We are thrilled to announce the official launch of Flow Observatorium, a national project funded by Arts Council England based at New Theatre Royal Portsmouth as part of our Creative Lab.

Building on the advocacy work that neurodivergent artist Jon Adams has been doing for the past 18 months, Flow Observatorium aims to become a national hub and centre of excellence for, and led by, neurodivergent artists. FlOb(Flow Observatorium) will support neurodivergent artists to make work, collaborate and engage within the cultural sector in creating attitudinal and physical ‘safe spaces’, and will address and campaign for parity and fair play in the various arenas in which neurodivergent creatives participate. We will also be collaborating with major universities on academic papers, projects and empirical evidences to support the advancement of neurodiversity theory and neurodivergent culture and creativity, an attitudinal societal change and recognition of neurodivergence as a distinct diversity category.

Ruth Kapadia, Relationship Manager, Diversity, Arts council England, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting Flow Observatorium, a project that will have national significance and support a step change for neurodivergent artists.”

Flow Observatorium is based at and supported by NTR Portsmouth as well as UK based Arts Producers, Threshold Studios. It aims to increase visibility, understanding and confidence of neurodivergent artists and facilitate CPD training, talks and presentations at arts and cultural venues. We aim to empower organisations to not only be Neurodivergent friendly but Neurodivergent enabling.

Laura Doye, Artistic Director Portsmouth New Theatre Royal said: “I am thrilled that Flow Observatorium has received Arts Council funding to get set up and am happy that they have found a home at the New Theatre Royal. I am really looking forward to working with Jon and Donna and supporting their important work.”

Uzma Johal MBE, Co-Director of Threshold Studios said: “Neurodiversity is an important part of our make up as a society and there are many talented neurodivergent artists who contribute to the UK’s dynamic creative ecology. Threshold is proud to partner with FlOb and will be working with them to develop the UK’s first neuro divergent artist led scheme through a supportive production and exhibition platform. We are looking forward to this unique collaboration and finding the funders who will support this ambition.”

Flow Observatorium is led by Jon Adams, a nationally recognised neurodivergent artist, Creative Lab associate artist, NAS cultural ambassador and neurodiversity campaigner and Donna Bish, an arts and dance practitioner, researcher and archivist. They have been working collaboratively for the past two years, researching neurodivergent culture through practice and performance.

Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society, said: “We are very pleased that Arts Council England has funded our Cultural Ambassador, Jon Adams, to establish the Flow Observatorium, which we believe will help highlight the work of autistic creatives and help build understanding of autism, particularly within the arts and cultural industries. “This new endeavour acknowledges the great work Jon has done and continues to do in this area. We wish him and the team great success with the Flow Observatorium, which we believe will help influence arts policy and future funding, creating more opportunities for autistic artists across the UK.“