Education and background
BA (Hons) Kingston University 1982, Fashion. MA 1994
Business career 1984 - 1995
Helen Storey launched a fashion label in 1984 and was awarded Most innovative Designer and Best Designer Exporter in 1990. She was nominated for British Designer of the year in 1990 and 1991, exporting to 24 countries selling to 150 shops worldwide with celebrity clients including Cher, Madonna and Liz Hurley. Helen enjoyed a high media profile, regularly appearing in national newspapers, TV and radio. Design clients and sponsors included; ICI, Sockshop, Wrangler, Cellnet, Alfa Romeo, Sony, British Airways, and BP. The trading arm of Helen Storey closed in June 1995.
Career Development 1995 – 1996
In September 1996 Helen launched her autobiography “Fighting Fashion”. Published by Faber & Faber Ltd, it was described by Sir Paul Smith as 'At last the truth - a perfect and witty account of life and British Fashion'. The launch was dedicated to The Imperial Cancer Research Fund. Other charity work has been with Help the Aged and Barnados. Helen worked on an important document for the fashion industry the “Designer Fact File”, a guide to setting up a fashion business commissioned by the Department of Trade and Industry and the British Fashion Council, published with her business partner, Caroline Coates.
Helen and her sister, biologist Dr Kate Storey, completed a ground breaking project ’Primitive Streak‘ which brought together the worlds of science and fashion through the creation of a fashion collection that explained the first 1000 hours of human life. Sponsored by the Wellcome Trust, Crafts Council, Royal Society, The Design Council and London College of Fashion it was launched at the ICA in London in October 1997. It has since toured the UK and 8 countries where it has been seen by 3 million people. Venues include the Eden Project, the Hayward Gallery and the World Finance Centre, New York.
In 1998 Helen began work on ’Mental‘, a new art/science project for which Pfizer provided research funding. In 1999 the Helen Storey Foundation, a not for profit organisation promoting creativity and innovation was set up.
MENTAL, a mixed media touring work exploring creativity, funded by two major awards and sponsorship was created and launched in April 2001; a world tour followed. Primitive Streak continued touring. Helen’s academic duties included a research fellowship at University of the Arts, Professorships at Heriot-Watt University and King's College London and lecturing at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen.
A Primitive Streak and MENTAL catalogue was published in January 2003. MENTAL continued touring England with the support of a Lottery/Arts Council England grant and a Glasgow-wide exhibition of MENTAL and Primitive Streak was undertaken. An audience research project, Play Garden, was completed with the Arts Council England.
The first co-authored paper by an artist and scientist was published in July 2003 in the Journal of Theoretical Biology entitled ‘Hotmail: - Can sex in humans be modified by temperature’, written by Dr John McLachlan in collaboration with Helen.
Helen was commissioned to create an installation event for the Unilever Global Advertising Awards - June 2003. A Lever Faberge installation was commissioned for the Persil brand in May 2003.
Eye & I – a project exploring human emotion through eye contact, in collaboration with Dr Jim Coan, Neuroscientist, University of Virginia, funded by Arts Council England was exhibited in May 2005 and July 2006.
The Energy Project, was instigated, developed and run by the Helen Storey Foundation, the Women’s Sports Foundation and Creative Partnerships on behalf of the Department for Education and Skills. The project took the form of a piece of research assessing the levels of energy expended by 45 girls and their teachers in three schools in south London. It then explored imaginative ways to add physical activity to their school days.
Primitive Streak was exhibited in Barcelona at Museu Textil d'Indumentaria, Feb-May 2005
In 2005 WONDERLAND was conceived – a collaboration with Professor Tony Ryan at the University of Sheffield, exploring how new materials can make consumer products less damaging to the planet. An ESPRC grant for £200,000 was awarded to WONDERLAND to introduce new material paradigms into the environment through high fashion and unique products created through dialogue across the art/science divide. This collaborative project has been developed with The University of Sheffield and University of Ulster.
August 2006 – March 2007 Primitive Streak was exhibited as part of an East Midlands Creative LAB at University of Derby. This took the form of a creative laboratory using Primitive Streak for teachers and young people with educational and creative risk taking activities for schools from 4 cities.
Mentoring activities: Nesta, Unilever, BBC, design students and fellow artists.
IDEAS THAT CAN CHANGE THE WORLD was launched in Nov 2006. Conceived by Helen, the project asks young people to define the world they would like to live in, giving them the knowledge they need to imagine and generate creative and ethical solutions to our global challenges. It has been developed in collaboration with Creative Partnerships/Arts Council England and experts and industry specialists across 4 key themes.
The WONDERLAND project team produce new innovations in water purification, turning ‘plastic bottles into flowers’ and innovative solutions to capture solar energy. A tour of WONDERLAND planned for Belfast, Sheffield and London with full educational programme is in development. WONDERLAND has reached 10 million people through early promotion via the media. A final target audience is 25 million people and the project aims that all new innovations will be placed with the industries and charities that can best benefit from them. “Free Feet” a new upperless shoe is being developed with Terra Plana, and Sheffield University.
The Energy Project: a film and catalogue of the work is to be made available to all schools within the UK.
Joint formation of “The Better Lives” initiative at The London College of Fashion.
The WONDERLAND project tours. it is shown in London, at 4 sites across Sheffield and Belfast. The exhibitions are seen by an estimated 2.5 million, with an added estimated audience of 8.5 million reached via international press and broadcast media.
A new project, FREE RADICALS, (first known as Universities United) brings together the Universities of The Arts London, Sheffield and Ulster, mirroring the cross university, and cross disciplinary approach in WONDERLAND, NESTA are funding this group in order to create a transferable blue print for social innovation within the HEI sector. The FREE RADICALS GROUP, continuing into 2009 will research, co-create new products and ideas to solve challenges facing the planet and human kind. (i.e. water shortage).
An educational web site to deliver the full educational legacy of 10 years worth of Art/Science projects is mapped. The site will include work from hundreds of schools across the UK who have used Helen’s projects as a stimulus for cross disciplinary teaching and learning over this period.