‘Neurodiversity is a superpower, especially for creativity’: Nat Bartsch launches neurodivergent artist meet-ups

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‘Neurodiversity is a superpower, especially for creativity’: Nat Bartsch launches neurodivergent artist meet-ups

Nat Bartsch
Words by Staff Writer

Melbourne pianist/composer Nat Bartsch is hosting several informal music industry gatherings for neurodivergent artists and industry workers.

These events, held from July to October, aim to build a community among creators with divergent neurotypes, including autism and ADHD. They are designed to accommodate a greater diversity of communication styles and sensory needs than most industry networking events.

Nat Bartsch’s neurodivergent artist meet ups

  • Thursday 4 July, 5-7pm at Schoolhouse Studios, Coburg
  • Sunday 28 August, 2-4pm at Mamma Chen’s, Footscray
  • Wednesday 30 October, 6-9pm at Corner Hotel, Richmond
  • Online meet up: Saturday 21 September, 7-9pm

Keep up with the latest music news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

Supported by the Unified Music Grant, these Meet Ups are free to attend, but ticket reservation is recommended.

The Meet Ups have been developed in consultation with other neurodivergent people and access consultants. They include supports such as a quiet space, sensory tools (fidgets), a crafting corner, conversation cards about music, and pre-arrival materials such as a social story and walkthrough video.

Nat, who is proudly neurodivergent, is part of the recent wave of late-diagnosed autistic/ADHD women and artists discovering their true selves. As a public advocate, Nat has received contact from many other artists discovering their neurodiversity – with many feeling overwhelmed by their new diagnosis. This inspired Nat to create the Meet Ups, enabling this section of the music industry to connect and not feel so alone.

Nat Bartsch says of the Meet Ups: “Whenever I meet a person who has recently discovered their neurodiversity, my response is always ‘congratulations’! Because I believe that neurodiversity is a superpower, especially for creativity.

“But every neurodivergent person is different, with a unique combination of abilities and support needs. It is only when these needs are met that neurodivergent artists can thrive. I hope these Meet Ups will allow artists to meet new friends and collaborators at an event that they can actually relax and enjoy, because it is not too loud and overwhelming, and we don’t feel pressure to mask our neurodivergent traits.

“I also hope it sets a template for future events anywhere in Australia. And that whether a musician is able to join us or not, the sheer existence of these Meet Ups helps them to feel valued and supported by the industry.”

The first Meet Up was held in April in the Melbourne Recital Centre foyer, as part of Nat’s Artist-in-Residence in 2024. It was a wonderful success, with many artists expressing how moving it was to be around like-minded people, and at an event that was not overwhelming.

In November, Nat is releasing her ninth album Forever Changed as part of this residency. An album of lullabies also intending to support the neurodivergent community, this music will be premiered in relaxed show formats at Melbourne Recital Centre on 16 November (as well as a concert for the general public).

For more information, including ticketing and accessibility info, head here.