Dawn-joy Leong is a researcher and practitioner in the field of Autism, Neurodiversity and Multi-Art Praxis. Dawn-joy’s research examines Autistic Embodiment, with a focus on sensory-cognitive idiosyncrasy, from which emerges her interdisciplinary material practice of creating immersive mind-body experiences with elements of music, soundscape, video, photography, installation, narrative, poetry, and performance. Her papers and art works have been presented, performed and exhibited in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore. Dawn-joy is a passionate disability advocate and a Board of Management committee member of the Disabled People’s Association Singapore. She is also a specialist consultant in the Arts and Disability, Disability Leadership, Autism, Neurodiversity, and Multi-Art applications, lecturing and conducting workshops addressing mental health and wellbeing, life skills, creative thinking, learning strategies and advocacy. She has authored and illustrated music text books for Pearson Education, endorsed by the Ministry of Education, Singapore; produced musical concerts at the Esplanade Recital Studio; and an educator with almost two decades’ experience.
Research and Art Practice:
Research: Autistic Embodiment, with a focus on sensory-cognitive idiosyncrasy, bringing together neuroscience, psychology, empirical evidence from Autistic individuals, and her own autobiographical insights from lived-experience.
Material practice: multi-art, interdisciplinary immersive mind-body experiences that includes elements of music, soundscape, video, photography, installation, narrative, poetry, and performance.
Consultation, Lectures and Workshops:
Specialist consultant in the Arts and Disability, Disability Leadership, Autism, Neurodiversity, and Multi-Art applications. Lectures and workshops addressing multi-art practices for and about mental health and wellbeing, life skills, creative thinking, learning strategies and advocacy. Mentoring workshops for persons with different disabilities.
2016: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D, Art, Design and Media) – The University of New South Wales, College of Fine Arts, Australia.
2010: Master of Philosophy (M.Phil, Music Composition) – The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
1989: Bachelor of Arts, Honours (Music & Fine Arts) – The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
UNSW Art & Design Dean’s Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Research 2016 – awarded to one top candidate per year.
UNSW University International Postgraduate Award 2012-2015.
COMMUNITY & DISABILITY WORK
Director, Disabled-Led Artists’ Collective Singapore – a new project supported by the Disabled People’s Association Singapore – 2018-Present
PUBLIC SPEAKING, LECTURES & WORKSHOPS
“Autistic Thriving – Not Despite, But Because of Autism” – Plenary Speaker, Asia Pacific Autism Conference 2019, Singapore
“Meeting in the Middle: Representation & Tokenism” – Ethos Books, March 2019
“Clement Space: a strategy for wellbeing inspired by autistic embodiment” – Singapore Management University, March 2019
“Autism, Neurodiversity & Wellbeing” – Lions Clubs of Singapore 60th Anniversary, February 2019
“Autistic Thriving” – TEDx Pickering Street, Singapore – August 2018
“Autism, Mental Health and Art” – Yale-NUS Singapore – April 2018
“Autism, Neurodiversity and Art Practice” – International Humanitarian Law Disability Network seminar series, NUS – March 2018
“Autism & Art – mental wellbeing and social empathy” – AutismHK, The Education University of Hong Kong – March 2018
“Embracing Neurodiversity,” Committee on Gender Equality & Diversity Seminar Series, University of Hong Kong – February 2018
“The Right to be Different – Neurodiversity & Cultural Change.” Pens & Needles, 2018, by Erin Thomas.
“Space of Mind: an interview with Dawn-joy Leong.” RUNWAY Australian Experimental Art, by Chloe Watson. Issue #35.
“Making a space for different minds.” The Conversation, feature article by Katie Sutherland. 23 October 2017.
“Snoosphere: the art installation tackling mental illness.” ABC Australia, Lateline. 20 September 2017.
“On the Red Dot” Episode 16 – Autism. Television feature programme, Channel 5, Mediacorp, Singapore. 21 July 2017.
“I’m not bad, I’m not ill, I’m autistic.” CNA Insider article by Desmond Ng. Channel News Asia, Mediacorp, Singapore. 23 July 2017.
“Adults Find Out They’re Autistic.” Full page feature in Sunday Times, Singapore. 30 April 2017.
“Being autistic in a non-autistic world.” Video by documentary film maker Martin Guinnesss. 30 March 2016
“Doogle, Buddy, Lucy and Friends.” Video by documentary film maker Martin Guinness. 6 April 2016
“A Different Way of Thinking.” Interview. SBS feature about neurodiversity. 24 Dec 2015.
EXHIBITIONS & PERFORMANCES
Clement Space @Playeum – I-Opener, 1 June 2019 – 26 April 2020, Playeum, Singapore.
