Dr Leighanne Higgins

I am a Senior Lecturer in the Marketing Department, having joined the department in January 2014. My research interests lie within the area of consumer culture theory, with specific interest in sacred consumption, focussing on the consumption of religious pilgrimage, and consumer vulnerability.

Since 2016, I have researched the commercial and marketplace access inequalities facing consumers living with disability. The research project I am most excited about currently is my Marketplace and I: Commercial Experiences of Disability Explored through Art project. This project began in 2019 and adopts an art-based methodology to challenge the perception of ableism. The project collaborated with consumers living with disability from across the UK, witnessing them create personal artwork(s), which represent their commercial experiences in marketplace settings. The artworks were publically exhibited in Lancaster throughout December 2019, and are set to be re-exhibited at Rural Arts in Yorkshire this Summer, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2022.

I am currently working to develop the artworks into an Ableism Awareness Training Workshop that can be utilised by companies. Developed by persons with disabilities, this training will educate companies and employees on ableism to help promote better and more inclusive marketplaces. Further, through the exhibition at the Fringe, I hope to understand how art can help to change and transform public perceptions towards disability. Simply put, my research aims to shatter the ability-disability dichotomy and dominance of ableism that permeates current UK and global organisations and societies. I hope through my research to transform positively the lives of persons with disability and those close to them.

To find out more, you can watch a short video compiled from the 2019 exhibition. If you would like to discuss my research further, please contact me at l.higgins@lancaster.ac.uk or follow me on Twitter @leighannehigg