top of page
IMG_2408 2.jpg

How I made me: Sarah Francis

Sculptural acts & ontological self-creation

Sarah Francis is an artist working across sculpture, paint, installation and digital photography, often combining these elements
to create staged landscapes, tableaus both live and photographed, that poke at the relationship between author (Francis) and viewer.
Francis’s practice is foremost about writing her own story; she’s
engaged in an ontological, sculptural process of reveal; a staged,
palpable, and generously shared study, and exploration, of self – of,
in Francis’s words, ‘how I made me’.

Francis’s works play with scale; one moment focusing on body parts; later placing that body in epic industrial settings, rural landscapes and domestic sites. Tone and colour thematically bind the work, repeating hues in indoor shots (often warm, Kodak-ed yellowed, orange), evoking photography’s everyday point-and-shoot history. By contrast, icy whites, blues and tonal layers determine the set-like interiors in abandoned office blocks where broken chairs become playthings, re-loved as personal frames; in one shot, her body inserted into the chair form in an act of mutual re-purposing.


Francis’s practice is prolific, weaving through past habitats,
relationships, loved companions – and grief; with one central drive,
to survey, search for, locate the self. To come to understand the acts
of masking and framing that have shaped her neurodiverse and queer identity – and all the questions of consent and access that impact upon it and drive the impulse to self-determine, self-author.

At the borders of Francis’s art is a navigation of self in a peopled
landscaped. Paintings, sculptures, photographs fall off the page,
stories continue; actors pause off-stage. Francis determines the
frame, meticulously constructing, lighting, ‘blocking’, and casting
each element chosen, to communicate both the arcane (what’s lost or missing) and the immediate and mundane. Grief sits alongside play. Love sits alongside objects, her childhood home, her beloved pet. The artist’s presence always determining our view but inviting us to take a our own meaning and read the tone.


A-N Artist Council 2022-2025, Advocating for Change, 2002-2025

Curator, International Curators Forum & Ort Gallery, Emergence(y) Project. Jan 2022 onwards

Curator, APS Gallery, Championing Unheard Voices, Jan 2016 onwards. 

Director & Founder, Aire Place Studios CIC, Studios, & Gallery. Dec 2012 onwards. 

Sarah Francis Art, Artist Curator,  Sculpture & Photography. 2011 onwards. 

Lead Workshop Facilitator, CYP Arts, Visual Art Provisior. Feb 2015 - Jan 2017 

Director & Curator , HOARD Studio & gallery, Offering free large studio space, exhibitions & projects for Artists. June 2012 - Sep 2016.


Distinction Masters in Fine Art, Leeds University.  2009 - 2011. 

1st Class BA(Hons) Photography, De Montfort University. 2004 - 2007. 

HND Television and Film Design, Lincoln University.  2002- 2004.



Arts Council England, Develop Your Creative Practice, , 2002-2023

East Street Arts, Convention House Residency & Seed Funding, Sep- Nov 2022


Creative Community Organisation of the Year 2022 - UK Enterprise Awards
Lord Lieutenant Acknowledgement, Outstanding Service to the Community, 2020.
Leeds Compassionate City Nomination, Art Project of the Year, 2019. Leeds
Love Arts Award, Excellent Contribution towards Art and Mental Health, 2016. Leeds
100 Best Contemporary Artist, Aesthetica Art Prize, 2013. York
Shortlisted, Saatchi Gallery, Art of Giving, 2010. London 

Best in Show, Leicester Open 20 Exhibitions, 2009. 

Curators Choice, Selected By Richard Billingham- Noise Young Talent, 2009 

Best in Show, Pride In the House, Lauderdale House London, 2008 

Artist with Most Promise, Through the Lens, RWA, 2008

Conference/ Talks
Panel Member, Disability, Access and Artist-Led Spaces, East Street Arts/Unlimited, Jan 2020 Panel Member, Love Arts Conversation, Leeds City Museum, Oct 2016
Artist Talk, Transition, Inkwell Arts, Feb 2015 

Artist Talk, HOARD, Corn Exchange, Oct 2015
Artist Talk, Toast, Manchester, Nov 2014 

Selected Exhibitions - Full CV on request

Leeds Summer show, June 2022 1st-30th, Play House Leeds 

Taking Space, October 2022, Coles Gallery, Leeds

Landshapes, Solo Show, May 2022, Bowery, Leeds

Let us eat cake, March 2021, Pineapple Black Art Space
Possible All Along, December 2021,  DISrupt, Leeds

Queer Contempory, August 2020, Short Supply, Manchester

Leeds Summer show, July 2020 1st-30th, Leeds

Aesthetica, Art Prize Exhibition, March 2013, York 

Reigning Cats & Dogs Exhibition, January - March, 2013 - RWA, Bristol  

Matt Roberts Salon Art Prize 2011, 6 - 29th October 2011, London

Bowery Gallery, Exhibition, January 7th - April 8th 2011, Leeds 

National Open Art Competition, Exhibition, October 30th – November 2010 

Leeds City Art Gallery, 8th Aug-19th Sep 2010, Leeds City Gallery 

Lauderdale House, 20 Jul- 2 Aug 2010, Lauderdale House London. 

Not Part Of, 16 Jan 2010, Dance House Theatre, Manchester
Noise Creative Fair, 17 - 18 July 2009 Manchester Hall 

Open 20 Exhibitions, 15 Nov – 10 Jan 2009, Leicester City Gallery 

Nottingham Castle Museum Open, 11 Oct- 30 Nov 2008, Nottingham 

Art in Woodstock, 25 Oct – 15 Nov 2008, Oxford. 

BBC Noise Virtual Showcase, 26 Sept 2008 Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool
Pride in The House, 5- 7 Aug 2008, Lauderdale House, London.
Through The Lens, June - July, 2008 RWA, Bristol 

Leicester City Gallery Open 19, Nov 2007- Jan 2008 Leicester 


Professional Appointments

Chair of the Board, Aire Place Studios CIC, 2016 onwards



Artist, & the ‘Other’, Collective of Artists working Towards Inclusiveness and Belonging. 2022

DISrupt, Collective of Disabled Artist in Leeds. 2021 

Outside In, platform for artists who face significant barriers to the art world due to health, disability, social circumstance or isolation. 2020

Arts and Mind, Member, believe the arts can promote mental wellbeing, 2015  

bottom of page