Kyle Jordan

A man in a wheelchair sitting in front of a large shrine.

Kyle Lewis Jordan was the Curating for Change Fellow working with both the Pitts Rivers Museum and Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Born with Cerebral Palsy, Kyle has been passionate about ancient Egypt since he was six years old and has had the ambition of being Director of the British Museum since he was ten. He completed his MA in the Archaeology and Heritage of Egypt and the Middle East at UCL, where his thesis explored the role and significance of disabled bodies within early court societies in Predynastic Egypt.

An early career Egyptologist and curator, Kyle is passionate about improving knowledge and understanding of disability in ancient Egypt and wider antiquity, and has given multiple talks and papers on the subject. He has also had prior experience volunteering with Museums, in particular the Petrie Museum of Egyptian and Sudanese Archaeology and the British Museum.

After his Fellowship, Kyle continued working in curation and interpretation, working as a Guest Curator for the Verulamium Museum in St. Albans, curating an intervention on Health and Disability in the Roman world. While hoping to seek permanent employment as a curator, Kyle plans to work as a freelance interpretation consultant, and to continue pursuing his academic interests, with work set to be published in the near future. 

Kyle was a Curating for Change Fellow from 2022 – 2024.

As part of my Curating for Change Curatorial Fellowship, my hope was that – in partnership with local disabled people – we could create spaces for dialogue within the collections of the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museum, allowing not only disabled people to show the diverse perspectives they can bring but also the inner complexity of the collections themselves. Through doing so I hoped to demonstrate how the experience of disability has been integral, and in no way an “other”, to the human story.  

Kyle Jordan

Nothing Without Us: Experiences of Disability – Pitt Rivers Museum

Nothing Without Us: Experiences of Disability was curated by Kyle during his Fellowship and displayed November 2023 – October 2024. Nothing Without Us was a co-produced gallery trail that shares the lived experiences of disabled people, their stories revealed by objects in the Pitt Rivers Museum. 

In the summer of 2023, Kyle led a group of co-producers in researching disability across multiple times and spaces. Their questions grew from asking how disabled people lived throughout time, to interrogating how the objects capture the experience of disability itself. Their ideas covered themes of Form and Function, Precarity and Violence, and Care. 

Due to the strong positive reception for the Trail both from the public and colleagues, the runtime was not only extended, but all of the art-pieces created by the co-producers were accepted for accession into both the Permanent and Teaching collections of the Pitt Rivers. Nothing Without Us was lauded as a benchmark for community co-production which future collaborations are already looking to emulate.  

Praise for Nothing Without Us:  

“Nothing Without Us” was different – not just educational, but transformational. I found it deeply moving to be given such vivid insight’s into other people’s lives, and also an immediate sense of connection at being invited to think about the same artefact alongside the contributors.” – Prof. Erin L. Thompson, John Jay College (CUNY). 

“Seeing this Bright Pink centring of disabled voices, I found joy in my walkthrough today. I particularly like having labels & thoughts from disabled museumgoers & appreciated the diversity of body-minds represented.” – Anonymous visitor feedback 

For more information on the exhibition, and to read the trail booklet, visit the Pitt Rivers Museum website. You can also read Kyle’s article in the Pitt River’s Members Magazine Winter 2024.

As a co producer the trail ’Nothing without us: Experiences of disability’ was an inspirational and thought provoking project and event. It created a platform to tell one’s own story to the public in an environment that was thoughtfully organised into workshops, but also allowed for an atmosphere of challenging discussions. The final outcome presented museum objects as well as unique art pieces with a story and gave new perspectives that informed an audience.  Working with Kyle and Zena was collaborative and informative giving space for understanding, creativity and a development of ideas. 

Juliet Eccles, co-producer Nothing Without Us

Fashioning Bodies in the Ancient World – Ashmolean Museum

Fashioning Bodies in the Ancient World was curated by Kyle and displayed November 2023 – May 2024.

In this display, Kyle looked at objects from the Ashmolean’s Antiquities collections, exploring what they could tell us about disability in the ancient past. All originating from some of the earliest sites in both Egypt and Mesopotamia, these objects not only provided direct evidence of the presence of disabled people, but also illuminated a world in which ancient peoples were actively acknowledging and responding to anxieties about their bodies.

The display featured an exterior tactile element, allowing you to get up close with the ancient Egyptian god Bes, who is also featured in the display. Kyle wrote a short introduction to Bes, which you can find featured on the Ashmolean Museum’s blog.

For more information on the exhibition, visit the Ashmolean Museum website.

Kyle’s positivity and energy has made such an impact for us. His displays are loud, proud, thought-provoking, sometimes funny, often moving. His real skill is with people though. The tight little community that he created with his co-curators at the Pitt Rivers was incredibly impressive, binding together as it did a really diverse group that included a university professor and a young woman with Down Syndrome. Everywhere needs a Kyle.

Natasha Podro, Ashmolean Museum

DP100 Nomination

Kyle was shortlisted in the Education category of the #DisabilityPower100, which recognises the top 100 most influential disabled people in the UK. Kyle won second place in his category in 2023. To read more about Kyle’s nomination and his DP100 profile, visit the links below.

Museums Late Night: After Dark event

Late Night: after dark poster

On the 24th November 2023 the Pitt Rivers Museum hosted Late Night: After Dark, an evening celebrating Curating for Change. The evening began with a welcome talk from Laura Van Broekhoven, Director of the Pitt Rivers Museum, and Kyle Jordan, Curating for Change Fellow.

With curator-led tours of Nothing Without Us from Kyle, and behind-the-scenes talks from co-producers Brenda Llewellyn Ihssen and Juliet Eccles, visitors got to learn about the curation process of the trail. There was a special BSL hand choir workshop and subsequent performance from Hand Talking. With touch tour elements and BSL interpretation throughout, accessibility was at the forefront of this event.

The Late Night proved to be one of the Pitt Rivers most successful iterations of the event to date, with the Pitt Rivers and the adjoining Natural History Museum seeing a combined 3,000 visitors over the course of the evening. 

Professional development – additional links and publications