Neurodiversity zone

Illustration of brain

Event schedule details

Sunday 19 June


Event location details


Discover how art, science and neurodiversity collide to amazing effect

Visit the Neurodiversity zone at the Goethe Institut for inspirational stories, empowering activities and calming environments. Learn about the incredible creativity of neurodiverse artists and innovators, or have a go at drawing your own dyslexia. Develop your own comic or science hero; make some tinted glasses out of recycled materials; unleash your dormant creativity by redesigning the egg, or try knit bombing. Relax in our low sensory environment designed for tranquility, or enjoy art and poetry by neurodiverse creators.

This eclectic selection of talks, workshops and experiences offers an insightful celebration of the positive impact of neurodiversity in the arts and sciences.

Produced and hosted by Qona Rankin (RCA) and Prof Sara Rankin (Imperial College London).

Talks and film programme

Sunday 19 June

Venue: Cinema space, Goethe Institut

Come and hear from some amazing ND people about the work they do, interspersed with short films and animations from Imperial and RCA ND students and staff. Talks are for 16+.

12.15-13.10: Medical innovations

Two 20 minute talks with a 10 minute Q&A

  • Gayle Storey “From artist to inventor”
  • James Kinross “Visualising complex information in the operating room: From augmented reality to intelligent knives"

13.20-13.50 Insects Autism and Poetry (Dez Mendoza)

14.00-15.00 ND solutions to environmental challenges

Two 20 minute talks and a 5 minute film plus 15 min Q&A

  • Iman Hussain. "More than Hot Air: How Technology Can Balance the Challenges of Air Quality and Energy Usage"
  • Audrey de Nazelle- “Getting the most out of air pollution policies”
  • Luisa Charles – “Yongoyvuqatsi” A Super 8 Tone Poem Exploring the Climate Emergency

15.30-16.20 The art of neurodiversity

15 and 20 minute talks plus 10 minute Q&A

  • Luke Pendrell “Spectral Transmissions, Fragmented Realities”
  • Luisa Charles “Chaos as catalyst”
  • Azarra Amoy “Kaleidoscopic Minds”

16.30-16.50 Short films from RCA students and Qona Rankin

  • Gifted - Emily Mantell
  • The Loop - Gabriel Mansfield
  • Procrastination - John Kelly
  • Dyslexia is a Difference - Alice Kell
  • Learning Through Demonstration - Qona Rankin
  • Tavs and Michael - Qona Rankin

17.00-17.45 Kathy and Kate “Colourful Conversations with Dyslexics”

The Co-Authors of Amazing Dyslexics in conversation with our ND presenters

Workshops and crafting activities

Talking on the Terrace

Venue: Terrace, Goethe Institut


Relax on the leafy terrace and chat to ND experts over knit-bombing, postcard writing and more.

The Egg Design Laboratory

Venue: First Floor, Goethe Institut

13.15-14.00 and 15.30-16.15: Egg Design - Led by designer Jim Rokos

In this interactive workshop we will be asking “How can you improve the design of an egg?"

Creative Crafting Activities

Venue: Library, Goethe Institut


Crafting activities will take place in the library on the first floor- a bright airy space with high ceilings, this should be a chilled environment, we welcome all ND children and teenagers.

  • Upcycling to create beautiful jewellery. Most suitable for 9-14 year olds.
  • If your dyslexia were an animal, what would it look like? All ages event.
  • Colour-in or create your own science superhero. Led by Katy Alexander, illustrator and artist, you’ll be creating awesome superheroes where you get to imagine and draw their special powers, like the ability to create objects and weapons out of dark energy! Most suitable for 5-9 year olds.


Venue: Second floor, Goethe Institut


For 9-15 year olds

12.15-13.00 and 14.30-15.15: Eggsperiments - Led by Civil Engineer Sundya Popo Ola and Physicist, Bill Proud

Test the strength of an egg! Caution to those with egg allergies – we are using real eggs!

Safe space and low sensory room

Venue: Meeting room, Goethe Institut


Quiet space available for adults and children accompanied by a parent/carer.

Visitor information

Events in the neurodiversity zone are drop in.

To attend the Festival, please make sure to register for free. Registering is the only way to receive the latest Festival updates, a first-look at the full programme, and opportunities to book onto popular talks, creative workshops and tours.

Register for the Festival

Our Speakers and Facilitators

James Kinross “Visualising complex information in the operating room: From augmented reality to intelligent knives”

James Kinross is a senior Lecturer and consultant surgeon at Imperial College London. His team is developing novel approaches for using digital and robotic technologies in surgery. He has also worked as part of team that is developing a novel knife that can sense tissue as it is used for dissection. 

Gayle Storey “From artist to medical device inventor”

Gayle is an interdisciplinary artist working within the fields of science, technology and art. Gayle will present the Tutti Toot Trumpet, a medical device she invented & designed to create a fun, and effective way of clearing the airways of young patients with respiratory diseases such as asthma and cystic fibrosis. Her husband Ben Storey (RCM) (a trumpeter and Cofounder) composed and recorded the musical tracks. Gayle will explain how her dyslexia makes her a natural inventor, just like Dyson, the Wright Brothers and Steve Jobs before. 

Iman Hussain "More than Hot Air: How Technology Can Balance the Challenges of Air Quality and Energy Usage"

Iman is an air quality researcher. Being autistic had always led Iman to wanting to find the answers to questions and using his skills with computers, logic and maths to help him. He now works with NAQTS at Lancaster University using his talents to solve challenges around Indoor Air Quality in classrooms, homes and offices. 

