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Bio

Sarah Francis is a transdisciplinary artist who works predominantly
with paint, sculpture and photography. Francis uses the exhibition
space, photographic lens and viewer interaction as key elements that
define and frame the arts physical form while acknowledging its
off-stage possibilities and capacity to morph within view. Francis art
both conform within and intrude beyond the physical space they occupy,
replicating the acts of masking and framing that have characterised
her neurodiverse and queer identity, and the energy spent meeting
societally perceived norms. Film and photography influence Francis'
exploration of these dual identities, and the imperfection and
ephemerality of memory, of what’s real or re-collected. Francis art
playfully presents multiple (framed & un-framed) realities, offering
interpretations that hold darkness and joy.

Her work has been shortlisted for the Saatchi Gallery’s Art of Giving
Prize, selected by Richard Billingham for Curator’s Choice Noise Young
Talent 2009, and recognised in Aesthetica’s 100 Best Contemporary
Artists in Europe. In addition to her work, Sarah Francis is the
Founder and Director of Aire Place Studios, Leeds.

In 2015 I established Aire Place Studios, a predominantly LGBTQ+
artist-led space to platform artists and creatives who wouldn’t
traditionally have the opportunity to exhibit and realize the
potential of those often overlooked by traditional art institutions. I
take great pride in building community and investing in diversifying
the arts ecology through this.

 

Experience

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.


Education 

ILM Level 3 Award, Effective Coaching, Leeds Beckett University. 2022 onwards.

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.

 

Funding

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

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

Awards 

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

 

Memberships 

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