Inspiration Examined

How are museum collections used as a source of inspiration by creative practitioners? This project, Inspiration Examined, used a narrative research method to critically examine the process of inspiration.

We interviewed MA Textile students from Chelsea College of Arts at the Museum to find out what they thought about ‘inspiration’.

Zoë Hendon worked with Dr Linda Sandino to make video interviews of students talking about objects from the collections that they found particularly inspiring.

The result was a fascinating series of videos in which students reflected on their processes of making and their use of the Silver Studio Collection as a source of inspiration. Students brought their knowledge of textile design techniques to these interviews, but deployed them in different ways, depending on their interests and creative identity.







We found that ‘inspiration’, was not sparked by the object alone, but from the interaction between student, object, and interviewer. Inspiration Examined confirmed that ‘inspiration’ functions as a structuring concept through which students are able to resolve the duality of tradition and innovation as a process most clearly stimulated by research in archive and museum collections.

Share Academy was a partnership project between University College London (UCL), University of the Arts London (UAL), and the London Museums Group. The project aimed to explore the potential for more effective and mutually beneficial collaborations between Higher Education and specialist London museums.

This project informed subsequent ways of using video with students, most recently the Student Snapshots Project.