Helen Storey Foundation and Robert Knifton from Kingston University London
Caroline Coates, Helen Storey Foundation
Robert Knifton, Kingston University London
Prof Frances A Lloyd, Kingston University London
Life in the Outskirts: Making sense and use of a creative life
Fashion designer Helen Storey graduated from Kingston University with a BA in Fashion in 1982, she received her MA in 1994. Given Storey’s long-standing relationship with the university it follows that the Helen Storey Foundation’s researcher in residence should come from Kingston. Robert Knifton set out to assist in cataloging the foundation’s extensive and unique collection, creating an invaluable online resource. It was hoped that his research would present new models of sustainability and novel uses of archive material, as well as extracting new audiences and interactivity.
Knifton’s work included a photo shoot creating over seven hundred images for the archive. Taken in a scientific manner these images have conceptually reinvigorated the archive, helping the foundation see the archive in a deeper and more strategic sense. The process has helped to link the past with present and future projects, granting the capacity to explain and address the foundation’s long-term objectives. Furthermore, it has assisted the foundation in refining their educational voice.
For Knifton the experience has assisted in considering methods for making archive materials and artefacts more public facing. He has been able to draw knowledge about image use and copy-write, as well as adding to his toolkit of exhibition and project skills.
Since the residency Kingston University was awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to run an exhibition and events program on the history of Kingston School of Art. Life on the Outskirts: Making Sense and Use of a Creative Life – With the Helen Storey Foundation was shown at the Dorich House Museum in February 2015. Alongside the exhibition a symposium and two family workshops were hosted.
The residency generated additional social media for the foundation, including posts on Tumblr, and concluded with a student seminar by Helen Storey at Kingston University. There is potential for a collaborative artists book based on the research to be produced and additional funding to continue the project has been sought.
Image: Helen Storey, as a fashion student with classmate at Knights Park, Kingston Polytechnic c.1981. Image courtesy of Helen Storey
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