of business this isn’t something any company can afford to miss out on.” Source: Guardian
  2. what if Wills and Kates baby has autism?

    Check her out at the Made by Dyslexia conference - 2 hours 34 minutes in...
  3. New Moderators

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  6. New Moderators

    Did you make it? "I moved from Scotland to Berlin to bake"
  7. IMVHO I don't see what the point of the upside-down goggles is at all. And for the record, I am much more comfortable with written communication than with engaging and working with other people. Shame there's no special software to help with the latter.
  8. I'm not sure how helpful it is to ascribe superhuman skills to autistics. That's subjecting us to unrealistic expectations.
  9. (Not written by me) Does your company nurture neurodiverse talent? By Chi Chi Izundu 17 January 2020 How do you make your workplace more welcoming to neurodiverse employees, and ensure their talent is nurtured? David Joseph takes off his shoes, crosses his legs and tucks himself into an armchair. For the CEO of one of the biggest record labels in the UK - Universal Music UK - he's unassuming. Our interview is supposed to last 10 minutes, but nearly an hour later (and several reminders by his assistant that he has other meetings), David is still talking, with pride, about diversity. Because he wants change. He wants to talk about diversity, especially a hidden diversity that never really gets a look in on any conversation about difference - neurodivergence. "A defining moment was that I got a text from this artist about three days after I saw them," he says. "This artist has unquestionably changed culture, but the words [in the text] were in the wrong order. I always speak to this person, seen them a lot, worked with them for a long time, but this was the first time I've ever had a text from them. And then I realised why." Neurodivergence - also known as neurodiversity - is a term many people may not be familiar with. It refers to the community of people who have dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, are on the autism spectrum, or have other neurological functions. According to the conciliation service ACAS, "these are 'spectrum' conditions, with a wide range of characteristics, but which nevertheless share some common features in terms of how people learn and process information". "Our artists, not all of them, certain ones, definitely think differently," says David. He's not just talking about Florence Welch or Billie Eilish - whose neurodiversity is well documented - he's talking about any employee at the label who is part of the creative process. An estimated one in seven people are neurodivergent in the UK but this isn't something that is routinely acknowledged in the workplace. "I need to reinforce that this is interwoven with all the other issues around diversity. It's not like we're picking this one over and above all the others," says David. This isn't about being nice and just giving people jobs. "There is an unconscious bias towards hiring people you think you'll get on with, share similar views, and dare I say it, might not be rebellious or cause dissent. I am a big fan of respectful outliers," says David. "I've been allowed to grow through this company and fundamentally be myself." After carrying out a fair amount of research, David and his HR team have produced a guidebook that more than 100 companies have expressed an interest in. It's cream coloured, to make it easier to read for people with dyslexia (the advice is to use dark coloured text on a light - not white - background, and sufficient contrast levels between background and text). It's full of simple graphics and isn't too wordy. The message is to stop focusing on things that neurodivergent people can't do and start celebrating what they are exceptional at. It's something that insurance company Direct Line, which actively recruits neurodivergent individuals, has been working on for some time. "There are so many different strengths that we hold, and I think it's easy to focus on the negatives but you get so much more when you focus on the positives," says Yvonne Akinwande. The 31-year-old marketing consultant says her employer recognises the need to ensure the working environment is suited to neurodiverse employees. She says that because of her dyslexia, she mixes up certain letters and doesn't easily recognise errors, such as spelling, punctuation and grammar. But the company has given her specific software to help with recording and writing up meeting notes. And even simple things, from the colour of her notepads to situating her desk in a quieter part of the office, has helped create a comfortable environment. More importantly, she feels that the more creative marketing role that she now holds suits her skill set more than the one she held previously. "In my previous role we would be audited monthly on our work. One of the things that would continuously come out was my grammar and spelling mistakes. We would need to send