Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Recipe for a Good Life

A Self-Advocate’s Perspective on Curating the “Good Life” to Explore Happiness and Living Well

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2021), 15, (3), 307–327.


Recipe for a Good Life (2019) was an art exhibition at the Brindley in Cheshire which explored what it means to live a “good life” to local learning disabled people. Curated by self-advocate Leah Jones, it featured artworks created via a public participatory arts programme, where self-advocates, SEND schools, disability professionals, families, carers, and gallery visitors came together to share their different visions of what living a good life meant to them. This article documents and reflects on this exhibition using a life story approach. By describing the exhibition from Leah’s own perspective, this article offers an account of how this exhibition was curated, and furthermore, how her curatorial work and life as a self-advocate intersect, demonstrating the important role people with learning disabilities have the potential to play in culture as artists, communicators, and curators.

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