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MDX Neurodiversity Celebration Festival 2024

21 March 2024, 10am - 3pm GMT

The Quad, Hendon Campus, London

Dubai Campus

Mauritius Campus

As part of the global Neurodiversity Celebration Week Middlesex University will host our second dynamic and inclusive Neurodiversity Celebration Festival on Thursday 21 March 2024, 10am - 3pm GMT.

Join us in celebrating neurodiversity at Middlesex University! We invite you to get involved and participate in something special. By embracing diversity in all its forms, you will have the opportunity to be part of an event that celebrates the unique talents and perspectives of neurodiverse students, alumni and staff. Join us as we recognise and honour the strengths and contributions of our neurodiverse community. Let's create an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and appreciated. The festival will be opened by Professor Julia Clarke, Interim Vice-Chancellor.

The event is open to all: staff, students, local community and friends and is free to attend. Booking is not required and everyone is welcome to turn up on the day.

MDX Neurodivergent Community

Our neurodivergent staff and students bring unique perspectives, talent and problem-solving skills to Middlesex University. By embracing neurodiversity, we not only foster inclusivity and equity, but also benefit from their diverse strengths and contribution

MDX Student and Staff Profiles
  • What's On - Hendon Campus

18 March - 22 March, Sheppard Library

Neurodiversity Celebration Week is a good time to reflect on the different ways that our library supports and celebrates neurodiverse learners, colleagues and authors. Pop in to explore our collection.

9am - 3.30pm in CG63, Quiet Room

We understand that events can sometimes be quite busy. This room is a space where you can retreat whenever you feel overwhelmed or overloaded by all the excitement happening in the College Building on the day.

  • Sessions and Performances (College Building)

    • 10am - 10.10am in CG41 Opening of the Festival by Pforessor Julia Clark - Interim Vice Chancellor

      We are delighted to have Professor Julia Clarke, Interim Vice-Chancellor opening this year's Neurodiversity Celebration Festival.

    • 10.10am - 11am in CG41 MDX Neurodiversity Global Panel Discussion and Q&A
      • Panel chaired by: Irina Staneva (Deputy Head of Student Support and Wellbeing)
      • Panellists: Robyn R. Wisker-Stilling (London), David Wheeler (London), Christiana Rose (London), Jack Evans (Dubai), Anuttama Bijmohun (Mauritius), Rommaan Domun (Mauritius)
      • Questions from the audience: Nerea Fernandes

      Neurodivergent students from London, Dubai and Mauritius will share insights into their educational journey, discussing their unique experiences and challenges. They will also showcase their strengths and proud accomplishments, inspiring others with their resilience and achievements. There will be an opportunity for audience members to engage with the panellists. This session will be live-streamed to our Dubai and Mauritius Campuses.

      About the panellists:

      • Robyn R. Wisker-Stilling, (London) - Robyn is in her final year studying BA animation in London.  She has had an interest in art and telling stories since early childhood. These hobbies have guided her to learn animation: a subject that complements her neurodivergence. Robyn’s work is known to be colourful, expressive, and always has something to say. Robyn is currently working on her graduation film “Miss Odd” about a silent DJ who is autistic going on a first date. The film is heavily influenced by Robyn’s own experiences of being autistic. It involves speaking up against misconceptions and showcasing the wonderful things about being neurodivergent.
      • David Wheeler (London), Associate Lecturer in Studio and Digital Production - After his university education, David worked as a BBC Trainee Camera Operator, later moving on to directing TV programmes. He is an extrovert who loves working with others, his ADHD enables him to deal with many questions and juggle many competing issues at the same time and his hyperfocus is valuable in the edit suite where he creates a powerful programme with just the right mood of music. David says: "I feel I have a lot to say, I usually say too much and I always take on too much… but you only live once!"
      • Christiana Rose (London), Studying LLB - Christiana Rose is a founding Co-Chair for the staff Parents & Carers Network at Middlesex University London. She works full-time as an Events and Development Support Officer in Marketing, with a background in the Faculty of Business and Law. Over recent years, her work in event management has supported the 6 staff networks in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. She is studying her final year of a part-time Law degree and has two young children. Christiana is The Women’s Officer at Unison Union and a Theatre Reviewer for Broadway World in London and for the Edinburgh Fringe.
      • Jack Evans (Dubai), Studying Cybersecurity - Jack has always had a keen interest in computers and understanding how they work. Before starting his first year at Middlesex, he focused his studies on STEM and decided to study Cybersecurity to counteract the dangers of social media and its effects on society. Jack has always served his community and peers, having previously been a Class Representative, Student Ambassador, and Co-President of the coding club. In addition, Jack was awarded the National Honor Society Award as a recognition of his hard work and service to others. He has also been a trainee at a Business Incubator, helping international startups in the UK. Jack is also a qualified lifeguard and is First Aid certified. Jack has never let his dyslexia get in the way of accomplishing great things and decided to embrace this different way of learning. This has made him a stronger and more empathetic person.
      • Anuttama Gul Bijmohun (Mauritius), Studying IFP Psychology - Anuttama harboured a strong interest in acquiring new skills and knowledge since childhood, although she'd never been fond of reading. Despite this, her curiosity has driven her to explore accounting and nursing before starting a psychology course. Anuttama tends to be introverted, preferring others to initiate interactions rather than approaching them herself. Her ambition is to complete her studies and delve deeper into what this psychology course has to offer.
      • Rummaan Domun (Mauritius), Studying BSc (Hons) Psychology with Counselling Skills - Rummaan is currently studying BSc (Hons) Psychology with Counselling Skills at Middlesex University Mauritius campus. She is delighted to be sharing her journey with the MDX community highlighting all the ups and downs that have made her who she is today.
    • 11am - 11.45am in Quad, Chickenshed Performance

