Creative future 180People with autism are being given a chance to show off their creative talents by entering a new national art competition.
The competition, entitled CREATIVE FUTURE, is open to all age groups and entrants are invited to show how art and technology can be combined to create show-stopping artworks in any medium imaginable.

Competition organiser Dave Smith explained the theme of 'art and technology': "When you put art and technology together, the sky's the limit. How about making a model animal out of cables and circuit boards, crocheting a space ship, sculpting a robot out of clay, sketching a futuristic car or building a papier maché jet engine. Or you could use the latest computer software to create a unique artwork or even copy a Van Gogh. Anything goes – and we predict that we'll be amazed by the sheer ingenuity of the competition entries.

"People with autism enjoy art because there's never a right or a wrong answer. They can be free to express themselves without fear of being different. In fact, differences, quirks and special interests are celebrated in an artistic environment. It'll be the same with our competition."

There will be two rounds of judging. All entries that make it through to the finals will be exhibited at Autech 2015, a national conference focusing on autism and assistive technologies, to be held on 1 October at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester.

The shortlisted entries will be judged by autism champion and art patron Dame Stephanie Shirley and winners will be chosen on the day.

Art therapists have noted that people with autism who take part in one-to-one sessions can experience many benefits. Some of these are practical – their fine motor skills can be improved through the concentrated use of their hands. However, they can also learn how to think symbolically and tap into their imaginations.

Smith concluded: "Some people I've worked with have a magnificent artistic talent, but the majority need to be motivated and encouraged by highly trained staff. Whatever the ability level, it's a calming, relaxing experience, allowing people to work at their own pace and express themselves."

For more information and to enter (deadline 21 August) visit: www.autech2015.co.uk/creativefuture