October 2016


In October 1999 PhotoWorks invited myself and Marysia Lewandowska to undertake a residency in the Design Council Archive.

In October 1999, as part of the In-Site series of projects, PhotoWorks invited myself and Marysia Lewandowska to undertake a year-long residency in the Design Council Archive at the University of Brighton.

Documents was the culmination of that residency, which included an exhibition [with a filmTearing], a publication, a web-browser [sadly no longer available] and conference.

This is from the publication:


Design: Stuart Smith
Publisher: Photoworks: Brighton
December 2000 (currently £5)
ISBN: 1-9037-9600-8


Imagine drawing-up an inventory of every object you use in a day, or every thing you own, or every artefact you value. Any list that emerged would feel at best provisional, at worst it would seem like a futile task. And now if you would, pretend that the exercise was to be conducted on a national scale, and that the resulting document would be used to educate and influence popular public taste in the manufacturing and consumption of the indexed items. This is precisely what the Council for Industrial Design initiated in 1949, in an attempt to drag Britain out of the devastation caused by the second world war.

The Stock List, compiled by various government departments determined selection for the seminal Festival of Britain exhibition and became a template for promoting British products the world over.

Between these covers rests the original Stock List an extraordinary poem to materiality, composed by post Britain's post war ruling class; accompanied by one hundred images of contemporary products, each determined by their arbitrary retail price of one pound.


Documents was a year-long research and exhibitionary project, this is from the archive.....

A PhotoWorks' In-Site Project
October 1999 - Dec 2000
Design Council Archive, University of Brighton



From the accompanying exhibition brochure

Historically the part played by the State in this country in relation to the practice of the arts has not been very great. But the time comes when particular functions or activities become of such obvious and urgent significance that high places can no longer pass them by. Finally the State takes a hand and endeavours to stimulate them with a more centralising or directive emphasis. That is why the Council exists.

Sir Thomas Barlow, first Chairman of the Council of Industrial Design, March 1945.


In October 1999, to initiate the second in its series of In-Site projects, PhotoWorks invited artists Marysia Lewandowska and Neil Cummings to undertake a residency in the Design Council Archive at the University of Brighton. Documents is the culmination of that residency, the ambitious conclusion of a year-long period of research and dialogue with the archive and its staff. 


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