Neurodiversity in Albertopolis (NDIA) is a network of neurodiverse staff and students from different institutions around Exhibition Road, London. We come together to support each other and work towards an inclusive environment for neurodiverse people across our organisations.
Who we are:
Adrian Mannall, works at Imperial College London and was diagnosed as dyslexic in 1979. Having struggled through school (school reports often stated “could try harder”, and showed no recognition of dyslexia or how it affects learners) Adrian studied Agricultural and Environmental Science at Newcastle University. Adrian joined Imperial in 2004 as part of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) team and continues to work in ICT delivering cloud services. Adrian is also co-chair of Imperial’s Able@Imperial network for disabled staff. Adrian assists NDIA with technology / ICT requirements for events, etc.
(she/her), Imperial College London
Emma’s role in Public Engagement involves growing the public’s connection to science, often using the arts to start conversations between researchers and lots of different kinds of people. She is also a Director of Incredible Edible Lambeth, a social enterprise supporting community food growing and activism. She is passionate about creating positive change through the power of community and is excited to grow our network of neurodiverse colleagues, allies and advocates.
Royal College of Music (RCM)
Ben studied the trumpet at the Royal Northern College of Music, where he won the Sema Jazz improvisation prize. Whilst still studying, Ben performed regularly with many of the North West’s professional Orchestras including the Hallé and Manchester Camerata, before moving south to play in London’s West End and notably with the late great Kirsty MacColl, recording and touring extensively with her across Europe.
Over the last 25 years he has had a very active career in music education as a trumpet teacher and conductor and was formally Head of St Albans Music School, before taking up his current position at the Royal College of Music in 2017. As well as helping manage the prestigious RCM Junior Department, he works in the industry leading RCM Sparks Learning and Participation department, developing and managing the Sparks Schools’ programme, Hub partnerships, Sparkles and Sparks Juniors programmes. He is currently developing a music learning strategy for children with special educational needs, particularly Specific Learning Difficulties and dyslexia.
Victoria & Albert Museum
Royal College of Art (RCA)
Qona was appointed the first dyslexia co-ordinator at the Royal College of Art in 2002. Her academic research focuses on looking for links between dyslexia/dyspraxia and drawing from observation. She has spoken at many conferences both in the UK and abroad and had various papers published. She recently co-authored a book on the subject. In 2008 she was awarded a Fellowship of the RCA in recognition of her services to dyslexia support, she is very pleased to be part of the group that set up NDIA.
In addition, Qona set up and manages Creative Mentors Foundation. The aim of this charity is to help make the arts curriculum at state schools more accessible and rewarding for dyslexic and dyspraxic children. Qona continues to design and make jewellery from her workshop in West London.
Professor Sara Rankin is a professor at Imperial College. She is a professor of leukocyte and stem cell biology at the National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI). Her current research is in the new field of regenerative pharmacology, investigating how we can use drugs to stimulate bone marrow stem cells to repair the body.
Professor Rankin is very committed to public engagement and outreach activities. She is especially committed to inclusive education and supporting neurodiversity in education and the workplace. She recently created the 2eMPower project to support and mentor bright young people with learning disabilities and other disabilities, such as autism (twice-exceptional, or 2E students). Her aim is to help 2E students overcome their challenges and harness their strengths so that they can succeed in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers. Professor Rankin believes that with the right support and mentoring 2E students can make significant contributions and innovations in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.
Independent artist and educator. Royal College of Art (Alumni).
Designer and researcher. Royal College of Art (Alumni).
Designer, maker and researcher. Royal College of Art (Alumni).