Exhibition in School Project Space brings together work by emerging creative practitioners inspired by the Helen Storey Foundation archive

A new exhibition at the School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies is examining the potential for archival collections to inspire fresh creativity at the meeting points of fashion, art and science.

Life on the Outskirts: Contemporary Practice inspired by the Helen Storey Foundation archive runs from 10-20 July with a closing event, featuring special guest Professor Helen Storey MBE RDI, on Thursday 19th July from 4.30pm to 6pm.

The exhibition is curated by Abigail Balkitis, who commented that “The responses to the Helen Storey Foundation archive have fully embraced the principles of HSF. It has been a fantastic opportunity, and a privilege, to curate an exhibition with exciting new works influenced by themes so worthy of consideration”.

Helen Storey uses the power of fashion to communicate and act upon some of the world’s most complex issues, notably climate change and the mass displacement of people. At the centre of the exhibition is ‘Dress for Our Time’ (2015), created from a decommissioned UNHCR refugee tent that once housed a displaced Syrian family at Za’atari Camp in Jordan. The dress is a symbol of what it means to be human and the precarious nature of our existence.

Themes found in Helen Storey’s archive of creative work, such as climate change, resource scarcity, and migration are echoed in the work produced by emerging creative practitioners participating in the exhibition. Exhibiting artists and designers attended workshops around the archive in Manchester and Leeds, finding inspiration in the examples seen.

The participating creative practitioners are students and graduates of University of Leeds and Manchester Metropolitan University, and includes work by art, design, and fashion practitioners. The exhibiting artists are Claire Batt, Helen Brayshaw, Kathy Brown, Sofia Byrne, Natalie Goodall, Faye Hamblett-Jones, Georgia Hardman, Warren Reilly, Georgia Taylor, Mary Wells and Susan Wright.

Professor Helen Storey MBE RDI and Caroline Coates of the Helen Storey Foundation commented: “It has been a delightful privilege to investigate new responses, and share our work so intimately, yet rigorously with Alison and Rob and their students. This enables us to re-examine the value and key challenges of our long creative history and share the very human stories behind the work and what helped to shape it. Most of all, it’s joyous to see how our efforts have engendered such original work relevant to the designers of tomorrow.”