2 | Using An Archive

The first person I spoke to about the archive was Lois Kiedan who until recently was the Director of the Live Art Development Agency in London – or LADA as it is known. The full interview is below – alongside a transcript of the interview.

The reading this week is from an artist talking about responding to an archive – Susan Hillier who was responding to the Freud Museum in London.

The main activity this session is around LADA’s Study Guides. This is what LADA says about their Study Room Guides.

“As part of the continuous development of the Study Room we regularly commission a range of artists and thinkers to write personal Study Room Guides to help navigate users through this resource. The idea is to enable Study Room users to experience the materials in a new way and highlight materials that they may not have otherwise come across.”

If you’re in London you can go along in person but you don’t need to be in the Study Room to access the guides.


Listen to the full interview from Lois Kiedan, or/and read the transcript. Interview by Sarah Wishart and RCS students on 13 July via Zoom.

Snapshot of a webpage - LADA, The Study Room
  • Go to the Live Art Development Agency website and have a meander through the Study Guides
  • Choose at least five Study Guides that are interesting to you
  • Note in some way (record yourself talking about it or jot down some notes in that notebook I mentioned) what ones you were drawn to just by their:
    • Titles
    • Pictures
  • Open the five Study Guides and skim-read the first few paragraphs
  • Now choose one of the five that you’re going to fully read.
  • What made you choose this one? Take some notes about that.
  • Read it through once just letting it flow over you – don’t do anything other than read it and really pay attention to what the writer is doing.
  • Put it down – go away from your study of it for a while. Have a cup of tea. Go for a walk. Have a bath. Do something completely different. Don’t think about it. Leave it at least one hour or a day. Or a week.
  • When you come back to it after leaving it – read it again. Now read it and think about how you are inspired by this Study Guide. Write about that.

Think about a museum you love.

Now read Susan Hillier’s account of working with materials at the Freud Museum.

  • How would you go about creating something from the museum you love?
  • What object would you like to focus on?
  • Why – what is it about this object that intrigues you?