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'Irregular' Art Schools

'Irregular' Art Schools: Methods for Supporting the Professional Development of Learning Disabled Artists

‘Irregular’ Art Schools is an AHRC-funded research project which will co-develop and pilot different professional development opportunities with learning disabled artists in the Leeds City Region, testing how existing structures such as artist-led spaces, universities, publishing and social care can better serve learning disabled individuals.

The research team brings together a range of skills and expertise across visual art and social care. This includes staff and artists from supported studio Pyramid, members of artist-led space Assembly House, staff from Leeds City Council’s Adult Social Care Team and Co-Investigator Dr Katie Graham, Lecturer in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at University of York.

Using action-research methods, during this 30-month project, the team will be:

  • exploring in partnership with Leeds City Council how the commitments made to person-centred support can be extended to better enable artistic endeavours and how the different domains of art and social care can be better connected;
  • developing new training packages for personal assistants;
  • leading two national think tanks on artist-facilitation;
  • experimenting with inclusive academic publishing processes;
  • trialling an artist-led model of professional development with Assembly House;
  • exploring ways to make the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies more inclusive and accessible to learning disabled artists. There will be opportunities for staff and students in the School to participate.

For more information contact Principle Investigator Dr Jade French


From left to right: Dominique Ghataora, Stephen Harvey, Andrew Wonnacott. I Am An Artist, Tetley (2018). Image courtesy of Pyramid.