Committee for Art & Design Archives

What we do

The Committee for Art & Design Archives works to encourage best practice amongst those working with art and design archives including archivists, librarians, curators and artists. It aims to promote awareness and understanding of such collections amongst researchers and information professionals and to foster an interdisciplinary dialogue about their management, care and exploitation. The Committee works both collaboratively and independently putting on training days and workshops, organising visits and producing publications. Recent events have included The Archivist as Curator: exhibiting collections, from conception to realization and review (White Cube, London, 2013 and 2014) and Copyright and Art Archives (London Metropolitan Archives, 2015).  Publications include First Steps in Archives: a practical guide (2004), selected papers from The Archival Impulse: Artists and Archives available online in Tate Papers, Issue 9 (Spring 2008), and All This Stuff: Archiving the Artist (2013).

Who we are

Wendy Russell (Chair)

Curator - Scripts, Documents & Ephemera

Wendy is an archivist with a specialism in film-related documentation. She joined the BFI as Project Archivist for the Ken Loach Collection, subsequently becoming Curator of Scripts, Documents & Ephemera. Wendy has previously worked at the Archives Centre at the University of the Arts London, working with collections such as the Thorold Dickinson Collection and the Stanley Kubrick Archive. Additionally she has worked independently on a project with the archives of a retired British psychoanalyst, with whom she also undertook an oral history project. Wendy has an MA in Archives and Records Management (UCL), as well as an MA in Intellectual History and the History of Political Thought (Sussex) and a BA in Contemporary History (Sussex).
Tel: +44 (0)1442 876 301

Alice O'Hanlon (Publicity Officer)

Archivist, Heatherwick Studio

Alice holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Archives and Records Management from University College London, and comes from an art, architecture and heritage background, having previously completed an MA in Fine Art at Camberwell College of Art and worked at the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Museum of London. Since May 2013 she has been employed as Archivist at the design and architecture practice of Thomas Heatherwick. As the practice's first archivist, her role entails managing an archive of 2D, 3D and audio visual material, developing a Digital Archive, assisting with the selection, care and curation of archival objects displayed within the studio and at external exhibitions, and working with teams to document live project activity. She also acts as a consultant archivist for the Art360 programme organised by DACS.

Sue Breakell

Archivist and Senior Research Fellow, University of Brighton Design Archives

Sue is an archivist and a researcher in archive studies and in twentieth century art and design history. She joined the Design Archives in 2009, after working extensively in visual arts archives, largely in national museums and galleries, including as head of Tate Archive and as War Artists Archivist and Museum Archivist at the Imperial War Museum.  She was also the first Company Archivist at Marks and Spencer plc.  Sue holds Master’s degrees in Archive Studies and the History of Art.  Recent publications include editing a special issue of the journal Archives & Records on the subject of the visual arts archive in 2015.


Tel: 01273 643219

Kirstie Meehan

Archivist, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Kirstie is Archivist at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (part of the National Galleries of Scotland), where she has worked since 2006. She studied Art History at the University of Cambridge at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, before completing a MLitt in Archives and Records Management at the University of Dundee. Her role at SNGMA involves caring for the Archive and Special Books collections, but also curating exhibitions in the Keiller Library at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, including ‘Death, War and Desire: German Expressionist Publications’ (2012) and ‘Between the Covers: Surrealist Erotica’ (2014). She recently worked with artists Carson + Miller on a fruitful project to use game-playing and chance to ‘open up’ the collections, culminating in the exhibition ‘Archive Games: Carson + Miller’ (2015). Her research interests include artists’ archives, artist books and Dada and Surrealism.
Tel: +44 (0)131 624 6268

Alan Crookham

Research Centre Manager, The National Gallery

Alan holds an MA in Archives from the University of Liverpool. After five years working at the University of Warwick, he became the Curator of Gallery Records at Tate in 1999 before moving to take up the position of Archivist at the National Gallery in 2005. In August 2013 he moved into a new role managing the National Gallery Research Centre. His research interests include the history of the National Gallery, general museum history and theory and curatorial interpretations of archives and works of art.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7747 2831

