PhD student in TV interview for World Down Syndrome Awareness Week

PhD student Jade French was interviewed last week alongside co-researcher Leah Jones as part of World Down Syndrome Awareness Week.

The interview by Made in Liverpool was part of a TV news piece and was filmed at The Brindley in Runcorn, where Jade’s PhD exhibition Auto Agents is currently open.

Leah Jones was one of the five learning disabled people who curated Auto Agents as part of Jade’s practice-led PhD.

“Auto Agents is very much about the lives of learning disabled people,” Leah explained. “It is based on ideas of independence and the different levels of support we all have”.

Jade’s PhD explores how curatorship in contemporary art contexts could be a tool for political and personal expression for learning disabled people.

As part of the interview, Leah discussed her personal experiences of having Down Syndrome as well as her current work. Leah runs her own training called Positive You which aims to transform attitudes around learning disability through art making.

Jade and Leah with bunting from Celebrate Me workshopCoinciding with World Down Syndrome Awareness Day on 21 March, Leah and Jade ran an event called Celebrate Me which invited the public to create a piece of bunting to celebrate Down Syndrome.

Leah said:

“Bunting is a decoration often used at parties which symbolises celebrations and happiness. I wanted to use this idea to help people celebrate their own lives and achievements and raise awareness of the potential people with Down Syndrome have when given opportunities.”

Jade and Leah have been collaborating for the past four years and have mutual interests in using art as a tool for change. Jade continues to support Leah and Positive You and Leah continues to contribute to research around learning disability arts.

Watch the Made in Liverpool interview here. Jade and Leah feature 6 minutes in.

Auto Agents is open to the public until 16 April at The Brindley. The exhibition is free.