out formal correspondence to customers, and if they included car registrations, for instance, I would mix up letters. "All these things would mean I was marked down. It made me feel negative in terms of my capabilities, which is not normal for me because I am very confident and very positive about what I can bring to the table. "I needed a role that highlighted and praised the skills that I do have that can be beneficial to the company." Yvonne is co-lead of a neurodiversity strand that has been created within the business. Change your processes Intelligence agency GCHQ is proud of what it has described as its "mix of minds". "Without neurodiversity, we wouldn't be GCHQ," it says in a statement. It is another employer that actively recruits neurodivergent people, and has been doing so for more than 20 years. It is the ability to focus and find links and patterns, among other things, that is attractive about people in this community. The spy agency, which works alongside MI5, MI6 and law enforcement, will soon open a site in Manchester that has been designed with special adjustments to support neurodiverse staff. It already makes things like noise-cancelling headphones and voice-to-text and text-to-voice software available. "Some of our most talented and creative people have a neurodiverse profile - from autism spectrum condition to dyslexia, and from dyscalculia and dyspraxia. Our apprentices are three to four times more likely to have dyslexia than the national average," the statement says. GCHQ examples of workplace adjustments can include: Mind mapping software Noise cancelling headphones Voice to text/Text to voice software On-screen reading rulers GCHQ examples of typical adjustments at interview: Taking notes and mind maps into interview Having extra time to compensate for slower processing speed Not being asked multiple questions at the same time Using a whiteboard or flipchart to "car park" questions to return to later Recruitment agency Exceptional Individuals is made up of a team of neurodivergent individuals who understand the challenges that even a job interview can pose for people like themselves. They help with CVs, filling out applications, interview prep, and maintain a relationship with that person to make sure they have longevity in their job. They also work with businesses to help them make their workplace more inclusive, and educate and inform staff on working in a neurodiverse workplace. "Employers are using processes that are quite dated, which is screening talent out," founder Matt Boyd says. So, he says, if you are bad at spelling and get something wrong on an application form, you're not going to be considered for the job. "People with autism, for example, because of how they can communicate in an interview and how that's perceived, are often not considered for the role or taken onto the next round. "There are lots of challenges that people with ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia and autism come up against just because employers don't understand and don't have processes in place." And that process could be something as simple as how a job ad is worded. For Direct Line's Yvonne, key to getting her dream job was that the advert didn't specify something like: "Must be exceptional at written communication". "I am not exceptional at written communication," she says. "But it did ask for someone who's creative in their mind-set and likes to engage and work with other people. Skills that I possess." The Office For National Statistics doesn't break down unemployment by neurodiversity, so there are no specific statistics on unemployment among neurodivergent people. But according to the National Autistic Society, only an estimated 16% of autistic people are in full-time employment. Inexpensive reasonable adjustments Neurodiversity is protected under the Equality Act 2010, and according to the Department of Work and Pensions, an employer should make "reasonable changes" if someone discloses their neurodiversity. Making those changes doesn't have to be costly. The government's Access to Work Scheme allows employers to access money for any "extra disability related costs of working that are beyond standard reasonable adjustments people have when starting work or maintaining employment". But for David, back at Universal, as we chat, he smiles at the strides his company has made in this area. "Part of our job is to meet a lot of people. And we sometimes sit with them and notice that that was like the same person 12 times. They dressed the same, they talked the same. "And it makes me feel really proud of what we've got here. We really have created, without meaning to a 'come as you are and lets try and make you be the best version of yourself possible' policy. We're creatively curious." As singer Florence Welch wrote in the Universal Music UK guidebook: "It would be wonderful if people could walk into jobs and be honest about how they move through the world." Source: BBC News
  10. Social Anxiety and confidence

    How soon is "soon"?
