About Me

DAWNJOYLEONG publicity photo

Autistic artist-researcher presenting autism as parallel embodiment, with sensory-cognitive idiosyncrasy as the nucleus of research, and an artistic practice of immersive mind-body experiences via music, visual art, photography, narrative, poetry and performance. With Lucy Like-a-Charm, a rescued former racing Greyhound, my beautiful creative muse, research assistant and faithful companion, we traverse blended, multidimensional terrains of wonderment: flipping pages of imagination, dancing around pandiatonic-chromatic-polyrhythmic mental fires, making splotches, humming in and out of tune, flying and falling, meandering in and out of discombobulation, gazing at pulchritude, picking up sound waves, celebrating symbiotic connectivity, and finding new ways to sense the world and Be.

Email me: dr.dawnjoyleong@gmail.com



Professional Profile

Dr. Dawn-Joy Leong is a researcher, multi-artist, TEDx speaker and board member of the Disabled People’s Association, Singapore. A specialist consultant in the Arts and Disability, Disability Leadership, Autism, Neurodiversity, Multi-Art applications, her workshops and talks focus mainly on mental health and wellbeing, life skills, creative thinking, learning strategies, disability advocacy, and access and inclusion, especially pertaining to arts practice and spaces. Dawn-joy has authored and illustrated music text books for Pearson Education endorsed by the Ministry of Education, Singapore; produced, directed and performed in musical concerts for charity at the Esplanade Recital Studio; and was an educator with almost two decades’ experience, teaching young persons with specific learning needs. 

Dawn-joy is autistic, and her assistance dog, Lucy Like-a-Charm, provides mitigation support for Dawn’s sensory anxiety. Rescued from the cruel Greyhound racing industry in Australia, Lucy is now Dawn’s closest and most trusted companion, creative muse, and research assistant, creating for Dawn an oasis of calm in the midst of the overwhelming cacophony of life in a frenetic cityscape, and a crucial source of strength for her many ventures far and wide.  

Dr. Leong has a Masters of Philosophy in music composition, and a PhD in Autism, Neurodiversity and Multi-Art Praxis, for which she was conferred the 2016 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Research from UNSW Art & Design, an honour given to only one top candidate per year. Dawn-joy was also awarded the Arts in Society International Excellence Award in 2013, for her paper, “Art in a Hidden World – creative process and invisible anomaly”. She has published, performed and exhibited her transdisciplinary work in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore; and has been interviewed by and featured in multiple media networks in Australia and Singapore, including SBS Australia, ABC Australia, The Conversation, Artlink and the Straits Times, Channel News Asia, threesixzero films, Pets Magazine and Cleo. 

Since returning to Singapore two years ago, Dawn-joy has engaged passionately in disability advocacy and mentoring. Her most recent and ongoing volunteering projects represent three ground-breaking ‘firsts’ in Singapore. The first Disabled-Led residency at the library@orchard, “Designing Clement Space”, exploring theory, practice and expression of creating conducive spaces for wellbeing through the combined perspectives of Neurodivergence – her own autism and that of two young emerging artists with Down Syndrome. Their Artists’ Talk (7 April) features an introduction to novel ways of communicating concepts and experiences, as well as poetic responses from two other artists with disability. Dawn-joy co-founded and leads Singapore’s first Disabled Artists’ Collective, a fully disabled-led initiative supported by the Disabled People’s Association, which aims and activities include reciprocal mentorship, artistic training, education and information, mutual support, networking with arts companies and arts providers as allies, and advocacy for best practices. Dawn is also the first and only local autistic person to be invited to sit in both the organising and scientific committees for the Asia Pacific Autism Conference 2019 (APAC19), in which she has played a key role in campaigning for greater representation of autistic persons. An unprecedented number (for Singapore) of autistic individuals are now actively involved in APAC19 at different levels: Dawn is one of two autistic researchers delivering Plenary speeches, there is an autistic panel featuring autistic adults (local and overseas), generous sponsorship for autistic presenters and a team of local autistic adult volunteers helping with logistics and other duties. 

4 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Dear Dawn,
    I have just read your story about you and Lucy, as I cried the whole way through.
    I am a Teachers Aide working with special needs children and and I feel blessed to enjoy every moment of my job. Our son also has additional learning needs coupled with him being very hyper active. We have a busy family life with 2 young kids and our home can be a bit crazy sometimes. We have recently adopted an adorable 5 yr old greyhound who we have all fallen in love with as soon as we saw her. I have had dogs all my life, but I have never encountered a dog so calm and affectionate with the whole family and friends who visit. She has really taken to my son and sleeps in his room with him at night. She has had such a positive effect on him when she looks at him with those big brown eyes..he just stops in his tracks and cuddles her. We are undergoing our Green-hound training and hope to have her green collar very soon. We have encountered the same misunderstanding from people when they see she has a muzzle on, which is disappointing. We could not be happier and I become an advocate for this most lovable breed of dog.Karen


  2. Hi Karen,
    Thank you so very much for connecting! It is an honour to share my story and do my small part for these wonderful dogs. I am so glad you gave a greyhound a chance to be loved and to love you in this very special way. Wishing you, your family and beautiful greyhound many years filled with joy and blessings together! ❤
    Dawn and Lucy


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