Jon Adams residency, Autism Research Centre

Jon Adams, Konfirmation, diagram, 2013
Jon Adams, Konfirmation, diagram, 2013

Artist Jon Adams' residency at the Autism Research Centre and collaborative research project with Professor Simon Baron-Cohen


Jon Adams's artwork explores sense and sensitivity through the 'hidden' and plays with perceptions of normal and the inaccessible. A geologist by training, Adams’ seeking of the hidden in his art often reveals his naturally systematic thinking: his inclination and ability to uncover systems within everyday interactions and landscapes.

In this residency and research project, Jon Adams sets out on a personal, artistic and scientific investigation of his own Asperger's Syndrome, through a series of conversations, observations and experiments, working in collaboration with Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Director of the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge, where Adams will have a residency.

Rather than a specific pathology, Baron-Cohen sees autism as being on a continuum in the general population. He proposes that certain features of autistic people - ‘obsessions’ and repetitive behaviour - previously regarded as purposeless, are conversely highly purposive, intelligent (hyper-systemising), and a sign of a different way of thinking. He argues that high-functioning autism or Asperger's Syndrome need not just lead to disability, but can also lead to talent.

This collaborative research project has emerged from an initial meeting between Jon Adams and Simon Baron-Cohen at an Arts Catalyst/Shape project Alternative Ways of Thinking at the Cheltenham Science Festival in 2011.

Supported by Wellcome Trust Arts Award