Tom Railton

Research project: It's Not the End of the World: Nonlinear Time and Neurodivergent Making


Drawing on my lived experience of neurodivergent time perceptions, this practice-based research will explore how contemporary artists use non-linear temporalities and rudimentary technologies to create science-fictive imaginings of speculative worlds. 

My project thus asks: what forms of art practice are needed to articulate and embody neurodivergent experiences as a way of world-making?

Living with ADHD, cPTSD and DCD motivates my disability- or ‘crip'-informed thinking, which, alongside involvement in DIY subcultures promoting mutual aid, informs the science-fictive worldmaking in my sculptural work. 

ADHD often lends me the perception of non-unitary temporality (perceiving oneself in more than one place or time). ‘Chronesthesia' (Tulving, 2002) is a day-to-day experience of ‘mental time travel', while trauma survivors with PTSD detail reliving past events in the here-and-now. 

Here, art practice depicts other potential worlds through improvised or re-imagined, anachronistic technologies, as I embrace non-linear temporalities as survival tools in adapting to a neurotypical world.

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: It's Not the End of the World: Nonlinear Time and Neurodivergent Making
  • Research supervisor: Dr Dean Kenning
  • Other research supervisor: Professor Sara Upstone


Born in Coventry, I live and work in London, combining a multidisciplinary research and making practice with teaching in Fine Art and Sculpture.

A practising artist for over fifteen years, I now work from a small, co-built community studio in New Cross. Recent professional appointments include Specialist Technical Instructor at the Royal College of Art, and Visiting Lecturer for Leeds Arts University and Vilnius Academy of Arts. 

In 2015-16 I was a build lead and committee member for community venue ‘DIY Space for London', and the previous year I was the ‘Artquest' Researcher-in-Residence at the Foundling Museum. 

I've recently exhibited at group shows at Camberwell Space and ICCCIA Berlin (2022), SLG and Bloc Projects (both 2021) and a conference on archaeological reproductions at the Pitt-Rivers Museum (2019). My work features in private collections across the UK and Europe, and has also inspired articles, curatorial approaches and museum activities. 

Areas of research interest

  • Neurodivergence
  • Science Fiction
  • Nonlinear temporalities
  • Making
  • DIY
  • Survival
  • Community
  • ADHD
  • Trauma
  • Post-apocalypticism


  • MA Fine Art, Chelsea College of Arts (2012)
  • PgDip Fine Art, Chelsea College of Arts (2011)
  • BA Hons Fine Art, Leeds Metropolitan University (2004)

Funding or awards received

  • 2023 PhD studentship - AHRC/Techné DTP
  • 2021 Advance HE. Appointed HEA (Higher Education Academy) Fellow.
  • 2022 Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust Grant.
  • 2013 Artquest Workweek Prize, with 38b, In Association with Art Licks.
  • 2013 Red Mansion Prize Residency, Beijing.
  • 2012 The GAM Gilbert de Botton Art Prize.
  • 2012 Saint Vincent European Art Prize - Second Prize.
  • 2011 The Patrick Caulfield Scholarship, for MA study at Chelsea College of Arts.