Autistic writing in a neuromixed space: reclaiming, reloading another mother tongue

Research project
Active research
Project period
2021 - ongoing
Project owner

The Swedish Research Council

Short description

Neurodiversity is a viewpoint that brain differences are normal, rather than deficits. In this project, we want to explore neurodiversity as a resource in artistic research and education.

The research project “Autistic Writing: reloading, reclaiming another mother tongue” aims to investigate autistic experiences, autism-led research, neuro-mixed rooms and autistic poetics. Through reading, writing and text/ theory discussions the study aims to find ways of thinking and talking about, and with, text that goes beyond and outside the neurotypical format. That involves questioning the forms of a text (when is it finished, when is it understandable, when is it authentic), and the content (depictions of neurodiverse people, situations and experiences).

Drawing on studies of autism and language, autism and literature, the project builds on knowledge developed over the past decade. Influential researchers such as Erin Manning and Brian Massumi, Remi Yergeau, Julia Miele Rodas and R. J Savarese have placed neurodiversity at the centre of artistic research, rhetoric and literary studies, with the result that a new field of knowledge is emerging. Autistic perception, autistic ways of using literary strategies and autistic rhetoric are expressed in old and familiar texts as well as in new and explicitly neuroatypical texts.

The methods in the study are collaborative, drawing on the fact that the researchers come from different backgrounds: literary composition, philosophy and sociology, with similar but slightly different interests. Letterwriting, text conversations and exploring the perspectives of the autistic communities are methods in this investigation. At the core of the project lies designing and running the course “Autistic Writing and Reading”, where pedagogy and poetics are analysed in relation to neurodiversity and artistic practice.

What so far has been discovered is the extreme multitude of autisms and neurodivergences that is often reduced to a diagnosis and deficit, something that needs to be “handled” or “treated”. By recognizing the difficulties autistic people struggle with because of a neurotypical society, literature begins to include aspects of the human that have been silenced. The artistic potential in the neurodivergent perception of the world and the poetic potential in the way autistic people read and write are visible in texts, articles and books published during 2022-2024.


Elisabeth Hjorth, Hanna Bertilsdotter-Rosqvist, Jonna Bornemark, Anna Nygren

Referee reviewed publications in international journals


Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, H., Hultman, L., Österborg Wiklund, S., Nygren, A., Storm, P. and Sandberg, G. 2023. Intensity and variable attention: Counter narrating ADHD, from ADHD deficits to ADHD difference. British journal of social work

Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, H., Nygren, A. O’Donoghue, S. 2023. Moving through a textual space autistically. Journal of Medical Humanities

Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, H., & Nygren, A. 2023. I am that name? naming neurotypical imaginaries of the sole autist in autistic/autism fiction. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, 12(1), 117–140.  

Bertilsdotter Rosqvist H, Hjorth E, Nygren A. 2023. Meeting up in broken word/times: communication, temporality and pace in neuromixed writing. Medical Humanities. doi: 10.1136/medhum-2022-012384 

Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, H., Hultman, L., Österborg Wiklund, S., Nygren, A., Storm, P. and Sandberg, G. in press. Naming ourselves, becoming neurodivergent scholars. Accepted for publication in Disability & Society 

Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, H., Hultman, L., Österborg Wiklund, S., Nygren, A., Storm, P. and Sandberg, G. in press. ADHD in higher education and academia. Accepted for publication in Canadian Journal of Disability Studies 

Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, H., Nygren, A. & O’Donoghue, S. in press. Earthlove – theorizing neurodivergent reader love of A room called earth. Accepted for publication in YJLI  - Journal of Language, Literature and Culture

Hjorth, E & Nygren. 2022. Autistic p-Oh!- Ethics. PARSE Issue 15 2022.3 

Nygren, A. & Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, H. 2022. Theorizing Autistic Sexualities as Collective Poetic Experiences. OUGHT, 4(1) 

Nygren, A. 2023. “Empathy with Nature and an Autistic Spirituality” i Journal of Ecohumanism 2023:2 

Presentation / Lecture / Performance

Hjorth, E., Nygren, A. Autistics have six senses: taste, smell, touch, hearing, sight, and the words. VR | Swedish Research Annual Symposium in Artistic Researc. Transformations ‘22  

Hjorth, E. Fake News and Old Truths. Konsfack Research Week. 20230329 

Hjorth, E., Nygren, A. Must Love Always be an Autopsy. Communality & the Arts: Place, Sustainability and Heritage – November 8–9, 2022 at Inter Arts Center, Malmö