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Blog / Everybody has a heart that can be touched by something

Everybody has a heart that can be touched by something

Reflective blog by Combine to Create Collective member Kate MacKay.

“Everybody has a heart that can be touched by something.”

Naoki Higashida; the reason I jump: the inner voice of a 13 year old autistic boy.

A film screening, exhibition and conversation for Autism Acceptance Week provided space to move beyond acceptance towards appreciation and admiration of the awe-inspiring nature of autism.

The screening was of “the reason I jump”; an emotive cinematic adaptation of the book which was written by a 13 year old, non speaking autistic boy. 

The exhibition showed the polychrome cards deck, an interactive artwork and discursive tool which was created with neurodiverse communities in Moray during the first phase of my residency as part of Combine to Create. 

The conversation was an open space in which a diverse audience came together in a sharing of thoughts, knowledge, hopes and fears born of lived experience of autism.

We shared, listened, reflected and observed in a unique and safe, emergent space. Conversation unfolded from a rich pallet of voices. The language of story, science, art, education, domestic and municipal were all required to paint a collective, authentic portrait of autism.

As the evening progressed, the presence of autism could be felt. Not as a condition or disorder to be cured or addressed, but as a place to which everyone in that room held a deep attachment.

Autism emerged as a place we all know, all our varied voices can convey, all our minds are occupied with and all our hearts are touched by.

And this rich, varied, colourful, challenging and soulful conversation was all inspired by the mind of a non speaking autistic child. A reminder if any to be attentive, open and emphatic, because still waters really do run deep.

Kate MacKay is a community artist based in Moray. Kate MacKay studied Fine Art at Edinburgh College of Art and has worked as a community artist for over 20 years. Kate’s practice incorporates upcycling, storytelling, costume, illustration and mural painting.

Find out more about Combine to Create on our project page.

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As 2023 comes to a close, we would like to pause and reflect on some of our highlights from the last year.