2017 Presenters' Bios

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Daniel Bendelman

Presenting: Being autistic in a non autistic world: politics and performativity of passing

Daniel Bendelman trained at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and has both a honours degree and research Masters, having specialised in Live Art research and Autism Representation. Daniel is a freelance academic and Installation Artist with a focus on the politics of Autism Representation.
Daniel is also a prospective PhD student for Kent University, where he will undertake research into the political aesthetics of Installation Art, in relation to a post modern critical reading of Autism Representation.

David Hartley

Presenting: Finding a Better Approach to Autism Fiction... and using fantasy to get there

David Hartley is a writer, performer and PhD student at The University of Manchester studying Creative Writing. He is writing a fantasy novel for his PhD based on his childhood as the sibling to an autistic older sister. The novel aims to explode apart the cliches of autism representation. His PhD has been fully funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Hartley's works of fiction have been published in many literary magazines including Ambit, Black Static and Structo. He tweets at @DHartleyWriter and regularly performs at spoken word nights in Manchester and beyond.

Hannah Ebben

Presenting: Thinking about autism in a historical context in our neoliberal times

Hannah Ebben is a Dutch Autistic second-year PhD student at the Autism Centre at Sheffield Hallam University. She studies the use of the word 'autism' in films and visual personal accounts. Before her university course in the UK, she contributed to a Dutch Disability Studies research group. She has spoken at several conferences before, including her presentations at Autscape in 2015 and 2016. Having had her diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome in 2006, she always tries to include a critical perspective in her work in order to enable activism from within the Autistic community.

Heta Pukki

Presenting: Autistic identity and initiatives in four European countries

Heta Pukki has been involved in organising and developing autistic peer support and advocacy in Finland since the late 1990's. She has a long-term interest in exploring differences between autistic communities in other countries, and in creating international connections. She has an M.Sc. in biology (University of Helsinki) and an M.Ed. in special education for autistic adults (University of Birmingham). Her work experience includes project work, training, translating, writing and publishing educational materials about autism, and working as a personal assistant for autistic children and adults.

James Pelham

Presenting: Choral workshop

James is a seasoned performer, his skills including solo performance, vocal accompaniment and choral direction. He has also had some of his compositions/arrangements performed in a professional setting. Although he sets a very high standard for himself, he is keen to encourage people of all abilities to experience and enjoy music in any setting. Being autistic himself, James is aware of the importance of clear communication in unambiguous terms, and enjoys helping people reach their full potential in their chosen area.

John Binns

Presenting: Are you high- or low-functioning? Who says, and does it matter?

John Binns is a partner in a London law firm, specialising in 'white collar' criminal defence. In that context he frequently gives oral and written presentations to clients and peers, and attends social gatherings of lawyers and other such marketing opportunities. At home, he is a husband and a father of two children (aged 9 and 7), and regularly struggles with sensory and emotional overloads. He was diagnosed in 2014 at the age of 40.

Louise Beattie

Presenting: Autism and psychosis: what may be the role of social interactions?

Towards the end of her PhD, and about to relocate to start a new job, Louise experienced her first psychotic episode. She was then referred on to the local Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) service, ESTEEM, and from there received an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis. She is currently conducting research into autism and psychosis, and their ramifications for social interactions and relationships.

Lyte

Presenting: Humpty Dumpty and the right mask

Lyte is a qualified, practicing artist and experienced teacher in H.E and F.E. Lyte is neurodivergent. This discovery finally shed some light on why the struggles to be ‘normal’ and to fit into ‘mainstream’ had led to turmoil and deep self-alienation. However, it also led to the finding of Autscape, community and a general re-direction into more academic work, writing, presenting and developing creative workshops to explore neurodivergence and liberation.
Lyte is motivated by a need for freedom and a longing to contribute towards the evolution of a different kind of society in which all beings can be true to themselves and each other. Eclectic, creative, with interests that have ranged from motorbike mechanics to animal communication and much besides, Lyte is a ‘galaxy thinker’ with particular ability to synthesise and make unexpected connections that inevitably lead to further puzzling about life, the universe and everything. They hope one day they will be comfortable with just ‘not knowing’!
Lyte's neuro-divergent nature is reflected in their presenting style and their ‘combination workshops’ which include visual images, references to fairy tales, and the inclusion of ‘non-academic’ and academic sources. This provides context and stimulus for participants to then explore with materials and making.
Presentations include Autscape, TAP (Theorising Autism Project: Birmingham, London), NAS Conference, ‘Normalcy’ (Bristol) and elsewhere. Publications include Autonomy Journal and GAP, amongst others.

Martijn Dekker

Presenting: Pick a side: the dilemma of being an autistic parent

Martijn is a 43 year old father of three who divides his life between the Netherlands and the UK. He was diagnosed autistic in 1995 at age 21 and was actively present in online autistic space from then on. In July 1996, he started running the first entirely self-hosted online autistic community on the internet: InLv (Independent Living on the Autistic Spectrum), which lived until 2012-ish. He has also done many conference presentations on autism and autistic community themes in various countries over the years. He served on the board of Autscape in various capacities, including chair, programme coordinator and technical manager, between 2006 and 2015 and from 2016 until now.

Yo

Presenting: The other half

Yo is Autistic. She is a trainer and consultant who works across the public sector (primarily in social care and education) with specialisms in autism and law. She creates and delivers high level training on the legal framework of adult social care (Care Act; safeguarding; Mental Capacity law; DOLS; SEND law) and specialist autism courses for education and social care professionals in many English local authorities and other clients. She has a thorough and up to date working knowledge of public law and public sector practice issues affecting autistics both with and without intellectual disabilities.