Dr Jade French

Dr Jade French


I am an artist-facilitator, practice-led researcher, and specialist in inclusive arts practice – a global creative practice whereby learning disabled and/or neurodiverse artists create work with the support of facilitators. My teaching and research interests emerge from 10 years’ practical experience of facilitating inclusive and community-led projects in museums, galleries, and artist studios, typically in collaboration with learning disabled people to innovate inclusive practices in curating, commissioning, and artist development. ‚ÄčIn 2020 I published a monograph on this topic titled Inclusive Curating in Contemporary: A Practical Guide

Before my career in both the arts and academia, I worked as a personal assistant in self-advocacy organisations supporting learning disabled people with their day-to-day care and life planning. This afforded me rich experience in disability access, facilitation, support and person-centred approaches which now actively inform both my research interests in disability studies and social care as well as my approaches to facilitation and teaching.

I have since practiced internationally as an artist-facilitator in the inclusive arts sector for over ten years. I have supported a range of learning disabled and neurodiverse artists, inclusive arts organisations, and supported studios to create artworks, programmes, exhibitions and policy including international collaborations across Ireland (International Curator Residency and British Council Axis Artist Exchange with KCAT and Pyramid), USA, Brazil (Sesc São Paulo Museum Accessibility Study and Research Group) and Japan (Tokyo 2020 Art Brut World Forum).

Alongside my interests in artist-facilitation, inclusive curating, and inclusive artist development, my current work explores how inclusive arts practice coupled with action research can generate epistemically just knowledge into social care practice. I am interested in how inclusive art can be a novel lens into disability social care challenges as well as a method to generate creative and collaborative alternatives.


  • School Academic Lead for Inclusive Practice
  • School Lead for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
  • Programme Director MA Arts Management & Heritage Studies

Research interests

I am currently Principal Investigator on Finding the Flex: A Flexible Studio Model For Learning Disabled Artists In Leeds (April 2024-25), funded by AHRC’s Follow on Funding for Impact & Engagement. In partnership with Leeds-based supported studio Pyramid, this feasibility study will test an approach to providing a flexible, supported open arts studio space and support plans for learning disabled and/or neurodiverse artists, bringing a potential improvement in the way in which people are supported to access different activities and services in future.

Previously, between 2021-23 I was Principal Investigator on ‘Irregular’ Art Schools which aimed to innovate professional development opportunities for learning disabled artists through action research in collaboration with artists Ria, Liam, Victor and Alfie from supported studio Pyramid, artist-led space Assembly House, and the adult social care team at Leeds City Council. During this project we have been interested in what learning disabled people living in the Leeds City Region want and need to grow as professional artists and have thought about how to make studio settings, creative networking, social care and access to higher education more accessible along with disrupting normative ideas through this process. Please visit our project website to view our films and creative report.

In addition to my own projects, I am a Research Associate on Dr Miro Griffiths’  Leverhulme Trust Fellowship Disability Activism in Europe: Young Disabled Activists Views and Experiences (2020–2023) where I am developing a creative zine. I am also Co-Investigator on AHRC research project I’m Me: Identity, Representation and Voice (2023-25) led by Professor Matthew Reason and Mind the Gap theatre company which will work with learning disabled and autistic artists to explore questions of identity, representation and voice.

Within museums, galleries, and contemporary arts my research interests include:

  • inclusive art, access and disability
  • participatory and socially engaged practices
  • ‘outsider’ art, art brut and self taught artists
  • curatorial practice and theory
  • artist-facilitation and artist-education
  • action, participatory, co-produced and practice-led research methods

I am also interested in disability studies and learning disability adult social care including:

  • learning disability and self-advocacy
  • disability rights and disability politics
  • personalisation, support and care work & commissioning
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Curating, University of Leeds
  • MA Inclusive Arts Practice, University of Brighton
  • BA Photography, Nottingham Trent University

Professional memberships

  • Museums Association
  • Association of Critical Heritage Studies

Student education

I teach and supervise dissertations across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes relating to art, curating and museum studies including the MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies, MA Arts Management and Heritage Studies, BA History of Art and Museum Studies and BA Fine Art. I also act as Programme Director for MA Arts Management and Heritage Studies.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>