Dr Nayia Yiakoumaki

Curator Archive Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery

Nayia is a curator and artist. Since 2005 holds the post of Curator Archive Gallery at the Whitechapel Gallery, London. She holds a BA and an MA in Photography and in 2009 she completed a PhD in Visual Arts at the department of Curating, Goldsmiths, London with the title Curating Archives, Archiving Curating.
Nayia is currently the Project Manager of the Neon Curatorial Exchange, a platform funded by Neon Foundation in Athens, GR and coordinated by the Whitechapel Gallery, which fosters professional relations between emerging UK and Greece based curators.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7522 7879

Carys Lewis (Secretary)

Archivist & Records Manager, The Wallace Collection

Carys graduated from UCL with an MA in Archives and Records Management in 2009, she completed her dissertation on the collection and care of fashion archives. She has spent the majority of her career working in museums, this includes 5 different posts at the V&A where her roles included Archivist in the Archive of Art and Design and a Project Management post in the Documentation and Collection Management Department where she worked on developing and implementing a new archive cataloguing system. Since September 2014 she has worked as Archivist & Records Manager at The Wallace Collection, this is a new position for the museum and involves developing archival policies, promoting the archive collection and implementing records management procedures.


Past Events

Symposium: Matter and Meaning: Materiality and the Visual Arts Archive

Where: University of Brighton, Room M2, Grand Parade, BN2 0JY

When: Friday 23 September, 2016, 10.00-18.00

Within the expanding digital environment that encompasses our professional and personal experience, ideas of materiality have received extensive recent attention, across a range of disciplines, including anthropology, archaeology, art history, literary studies and material culture.  As yet, archival theory and practice have given limited consideration to materiality as an approach to the archive. Conservation practices, while focussing on material qualities of archives, may not attend to more philosophical implications beyond technical research. This symposium seeks to reach across and between these various bodies of knowledge, considering materiality as a framework for analysing, interpreting and engaging with archives of art and design.

Please click here to see the full programme for the day and here to read the speakers' abstracts.

The Archivist as Curator: exhibiting collections, from conception to realization and review

Where: White Cube, Bermondsey Street, London.

When: Thursday 23 May, 2013, 10.30-17.00

This study day explores the practice of displaying archive material in hard-copy and digital format, from the conception of an idea/theme through to post exhibition feedback and analysis. It covers how to identify the most appropriate platform for display, who to involve, how to select and prepare material, promotion and feedback as well as a range of practical concerns such as conservation, insurance, and copyright. The speakers are all experts in the field having, between them, a wide range of experience planning and exhibiting multi-format archival material, including photographs and audio-visuals, in a variety of ways.

For further information and to book a place go to the Events Page.


All This Stuff: Archiving the Artist. 2013

All This Stuff: Archiving the Artist explores the documentation of the creative process. From their different viewpoints, fifteen leading artists, archivists and art historians, reflect on ways that artists and archivists deal with 'all this stuff' and how artists manage and relate to their own archives.

Introduced by Clive Phillpot, All This Stuff includes artists and writers such as Gustav Metzger, Bruce McLean, Barbara Steveni, John Latham, Barry Flanagan, Edward Burra, Penelope Curtis and Neal White.

All This Stuff: Archiving the Artist breaks new ground in the field of archive theory, documenting the innovative ways in which the arts are challenging the distinctions, processes and crossovers between artworks and archives. This critical reexamination exemplifies how the field of art archiving is changing theory and practice and our understanding of what an archive is, or could be.

Valuable insights are given into the archival process, addressing questions about what material artists should be keeping and what may happen to it after it has been accepted by an archival institution. This book also explores how archives can be made accessible using original and non-traditional approaches, and the unpredictable ways in which they may be recontextualised, explored and interpreted in the future.

2013 ISBN 9781907471766. Price: £25

For more details and to a see a list of all ARLIS/UK & Ireland publications go to the Publications Page.

First Steps in Archives: a practical guide. 2004

This publication is a straightforward introduction to the key principles of archive work and is designed for anyone whose collections include archive material but who has no formal training in this area. It includes contributions from experienced archivists on the core subjects of acquisitions and appraisal, cataloguing, preservation, reader services and marketing, as well as a glossary of archive terms. ISBN 0951967495. Price: £25 for ARLIS/UK & Ireland members; £30 for non-members

To order a copy and to a see a list of all ARLIS/UK & Ireland publications go to the Publications Page.

Selected papers presented at the Art Archives Committee 2007 study day entitled The Archival Impulse: Artists and Archives are available online in:

Tate Papers, Issue 9, Spring 2008.

Useful Links

Selected Web Links (PDF) (168KB)

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