  11. (Not written by me)Why you should hire an autistic person right nowAutistic people have been overlooked too often because employers can't see past social skills. That is a big mistakeBy Simon Baron-CohenFriday 3 January 2020In 2020, there will be a sea change in how autistic people are treated in professional settings. As companies are increasingly celebrate diversity in the workplace – diversity of gender, ethnicity and ability – this will extend to neurodiversity: different kinds of brains and minds.Autistic people’s disabilities are widely known, but one of their best-established strengths is their attention to detail. Anecdotally, there are autistic children who can complete 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles with the picture-side face down, just through focusing on the shapes. This suggests a talent, sometimes called a savant skill, in both perception of and memory for detail.Group studies conducted by psychologists have confirmed these anecdotes. In the Embedded Figures Test, in which subjects have to find a target shape within a larger design, autistic people, both children and adults, perform faster and more accurately than non-autistic (“neurotypical”) people. In visual-search tests, where subjects have to find a target stimulus in a large display of close imposters (such as finding a letter T among a sea of letter Is), autistic people are also faster and more accurate than neurotypical people.This remarkable attention to detail is basically excellent pattern recognition and it appears to stem from systemising, an evolved function in the human brain that helps us understand how things work by analysing a system in terms of its underlying rules. Like any skill, systemising occurs on a bell curve in the population, with some people being faster at spotting patterns than others. Autistic people are often strong systemisers. Indeed their attention is often described as “obsessive” as they check and recheck the patterns of a system.This important skill has a number of benefits in the workplace. Autistic peoples’ excellent attention to detail means they may make fewer mistakes, and their narrow focus may mean that they are not satisfied until a task is completed. The high levels of honesty and loyalty that are closely associated with autism are obviously desirable qualities, too.Yet, despite these strengths, autistic people experience high levels of unemployment, primarily because many jobs require strong social and communication skills to get through the interview stage. In 2020 we will see companies encouraging autistic applicants to apply to work for them and recruitment processes being modified to meet their needs. There are several reasons why this will be a welcome development. Firstly, it extends the basic human right to work and employment. Secondly, employment is closely correlated with good mental health, and autistic people often suffer from poor mental health, most likely because of forms of social exclusion.Finally, teams in the workplace that are diverse are often more productive and more innovative. With the right support and reasonable adjustments, autistic people make wonderful employees. In 2020, their remarkable strengths in pattern recognition will be harnessed for their benefit and the benefit of all in society.Simon Baron-Cohen is professor of developmental psychopathology and director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge UniversitySource: Wired
  12. Here comes the bride...

    Interview (not translated by me!)
  13. Student son, Aspergers?

    Does your son have any plans for what he's going to do after university?
  14. where the 90,s and early 00,s the best years?

    (Not written by me - a look back at the 90s from the perspective of the mid-2010s) The 90s are back: the return of the decade that good taste forgot From Reebok Pumps to Dr Martens, Beck to Neneh Cherry and bumbags to cargo pants... Richard Godwin heralds the return of the 90s By Richard Godwin Thursday 27 March 2014 At last, we are emerging from recession. On the catwalks, Marc Jacobs’ grunge is vying with Prada’s minimalism, as worn by a new breed of super-model. On the streets, the Reebok Pump is the ‘It’ trainer, the Dr Martens is the must-have boot and Jerry Seinfeld is a normcore style icon. Neneh Cherry has a new album, Aaliyah’s ‘Back and Forth’ is the tune du jour in Dalston, while the new 3,000-capacity Studio 338 in Greenwich is bringing ‘Ibiza-style clubbing’ to the suburbs. Oh, and there’s an unpopular Conservative prime minister and a vague sense of impending apocalypse, too… Then, just as I was wondering if all this adds up to a 1990s revival, the Lighthouse Family intervened in the Crimea. As tensions mounted, the middle-of-the-road duo behind such quintessential 1990s crapness as ‘Lifted’ and ‘Ocean Drive’ offered to send Vladimir Putin some CDs, ‘so he can chill the f*** out’. People did a lot of chilling the f*** out in the 1990s! For anyone who grew up in that gurning, sarcastic, cocksure decade, the prospect of returning there is a little alarming. Some of us have spent years trying to forget Kula Shaker ever happened and disownourteenagecrushes on Jet from Gladiators. And do people not remember how painfully slow the dial-up connection was then? But our nostalgia is pretty specific. Just as if you watch a film like Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist, it