Anna Francis

Associate Professor

Digital, Tech, Innovation & Business

Anna Francis is an artist and researcher whose work aims to create space to discuss and reframe city resources, through participatory art interventions.


She creates situations for herself, the public and other artists to explore places differently. In recent years the interventions which Anna has worked on focus on the city of Stoke-on-Trent, and use an action research process to recognise untapped resources, plan responses to disused sites in the city, take action to change the way these sites are viewed, and potentially, make changes, which can be temporary and sometimes permanent. Through this, Anna aims to gain an understanding of the role of artists, arts organisations and communities in the development of places.


Anna has curated exhibitions at AirSpace Gallery and The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, as well as leading on national and international curatorial and participatory projects.


Anna is Associate Professor of Fine Art and Social Practice at Staffordshire University, and a Director at AirSpace Gallery, anhd The Portland Inn Project.


Born in Canterbury, Kent, she first moved to Stoke-on-Trent in 1997, and now lives here permanently with her partner and two children.

Professional memberships and activities

  • Director of The Portland Inn Project Board Member of AirSpace Gallery
  • Member of Stoke City Council's Creative City Partnership Panel Member for the Local Trust Policy and Advocacy Panel Alumni of the Creative Climate Leadership Programme delivered by Julie's Bicycle Alumni of the Engage Extend Leadership Programme

Academic qualifications

PGCE (PCE) Art, Oxford Brookes University

MA Fine Art, Staffordshire University

BA hons Fine Art, Staffordshire University


  • Social Art
  • Community development
  • Cultural development
  • Community led design
  • Arts and regeneration
  • Professional artist development

Research interests

The role of the artist in city and community development.

Interim use for disused spaces and resources in urban contexts.

Rethinking the Brownfield.

Enterprise and commercial interests

I have significant experience of both fund raising for cultural and community development programmes, as well as experience of designing and delivering place based arts programmes.


I have spoken at many varied national and international conferences, symposia and development sessions in the arts sector and community development sector, sharing my experience as an artist and researcher and leading on the development of co-created toolkits and resources for artists.


I am able to offer consultancy and advice on cultural and community development and am a member of the Local Trust Policy and Advocacy Panel.



  • Exhibiting and curating Fine Art
  • Professional Practice for artists



  • Leadership in the arts
  • Place based practices
  • Social arts
  • Participatory practices


Please see my staff Profile on The Staffordshire online Repository for publications, projects and research.

External profiles

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021