Dez Mendoza “Insects, Autism and Poetry”

Dez, aka Linus Slug: Insect Librarian, is an autistic nonbinary poet. They collect, hoard and (metaphorically) consume found entomological texts which are reconstituted as poetry. The purpose of their poetry making is not to speak of experiences in neurotypical terms, but to describe how they navigate the world through their own embodied language; in doing so, they are liberated from neurotypical modes of thinking allowing them to de-construct / (re)construct the ‘self’ through the language of insects. It is an act of nonconformity. Poetry: Archive of the Now Imagery: 

Audrey de Nazelle “Getting the most out of air pollution policies”

Audrey is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre of Environmental Policy. Her research involves novel and holistic approaches to assessing behavioural, environmental and health impacts of urban plans and policies. 

Luisa Charles “Chaos as catalyst”

Luisa Charles defines herself as a media-agnostic Design Engineer, a thinker, maker, and provocateur. Her work attempts to tackle big, complex, and controversial topics in a playful, interactive, and digestible way - seeking to spark conversation and find unconventional solutions to abstract problems. In this talk, she covers navigating the spaces between art, science, design, and engineering with Dyspraxia and ADHD, finding ways to channel her symptoms as an asset rather than a hinderance.

Luisa is currently studying Global Innovation Design a joint Masters between Imperial and RCA. 

Luke Pendrell “Spectral Transmissions, Fragmented Realities”

Luke is an artist and writer who works through a process of collage. He is currently Snr Tutor Research @RCA.

He will present a selection of work including pieces from the recent exhibition "Roadside Picnic" a collaboration with Epic Games. His work has been performed, screened and exhibited internationally for over 20 years in institutions and art galleries including Tate Britain (London), the British Film Institute (London), the Barbican (London), MoMI (NY), Institute of Contemporary Art (London), MoMA (Sydney), Cal Arts (LA) Le Salle de Legion d’honneur (Paris) and the ICC tower Open Sky Gallery (Hong Kong). 

Azarra Amoy “Kaleidoscopic Minds”

Azarra is a London based artist working predominately with traditional and mixed media. Of Jamaican and Trinidadian descent, Azarra Amoy, is a graduate from University of the Arts London and holds a foundation degree in Graphic Design and a Bachelor’s Degree in Magazine Publishing. Amoy is passionate about bringing art to different audiences; and produces public art installations in the form of murals. GERF have commissioned Azarra to create an installation for the festival. Azarra is dyslexic and has chosen to showcase some of the ND staff and academics working in the museums and Institutes in Albertopolis. She will be talking about this artwork and her wider practice. 

Kathy and Kate- “Colourful conversations with dyslexics”

Imagine a world where dyslexia is seen as a hyperability rather than a disability.

Kathy Iwanczak Forsyth and Kate Power created Amazing Dyslexics to change the negative connotation of the word dyslexia. Bringing together dyslexics who embrace their difference, use their dyslexic thinking, and focus on dyslexic strengths; like creativity, problem-solving, empathy, and seeing in three dimensions. Proving that when dyslexics find jobs they love, with hard work, collaboration, and technology they fly. Society needs these kinds of thinkers.

Kate and Kathy are the authors of ‘The Illustrated Guide to Dyslexia and Its Amazing People’ and ‘The Bigger Picture Book of Amazing Dyslexics and the Jobs They Do’. And creators of an Inside Out Project 'Dyslexia: Beautiful Minds' at the Design Museum.

Jim Rokos

Jim is a multi award winning designer. His designs explore the physical properties of materials to generate aesthetic, intriguing concepts creating objects that sit in the grey area between industry and craft. 

Bill Proud Is a Reader in Physics at Imperial. His research interest is into high strain rate properties of a wide range of materials, both inert and energetic. 

Sunday Popo Ola is currently a Research and Teaching Fellow at Imperial College London and his work reflects the level of multidisciplinary expertise that he has obtained. His work cuts across three sub-sections within the department namely Concrete Structures, Steel Structures, Environmental and the computing part of the Systems and Mechanics. He's always been passionate about broadening the diversity of people who pursue STEM and has led the Creative Futures programme in the UK, Nigeria and Jamaica, in 2021 he was awarded the President's Medal for Excellence in Societal Engagement. 

Kamini Lakshmikanthan Head of Chemistry at Christ’s school Richmond, innovative and inspiring science teacher

Artists running the crafting workshops

Katy Alexander is a tech start-up founder and experienced strategic marcomms professional with over 15 years experience working for some of the world’s leading scientific and technology organisations. In her spare time, she uses her skills as an artist and illustrator to creates games to ignite the imagination of the scientists, engineers and inventors of tomorrow (ages 4-12). 

Alice Kell is in her final year studying visual communication at the RCA. She is an Illustrator, animator, and workshop facilitator currently based in London. Her practice focuses on using visual communication to nurture a greater understanding and community around neurodiversity. 

Frances Conteh RCA alumni, Associate Lecturer of Textile Craft at The Foundation Centre, University of the Arts London

Alice Mclean (MA RCA 2012) is a London-based jewellery artist and artist educator who explores the expressive power of materials through process and transformation. She constructs jewellery, objects and films that challenge assumptions of what a material is used for, thereby subverting its traditional meaning. Her work ultimately addresses the notion of value in the realm of precious metals and jewellery. 

Alice M and Frances, have all been mentors on the creative mentors programme

Developing and delivering bespoke STEAM workshops for high ability young people with spLDs and autistic young people.

Rankin2 -not the wives of any famous photographers or novelists, a scientist and artist joining forces to raise awareness of the fabulousness that ND people bring to the World. 

We’d like to thank LoveCrafts for their support of our crafting workshops

We would like to thank the Goethe Institut London, for allowing us to inhabit their wonderful building for the day- we love the space!

Event categories

  • Adults
  • Family with 12+
  • Family with 7+
  • Family with under 7s
  • Exhibit
  • Talks and tours
  • Workshop
Illustration of brain