      Chickenshed is back this year with a performance led and or/created by students with neuro-diverse lived experiences. The varied and impactful work reflects and embodies the spirit of neurodiverse positivity and barrier-breaking which is being celebrated at the Middlesex Festival itself. Chickenshed joins that celebration and hopes to amplify it through the inclusive work of its students.

    • 12 noon - 12.45 in C138, Dr Karisa Krcmar, What hinders our wonderful brains from learning?

      Karisa Krcmar - Director of the Professional Association of Specific Learning Difference Specialists Higher Education (PASSHE)

      Session: What hinders our wonderful brains from learning?

      • How different brains process information
      • SpLDs and intersectionality
      • Privilege unpacked
      • What it means to our students (and us)
      • Some things to help our students' resilience

      Karisa has an MBA from Glasgow, an MEd and PhD from Birmingham. After working in a variety of commercial sectors ranging from shipping to ballet, she changed direction, went into teaching adults and became fascinated with why learners don’t learn. She undertook dyslexia teaching and assessor training, followed by CPD focussing on ADHD and Mental Health and became a Specialist Tutor at Loughborough University.

      Karisa is a Mindfulness practitioner, and with one of her colleagues, developed and ran mindfulness workshops culminating in the publishing of Mindfulness for Study: From Procrastination to Action. She was the first editor of the Journal of Neurodiversity in Higher Education (ADSHE) and has edited books about inclusive learning and teaching (The Inclusivity Gap) and successful projects for building students’ mental health resilience (Helping Penguins to Swim). Karisa is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has a black belt in Shotokan Karate.

      Find out more about the Professional Association of Specific Learning Difference Specialists Higher Education (PASSHE)

    • 12 noon - 12.30 in C122, Breaking Free, Dance Performance by Yasemin Gross

      The project is called Breaking Free, a dance/interactive performance about neurodiversity involving screen projection, sound and lighting. The performance is about 15-30 minutes long.

      The performance consists of 3 parts:

      • The first part is an interactive play of catching, throwing and passing a ball in a circle formed of audience participants.
      • The middle part is the dance itself
      • The third part is a workshop using sticky notes and pens following the dance. The audience is invited to write down one “thing" they want to break free from and stick this onto the wall through which Yasemin will break free. They are also encouraged to note one "thing" they like about themselves and stick this on their clothing.

      This little production aims to raise awareness of how people with neurodiversity feel and make a connection since everyone has challenges and strong points.

      Yasemin Gross is a multidisciplinary actor/performer with neurodivergence and is currently in her 3rd year of BA Hons Theatre Arts at Middlesex University.

    • 1pm- 1.30pm in C138, Dr Nico Pizzolato, A work in progress: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in Postgraduate Research Studies

      A doctorate is often considered the pinnacle of academic education, but not always a space where everyone feels they can belong. This presentation introduces the type of EDI considerations related to postgraduate researchers in the higher education sector, and outlines some preliminary insights of an ongoing review, in collaboration with Advance HE, of our practices and processes in postgraduate research, through the lens of EDI.

