Design Manchester. Helen Storey talk.

Today I attended an inspirational talk with the designer/activist/provocateur Helen Storey. She spoke a lot about how injustice and inequality fuels her creativity as she strives to make a difference to the world via her practice.

At first when I read that Storey addresses social issues with her work, I could not imagine how when I had looked for images of her work and I saw fashion. Once she began to elaborate on her quests, it all became clear. It was enlightening to see how someone from another discipline would address these issues in a completely different way to myself.

I took a lot of noted that I would like to leave here. They may not make much sense to anyone else but I would like to look back on these and remember the talk.


Use accessability as your weapon and be cameleon; don’t be attached to one title to define what you are. (designer/activist/provocateur)

Trust your intuition and make yourself uncomfortable. Never aim safe with your work.

Her innercurrency defines her work, not her gender. She has experienced her gender from both sides; it has worked against her and also allowed her to get away with something.


DESPAIR- your imagination needs a rest. Sometimes you can’t work through your creative block by ploughing through it. Sometimes you need to take a step back and rest. It will come if you ride it out and listen.

Your best projects ask questions back to you.

Think how to break markting on your product/cause.

FIGHTING INEQUALITY. Think of the unborn. Work until the word has lost it’s power. Realise that your job may not be done in our lifetime.


You are more powerful than you know. What fuels you? What pushes you out of your comfort zone to the zone of risk? Your best work will meet you there.

Find what compells you to act. If it doesn’t make you angry then it wo’t work. You need to let the injustice have its way with you and then you have to use it. You need to be angry to a certain extent. Something needs to disgust you for you to want to make a change.

Find what you are truly about and your work will follow. Your freedom is just outside that thing that you think you can’t do. Step into that space. Be dangerous and put yourself in dangers way.

She receives her funding from people who feel similar to her about the world.

Witnessed the people in refugees suffer from extreme boredom and then use this to gain other skills and create change. For example refugees made bikes from materials at the camp and it was a first for women to have transport.


She doesn’t focus on aesthics, more from the change itself and the aestheics come naturally.






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