Margot Connop’s artwork on dyscalculia popped up on our Instagram feed and we loved it so much we thought it would be great to get some insight into arts place in the world relating to dyscalculia, so without any further ado here’s the interview with Margot –
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and the art you have been making recently?
My name is Margot I’m 17 and I was born and raised in Hong Kong but originally from the UK and have been studying in the UK since year 6. I love listening to rock music, tarot cards, growing houseplants, art and I’m a fully out and proud queer person!
I’m currently studying my A levels for art, drama and media so I have been super busy with my coursework. My artwork at the moment is based on the idea of visions and how we as humans perceive the world around us, I’ve been experimenting with video art and moving image which is something I’ve always wanted to do at GCSE.
I started up my art Instagram account recently so I can post my older work and create almost an archive of my past works for the future.
When did you first discover you had dyscalculia?
I discovered my dyscalculia when I was 9 through my diagnosis for dyslexia after my school at the time suspected I had dyslexia because I struggled with classwork and reading.
My parents took me out of school for 3 days for testing, I mean how could any kid not like the idea of missing school! After I got my results back it kind of was like a 3 in 1 deal when I got the full diagnosis, not only did my parents find out I had dyslexia and dyspraxia but out of the 3 learning difficulties dyscalculia was my “worst one”.
Did knowing you have dyscalculia help?
It did, knowing that my difficulties had a name to it rather than me thinking there was something properly wrong with me.
I’ve been lucky that all the schools I have been to have helped me with things like learning support sessions with maths and getting access arrangements for exams.
But my struggles with maths never really left me for example because I failed my maths GCSE I have to retake my maths until I pass and I will do this until I’m 18. Knowing that destroys my confidence because I know that I may never pass it because of how severe my dyscalculia is.
But I have to remember that maths is something I will always struggle with, yet I’m good at loads of other things and for people with dyscalculia, it’s important to remember especially when you’re in any kind of education that your struggles with dealing with dyscalculia are only a small chunk of you as a person, there are things you will soar in and in others, you will have to find a new way to approach it or just good old perseverance.
For me, all my learning difficulties makes my brain wired differently and unique. I’ve always liked this metaphor which I made up and it describes for me perfectly, think of your brain as a house and in your little brain house you obviously have lights and the light switches would normally be on the sides of the wall but for me, some of my light switches are on the ceiling or on the floor and they work perfectly fine and produce the same amount of light. But they’re just in a different place and the way I understand the information is different to the status quo, it doesn’t mean that my way of accessing information and navigating the world is any less valid than someone who is neurotypical.
What do you think art can do for people with dyscalculia or for the awareness of dyscalculia?
I think art can do wonders for people with dyscalculia because of how it never fully has an answer or a sudden solution unlike doing a maths equation and for me, as a dyscalculic, it gives me comfort and empowers me that I can take this piece of art in any direction I want rather than follow a formula. Plus it’s fun! There is so much freedom to it because art can be anything you want it to be from a career to a hobby.
Art is a way of communication and expression because that can create awareness for dyscalculia and help people understand the experiences that we as dyscalculic people have, that’s what I’ve tried to do with my art piece “Dyscalculia” as a visual way for me to spread awareness about dyscalculia and I hope to inspire people with dyscalculia to talk and to express themselves about their experiences in whatever way.
You’re at an early stage of your art practice, what does the future hold for Margot?
Oooh, I love this question!
I hope to do an art foundation at university and see where it takes me from there because for me art is so open-ended and excitingly diverse!
I definitely want to work in the creative industries whether it is the art industry or the media industry being able to continue my practice in a way that can be beneficial to others for me the way, my practice constantly changes and shifts.
Honestly, I’ve no idea where it could take me because art is everywhere!