Life on the Outskirts exhibition inspired by legendary artist and designer Helen Storey
21 September 2018
Work by art and design graduates features as part of Design Manchester
An exhibition of new work inspired by legendary artist and designer Helen Storey’s career is to open as part of Design Manchester.
Life on the Outskirts brings together work by art and design students and graduates from Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Leeds in response to the Helen Storey Foundation archive.
These contemporary responses are displayed alongside Helen Storey’s ‘Dress for Our Time’ (2015) and archival images.
Presented by the Helen Storey Foundation (HSF), the University of Leeds and Manchester Metropolitan University, Life on the Outskirts is an AHRC-funded project about finding fresh creativity by revisiting past practice.
Following the exhibition’s successful launch in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds, the exhibition opens in Manchester in October 2018 to coincide with Design Manchester 2018.
Project Principal Investigator Dr Robert Knifton, from the University of Leeds said: “It’s been brilliant to bring together creative practitioners from our student and graduate communities with Helen Storey Foundation and to see the fantastic ideas it generated. This exhibition is our chance to showcase the results of this hugely positive, beneficial encounter.”
Co-Investigator Dr Alison Slater, from Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “The project has provided an amazing opportunity to mentor a small group of students and graduates, away from taught and assessed activities. The ‘Life on the Outskirts’ exhibition is a great way to end this project and share the impact that the project and the work of the Helen Storey Foundation has had on their personal creative practices.”
The project uses the HSF archive as a case study and inspiration. Over more than 35 years as a practitioner, Helen Storey has produced innovative creative responses to innumerable briefs and issues.
The archive is a personal collection gathered over Helen’s working life which exists between fashion, art and science. The medium of clothing is used to address issues such as resource scarcity, climate change and migration; these themes are commonly reflected in the participants’ responses.
At the heart of the archive are the creative lives of two women, Helen herself and Caroline Coates, her collaborator, co-director and joint founder of HSF, who have worked together since 1983.
In exploring ways to represent, utilise, and open up the HSF archive, it became clear that Helen and Caroline’s voices were central. A short film by filmmaker David Betteridge features in the exhibition, highlighting this working relationship.
The ‘Life on the Outskirts’ exhibition is a great way to end this project and share the impact that the project and the work of the Helen Storey Foundation has had on their personal creative practices.
Professor Helen Storey MBE RDI and Caroline Coates of the Helen Storey Foundation said: “It has been a delightful privilege to investigate new responses, and share our work so intimately, yet rigorously.
"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.”
Life on the Outskirts opens in BZ403, Benzie Building, Manchester School of Art on 11th October-24th October. An opening discussion will take place on 11th from 2-3:30pm.