Art ... a positive necessity of life

Dinah Murray


This paper could be seen as a case study with a follow-up eighteen years on. But it is about a named person and, then and now, is written as co-participant observational narrative.  Ferenc Virag is the autistic artist whose work and whose friendship with me are at its centre; we have known each other for two decades now.  I describe a process in which we are both learning from each other and caring about each other, building a relationship based on common interests and mutual trust.   The hierarchisation entailed in the process of psychological research is incompatible with friendship; so this cannot be a typical ‘case study’ without harming us both.  The usual anonymisation is incompatible with Ferenc’s recognition as an artist.


Autism; Neurodiversity; Art; Creativity; Attachment; Autonomy


Lawson, W. (2010) The Passionate Mind: How People With Autism Learn. London; JKP.

Milton, D. (2012) “So What Exactly Is Autism?” AET Competence framework for the Department for Education

Murray, D.K. (1995) “An Autistic Friendship” in collected papers from the conference, Psychological Perspectives in Autism organised at the University of Durham by the Autism Research Unit at the University of Sunderland with the NAS.

Murray, D.K., Lesser, M. and Lawson, W. (2005) “Attention, monotropism and the diagnostic criteria for autism.” Autism. Vol. 9(2), pp. 136-156.

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