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Louise Elizabeth Penn Chapman

Published date
31 Mar 2020

How can immersive theatre techniques and costume practice interventions be employed to communicate the narratives of the Kate Elizabeth Bunce Collection through dress display?

College: London College of Fashion
Supervisors: Professor Amy de la Haye, Jeffrey Horsley with subject specialist Anna Buruma


This practice-based research is concerned with the communication of narratives surrounding a collection of dress bequeathed by Kate Elizabeth Bunce to the Birmingham School of Art in 1927. The collection was uncovered in 2012 by Birmingham City University’s fashion department and has been the focus of my research to date. The collection consists predominantly of a female dress and accessories between the dates 1775 to 1927.

Aims and objectives

The aim of my research is to, initially, undertake a historical, biographical material culture analysis of the collection, to explore 1 female artist’s life. It also aims to develop narratives from the individual garments and fragments as constituent parts of the collection, while hoping to explore the modes of exhibiting a selection of items in an innovative way.

Applying my practice as a historical pattern cutter and costumier of 15 years, I am employing sensorial studies, somaesthetics, and immersive theatre techniques to extend the narratives of dress through the display. My research looks to reassemble the collection in the form of Kintsugi: the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery. Thus, to piece together fragmented and broken objects, and fill the gaps with precious material to reconstruct the narratives, and to intellectually extend the material and spatial limits of existing garments.