    • 1pm - 3pm in CG82, The Reason I jump Movie Screening + Q&A with Jerry Rothwell, the Movie Director

      Based on the book by Naoki Higashida, this immersive film explores the experiences of non-speaking autistic people around the world. There will also be an opportunity to speak directly to the movie director, Jerry Rothwell, and ask questions about the creative process, inspirations, and behind-the-scenes insights.

      Q&A chaired by Jacob J. Drucker

  • Activities 10am - 3pm (The Quad & Second Floor Mezzanine Level)

    • Lego Activity

      Explore your creativity with the Lego building activity. The education team will be running a Lego and art workshop to help you explore your creativity and team-building skills.

    • Mind over Matter

      Participants will be able to try out neurofeedback headsets that measure brain activity to control simple computer games.

    • Sensory Safety – A re-evaluation of Oxford Street for Neurodiversity Inclusion (Second Floor Mezzanine Level)

      An exhibition, by MA Interior students, around the need for quieter spaces along Oxford Street. The proposals focus on how we can adapt our existing built environment to provide refuge and inclusive, quiet spaces for neurodivergent visitors. Displayed work by:

      • Daniela Chavez Zavala - Hidden but Seen. An Autism Support Centre. 'Buffer zones' in a department store (PDF, 876KB). Daniela is currently working on her main project for people with Autism.
      • Ivy Fang - Pressure. A sheltered resting place on Oxford Street.
      • Evy Mansour -  Curing the Metropolis. Mitigating the effects of air pollution while providing calm quiet spaces.
      • Sarah Mohammed - Form Follows Feeling. Therapeutic architecture for wellness.
      • Qassandra Ng - Lost and Found. Making connections with others.
      • Eren Yigit - Screening the Street. Quiet safer spaces just off Oxford Street.
    • Tower of Hanoi

      The Tower of Hanoi is a mathematical game or puzzle consisting of three rods and several disks of various diameters, which can slide onto any rod. The puzzle begins with the disks stacked on one rod in order of decreasing size, the smallest at the top, approximating a conical shape.

    • Wildfire Immersive Experience

      Climate Crisis - WILDFIRE!’ – a LiiVE Adventure (Live Interactive Immersive Virtual/physical Environment) is an inclusive immersive experience design & production programme for positive social transformation.

      Real science and engineering in a compelling immersive hyperlocal story game with live in character problem-solving and complex decision-making by public participants. A mix of immersive theatre, escape room, simulation environment, live-action role-playing and collaborative gaming.

      There is a big focus on neuro inclusion through the programme - project leader Wyn Griffiths is autistic, as are 5 others in the team, along with 8 ADHD and 15 other neurodivergent team members.

  • Stalls 10am - 3pm (The Quad)

    • Barnet Mencap

      Barnet Mencap offer a range of support and events for children and adults with a learning disability, autistic people and their families, who live in the London Borough of Barnet

    • Disability and Dyslexia Support

      The Disability Support Service (DDS) offer:

      • Screenings for dyslexia and specific learning difficulties and referral for full diagnostic assessments
      • Middlesex Disability Support Packages
      • Assistance with arranging Disability Students' Allowances (DSA)
      • Troubleshooting – come and talk to us about any issue you are having relating to your disability or support package
    • Counselling and Mental Health

      The Counselling and Mental Health team are here to support you, You don’t have to wait until you feel completely lost and in crisis before asking for help. To access our services you must be an enrolled student living in the UK and registered with GP/Doctor.

    • Employability Services

      More information coming soon

    • Neurodiverse Brains

      Pop in to have a chat with the students from these groups.

    • Posturite Assistive Technology and Equipment

      Explore how assistive technology and equipment can support you in your studies. There will be an opportunity to trial the equipment, see how MindView, Read and Write and other software packages work and you can ask questions to the Posturite experts.

    • Resources for Autism

      Resources for Autism provides practical support for autistic people, from community support to group activities, therapy sessions, parent support and sibling support.

    • The Sapphire Community Group

      Find out how this community group works with children and young people to empower and stabilise segregated communities through mentoring, coaching, literature, entertainment, events, and workshops.

