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Personal profile


email: Jenna.Ashton@manchester.ac.uk 

I write, curate, perform, and make ...

Dr Jenna C. Ashton is a Lecturer in Heritage Studies and arts-led, practice researcher (Art History & Cultural Practices), Research Lead for Creative and Civic Futures (Creative Manchester platform), an Associate Member of the Sustainable Consumption Institute, and contributes to the Manchester Urban Institute and Sustainable Futures research networks. Jenna is a practising artist, curator, and producer, with over 15 years' experience of project collaboration and delivery. Her work focuses on analysing, theorising, and storying place-based communities and ecologies, and evolving arts-based feminist methods for socio-environmental justice. Eager to continue her own learning and skills development journey, Jenna is currently undertaking courses on forest gardening, horticulture, permaculture, animal welfare and behaviour, and trauma informed practice. 

In 2017, Jenna was awarded an internationally competitive visiting Global Cultural Fellowship with the “Institute for International Cultural Relations”, Edinburgh University, working with thirty global curators, artists and policy makers exploring cultural exchange for addressing issues of human and environmental rights. She holds advisory and trustee roles in the UK and internationally.

Jenna is currently leading the project, "Community Climate Resilience through Folk Pageantry", AHRC, UK Climate Resilience Programme (2020-2023), and is a Co-I on “Creative Adaptive Solutions for Treescapes of Rivers (CASTOR)”, funded by NERC, Future of UK Treescapes programme (2021-2024). Previously, she was a Co-I on project: “Green Infrastructure and the Health and Wellbeing Influences on an Ageing Population (GHIA)”, NERC, Valuing Nature Fund (2016-2020). She is part of the "Cottonopolis Collective", AHRC (2021-) and UoM SALC "Weeds" collective.

Increasingly, Jenna's work explores the lives, habitats, expressions, and participation of other-than-human species in places and communities, and related trans-species social justice concerns. She is a contributor to the new RGS Animal Geographies working group, and is interested in how this can be further developed as an area of practice research within critical heritage studies. From late 2023, Jenna will be collaborating with the Canal and River Trust on research focusing on human-wildlife interactions along urban canals within traditionally working-class communities, with a specific focus on the much-maligned Canada Goose. She is also exploring orcharding as a methodology.

Jenna is the founder and Creative Director of the arts and heritage organisation Digital Women’s Archive North (2015 -), and in 2019-2020 in collaboration with women artists, she co-founded the Centre for International Women Artists, a collective artist studio and gallery experiment in Manchester, UK. Jenna is also 1/4 of artist collective InsideOutsideHouse (2018 -).

Jenna teaches across critical heritage studies theory and practice, heritage policy and management, landscapes and environmental humanities, intangible cultural heritage, heritage and conflict, art curation, museums studies and practice, arts and the city, and contemporary arts.


Activities and esteem

List of media, public talks, lectures, training 2020-22: DOCUMENT



Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities
  • Creative Manchester
  • Sustainable Futures
  • Sustainable Consumption Institute
  • Manchester Urban Institute
  • Digital Futures


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