supported through the SocialArtNetwork//Kickstarter mentoring programme 2019. Selected for inclusion in
The Institute for
Art and Innovation “
Award 2020” book,
(small but) FIERCE
for & by bold children who want to change the world
(& the adults who support them)
inspired by the global
an ongoing, international project disrupting, questioning & having fun with what a children's magazine can / should be.
interview 4: Jess Thom, performer, activist, co-founder of Touretteshero, may or may not lead a secret double life as a superhero, UK
Q: Can you describe your work work in terms a 4-year-old can understand, please?
A: Hedgehog. Beans. Biscuit. Hello, Biscuit, I am Jess, Biscuit, and I have something called Tourette's syndrome, BiscuitBiscuit, which means, BiscuitBiscuit, you might hear some, Biscuit, what means, Biscuit ,it means my brain, Biscuit, sends messages to my mouth and my body, Biscuit, to move and make noises, Biscuit, without me chosing to, Biscuit, and often when I am explaining it to children and I will say it's a bit like blinking, Biscuit, but as well as telling my eyes to blink, Biscuit, my brain also tells my mouth to say things like, Biscuit, and hedgehog and cats and I LOVE SAUSAGE DOGS. H, Hello Biscuit, erm Biscuit, and it also tells my body to move so in ways that I can't stop so, Biscuit, I bang my chest a lot, Biscuit, and my legs are very wiggly so I use a wheelchair to get around, Biscuit. And I used to see, Biscuit erm this as a
problem, Biscuit, but then I had a conversation with my friend Mathew and he helped me understand that in fact it wasn't a problem at all and it was my power and in fact my superpower, Biscuit, and I became Touretteshero. BEANS. Biscuit, and our mission is to help everyone understand that being different to one another is brilliant and what we need to do is work together to make a world where everyone can be involved, Biscuit. CATS. HEDGEHOG. SAUSAGE. I LOVE CATS. Biscuit.
Q: What is your favourite piece of art you have ever done?
A: Erm, Biscuit. Last year we held a big creative party, with lots of, Biscuit, activities and artists, Biscuit, and at the very end I got to dance through a massive art centre with loads of children and a brass band and then we blew bubbles and shouted our messages of change in the air and blew bubbles to help them on their way into the world,Biscuit, and it was… as I was dancing through this art centre I could see the place where when I was a kid I used to go to library with my school and I would never have dreamed I would get to dance through that building with a brass band and I did and it was one of the favourite things I have ever done. BEANS. Biscuit and Sausage. Biscuit.
Q: What can children do one thing that will make the world substantially better for use when we are adults and for our children, if we decide to have them?
A: This is actually something that I think children are already doing and I don't want them to stop doing, I, Biscuit, I've worked with children for a long time and I know that they are really good at being curious and asking questions. Biscuit, and it's really important listening to them and I'd like THEM to keep listening when they grow up and making sure that they then respond to the things that they hear with kindness and thought so that we can find ways, erm, to make things work for people rather than saying no or saying people can't do things. Biscuit, so I want children to keep listening, Biscuit. CATS. SAUSAGE. Biscuit.
Q: Who is your favorite Disney princess and which Disney princess do you think is the strongest, in a emotion or physical strength?
A: My favorite, I think, is Ariel from The Little Mermaid, and erm, Biscuit, and I like her because she thought she wanted different sort of life or she thought she wanted to be able to do things that she couldn't do as a mermaid and she got to try them out and also had lots of support from her friends. Biscuit. She saw that, Biscuit, and learnt to appreciate and value all the things that she had in her world and who she was and that's really strong and really courageous Biscuit. CATS. SAUSAGE.
Q: We like your www.touretteshero.com website, what is your superhero power in real life? If you could chose another made up one what would it be too?
A: Biscuit, erm, Biscuit. My superpower is colliding words together, Biscuit, to make, Biscuit, to make new ideas and to make people smile and laugh. Dadada. Biscuit, erm, Biscuit. My ticks, which are the things that my brain make me say without me choosing, can be very funny. Biscuit, hedgehog, and very surprising. Biscuit. Ketchup. Biscuit. Ketchup. Dog Fart. Biscuit. Squeezing Sheep. Biscuit. Distilled by a bear. Biscuit. I love pilates. Biscuit. Pick your nose till a dog falls out of it, erm Biscuit. All of that, I didn't choose to say and some of that was pretty funny. CATS. So that's one of my superpowers and if I could choose another one. If I had another one I think I would like the power to be able to be able to understand and speak any language in the world, Biscuit, so that, Biscuit, so whenever I wanted to communicate with anybody, Biscuit, I would be able to do that in a language, Biscuit, that they would understand. Sausage dogs. I love cats. Biscuit. BEANS. Biscuit.
Thank you very much for your questions
I LOVE SHEEP