Byron Vincent is a working class, neurodiverse, writer, performer, broadcaster, DJ and activist with a long and varied career. He spent the aughts doing spoken word at music and literary festivals for which he was picked as one of BBC poetry season’s New Talent Choices.
In more recent years Byron has turned to theatre, radio, film making and Television working as writer-director and performer for the RSC, BAC, BBC and other notable acronyms.
Byron has a diagnosis of Autism and ADHD and is one of the directors of Gadfly Arts LTD. A company that puts on raves for people with neurodiverse and anxiety sensitivities as well as providing neurodiversity and mental health access training. During his residency, Bryon will be developing neurodiversity friendly club nights, by chatting with people about ways to make these spaces safer and more welcoming.
Byron is a passionate social activist with lived experience of issues around poverty, neurodiversity, addiction and mental health. He has written and presented several documentaries for BBC Radio 4, often exploring the social problems arising out of poverty, ghettoization and mental ill-health.
Many of which can still be found on BBC iPlayer:
Nothing to Lose, Four Thought: Byron Vincent discusses nature versus nurture, and society’s obligations to its weakest in this powerful and personal talk:
The Glasgow Boys: Chaos and Calm: Byron Vincent joins the Violence Reduction Unit in Glasgow to see how they turn young men away from lives of violence and chaos.
The Trouble with Social Mobility: Byron Vincent raises some practical, and moral, questions about social mobility.
More about the project from Byron:
“As an aging neurodiverse raver and festival attendee I’ve spent the last three decades feeling uncomfortable at gigs, clubs, concerts and fezzies. Neurodiverse sensitivities and PTSD have meant that I’ve often found live spaces problematic and often prohibitive. For me, and myriads like me, nights out are all too often marred by spaces that feel claustrophobic, threatening, too crowded and with little or no opportunity to escape to somewhere safe, calm and quiet during moments of panic. Evenings out are often spent worrying about navigating stressful environments and avoiding unwelcome interactions.
When it comes to feeling connected and inspiring joy and playfulness, clubs, festivals and gigs are hard to match. They can also be overwhelming and triggering; especially for those of us with autistic spectrum sensitivities and anxiety disorders. I want to dance. I want to feel connected. I want to get lost in a mesmeric audio-visual spectacle, but I can’t, because event promoters and venues have been alienating people like me for as far back as I can remember. Not being able to do the thing you love sucks. It’s time to turn all the inspiring talk of neurodiversity and access in our sector into positive action.
My company Gadfly Arts LTD is planning on piloting a series of neurodiversity friendly club events across the East Region. We’re rethinking every element of the experience, from how we reduce panic and stress to how we order drinks. We’ve been looking at sensorial elements such as gradients of noise and lighting, vibrating dance floors, soundproof nooks and stim toy areas. Orientation and accessibility such as pre-event tours of venues, clear signage mental health, trauma informed stewards and safety such as a clear code of conduct and traffic light bracelets to let other attendees know you’d prefer to be left to your own devices.
We’ve already done loads of research but it’s hugely important to us that these events are co-produced by the people who might attend them. I’ll be at metal and various club spaces in the region between 31st of October and 6th November if this is a subject that interests you drop in and see me for a chat, or I can come to you if that’s more convenient.”