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Title: Art as advocacy : exploring curatorial practice by learning disabled artists as a site for self-advocacy
Author: French, Jade
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2017
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Over the past 40 years within the UK the concept of self-advocacy has gained momentum by enabling learning disabled people to speak out in order to affect change. In the same period, inclusive approaches have been taken up both in research and in the arts, reflecting a growing recognition of learning disabled people as researchers, artists, performers and communicators. Yet curation has rarely been used as an inclusive practice and then principally in museums dealing with history rather than in the context of art galleries. Via a practice-led research approach, Art as Advocacy addressed this gap by exploring the potential for curatorial practice by learning disabled artists to act as a site for self-advocacy. It brought together members of self-advocacy group Halton Speak Out and members of Bluecoat's inclusive arts project Blue Room, to curate a visual arts exhibition titled Auto Agents. These curators developed an exhibition theme, collaborated with artists, commissioned new artwork and designed accessible interpretation for audiences. Through curating Auto Agents, the purpose of this research has been to produce a rich account of the ways in which curatorial and self-advocacy practices intersect. This intersection, whereby tools found in self-advocacy were carried over into curatorship, provided new methodologies that enabled curating to become an inclusive practice. This attention to process results not only in curating becoming more usable by more people, but also more transparent and rigorous. By achieving this, this research delineates to understanding the processes and practices by which our cultural spaces can become democratised.
Supervisor: Graham, Helen ; Rushton, Emma ; Fearon, Bec ; Hampson, Mal Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available