Life on the Outskirts workshops launched this month

Life on the Outskirts workshops launched this month

The first of three workshops organised in partnership between the University of Leeds, Manchester Metropolitan University and Helen Storey Foundation took place in Manchester on Thursday 12 October 2017.

The workshops are part of the AHRC-funded project Life on the Outskirts: Making Sense and Use of a Creative Life, which is looking at the many creative responses to archives generated by practitioners, students and small creative enterprises.

The day-long workshop featured an introduction to the work of Helen Storey Foundation from the perspective of Dr Robert Knifton (School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds) and Dr Alison Slater (Manchester Metropolitan University), two academics who have been working with the collection. This was followed by a reflective talk by Dr Hannah Allan (Manchester Metropolitan University), discussing how her artistic practice intersects with theories and concepts of archiving. Professor Helen Storey then introduced her most recent work with Syrian women at the Za’atari refugee camp, Jordan.

Student participants were invited to handle and examine selected digital and physical objects from the Helen Storey Foundation archives as part of a hands-on practical session before responding to these objects via their creative practices, either individually or in collaboration with their peers.

The ideas and artefacts created by students in the workshops will form the basis for a collaborative exhibition next summer, where archival work from Helen Storey Foundation’s collections will be seen alongside student designs and proposals.

Dress For Our Time at St Pancras International 2015 (Photo by David Betteridge; modelled by Louise)Warren, a 2nd year BA Textiles in Practice student at Manchester Metropolitan University, commented on the workshop:

“It was fascinating to explore the career of such an exciting artist/designer. What stood out was Helen’s ability to explore concepts that held such profound meaning, while using fashion as a canvas for its presentation to the world. It was amazing to be able to take a step back from my university criteria in order to explore themes and concepts that I had never thought of before and to meet new and exciting people that want to make positive change in the world we live in.”

The next Life on the Outskirts workshop, featuring a talk from guest speaker Louise Adkins, takes place in Leeds on Thursday 16 November at The Tetley. Louise is artist-in-residence at The Tetley and a practice-led PhD candidate in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds. She is also a Senior Lecturer at Manchester School of Art.