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Tia Shafee

Research project: Canon v Headcanon: Finding Alternative Autistic Representation

Abstract

How do autistic women and non-binary people experience the lack of autistic characters of their own gender, and which characters do they identify as being like them? As a result, what does this tell us about the experiences and traits of autistic women and non-binary people?

My research focuses on using survey techniques to engage with autistic women and non-binary people and understand the way they experience the existing majority male representation. I will then be using interview techniques to understand in more detail the characters that autistic people identify as being like themselves, using the fan concept of ‘headcanon'. Who the individuals identify with and why could inform our understanding of the traits and experiences of autistic women and non-binary people.

  • Research degree: MA by Research
  • Title of project: Canon v Headcanon: Finding Alternative Autistic Representation
  • Research supervisor: Professor Will Brooker
  • Other research supervisor: Dr Colette Balmain

Biography

I am an autistic non-binary person with a passion for media and determination for equality. My undergraduate dissertation focused on transgender representation on film and television so I am continuing my study into media representation of minority groups. Since graduating, I have been working for the Civil Service, most recently on diversity and inclusion with a focus on disability. I also founded the Public Sector Neurodiversity Network, which supports neurodivergent people working in the public sector.

Areas of research interest

  • Autism
  • Disability representation in media
  • Fandom
  • Gender and disability

Qualifications

  • BSc Geography, Politics and International Relations, Royal Holloway, University of London
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