Children of the Labyrinth: #ILCD2023

It’s that time of year again: International Lego Classicism Day!

Every year I do a little Lego project to celebrate the day, joining Classics enthusiasts all over the world (do a search on social media today for the hashtags #ILCD2023, #ILCD23 or #InternationalLegoClassicismDay: you’ll find all sorts of great things!). ILCD is now in its seventh year, and I’m delighted to be one of the official Lego Pantheon for 2023!

If you’d like to join in, just post your Lego picture on social media with the hashtag – everyone is welcome to take part! Or consider entering our Hadrian’s Wall CA Lego competition. Certificates and a feature in our Winners’ Gallery are up for grabs, and I’m excited to be one of the judges! Here are the details if you (or the kids!) would like to join in; you have till Sunday to email us your entry.

For my own project this year I wanted to do something special.

I’ve spent the last year talking to people all over the world about autism and Minotaurs and labyrinths, to raise awareness of autism both within Classical Studies and outside it, and to draw attention to our neurodiversity organisation Asterion. So when I came to plan something for #ILCD2023 my mind was stuck in the Labyrinth!

That wasn’t my only reason to do an autism-based Lego project. Lego has huge appeal for a lot of autistic people, both children and adults (as my entirely autistic and Lego-filled household can confirm!), and the LEGO Foundation itself has been involved in some wonderful work on play-based autistic therapies. A Lego-Minotaur-autism story began to seem like an inevitability – if I could just pull it off…

So here is my autistic Lego story, for #ILCD2023. I’m rewriting myth with some vigour here: Ovid would probably approve, even if nobody else does! My characters are autistic, in a way that I wish I’d been able to see represented when I was a child: they’re different but not defective, loners but not alone, struggling but not beaten. I hope you like them as much as I do!

Thanks go to Jasper and Ted for the loan of the Lego, to the brilliant Greek Myth Comix whose Labyrinth and Throne Room playset gave me a place to start, and to my long-suffering boyfriend who didn’t even blink when I said, ‘We need to spend the weekend building a Lego Labyrinth. And a historically accurate throne room’.

If you’d like to keep or share the story, here’s a downloadable pdf version!

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