about Ashleigh

If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.
— Audre Lorde

Ashleigh Shackelford (she/ they) is a Black fat cultural producer, multidisciplinary artist, nonbinary shapeshifter, hood feminist, and data futurist based in Atlanta, Georgia, with roots in Richmond, Virginia. She is the creator and director of a Southern body liberation organization, Free Figure Revolution, which focuses on decolonizing antiblack body violence. With bylines in Wear Your Voice Magazine, For Harriet, Buzzfeed, and Black Girl Dangerous, Ashleigh illustrates the relationship between Blackness, fatness, desire, queerness, afrotechnology, and popular culture.

Ashleigh is the project director and creator of ‘The Fat Census’ and the ‘Queer Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Survey.’ The Fat Census collected over 6,000 responses from 49 countries worldwide and is the first international radical data collection for and by fat people. As a data futurist, Ashleigh curates more information to create tangible resources for vulnerable communities in addition to programming and safe spaces for marginalized bodies.

Ashleigh has utilized organizing, community kickbacks, real nigga shit, and art to ignite consciousness raising and political conversations around the issues of antiblack violence. From protesting, writing, data futurism, community safe spaces, and visual art shows - Ashleigh moves in the legacy of freedom fighting from her home base in the urban South and beyond.

She is currently working as the Artist-in-Residence for Solutions Not Punishment Collaborative, an organization dedicated to creating Black Trans Futures through Black trans leadership and community building in Atlanta. Ashleigh is dedicated to creating a Black future in which healing, accountability, and community care are central to creating safety and humanity for all.


Speaker & educator

Ashleigh has invited to speak and train at multiple community spaces, events, convenings, institutions, and conferences to discuss Black body liberation, data futurism, healing, dismantling antiblack violence, hoeism, and fat futures. Additionally, Ashleigh builds a personal and accessible rapport with all audiences in order to create the most empowering, engaging, and intentional space. The goal is always to meet uncomfortable with possibility.


Multidisciplinary Artist

Ashleigh is uses both traditional and digital methods to create and curate art as a form of protest. Ashleigh connects social justice, technology, and art to illustrate the deep truths and traumas of Black fat folks. In March of 2018, Ashleigh curated Black fat art (including her own art) for the Free Figure Revolution ‘Fat As Fuck! Art Show!’ This art show was designed specifically to highlight the humanity, beauty, and multiple truths of Black fat people in which the data from the Fat Census (2017) was released as art and as an executive report.


Community Organizer

From highway shut downs, to community outreach - Ashleigh has cultivated radical spaces and led direct actions. She is the creator of a Southern body liberation organization, Free Figure Revolution (FreeFigure.org), based in Atlanta, GA. Ashleigh creates programming, initiatives, and healing resources within her organizing work including the curation of #TheFatCensus and the Queer Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Survey.