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  • Catherine Wynne-Paton

Advice From my Future Self on the World of Work

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

I have this brand-new project Advice From my Future Self on the World of Work where I’m aiming to explore my neurodivergent experience of the world of work, envisioning a more supportive future by creating good artistic conditions in which I can create the strongest visual artwork. I’ll be using my attention to perception and experience of environment, through painting, writing, movement and music I will explore different social experiences and levels of connection in a 3-week residency.

I intend to share this practice of mine with people with mental health difficulties through partnering with existing organisations, running a series of workshops and talks.

This image I’ve chosen for this post is of a recent costume I’ve made in response to being invited to a fancy dress party on the theme of ‘art’

You might say this doesn’t look much like art!

The costume involves a sifting hat and while I have used sieves in projects and proposals before from the handheld to pieces that get rolled along into festivals as they are so large, I’ve previously used words to be sieved. This time I’ve chosen images as they invite more scope for individual interpretation.

I believe the brain can be a work of art and this costume represents our mind as a filtering system, linked to the network of neurons in the brain stem to mediate behavior, known as the Reticular Activating System or RAS. The RAS takes what you focus on and creates a filter for it from what you receive from your visceral, somatic, and sensory systems . It then sifts through the data and presents only the pieces that are important to you.

It is a process you don’t have to do anything for it to work, but it might need gentle tweaking when you're not noticing the things you want to.

So, to go with this hat, I’ve chosen 55 images I’m particularly drawn to, to be sifted and find it links nicely with my interest in the world of work and neurodiversity and supportive environments, because it reminds me, and those I share this work with, e.g. with my talk series Advice From my Future Self... that we can choose the environment/s we occupy and we can shape them.

Last night I finished devouring The Gardening Mind by Sue Stuart-Smith I’d picked up at The Garden Museum and on the last pages Il fait cultivar notre Jardin |We must cultivate our garden from Voltaire really struck me and the neuroscientist Kelly Lamberts thinking that a belief in our ability to shape our lives originates through shaping our surroundings.

This is all basic stuff, obvious and yet a beautiful place to begin my next chapter.

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