group of people in a gallery with a large chequeMore than 70 guests from across Central Scotland gathered at Macrobert Arts Centre on 4 April 2017 for an evening of autism-friendly celebrations.

The event marked the launch of a new exhibition, Too Much Information: what autistic photographers want you to understand about autism. The exhibition features a series of 40 images which were created by a group of autistic individuals as they learned about photography. The images, and accompanying words, are designed to increase understanding of autism, a condition which affects around one in 100 people.

Christopher Miller took part in the workshops. He said:

What I'd like people to learn from the exhibition is that autism affects people differently and people have it at different levels. It shouldn’t be simply dismissed as nothing, and people should take time to properly understand.

I enjoyed learning ways to take photos with the use of light, the journey to Glasgow, meeting new people and the chance to be part of something. I enjoyed it so much I decided to look into getting my own camera.

The budding photographers were mentored for six months by Graham Miller MA, an experienced documentary photographer and member of international photography collectives M55reports and Photohonesty.org. He was supported to deliver the workshops by Roslyn Bryant and fellow photographer Dave Barlow, his colleagues at Edinburgh-based firmAgilent Technologies.
Graham said: “Documentary photography is one of the most challenging of disciplines and our photographers have used it to communicate aspects of living with autism. The results are pure and beautiful. This important exhibition will challenge thinking.”

The launch of the exhibition also saw Macrobert Arts Centre honoured with our Autism Friendly Award. The award recognises organisations that take steps to ensure autistic people can access and enjoy their venues and spaces.

Julie Ellen, artistic director at Macrobert Arts Centre, said:

We are delighted to host this exciting new exhibition that raises awareness of autism whilst offering a platform for such talented young artists to share their thoughts and ideas through art. To also receive the Autism Friendly Award from The National Autistic Society has made this a truly special evening.

We have been working to make our venue, events and experiences open and welcoming to all people who need additional support to come along and get involved with the arts. This prestigious award both confirms and celebrates that we are doing a good job for people living with autism and their friends and families, which is brilliant.”

The celebrations were rounded off when we received a donation of more than £3,000 from Graham and his colleagues from Agilent Technologies.

Jenny Paterson, director of The National Autistic Society Scotland, said: “What a fantastic night! I’m very grateful to Graham and the team at Agilent for helping our photographers to create such an interesting, thought-provoking exhibition.

I’m also grateful to Macrobert Arts Centre for hosting the exhibition and taking steps to increase access for autistic people. Congratulations on achieving our Autism Friendly Award!”

Too Much Information: what autistic photographers want you to understand about autism will run at Macrobert Arts Centre until 29 April. Entry is free.