Dyslexia at Oxford is a visual film and photography project in conversation with students, alumni, staff, tutors, researchers at both The University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University and members of the local community about dyslexia, exploring the strengths and challenges of having a different brain wiring. Grounded in human storytelling, threads from conversations with speakers are woven together to generate a sense of both shared and diverging experiences, of a network of neurodivergent people in one city.
‘Oxford’ has an international reach, and the city provides a clear contradiction to the false narrative that dyslexia & dyslexic traits = dumb. Many of the stories point to a structural lack of inclusion in education and access to information about dyslexia and neurodiversity more widely. Visible conversations around neurodiversity create the opportunity for learn and be empowered by different ways of thinking, creating moments of recognition and opportunities to share strategies when facing challenges. This project celebrates our different ways of thinking, the stronger teams that can be created and the benefit to society if difference is valued, supported and seen as part of what makes us human.
The project takes the form of an extended video conversation with 21 speakers, with extended cuts of the speakers on the project page above, alongside a series of portraits, and short texts about the speakers.
Taking these figures as rough guides:
15% of the population are dyslexic (Source)
40% of self made millionaires are dyslexic (Source)
50% of people in prison are dyslexic (Source)
52% of Teachers report they have had no dyslexia training in the UK (Source)
and 9 in 10 of those that did said it was under an hour (Source)
80% of students in the UK are undiagnosed (Source)
95% of parents said they felt the knowledge and resource to support their dyslexic child (Source)
300-700 pounds is the cost of a dyslexia assessment (Source)
Educational cost of dyslexia from APPG report, 2019, BDA
Schools ‘failing to diagnose at least 80% of dyslexic pupils, 2019, BBC
Advice for Teachers, Dyslexia Research Trust
A community project is only possible with a community of people behind it:
Bridie, Daniel, Genevieve, Hannah, Kelly, Michelle, Ryan, Sara, Thomas and Vance. Thank you for responding to an open call two years ago to before this project had a fixed final form - those first 10 conversations made this next step possible.
Alda, Alex, Andrew, Claire, Deshna, Eddie, Graeme, James, John, Kate, Katherine, Kitty, Leslie, Louise, Marion, Richard, Ryan, Sara, Sarah and Victoria. Thank you for responding to the second open-call/ or email out of the blue - for supporting the project and sharing your experiences, insight and openness. Collaborating as storytellers and also contributing your own visual material as we adapted to the pandemic. Oxford Sparks also generously gave permission to use footage from The RainDrop Experiment.
Alex Tait and Marion Frostick - Making a world of difference as dyslexia advisors and for support in the early stages of the project.
Charlie-Brades Price - Technical advice and links to resources.
Daria Martin - Supporting the application stage of this project.
Helena Greening, Mihaela Man, Agnes Pethers, Eva Stout. Content feedback & being there every step of the way.
Holly Knights - Patient & thoughtful project liaising & support in adapting project to pandemic.
Jenny Whiffen - Going through every edit, helping with paperwork and life-long spell checking.
Jules Williamson - Mentorship at every stage, invaluable advice, expertise, guidance and game-changing editing feedback.
Katherine Noren Curtis - Early support on the project, directing towards resources and networks, & bringing the Disability Advisory Service onboard as partner.
Krisztina Lugosi & Nikki Carter - Putting this content onto the TORCH website in such a thoughtful way.
Maggie Snowling & Philip Kirby - Adding words of support to project application.
Peter Whiffen - Finding and sending the SD card.
Open/Ended team - Fast-track learning on project managing & space to think about story.
The Ruskin Community - Tutors and peers for three years of great conversations.