This story is part of 30 Under 30.
Callum Brazzo is a 24 year old autistic performance poet and social entrepreneur from Lincolnshire. Performing his poetry at live events and on YouTube, he is getting a strong following.
My love for poetry was organic. It evolved out of my personal struggle. It was an escape for me because I was being bullied at the time. I was bullied for various things including my shyness, my lack of eye contact and my ticks. As they were physical ticks, people used to make fun of me because of those. I tended to push people away.
I became very depressed, I was on antidepressants and was juggled between psychologists. My emotions were very raw and I needed a platform to release that anger. My poetry was a way for me to communicate all of that in a positive way.
Giving something back
Poetry was and still is a positive outlet for me. I think everyone should try and find their own positive outlet.
‘Spergy’ is my social venture. It’s an arts based platform for people on or interested in the autistic spectrum.
It’s expressive, fun and free. I wanted to go give back to the community and offer an arts based outlet to them. Like I had whilst growing up. My personal journey has become a collective journey. That’s my way of giving back.
There was no defined starting point, it just happened. We’ve really had to operate on a shoestring but I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved so far. It was so organic and it’s continuing in that fashion. The website is being built by the community. For example, there are certain groups already like poetry and food but people can add their own if they want. They can post whatever they like, it could be a painting or some photography.
It’s in its infancy at the moment but I’d like to make it compatible with EyeGaze technology and make it possible for people to use the site in different ways.
I want people to make what they want to make and to feel appreciated and valued for their work. I’d really like people to benefit in meaningful ways.
Some people don’t think autistic people can be creative. They think we have a rigid mindset. ‘Spergy’ and I can help to dispel that myth.
Callum is sharing his story as part of our 30 Under 30 campaign. This is where we will be releasing one story a day throughout June from disabled people under 30 who are doing extraordinary things. Catch up on all the stories so far on our 30 under 30 page.