Dr Jenna Ashton

Lecturer in Heritage Studies

View graph of relations


email: Jenna.Ashton@manchester.ac.uk


Curator, writer, artist, researcher ...


Lecturer and Programme Director of Heritage Studies in the Institute for Cultural Practices, teaching across critical heritage theory and practice, heritage policy and management, natural heritage, intangible cultural heritage and heritage and conflict.


Jenna's research and practice concerns the development of collaborative and creative feminist methods and analysis for applied heritage and theory, and working at the intersection of heritage, activism and social justice. She has a background in art history and visual cultures, crossing into feminist anthropology and geography.


Areas of research include:

Marginalised cultural heritage and arts practices

Spatial practice and creative geographies

Art under conflict and creative resistance

Curatorial activism

Ethics of care

Affect and heritage

Making, play, storytelling

Material archive cultures


Jenna holds a number of advisory and trustee roles in the UK and internationally, including with the National Trust. In 2017-18 she was selected as a visiting Global Cultural Fellow with the Institute for International Cultural Relations, University of Edinburgh, working with thirty other international curators, artists and policy makers exploring the value of cultural exchange for addressing human rights challenges.


In collaboration with diverse women artists, she recently co-founded CIWA, the Centre for International Women Artists – a collective artist studio and gallery in Manchester, UK. Additionally, she is the founder and Creative Director of Digital Women's Archive North – a Manchester based feminist arts and heritage organisation addressing social inequalities through creative archiving and documentation.


Site-specific challenges and opportunities of making, accessing, participating and collaborating in space and place is a consistent focus of projects. Including the childhood negotiation of “home”; valuing urban nature; feminist digital archiving; creativity in post-war contexts; journeying and displacement of artists; negated sensory lived experiences; and creative re-use of architectural environments. 


Selected projects:

-- “Feminism in Museums & Archives Practice”, supported by Arts Council England, Ida Carroll Trust, HEFCE UnLtd and Wellcome ISSF 2014 - 17: @dwarchivenorth


-- “Women and Power: resonance and social relevance of creative programming”, research analysis commissioned by National Trust 2017 - 19.


-- "People's Landscapes: Unearthing Passion and Protest", programme and guidebook research/authorship commissioned by National Trust 2018 - 19. 


-- “The Travelling Heritage Bureau of International Women Artists”, supported by HLF 2017 - 19: https://www.travellingheritagebureau.com/


-- Co-I, "Green Infrastructure and the Health and Wellbeing Influences on an Ageing Population (GHIA)", Valuing Nature Network, supported by NERC/ESRC/AHRC, 2016 -19:  https://ghia.org.uk/


External roles:

-- Advisor, Bogujevci Family Foundation, Kosovo

-- Trustee, charity Delia Derbyshire Day @DeliaDDay

-- Advisor and Research Consultant, National Trust and National Trust Regional Advisory Board North  @nationaltrust

-- Committee Member, Society for the Study of Labour History Archives & Resources @StudyLabHistory

-- Research Member, Valuing Nature Network NERC/ESRC/AHRC @ValuingN

-- Founder and Co-Director, Digital Women's Archive North CIC @dwarchivenorth  

-- Global Cultural Fellow, Institute for International Cultural Relations, University of Edinburgh @UoE_IICR



  • visual culture, arts, feminism, museums, heritage, human rights, memory studies, conflict, archives, childhood, home, collecting, storytelling, affect, emotion, place, space, activism, migration, diaspora, craft

Related information


Research output: Book/ReportBook

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

View all (11)