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Oh yes – I’ve been up t’Grantium portal
Oh yes – I’ve been up there again
Oh yes – I’ve been up t’Grantium portal
And now I have got portal brain

Bring back, oh bring back,
Oh bring back my bra-in to me to me…

For those who don’t know, the Grantium GFTA portal consists of many forms. They are slit shaped boxes – much like the mouth of a letter box. These slits allow for a couple of sentences to be visible at a time before you must scroll up or down to view preceding or following sentences. I’ve used online forms were the boxes expand as you fill them in affording a complete view of what is (or if cutting and pasting from another document) what has been written.

But the Grantium form is not like that. The form boxes are rigid. So imagine this.

You have diagnosed difficulties in the areas of short term and working memory. For such of us – out of sight can easily be out of mind. If you can’t see it you can’t remember what it says, where it goes in a sequence, or how it flows.

Personally I find that one piece of new information will immediately replace another – so that a new sentence can push the previous sentence out of my mind unless I can see the whole, and grasp how they run together. Even with a whole document this makes reading, writing and processing information laborious because you have to repeat each task involved many times, and go over your sentences again and again to hold onto meaning and coherence. This is down to short and working memory being aspects of brain function which are vital in retaining, retrieving and manipulating information.

The letter box shaped forms are a serious problem with the portal template. The design is not easily accessible at all.

I’d like to make the wheelchair analogy if possible (I find it is often handy with invisible disabilities to do this) but i’m not sure I can. These rigid portal forms are like a pavement that is too high or a sudden fight of steps, for which you need a ramp to access. Okay – good access consists of permanent structures in place at point of access like concrete ramps (or those built in as an option – the folding ramp on some buses which are driver operated, for example).

Access support is available for the portal in the form of paid help to fill in your form if you have a disability which impacts on writing in any way. This is great. It really is.

But you have to know it exists, navigate a process to get it (phone call, email, phone call) and organise it for yourself.

I’m not sure what this means in ramp terms, and even with the support I still find myself up the portal because the form is highly complex and has to be correct in every detail – it needs checking and checking again.

So another phrase coined.

Scroll ‘n squint – the actions required to fill in and edit your answers to the questions asked in the letter box forms.

You put your lap top on
Do your portal log-in
Put the hours in
Do the up ‘n down.
Do the save and save.
Careful you don’t time out!

Oh no, it’s gone and timed out!
Oh no, it’s gone and timed out!
Oh no, it’s gone and timed out!
Round and round we go!


The Grantium portal is currently supported by a brilliant helpline and additional access support if needed. This does help, but (as I’ve argued before) accessing the access is not a given for many autistic and ND (neurodivergent) artists. Expanding form boxes seem like a fair ask from where I’m standing, but it’s the tip of the iceberg for accessibility where neuro-divergence and invisible disabilities are concerned. We truly need a variety of means with which to submit our ideas for funding. We have a variety of brains so that would be a great access idea.

Thank you.


How to deal with the political emergency in the so-called United States of America?

I’m working on a funding proposal which means I’m online a LOT. Application is online, I also need to liaise with my collaborator – and then there is pinball brain. The brain I’ve written about before.

And so I click.

And so I see, and see. I read and read. Acres of online print – the Tweets, the links, the lot. I’ve used up my free reads on The Nation and the New York Times, I’m following dozens of US journalists. My need to keep up is voracious.

I question my motives. Is this obsession. Yes. But it is also work for me.

I am understanding at first hand what fascism looks like and how it grows. It’s a crash course in this digital age, and the unresolved hows and whys of European history in the 1930s and 40s are suddenly revealed.

A generation is waking up though we don’t sleep. We’re getting it.

And as I click I see also that resistance is rising. My work is a vigil – like all my other vigils. I am watching. Waiting for justice.

As an artist I do what I can. I march. I make. I write and publish these thoughts.

My laptop and my studio form the sites of my resistance.

Yesterday I made a start with some sketches on improvised boards.

Today I bought 12 canvases for a new installation to be shown in May. I have my work cut out to produce a series which will be called Landscapes of Resistance.

It may not seem much. But it’s all I have.