looks more like the year it was made (1970) rather than the year it was set in (1938), so the 1990s catwalk revival has a particular flavour. If you had to home in on a year, it would be 1992. You can see it in the A/W 2014 collections of Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent and Marc Jacobs, who has returned to doing the sort of unkempt grunge that made his name back when Kate Moss and Johnny Depp were an item. It’s a sort of can’t-be-bothered look, an epochal insouciance that you can hear in many of the decade’s truly great musical moments, from ‘Loser’ by Beck (back with a new album!) and ‘I Hate Myself and Want to Die’ by Nirvana. Some designers have gone for a fresher take on early 1990s style for the coming autumn, such as the grown-up grunge at Christopher Kane, and Jeremy Scott’s bandanas and street bling collection for Moschino. Versace, perhaps the quintessential 1990s label, is back with renewed vigour after selling 20 per cent to Blackstone, while the stable of supermodels that the label helped launch — Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, etc — find their echo in the present generation of clothes horses with personality, such as Cara Delevingne, Karlie Kloss and Jourdan Dunn. But it’s on the high street that you see the revival’s purest expression. Classic 1990s trainers such as the Reebok Pump (with that little orange basketball that you use to inflate your sole!) and the Adidas Gazelle have become collector’s items. I’m sure I spotted a bumbag in Shoreditch the other day, while Palladium boots and Dr Martens are definitely a thing. Miley Cyrus recently performed in a cannabis-spattered leotard wearing a very small rucksack: very 1992. The Global Hypercolor T-shirt revival can’t be far off. The Wolf of Wall Street — largely set in the early 1990s — is one of the sharper films to reference, particularly the grey sweatpants that Leonardo DiCaprio wears as he falls victim to his Quaaludes. Meanwhile, the so-called normcore trend for dressing like a computer geek recalls those utopian early days of the World Wide Web and has its echoes in classic anti-fashion, the toned-down response to the excesses of the 1980s. Still, for all the early 1990s moments that resonate right now — CK jeans, D’Angelo soul, Eric Cantona collars — it’s interesting how many of the later moments fall flat. The Spice Girls musical, Viva Forever!, was a spectacular failure. The Full Monty stage show announced its closure after a month, despite strong reviews. And nobody feels the need to replay the decade’s big, self-conscious moments, such as the Oasis vs Blur chart battle of 1995, the ‘Football’s Coming Home’ heartache of 1996, the New Labour election victory of 1997. However, enough time has passed that we can appreciate a lot of the stuff that we overlooked. I was so taken with playing Super Mario World at the time that I failed to get excited about the World Wide Web. Aaliyah (loved by all the girls in my class) sounded rather lamestream back then, but now I appreciate how fresh and forward-looking her songs were. And so we rewrite history. TLC over Elastica. Grunge over Britpop. My So-Called Life over This Life. Cargo pants over charity shop flares. Clueless over Trainspotting. Salt-N-Pepa over the Spice Girls. One of the loudest echoes of the 1990s is heard on Buzzfeed, which has built a new media empire on the back of posts such as ‘23 Things That Saved by The Bell Taught You’ and ‘36 Timeless Outfits from Clueless’. There’s an innocence to the way that Buzzfeed celebrates the 1990s, which makes sense when you realise it is pitched not at people who were hanging out with Liam and Patsy at the Met Bar, but those who spent the 1990s playing with Super Soakers and watching The Raccoons (dreadful, btw). There is no surer way to a generation’s hearts than through its childhood memories. ‘39 Signs You Grew Up in the 90s’ was among the first online posts when Buzzfeed UK was launched last year and featured Streetfighter II, Tamagotchis and those bike reflectors that came free with Kellogg’s cereal. Looking back, it was a pretty innocent time. The Berlin Wall fell in 1989; Al Qaeda attacked America in 2001. In between? Well, aside from a few embassy bombings and the ever-present risk of being gunged, all was quiet, geopolitically speaking. In 1992, the economist Francis Fukuyama could write of ‘the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalisation of Western liberal democracy’ in his book The End of History. It’s easy to laugh now, but at the time, there was a feeling that life had turned out OK. It wasn’t only acid house ravers around the M25 who had fun — everyone seemed to lighten up, as if ecstasy had made its way into the water supply. Hooligans softened into lads and football became mainstream entertainment. Shopping was suddenly a leisure activity, as Londoners flocked to out-of-town centres such Bluewater and Lakeside. Supermarkets began to stock such exoticisms as hummus and feta cheese in the way that we’re now bombarded by chia seeds and kale. Eating out became normal. Before the 1990s, orange juice counted as a starter in most UK restaurants; by the end of the decade, glamorous haunts such as the Atlantic Bar and Grill in Piccadilly (now Brasserie Zédel) and Damien Hirst’s Notting Hill restaurant Pharmacy had become destinations in the way Berners Tavern and Chiltern