Jade French is an curator, artist-facilitator and researcher who has been running participatory and inclusive arts projects since 2009. During this time Jade has worked extensively alongside learning disabled people to explore the intersection of contemporary art, disability and social change, with a focus on issues of intellectual access and inclusion within museums and galleries. Her work currently explores inclusive approaches to curating and commissioning art and their role in initiating broader conversations around democracy and diversity in cultural spaces.
Jade’s practice has primarily taken the form of visual art exhibitions and public workshop programmes, but she has also produced a number of collaborative book projects, films and zines. She has worked with a variety of cultural institutions including Tate, Bluecoat, The Atkinson and The Women’s Library, and in 2018 she will be undertaking The Firestation Studio’s International Curator Residency in Dublin, Ireland.
Jade is currently a Visiting Research Fellow in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University in Leeds where in 2017 she completed a PhD. Jade’s practice-led PhD, for which she gained a competitive doctoral scholarship from the AHRC, explores inclusive and accessible models of curatorship as a form of self-advocacy, which resulted in an exhibition curated by learning disabled artists at Bluecoat, Liverpool’s Centre for Contemporary Art.
In addition to her academic work, Jade is a professional access trainer and has also undertaken independent evaluations and reporting for organisation such as Artlink and Hull City of Culture 2017. Jade was the winner of The Double Negative’s and John Moore’s University critical writing competition ‘#BeACritic’ and was featured on University of Leeds’ ‘Women of Achievement’ roll for her contributions to socially-engaged arts practices.