Dr Jade French
- Position: Research Fellow
- Areas of expertise: Museums, Galleries & Heritage; Curating; Inclusive Arts; Disability; Facilitation; Action-Research
- Email: J.French2@leeds.ac.uk
- Location: 3.05 School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies
- Website: Portfolio | Twitter | LinkedIn | Googlescholar | Researchgate | ORCID
I am an artist-facilitator, museum professional and academic whose research interests emerge from practical experience of facilitating inclusive and community-led projects in museums, galleries and heritage sites. My research broadly examines access and participation within arts and museology, with a focus on collaborating with learning disabled people to innovate inclusive practices in curating, commissioning and the development of collections. 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. Beginning my career in social care roles, I have since practiced as an artist-facilitator 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).
Recent projects and exhibitions include Remote Artist Residency with Metal (2020); Thresholds at Middlesborough Institute for Modern Art (2020); Six Speak (2020) curated as part of the National Advocacy Conference; and inclusively curated exhibitions Auto Agents at Bluecoat centre for contemporary art (2017) and Recipe for a Good Life at The Brindley (2019).
- School Academic Lead for Inclusive Practice
I am currently leading AHRC research project ‘Irregular’ Art Schools (2021–23) which seeks to innovate professional development opportunities for learning disabled artists through action research in collaboration with supported studio Pyramid, artist-led space Assembly House, and 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 heritage and more broadly contemporary art, my research interests include:
- curatorial practice and theory
- access and disability
- participation and inclusion
- inclusive art, disability art and supported studios
- 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
- UK Disability Arts Alliance
I teach and supervise dissertations across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes 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.
Research groups and institutes
- Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage