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Dis/cinema event: My Autism and Me (2011)

Wednesday, 8 February, 2017

Hicks Building room 10, University of Sheffield

Doors at 5:30, Screening at 6:00

Free to attend

Reserve your spot on Eventbrite

Dis/cinema is a whole new Disability Studies initiative at the University of Sheffield. Its very first film night will be centered around the CBBC Newsround special My Autism and Me.

The film follows Rosie King, a Sheffield-based Autistic girl, who tells about her own life and presents a few other accounts of different children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

Hannah Ebben will facilitate the screening by first introducing My Autism and Me and sharing her research into the use of the concept of autism in film, and what the representation of Autistic people talking about their own lives could tell us about acceptance, inclusion, and citizenship. Hannah will provide a closer analysis after the screening, and facilitate questions and discussion.She delivered the following abstract:

When it comes to the cultural representation of Autistic people, the personal account is a more recent phenomenon than people might think. It is impossible to know for sure if there are autobiographies of Autistic people out there from before the twentieth century, and the notion of autism as we know it now was formulated back in the 1940’s. It was just during the 1980’s that personal accounts were acknowledged: before this, it was thought that autism stood for an inability to be introspective and thus to tell anyone about one’s lived experience.

In my research into the use of the concept of autism in film, I am particularly interested in personal accounts as acknowledgement. For me, this stands for the way in which society accepts Autistic voices and cultural representations are recognised to be a genuine account of such voices. From 2013 onwards, the official widely used clinical term for autism has been ‘autism spectrum disorders’, which means that the diversity amongst autistic people is recognised. In contemporary personal accounts of autism, produced and distributed by non-autistic people, this diversity has now been included in order to inform the general public about different ways of being Autistic.

In my talk about my case study My Autism and Me, I will talk about the intricate combination of the homogeneity of the term ‘autism’ and the heterogeneity of the portrayed Autistic children. My Autism and Me follows Rosie King, a Sheffield-based Autistic girl, who tells about her own life and presents a few other accounts of different children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. I will give a short analysis of the use of animation in the documentary, and will reflect on the question what the representation of Autistic people talking about their own lives could tell us about acceptance, inclusion, and citizenship.

Hannah Ebben is a PhD student in the School of Education at Sheffield Hallam University whose focus on documentaries is on people who identify with the notion of autism who speak for themselves and are portrayed as such in the media.

If you wish to watch the 15 minute documentary in advance before coming to the screening and discussion, you can click the following link to access My Autism and Me

Hicks Building address: Hounsfield Rd, Sheffield S3 7RH

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