Islands of Brilliance and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to establish a new research lab that will study the impact of creativity and creative technologies on people with autism.
The Milwaukee-based nonprofit organization and its UWM partners learned late last year they were awarded an initial $150,000 million NEA grant, which is renewable for up to five years, and they plan to begin their research this year.
Mark Fairbanks, co-founder and executive director of IoB, said the grant helps put a national spotlight on the interventions and strategies IoB has found success using over the past decade. He and his wife, Margaret Fairbanks, founded the organization in 2012 to provide out-of-school learning and social engagement opportunities for neurodiverse students with a focus on STEM, art and design. Through its tech and design workshops, students learn not only technical skills, but also grow confidence in social and peer-to-peer interactions.