Phd scholarship > Manchester Metropolitan University > Challenging outsider arts: how are learning disabled artists are informing contemporary arts

This project explores the participation of people with learning disabilities in the world of contemporary arts.  The focus will be on how artists who until recently might have been considered ‘outsider artists’ are collaborating within contemporary art and to consider the impact of this on arts practice and community connectedness.

This timely study situated within and building upon current institutional research excellence areas  will  explore learning disabled artists’ participation in the arts across Manchester and the north of England.  In the past, learning disabled artists have struggled to have their work taken seriously, however, there is a growing interest in the case for creative diversity and recognition that the participation of diverse people in the arts can enhance and enrich culture. This project builds on a growing interest in the participation of ‘outsider artists’ in the arts. The project offers a lens through which to consider a number of  current debates in contemporary art  / social art practice including: participation, making publics; disability studies, and disability politics.  politics.   It is built on existing university partnerships and will speak to the devolution Manchester agenda in term of services offered to people with learning disabilities in health, education and social care.

The project will generate an exhibition to be displayed at Sick Festival, 2019, Manchester.  This will strengthen links between the festival and the university.. Sick Festival is at the forefront of arts and health, taking the conversation into communities (sickfestival.com)

The research team will work with the student to develop pathways to impact for the research and to co-author high quality journal articles (REF 2021 +).


Good honours degree (or equivalent) in the arts, social care, psychology, sociology, disability studies, education or related discipline

Masters level qualification or equivalent professional experience

Deadline: 31 January 2017

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