Life on the Outskirts: Making Sense of a Creative Life


How do small creative enterprises use archives for public engagement, creative, commerical and pedagogic impact?

Working closely with Helen Storey Foundation, Dr Robert Knifton (University of Leeds) and Dr Alison Slater (Manchester Metropolitan University) are developing a project that considers models to maximise the impact of archives.

The project received follow-on funding from the Arts and Humanities Council (AHRC) to build on key research into the use of small creative archives initially conducted through Creativeworks London.

The initial research focused on the fascinating collections of Helen Storey Foundation, encompassing her work in fashion, science, art and major public exhibitions. The follow-on project used this experience in order to test the feasibility of mobilising creative small to medium sized enterprise (SME) archive holdings for public education, public engagement, dissemination, knowledge exchange and unseen economic applications.


The project is led by [Dr Rob Knifton]. The Project Assistant is [Abigail Balkitis].

More information

For more information, please visit the project website.

Image: Helen Storey and Tony Ryan, ‘Herself’ dress from Catalytic Clothing. Life on the Outskirts. Helen Storey Foundation/Kingston University. Photography: Ezzidin Alwan.

Publications and outputs

Events for the project are taking place in Leeds, Manchester and London and feature student archives workshops, knowledge exchange events between small creative archives, and mentoring for recent graduates on making the most of their own archival collections. In addition to workshops, outputs from the project include:

Project website