Clement Space – an immersive installation experience, 2019, Singapore Management University
Clement Space @Yale-NUS, 2018, Yale-NUS Library, Singapore
Snoösphere 2017 – autism/neurodiversity consultant & associate artist. UNSW Galleries, Sept-Nov 2017.
Sonata in Z – solo exhibition, UNSW Art & Design, 10-14 November 2015.
Participation in David Capra’s “Teena’s Bathtime 2015“, Bella Room Commission, Museum of Contemporary Art.
Little Sweets 小甜心 – solo exhibition, UNSW Art & Design, 10-14 November 2014.
Four Thirty Three – group exhibition, “IN MOTION” by Airspace Projects, 22 November 2014.
Doodle Dreams – group exhibition, “The Democracy of Drawing,” curated by AirSpace Projects, part of Art Month Sydney March 2014.
Confronting the Senses – group exhibition, “Desiring Machines,” curated by Critical Animals, at This is Not Art 2013, The Lock Up Cultural Centre, Newcastle, Australia. 4-6 October 2013.
Scheherazade’s Sea – songs from silence 2013 – performance at the World Stage Design 2013, Cardiff, U.K. 13 September 2013.
Haptic HugShrug (revised 2013) – group exhibit, VIVID SYDNEY 2013 – Haptic InterFace, Hong Kong House, Druitt Street, Sydney, 27 May-6 June 2013.
Roaring Whispers 2013 – a multisensory installation and conceptual space, COFA Space gallery, College of Fine Arts, UNSW, 7-10 May 2013.
Haptic Autistry. Installation – a multimodal, interactive study of haptic sensory idiosyncrasy. Haptic InterFace 2012, Hong Kong Baptist University, Koo Ming Kown Gallery, Hong Kong, 21 November – 16 December 2012.
Haptic HugShrug. Prototype – a study of deep pressure stimulation. Haptic InterFace 2012. Hong Kong Baptist University, Koo Ming Kown Gallery, Hong Kong, 21 November – 16 December 2012.
Scheherazade’s Sea. Mixed media, multi-sensory installation and performance. University of Hong Kong, Department of Music, Hung Hing Ying Building, Hong Kong, 9 April 2010.
He(A)r(e)not (2009). For violin solo, voice and video. University Artists Scheme: New Violin Dimensions – A Multimedia Concert with Yao Jue, University of Hong Kong, Loke Yew Hall, Hong Kong, 15 April 2009.
Love – Our Story in Song. Chief producer, music director and performer – charity concert in aid of The Dover Park Hospice. The Esplanade, Singapore, 29-30 August 2005.
PAPERS & PUBLICATIONS
Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of the Rainbow. Review. Artlink Magazine, Australia. 19 September 2017.
Reflections on the neurodiverse city. Feature. Artlink Magazine, Australia. 01 September 2017.
Scheherazade’s Sea – autistic parallel embodiment and elemental empathy. Conference paper presented at the UNSW Art & Design Postgraduate Research Conference, 17-18 June 2015.
Reciprocating Self and Other – lessons from autism. Conference paper presented at the Inter-Disciplinary.Net, “Strangers, Aliens and Foreigners,” 5-7 September 2013, Mansfield College, University of Oxford, Oxford, U.K. | First Published in Experiencing Otherness: Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Ed. Bashir, Hassan & Roye, Susmita. Inter-Disciplinary Press, Oxford, U.K. 2015
Art in a Hidden World – creative process and invisible anomaly. The Arts in Society Conference 2012, Arts and Design Academy, Liverpool, UK; The International Journal of Arts in Society: Annual Review, Volume 7, and The International Journal of Art History and Theory (in publication), Common Ground Publishing. 2012 International Award for Excellence.
Thinking Through the Body – a multimodal perspective from autism. The InternationalConference on Research Creativity: Praxis 2012, Baptist University of Hong Kong.
Scheherazade’s Sea – mixed media, multisensory installation and performance through the eyes of Asperger’s Syndrome. Postgraduate Musicological Symposium 2010, jointly organised by University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong and Baptist University of Hong Kong, presented at the University of Hong Kong.
Tune In – Primary Music (Books 4,5,6). Pearson Education South Asia Pte Ltd. in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Singapore, 2003-2004.
2016: Scheherazade’s Sea – autism, parallel embodiment and elemental empathy. Ph.D dissertation, University of New South Wales, Art & Design.
2010: Scheherazade’s Sea – a mixed media, multisensory installation and performance. M.Phil thesis, The University of Hong Kong. A multimodal approach to creativity.