    • Staff Wellbeing / EDI Network

      More informatio coming soon

    • Sanjay Mortimer Foundation

      The Sanjay Mortimer Foundation (SMF) is a non-profit initiative to find and assist those with neurodivergent minds to realise their potential through the field of engineering.

    • Learning Enhancement Team

      To succeed in your studies, you will need to become excellent learners and acquire a wide range of academic skills. MDX Learning Enhancement Team works closely with your programme teams to develop and deliver your modules, but you can seek further FREE support from us.

  • What's On Dubai Campus

Neurodiversity Poster Competition

To celebrate the Neurodiversity Festival, the university is hosting a poster competition across all 3 campuses. Students are invited to create a digital poster using any media of their choice which celebrates neurodiversity. You can choose a specific topic.

The winner will be announced on 21 March 2024, please email it to CAS@mdx.ac.ae by 19 March to allow time for printing.

Entries will be judged by a distinguished panel against the following criteria:

  • information accuracy;
  • information comprehensiveness;
  • attractive design, use of colour and overall appeal.

  • What's On Mauritus Campus

Panel Discussion, Talks and Activities

Students in Mauritius will participate in the event by being a part of a Panel Discussion and Q&A about their experiences which will be live-streamed from Hendon to Dubai and Mauritius. The discussion will take place at 14:00 MST (10:00 GMT). Panellists: Anuttama Gul Bijmohun, Rommaan Domun.

Schedule (download PDF 168KB):

Monday 18 March – 11.30am - 1pm (local time)
Visit the student support stalls in the open area (Archway). Engage with local NGOs who are supporting neurodivergent individuals

Wednesday 20 March – 12.30 noon - 1.30pm (local time)
Special Students Talk on Neurodiversity, Room: CG01

Thursday 21 March – 12.30 noon - 3pm (local time)
Special Staff Talk on Neurodiversity and Panel Discussion with Q&A on Neurodiversity (live-streamed to Mauritius), Room: TP05 (Trent Park)

  • Anuttama Gul Bijmohun, IFP Psychology:

'Since childhood, I've harboured a strong interest in acquiring new skills and knowledge, although I've never been fond of reading. Despite this, my curiosity has driven me to explore accounting and nursing before starting my psychology course. Personality-wise, I tend to be introverted, preferring others to initiate interactions rather than approaching them myself.

Currently enrolled at Middlesex University Mauritius, my ambition is to complete my studies and delve deeper into what this psychology course has to offer. Regarding my career, I don't have a fixed goal at the moment; I am focused on achieving personal milestones and continuing to learn until I find my path.'

  • Rummaan Domun, BSc (Hons) Psychology with Counselling Skills:

'I am currently studying BSc (Hons) Psychology with Counselling Skills at Middlesex University Mauritius campus. It is with great pleasure that I am sharing my journey with you all highlighting all the ups and downs that have made me who I am today.

I would like to thank the Disability Support Service (DSS) Mauritius for allowing me to share my experience as a disabled student at the university.'

  • Resources

Neurodiversity Poster Competition Winners

  • 1st Place: Kerenza Perera (BA Graphic Design)
  • 2nd Place: Rabiya Lodhi (LLB Law)
  • 3rd Place: Rameen Usman (BSc Information Technology)

Resources from the day

Guffran Rostom - Addressing Neurodiversity in the IFP at Middlesex University Mauritius

Karisa Krcmar - What hinders our wonderful brains from learning?

Nico Pizzolato - PGR Diversity and Belonging

Counselling & Mental Health - We can help you understand what Mental Health support is available (both within MDX and outside) and coordinate your access to it.

Disability & Dyslexia Service - If you are affected by a health condition or learning difficulty, we have a guide to all of our support available.

Neurodiversity University Resources Pack - Find the right resources for ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Tourette and others.

  • MDX Neurodiversity Celebration Festival 2023

A huge thank you to everyone who made our first  MDX Neurodiversity Celebration Festival 2023 a resounding success. The festival provided an opportunity to celebrate and showcase the talents, strengths, and unique perspectives of the neurodivergent community. Through Chicken Shed performance, an invaluable interview with Ria Lina, 13+ stalls and activities, 7 online and in-person workshops and countless stimulating discussions, we all have been inspired and educated on the importance of embracing diversity and inclusion. A massive thank you to the staff and students who participated in the event by sharing their stories and experiences via recordings, videos and a podcast.

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