Firehouse are now. With the Millennium on the horizon, an uneasy truce was declared following the angry fighting of the 1980s. One of my main complaints as a teenager was that there was nothing to complain about. In retrospect, we can see the fault lines: the increasing reliance on credit; the deregulation of the money markets; rumblings of unrest in the Middle East; the chaos of post-Communist Russia; the transformational effects of digital communication… However, is it any wonder that we now recall with fondness those last few years before mobile phones, reality TV, internet trolling and cyberbullying? Every reborn era comes with a twist: whenever we resurrect the past, we do so in our own image, incorporating our current obsessions and importing whatever else has happened between. The 1990s haven’t come back unaltered, but what has resurfaced is that once again there’s a lot of untapped youthful energy on our streets. Perhaps the bigger revival is yet to come: Cool Britannia, the sequel? Source: Evening Standard
  15. (Not written by me) "This is not a disability gig": the musician putting on inclusive nights to break down barriers Musician Robyn Steward, who has 10 disabilities, including autism and cerebral palsy, explains how venues can be more inclusive By Sam Davies Thursday, 21st November 2019 Robyn Steward is a trumpet player, teacher and author. She has 10 disabilities, including autism and cerebral palsy. She loves music, particularly jazz and experimental, but has rarely found gig venues where she feels comfortable, as both listener and performer. It is with this in mind that she started Robyn's Rocket, an inclusivity-conscious live music project, in 2017. Robyn’s Rocket is not a “disability gig”, Steward says, but somewhere people can have fun regardless of their ethnicity, sexuality, religion, gender, ability or what language they speak. “Experimental music gigs often attract a bunch of white men,” she adds. “If you’re a white woman or a woman of a different colour skin... you might feel a bit overwhelmed.” She’s been to gigs aimed at specifically at disabled fans before, but felt disillusioned. “I would go to a lot of gigs that are geared towards people with learning difficulties and autism,” she says. “And they put on loads of great bands with disabilities, and they’re just mainly playing to a disabled audience. I thought, that’s silly – those bands are just as good as bands without disabilities. “Often the word ‘inclusion’ is just used about disabled people,” she continues. “But actually if you don’t fit into a binary gender, somewhere that has gendered toilets is not inclusive of your needs. And it shouldn’t be, ‘oh, you can only really go out if you can speak English and read English.’ Everyone should be able to follow what’s going on.” Making it easier for audiences and performers Robyn’s Rocket takes its name from the spaceship design of Steward’s specially made stage. On stage the equipment is all colour- and shape-coded to make it easier for performers to recognise their stuff. These shapes and colours also match with the names on the timetables around the venue, meaning fans can see who is playing when, without needing to read the words on a page. At the bar, menus are printed in large, Arial font, complete with pictures, meaning anyone ordering can point to what they want if they would prefer not to shout over the noise of the club. Fans will also be given a rocket-shaped “communication badge” on entry: position your rocket pointing upwards if you want to talk to new people, downwards if you’d rather be left to enjoy the music, or sideways if you want to speak to people you know already. Steward plays trumpet, though not as you know it, wiring it through a series of pedals. She plays twice on the night, first with cellist Kathy Hulme as avant-garde duo The Hairdressers, then with the funk and salsa influenced band Bassheads. Also on the bill are free improvisation band Jamaica and trumpeter Steve Pretty. Next stop Glastonbury? Robyn’s Rocket is a work in progress, but Steward hopes one day she might take the event to the Scala in London, or to Glastonbury. Next year she plans to invite other musicians and promoters to host their own inclusivity-conscious gigs, while Robyn’s Rocket will be going to the Wellcome Collection as part of the Beautiful Octopus Club, a disability club run by creative arts company Heart n Soul. “I’m hoping I can influence how the industry thinks about inclusion,” says Steward. “There’s a lot of division between people at the moment. We should all be more together. And celebrate difference.” How venues can improve their inclusivity Venues can apply to the Arts Council for capital grants if they want to install a lift or a hearing loop. But there are lots of little things they can do, such as painting the edge of stairs white or yellow for people with a visual impairment, or having large-print bar menus. If it’s a standing venue, have some fold-up chairs. Managers should set up an email so people can contact the venue with their requirements. And it’s important for venues not to see inclusivity as an add-on, but as something they can be creative with, and a work in progress. The next Robyn’s Rocket is on Thursday 21 November at 7:30 pm at Cafe OTO, London E8. For more information go to robynsteward.com Source: iNews
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