How can archives inspire you?

Discover ways that different groups use, make and enjoy archives

Made during the Archives & Access project from 2012 to 2017, these films explore the breadth of projects and people that can be inspired by archive collections. From digital art and sound installations like Yuri Suzuki’s Juke Box to the re-imagination of life drawing within the classroom, they show how anybody or any organisation can find use of archive items and can begin to make archives from their own experiences.

By following the projects of students, teachers, organisations and artists, these films reflect on how archives inform our understanding of place, people, the past and the creative process.

Exploring Sketchbooks

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This film delves deeper into the relationship between an artist and their sketchbook. Talking to artists and designers today, we hear about the different ways they use their sketchbooks, and also hear how art historians and archivists value sketchbooks as windows into the creative process. By publishing Tate Archive sketchbook pages online, anyone can now explore and trace how artists' ideas developed before they became the finished pieces in display in the gallery.

Drawing From Life

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Hear art historians and art teachers discuss the shifting role of life drawing in British art education as they look back through its history in an archive display at Tate Britain. Featuring the narratives of life models from the past as well as current day students from a London school, the film shows how re-imagining the practise of life drawing can challenge and surpass the media's representations of the female body.

A Sense of Place: Sharing Stories On Margate Sands

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Working with Kent Foster Care Association, in this film young people make their own recordings of life in Margate whilst also examining art, archives, heritage and culture to establish a sense of place. On Margate Sands was developed by Turner Contemporary and Tate with artists and local participants.

Yuri Suzuki's Juke Box meets Tate Britain

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In this film, sound installation artist Yuri Suzuki describes his methods and inspirations for creating Juke Box Meets Tate Britain. By selecting hundreds of recordings from the archive across music, audio bites and visitor recordings, see how he creates a soundtrack to Tate's collection and causes audiences to listen in refreshed ways.

Time and Influence: UAL fashion project

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This film follows a group of over 40 young Londoners as they take inspiration from Tate Archive, artworks and contemporary designers to research, design, create and show their own fashion collection.

Making Your Own Art Archive

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Hear from artists and founders at Intoart as they talk about the process of making their living archive of ongoing artsitic practice within the organisation. The artists talk with Tate archivists about how this archiving affects their approach to making art. Intoart is an art and design studio in South London working inclusively with people with learning disabilities.

Live Art Salon

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How can live translate into archives? In this film, artist Harold Offeh explores the relationship between live art, its preservation and its reconstruction through a series of conversations with Welling School students and teachers. Together, they enact a number of live performances, each time considering how the documentation can accumulate and evolve.

Making Oral Histories

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This film explores the process of capturing oral histories, looking at how they are able to shed light on the cultural life of communities and present unique personal insights to the life and work of artists.

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Art Term


Traditionally an archive is a store of documents or artefacts of a purely documentary nature

Sketchbooks in the archive

Browse a selection of sketchbooks from the archive to find out more about how artists create their work

Then there comes a chaos of things, Mining Josef Herman: Part 1 of 3: Recollections

An album of oral histories gathered from people living in and around Ystradgynlais, including members of a local male voice ...

Archive 183 items

Collection owner: Paul Nash Letters and papers of Paul Nash

[c.1894]–5 November 1951

Joseph Mallord William Turner Margate

Tate Papers

The Artist as Educator: Examining Relationships between Art Practice and Pedagogy in the Gallery Context

Emily Pringle

This paper explores the relationship between art practice and dialogic forms of gallery education. Drawing on interviews with selected artists ...