As an autistic person that often finds oral communication stressful, I expected to hang back quietly at MozFest. Little did I know that my plan was going to backfire in the best of ways.

I learned about the Neurodiversity Space at the festival through a friend who was Wrangling the Space. I decided to do my own wrangling by gathering my courage and applied to be a Facilitator for a sketchnoting workshop. I was accepted and thought at first I would just pop in, host the workshop, and pop out. The session lineup was too good to miss, so I decided to stick around and attend a few others. I started drawing those sessions as well, and before I knew it, I also hosted a skillshare to teach others how to sketchnote. In fact, my love for sketchnoting turned into a full e-zine, capturing the Neurodiversity Space for MozFest 2021.

Handdrawn icons representing the topics found in an e-zine
Sara Peeters MozFest E-Zine cover from MozFest 2022

Embracing My MozFest-Bolstered Self-Confidence

MozFest (Especially the online version I attended) was more comfortable than I expected it to be for someone who is autistic. I ended up having quite a few conversations, which bolstered my self confidence in so many aspects of my life. Recently, I held a live sketchnoting workshop for austistic people in my local community, something I never thought I could do before.

Current Sketchnoting Projects

My love for sketchnoting has really blossomed since my first inspiring MozFest. For one sketchnoting project, I’m currently visiting with local people from different countries and cooking a meal with them. I then hand draw a version of the recipe. So far, I’ve cooked 10 meals and converted two of them to drawn recipes. My goal is to release a cookbook with my drawn recipes!

Hand-drawn recipe card
Recipe Card by Sara Peeters

The second project is to make drawings and comics that tell stories about being autistic: handling social interactions, childhood memories, my brain during interactions, etc. I post many of these on Instagram for others to enjoy and learn more about the Autistic community.

hand-drawn cartoon image of an autistic brain during a conversation, with captions describing what is happening
"My brain during a conversation" by Sara Peeters

Contribute To My Sketchnoting Notebook!

I’m interested in collecting more stories around neurodiversity that I can draw and share. I’ve found that I really enjoy representing what others have to say in a visual artistic form. If you would like to collaborate, please reach out to me via Twitter or Instagram (@sketchnotesara).

You can also follow me on Instagram to stay up-to-date on my latest sketchnotes.

About the Author

Sara was a web developer who is currently taking a break. Now she draws where other people talk or write, this can be in any format, large or small, digital or on paper, live at conferences or meetings, or at her desk. She also enjoys spending time in nature, reading and sewing her own clothes.

MozFest Movers: Where Are They Now?

This story is part of the Where Are They Now series, spotlighting ‘MozFest Movers,’ the amazing people and projects that have used MozFest as a catalyst for their ongoing work. The series uplifts opportunities for the internet health movement to be a part of the exciting solutions coming out of this work.

MozFest is part art, tech and society convening, part maker festival, and the premiere gathering for activists in diverse global movements fighting for a more humane digital world. To learn more, visit www.mozillafestival.org.

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