More than Picture-Making: Reflecting on Collage as a Narrative Tool for Opening Discourse on the Involvement of Autistics in Autism Research


This paper is a reflection on a workshop that I contributed to the second Theorising Autism conference run by the Theorising Autism Project. As a researcher, I have a particular interest in narratives, discourse and identities, and the performative nature of these, and this constituted the basis of my workshop. Therefore, I first introduce narrative as a research tool, and situate autistic narratives within this. Second, I reflect on three sites of meaning making popular in narrative studies, and specifically within the confines of the workshop, and I include debate around some of the successes and challenges of this approach. The sites concerned are namely, the production of the narrative, or process; the image produced; and the audiencing, negotiation, acceptance or rejection, of the smaller components comprising the final image. Finally, I consider whether combined narrative genres can facilitate a process, whereby majority and minority communities adapt to a new reality and work towards the integration of autistics in debate about their inclusion in and influence on autism research.


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