On November 1, the Pedal research project was presented to the scientific and professional public. The event was divided into two parts—the first half featured lectures by international experts, positioning the PEDAL project within a global context. Dr Nicola Shaughnessy, a professor of performance at the University of Kent, delivered a lecture that included an animated film and excerpts from a documentary, highlighting the use of art as a medium for individuals with autism. Her colleague, Dr. Melissa Trimingham, vividly demonstrated creative puppetry work via an online application. Live-streamed presentations, adeptly coordinated by the project’s leading researcher, Associate Professor Jan Šiška, introduced attendees to the primary international project coordinator, Professor Julia Beadle-Brown from the University of Kent, and Dr Renáta Tichá from the partner project conducted by the ICI research centre at the University of Minnesota.
The event brought together a diverse group of stakeholders: students, friends, parents, teachers, arts and theatre extracurricular activity educators, the dean of the faculty of education, and the head of the pedagogy department.
Following the lectures and a reception, there was an art exhibition opening by one of the team members Michael Bednář, who moderated the entire evening. The second part, intertwined with his life story, brought a personal touch, contributing to a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. He briefly introduced video clips created within the project and then shared his artwork and creative themes through rap with a musical backdrop. Michael’s life journey and his broad circle of friends and collaborators were further elaborated upon by his mother in the concluding segment. The exhibition’s concept was explained by curator Ivana Příhoda Pavlů, who has been observing and supporting Michael’s art at the Trnka Art School for over a decade. The exhibition garnered interest, and on November 15, Michael Bednář conducted a guided tour.