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At the Wormholes of Madness: Poetics and Science Fiction as Liberation

Steven T. Licardi

Date: April 27, 2023

Workshop: 12:30pm-1:30pm 


Autistic social worker, spoken word poet, author, and performance activist Steven T. Licardi will lead a workshop where we will communally subvert tropes of the science fiction genre, and play with how neurodivergence and madness manifest in our visions for the future. Steven will introduce poetic tools he uses to transform historical narratives and engage in the embodied practice of world building. One such tool, Blackout/Erasure—a technique of scoring out pre-existing texts to excavate and reveal deeper meanings within such texts—will be used extensively. Steven will further show how he uses this technique with patient charts, medical records, problematic texts, social policies, and novels to empower individuals to redefine their own narratives around collective futures and liberation. This workshop will engage in visioning exercises meant to shift away from a reactionary means of manifesting future worlds towards a deeper imagining of what is (im)possible. Participants will leave with an emboldened sense that our futures not only require the authenticity of neurodivergence and disability, but that these identities already exist as tokens of our futures as embodied in the present. What does it mean to go mad in a mad world? We will create the answers. Together.

Presentation slides: PPT | PDF

About the Speaker

Steven T. Licardi

Steven T. Licardi is an Autistic / neurodivergent social worker, spoken word poet, actor, science fiction writer, and performance activist working at the intersections of art and social policy. He travels internationally using the power of performance to create empathic dialogue around, to confront the realities of, and to assist communities in dismantling historic narratives of mental health and madness. His work can be found at and

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Tiktok @thesvenbo

Sponsored By:
  • Maryland Relay 
  • Maryland Developmental Disability Council (MDDC)
    Disclaimer: This Summit was supported, in part by grant number CFDA 93.630, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.
  • The Graduate School’s Office of Graduate Diversity and Inclusion (OGDI), University of Maryland