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Ellen Sampson

Ellen Sampson is a material culture researcher, curator and artist, who uses practice-based research to explore the relationships between garments and the self. Her work explores the relationships between bodily experience, memory and clothing: the ways that garments can become records of lived experience and how these traces of these experiences can be read or understood by the viewer. Sampson’s doctoral (RCA, 2016) research explored wearers’ relationships with their shoes; suggesting that attachment to clothing derives from the sustained tactile relationship that develops through wear. Drawing on anthropological and psychoanalytic perspectives on the self, it sought to highlight the experience of wearing and the materiality of wornness, presenting shoes as records of lived experience. Ellen is the co-founder and co-chair of Fashion Research Network (, an interdisciplinary network for research into clothing and dress. FRN organize reading-groups, seminars and symposia with cultural institutions including ICA, Somerset House and National Portrait Gallery. As a curator, she has made exhibitions for Northampton Museum, National Trust, Westfield, and British Fashion Council. She currently teaches at Chelsea College of Art, London.