Women from the Spectrum Women’s Autism Group were invited to meet the Lord Mayor in his parlour at City Hall and to share the poetry they had written as part of a recent Community Arts Project. The poems have been collected together in a booklet called ‘This Is How It Is’.
The Spectrum Women’s Autism group is the first of its kind and one of only two in any part of the island – the other being in Cork. It therefore attracts members from all across the region. Women travel from Belfast, Portstewart, Newry and even as far as Sligo to the centre in Dungannon for events and activities.
The women read the Lord Mayor some of their poems and discussed the topics covered in them: difficulties they face with day to day issues, communication, isolation and previous misdiagnosis resulting in psychiatric care, and the impact that has had upon their lives. All these issues and many more were explored in the project they undertook with poet facilitator Martelle McPartland in the past six months.
Community Arts Partnership provided ten weeks of facilitation through Arts Council Funding. This has resulted in the Spectrum Group forming their own writers’ group and Martelle staying on in a voluntary capacity whilst they get established.
Despite the heavy subjects, there was plenty of tea and laughter as the women enjoyed a very relaxed afternoon in the Lord Mayor’s company.
Copyright notice: The book ‘This Is How It Is’ is copyright of the Spectrum Women’s Autism Group and Community Arts Partnership. The poems within are the copyright of their respective authors.
*Poems removed by request