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Name: Sarah Walden

PhD: Visual Arts

Proposed Thesis Title:  Radical difference: Investigating neurodivergence, glitch and storytelling as new materialism in experimental media arts


Thesis Description:

The project is concerned with examining and articulating the lived experience of neurologically different ‘operating systems’, through storytelling, the ‘performance’ of neurodivergence and experimental time based media. Inherent in these concerns are questions around the form and function of experimental media, with particular reference to glitch art and emergent media technologies. Siting these questions in the context of ‘diffractive’ making (that is, an awareness of the material impact of arts practice and research on research field, research outcomes and researcher, if indeed one can separate these), I also consider the onto-epistemology of difference, through the lens of post-structural and feminist scientific philosophy. The research explores what it means to embody radical difference, and what role experimental media technologies can play in the performance and articulation of that difference. 


Research questions

  • Building on the work of poststructuralist and feminist theorists, to what extent can the lived experience of neurodivergence describe a sensuous embodiment of radical difference? How can an experimental media arts practice help to articulate the situated knowledges of neurodivergence?
  • In which ways can the interstices between glitch, neurodivergence (and its performance), storytelling and quantum diffraction establish, as well as generate, a new materialism in experimental media arts that moves away from dichotomies and binaries?

This research builds on my ongoing enquiry into the symbiotic relation of analogue and digital as both process and product, facilitating a rethink of matter and materialism, drawing on third-wave feminist arguments regarding the reconceptualisation of sensual/sexualised embodiment. The combination of these approaches with glitch theory will contribute to new, somatic approaches to parsing digital experiences - highly relevant to those who use digital media.


Supervisors and Institution(s):

Director of Studies: Dr Kirsten Forkert, Birmingham City University

Supervisor: Professor Nicholas Gebhardt, Birmingham City University

External Supervisor: Yasmeen Baig-Clifford, Vivid Projects



Publications (please include full details with page nos. or web links):

  • Artists On The Edge (2016). Insights Into Collaborative Practice. Birmingham: Article Press. 32-35.


Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:


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Other Research Interests:

  • Artists' moving image, photography, radical matter, philosophy, neurodivergence



University email address:

Twitter: sarahwalden14



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