Autism MeetUp (Brown, Leong and Silvera-Tawil, 2016)

Autism MeetUp logo
Autism MeetUp logo (2016)

On 2nd April 2016, Scott Brown, Dawn-joy Leong and David Silvera-Tawil led a collaborative community event between UNSW Art & Design and the Autism CRC group based at UNSW Medicine, titled Autism MeetUp. We wanted to showcase all the different research projects across these two faculties at UNSW, as well as giving the autism community a chance to come and meet us in person. The event was very successful with over 70 autistic children and adults, family members, carers/support people and health professionals in attendance. See some pictures below from the event.

Dawn-Joy Leong’s installation. Image credit: Maya Ling
Scott Brown’s sensory tent. Image credit: Reuven Matalon
The Interactivity section at Autism MeetUp. Image credit: Reuven Matalon
Scott Brown’s speculative design object study. Image credit: Reuven Matalon

We promoted the event to coincide with World Autism Awareness Day and be held on a quiet day on the UNSW Paddington campus. The concept behind the event was to allow visitors to:

  • Wander around and have a look at a number of different stands, which contain information about different research projects;
  • Talk to the researchers in a relaxed, informal and friendly environment;
  • Share ideas and feedback about the different projects;
  • Sign up for a research project which may be of interest; and
  • Share ideas about what the group should be researching.

We asked visitors to provide us with feedback on the event. Happily, 94% of people who gave feedback were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the event and said they were ‘likely’ or ‘somewhat likely’ to attend the event if it was run again.

Here were some of the comments left by attendees at Autism MeetUp:

“(I liked the) casual and approachable atmosphere. Engaging researchers who are clearly committed to furthering our knowledge base.”

“(I liked) being able to move freely amongst various tables, meeting and chatting… As an advocate, parents benefit from open opportunities like this to get the sense of support, and information exchange between parents, looking forward to future events.”

“It was good to meet some of the younger researchers and discuss their projects… It was refreshing to be exposed to newer ideas, some brought about of course by increasing medical technology”

All the photos from the day can be found here.