Conference Speakers

List of confirmed speakers for Autism Dialogue conference, in approximate order of appearance.
14th Dec 2018. 9.30am – 5pm, Sheffield, UK.

Info and booking here.

(Some speech outlines below the list)

Jonathan Drury – Autism Dialogue.
Jane Ball
 – Academy of Professional Dialogue, Dialogue Associates and Prison Dialogue.
Carol Povey – Director of the Centre for Autism, National Autistic Society.
Anna Nibbs – Learning and Teaching Enhancement Adviser, University of Sheffield.

Jennifer Layton Annable – Autism researcher.
Panda Mery – Almost too calm neurodivergent researcher.
James Pelham – Autscape.
Dinah Murray – Participatory Autism Research Collective.

Rachel Yates, Clinical Lead Occupational Therapist and Alexandra Somerset, Occupational Therapist – Cygnet Health Care.
Libby Scott – Autistic 10yr old renowned blogger.
Kym Scott – Early Years Trainer, Consultant and Libby’s mum.
Nick Hodge & Lisa Reidy – Sheffield Hallam Autism Research Partnership.
Hester Reeve – Reader in Fine Art and Bohm Dialogue tutor, Sheffield Hallam University.

Presentation outlines:

Jonathan Drury
‘From Diagnosis to Dialogue.’

  • Jonathan’s story of Autism Dialogue.

Jane Ball (Academy of Professional Dialogue, Dialogue Associates and Prison Dialogue)

  • Jane Ball is a leading international practitioner in Professional Dialogue. Since 1999 she has worked with Dialogue in social and commercial settings and, with her business partner Peter Garrett, has developed a way of working that can be introduced at scale to affect large organisations and systems. Jane is Director of Dialogue Associates, one of the founding trustees of the international organisation Academy of Professional Dialogue and is leading the formation of an Academy in the UK.

Carol Povey (Director of Centre for Autism, National Autistic Society)

  • Carol will speak on the theme of welcoming autistic led initiatives, recognising that large organisations such as the National Autistic Society needs new ways of doing things to avoid some of the pitfalls of the past, and the importance of speaking together to get maximum in-depth understanding of how better to work together to make change.

Anna Nibbs (University of Sheffield)

  • Anna is an experienced enterprise educator, a higher education learning and teaching enhancement specialist, an adult-diagnosed autistic person, and a recent Autism Dialogue participant. In her talk, Anna will explore the concepts, and diverse conceptualisations of, creativity, performance, communication and authenticity, and how these interface and interact with autism, personal and professional lives, and Anna’s own involvement in Autism Dialogue.

Olivia Scarlet (Libby) Scott (11 yrs old autistic blogger)

  • Libby is a horseback-rider, a pianist, a part-time professional author and a Green Party supporter. She will be myth-busting autism and talking about her unique writing style, the experience of the power of a tweet of her work going viral on the internet and announce some exciting news.

Kym Scott (Early Years Consultant)

  • Kym will share what being the parent of an autistic child is teaching her.

Rachel Yates and Alexandra Somerset

  • Rachel is Clinical Lead Occupational Therapist and Alex is and OT, both from Cygnet Heath Care.  Along with Becky Wilson, the three attended a number of Autism Dialogue sessions and will present the changes made to their service as a result.

Helen Chaudhuri and Lisa Reidy

  • Helen and Lisa will talk about the work of SHARP – the Sheffield Hallam Autism Research Partnership. This is a multidisciplinary network of staff and students with an interest in autism research. The group uses varied methodologies and data collection methods in their research. The talk will reflect on the benefits and challenges of incorporating different approaches and perspectives within the group, including Autism Dialogue.

Hester Reeve
‘Bohm Dialogue: Doorstep Revolution’

  • My presentation will focus on the nature of doing Bohm Dialogue and what makes this way of meeting together so radical and effective in terms of individual and social transformation. I will also unpack the paradox that whilst Dialogue is completely accessible (requiring no previous experience or so called ‘communication skills’) and is simple to set up (requiring only a group of humans committed to meeting together) it is seemingly only rarely attempted. As Bohm himself put it:“You may ask, if we have such pressing problems why we should waste our time just talking. But I say that our problems originate because we can’t engage in this activity of just talking together, and when we try to deal with our serious problems, we find that we are not meeting.”
    Even more reason for us to attempt Dialogue together this afternoon, on the doorstep, so to speak, of each of our experiences and world view: What can we bring into understanding together that we did not realise that we needed to know before we first sat down?

Jenn Layton

  • ‘Autistic Beauty Revealed: personal reflections on Autism Dialogue’s contribution towards uncovering an idea of Autistic beauty.’

Creative elements

We will also have two short piano recitals on the venue’s grand piano inspired by and composed for the dialogues, by pianist James Pelham.

There will also be a display of new artwork in the foyer by Helen Purdie, who says:

“I am an artist living in Sheffield. I was confirmed autistic when I was forty six years old. I am learning to understand myself better now and to explain my inner experience to people more easily. I have made a colouring book with words about my grown-up autistic life that I hope may help people on their journey in understanding, accepting and celebrating themselves or those who are autistic. I will be displaying the drawings and words from the colouring book and the book itself will be available to look at and buy.”

Helen’s website is