Lisette Auton

Writing the Missing – The aDdress | MIMA, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art

Image credit Rob Irish

Lisette Auton's work focuses on identity, curiosity and play, kindness and access. Disabled, neurodivergent and Northern, some say she’s a word artist; she says she does stuff with words. She works as a solo artist, with collaborators, and alongside wonderful humans as a creative practitioner.

Lisette is an award-winning poet; the 2019 Early Careers Fellow for Literature at Cove Park; on the TSS Publishing list of Best British & Irish Flash Fiction; and winner of The Journal Culture Award 2021 for Performance of the Year for WRITING THE MISSING – A RIVER CYCLE commissioned by Durham Book Festival. Her debut middle grade novel THE SECRET OF HAVEN POINT was published by Puffin in February 2022, with her second to follow in February 2023.

You'll find Lisette’s work in galleries, online, in theatres and bookshops, laundrettes and railway station waiting rooms.


I am not independent. I am not lacking. I am interdependent. I lack nothing.

Except equal rights, access, a seat at the table, your admiration.

Welcome, sit awhile.

Here is a star. I am beautiful. I unfold and take up space. I am silent. I write you a message. These are the voices. The voices of the Missing. I am The adDress. I am Writing the Missing.

Here, have a star. It is beautiful. Hidden inside is a Missing. Would you like to see it?

Would you like to destroy the star?

Write your Missings!

Please write your Missings.

You may whisper them to me and I will write them down and catalogue and keep and share and rage and love.

You may share them wide, hide them, gift them, activate them, nap with them.

Rest rest rest rest rest rest rest.

I will fold your Missings with love and care. Unless I am tired. Then my sister will fold your Missings with love and care. Unless we are both tired and then we will rest.

You can rest too.

My adDress is a call to action a quiet beckoning a take your time a you are safe here.

I was missing. Time disappeared elongated pain dark missing. I am not a Missing. I refuse to be a Missing. Sometimes the weight, the tired seeping creeping.

Sometimes it is a lot.

Be an ally. Be a friend. Be interdependent.

Unfold yourself into beautiful.

Share your Missings.


Sit awhile.


Twitter: @lisette_auton

Instagram @lisette_auton

Writing the Missing – The aDdress - 2nd July 2022

Nerves. Excitement. Last minute doings. Why won’t the Bluetooth speaker connect?


A sense of calm. This moment, here, after all this time, all this support, all this interdependence and collaboration and reliance. This here is now and whatever happens it’s okay. No longer a need to choreograph and control; just be and flow.

Kev Howard and I work together naturally, easily, creatively as always. We’ve talked, we know how each other works. I will create and capture it in words and people, he will do so in photographs. He instinctively knows when to linger, when to leave, when moments are too intimate and raw to capture. And there are many of these, confessions and utterances never spoken before, but gifted to a stranger to catalogue and turn into a star.


I have no expectation of numbers, whoever and no one is the right amount today. The work is much more intimate and timely with each person than I ever expected. I am grateful I am able to give myself fully to these encounters. They feel, they are, important.


My sister is phenomenal, she settles, she watches, she helps, she knows what I need, what this piece needs and she does it.

When we put on my dress, my armour, I am powerful and beautiful and nerves disappear and I claim the space and catwalk. Kev and I get more bold with the images we make. These will have life beyond today, there is something important developing together, once more.


MIMA becomes Criptastic – a plethora of disabled and neurodivergent people. We talk, we gather, we take our time.


I push on.


No-one is here. My sister has gone to eat and rest, so has Kev. I am too wobbly, too tired, it hits and I take off my dress alone. I fold out the bed and lie down. Because if I don’t I will fall. No choice. My sister rushes over, apologises, arranges my train to become my blanket, billowing out across the floor. I am glad I was alone, in that moment, I made a decision to rest. I always offer rest to others, I rarely dare take it for myself. I claimed rest in that space. There is a photo my sister took of me and Kev, him sitting beside me. I cherish it. There is a photo of my sister, talking quietly on the couch with an audience member, taking my place as I sleep, holding the space until I rise and I can take back over. I cherish it.


A day of small moments and large gestures.


I have catalogues. I have stars.I have people’s missings in my heart. I need to process for a while, work out how to keep me safe as I keep them safe.


The day was perfect because it just was and it was what the people who came needed in that moment. The support and love from MIMA was beautiful.


Now, where do I go next?

-Lisette Auton


Aaron Williamson

‘Hiding in 3D’ | IKON, Birmingham

Alex Billingham

Fishwives Revenge | Tate St Ives

Alice Quarterman

Untitled: Why Are You Writing That Down? I Said It’s Untitled | John Hansard Gallery, Southampton

Alistair Gentry

25% (Rectification) | Tate Liverpool