Dr Jade French
- Position: Lecturer in Inclusive Arts Practice & Museum Studies
- Areas of expertise: Inclusive arts; museums, galleries and heritage; curating; disability studies; studio practice; facilitation; action-research.
- Email: J.French2@leeds.ac.uk
- Location: 1.05 School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies
- Website: Twitter | LinkedIn | Googlescholar | Researchgate | ORCID
My teaching and research interests emerge from 10 years’ practical experience of facilitating inclusive and community-led projects in museums, galleries and artist studios. My work explores access and participation within visual art and museology, with a focus on collaborating with learning disabled people to innovate inclusive practices in curating, commissioning and artist development. In 2020 I published a monograph on this topic titled Inclusive Curating in Contemporary: A Practical Guide.
I have a deep interest in the work of learning disabled artists and curators. 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 – skills which now actively inform both my research and pedagogic practices.
I have since practiced as an artist-facilitator in the inclusive arts sector for over ten years supporting a range of learning disabled and neurodivergent artists, inclusive arts organisations, and supported studios to create artworks, programmes, exhibitions and policy including international collaborations across Ireland (International Curator Residency), USA, Brazil (Sesc São Paulo Museum Accessibility Study and Research Group) and Japan (Tokyo 2020 Art Brut World Forum). Alongside my interests in inclusive curating and inclusive artist development, much of my work looks at the role of a creative facilitator in the arts and I am interested in how this practice intersects with support work in social care.
- School Academic Lead for Inclusive Practice
- School Lead for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
- Programme Director MA Arts Management & Heritage Studies
I am currently leading AHRC research project ‘Irregular’ Art Schools (2021–23) which aims 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. In addition, I am also a Research Associate on Dr Miro Griffiths’ Leverhulme Trust Fellowship Disability Activism in Europe: Young Disabled Activists Views and Experiences (2020–2023).
Within museums, galleries, and contemporary arts my research interests include:
- curatorial practice and theory
- inclusive art, access and disability
- participatory and socially engaged practices
- action, participatory, co-produced and practice-led research methods
I am also interested in Disability Studies and Social Care including:
- learning disability and self-advocacy
- personalisation and support work
- PhD Curating, University of Leeds
- MA Inclusive Arts Practice, University of Brighton
- BA Photography, Nottingham Trent University
- Museums Association
- Association of Critical Heritage Studies
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 Programem Director for MA Arts Management and Heritage Studies.
Research groups and institutes
- Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage