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From the Archives: Bonnie Evans on Radio 3: Free Thinking

Back in January 2021, our Research Fellow Dr Bonnie Evans appeared on the Radio 3 'Free Thinking' programme to talk with host Matthew Sweet about representations of autism on screen.

Alongside novelist Michelle Gallen, film historian Andrew Roberts (who is autistic himself), and clinical psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen, Bonnie discusses the archival research she has undertaken for the Autism Through Cinema project. She talks about the French microbiologist and filmmaker Jean Comandon, who was one of the first scientists to use cinema as a tool for capturing neurodiversity, before discussing how the development of intelligence testing and psychoanalysis began to inform representations of autism on screen after the 1940s.

As the discussion continues, Bonnie and other guests discuss recent popular culture representations, including Rain Man and the Netflix shows Atypical and Love on the Spectrum, while also confronting key debunked theories such as the 'Refrigerator Mother' concept. The show is available to listen on BBC Sounds for the foreseeable future and you can access it via this link:


New Podcast Episodes:

Don't forget to check out our latest podcast episodes. We've taken a look at Agnes Varda's documentary classic The Gleaners and I (2000) in relation to autism as a form of outsider art and how the practice of gleaning can often relate to the autistic pleasures found in details that others often overlook. Our latest episode considers Jonathan Glazer's postmodern sci-fi Under the Skin (2014), starring Scarlett Johansson, where an attempt to evoke an alien point-of-view may be seen as a neurodivergent perspective with alternative aesthetic priorities.

Listen to the episodes on our Podcast page, or find it on Apple, Spotify, Google Music and all other podcast providers. Coming up next week, the team will be discussing the 1942 horror classic Cat People, with our first ever special guest, PhD student Ethan Lyon.

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