Autism Dialogue Out of the the Box

Mindlessness:  “A style of mental functioning in which people follow recipes, impose old categories to classify what they see, act with some rigidity, operate on automatic pilot, and mislabel unfamiliar new contexts as familiar old ones.  A mindless mental style works to conceal problems that are worsening.” (Weick and Sutcliffe) I like being me. I’m starting to …


Jonny DruryJonny Drury BA (Hons)
Artist, Researcher, Facilitator.




  • MA Autism student, Sheffield Hallam University.
  • Facilitating Bohm Dialogue for autistic students and staff at SHU.
  • Researcher and trainer for Disability Sheffield; Disability Employment Rights and Autism Awareness for Organisations.


  • Facilitated / co-facilitated Bohm Dialogue sessions with Sheffield Autism Research Lab,  Chisholme Institute and SHU Multi-faith Centre.
  • BA (Hons) Contemporary Fine Art (live art, critique and Dialogue)
  • Education Manager, Bloc Gallery, Sheffield
  • Leeds Artforms, ‘Cultural Routes’ artist-educator.
  • Curated experimental music concerts, events, workshops & record label.
  • Storytelling clubs & workshops facilitation.
  • Victim-offender mediator (MESH)
  • Counselling Skills training (SHU)
  • Film and production for various documentary style DVD’s
  • Founded ‘Enable Creation Co-Operative Ltd’ for artist-educators.
  • Postman on the Isle of Skye…






Autism Dialogue


Bohm (or Bohmian) Dialogue is a radical form of communication; a freely flowing group conversation in which participants attempt to reach a common understanding, experiencing everyone’s point of view fully, equally and non-judgmentally. This can lead to new and deeper understanding.  It is named after quantum physicist David Bohm who originally proposed this form of dialogue, along with Peter Garrett and Donald Factor.

Click here for report by Dr. E. Milne of the first Autism Dialogue at Sheffield Autism Research Lab (University of Sheffield)

Scheduled events:

AUTISM DIALOGUE  at Sheffield Hallam University.
for Autistic Students and Staff at any university.
In the Common Room at The Hubs.
Every 2nd Tuesday of the month starting Dec 12th until May 8th.
1.15pm – 5pm
30 spaces only.  Please attend all sessions if you can*.
No experience necessary.
More details and booking here.

Autism Dialogue at Sheffield Hallam University:

Unlike a usual seminar, which provides the opportunity for individuals to convene, share common knowledge and hear about new developments in the field, usually with an agenda in place, Bohm Dialogue is a free exchange of ideas and information without an agenda and provides the opportunity to examine preconceptions and prejudices among peers by open conversation with active listening.

From my perspective, Autism brings into question the very nature of self and society.  As an autistic person working in autism, MA student of autism and autism service-user, I’ve seen a very wide range of definitions, criteria and ideas, some changing regularly, some driven by factors such as culture, profession or age.  It’s my objective to provide the opportunity for dialogue between all autistic staff and students to support a greater common and more dynamic understanding.

As advocates for ourselves and each other, individually and as a community, we will be empowered by new thinking to then demonstrate strengths by example and to support a more inclusive and enriched wider society.

*Due to the evolving nature of a Dialogue and the best opportunity at reaching deeper conversation and understanding, your attendance at the most number of sessions you can manage is preferred.


Dialogue is a generative form of group conversation designed to dissolve fragmentation in collective and individual awareness and understanding, and to encourage coherent participation.

Experience has shown this radical method of non-judgemental group communication to be extremely beneficial for the consciousness and cohesion of organisations and their members. Bohm Dialogue has been widely used in the field of organisational development.

There is a set of easily learned and empirically-derived skills that help to guide an organisation or community into an aligned way of thinking together.  The minimum period for a session, as laid down by Bohm is four hours with longer sessions also held over a few days.  Participants sit in a circle and no equipment is required.  Minimal note-taking is permitted.

‘A dialogue has no predefined purpose, no agenda, other than that of inquiring into the movement of thought, and exploring the process of “thinking together” collectively. This activity can allow group participants to examine their preconceptions and prejudices, as well as to explore the more general movement of thought.’   (Wiki)

Further reading: Dialogue: A Proposal by David Bohm et al.


Jonathan was introduced to, and trained to facilitate Dialogue by Hester Reeve, Principal Lecturer in Contemporary Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University, on his degree course.  Hester and Helen Blejerman were successful in introducing it to the Fine Art curriculum in 2009 and continue today to facilitate within the Art Department. Jonathan and Hester went on to hold the first ever Bohm Dialogue session for staff at Hallam and a session at The Chisholme Institute in Scotland, which was attended by 65 people, was the first to include a guided Mindfulness exercise at the outset.  Jonathan has also used principles of the method in shorter form, as an integral part of wider creativity workshops, in a variety of settings.  He is trained as an Autism Awareness Workshop Facilitator by Disability Sheffield, where he now works.  He is a Member of the Academy of Professional Dialogue 

Previous Dialogues

Would you like to discuss the possibility of Dialogue facilitation for your organisation?

Duration: Facilitated sessions offered are around 4 hours (with a short break) and regular ones can be weekly or fortnightly.  Longer, more thorough sessions are held over a few days.
Participants: Minimum 8 participants, maximum 50. An ability to listen is necessary.
Fees: Consultation is free and facilitation fees are on a freelance, hourly basis, depending on size of group and professional calibre of group / organisation.  If funding is short I am happy to discuss.