Information Studies


Kirsty Fife

I am a PhD student in the Department of Information Studies at UCL, and a Lecturer in Digital Information and Curatorial Practice at Manchester Metropolitan University. My thesis, "Challenging Voices: Documenting and Archiving UK-Based DIY Music Subcultures", explores methods for documenting and archiving current UK-based DIY music subcultures, particularly drawing on informal practices of record keeping in punk and autonomous spaces across the UK. My research is fully funded by the London Arts and Humanities Partnership and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Prior to commencing PhD study, I obtained an MA in Archives and Records Management at UCL in 2013 (fully funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council), an MA in Gender and Culture at University of Leeds in 2009 (partially funded by the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies’ Excellence Awards) and a BA (hons) in Photographic Arts from the University of Westminster in 2005. My academic research in this context explored visual and cultural representations of queer and fat bodies, particularly within the context of alternative media, zines and the “fat-o-sphere” (online blogs and communities set up by fat activists in the mid-2000s). Whilst studying at UCL in 2013, I focused my research on archival practice for managing and facilitating access to zine collections.

I also have a decade of experience working in the UK archive sector. These include roles working in outreach, education, digitisation, cataloguing, public service and service management for archive organisations including the National Science and Media Museum, UK Parliamentary Archives, Hoxton Hall and Screen Archive South East. 

Outside of my professional roles, I am also active as a queer and feminist cultural organiser and producer. My work in this context includes establishing and managing Weirdo Zine Fest (a self-publishing fair centring radical and marginalised makers), playing in DIY bands (including Cat Apostrophe, formerly Actual Crimes and Suggested Friends), making zines (Move Under Yr Own Power; Make It Work; Adventures in Academia; Hard Femme), co-ordinating fat positive clothes swaps, and running the fat positive fashion blog Fatty Unbound (2010-2016). 


Lowry, J., Fife, K., Sexton, A., Oke, A., forthcoming White Supremacy in the British Archives Sector. International Journal of Information, Diversity and Inclusion  

Fife, K., Henthorn, H., Brick Walls and Tick Boxes: Experiences of Marginalised Workers in the UK Archive Workforce. International Journal of Information, Diversity and Inclusion

Fife, K., 2019. Not for you? Ethical implications of archiving self-publishing. Punk and Post-Punk Journal 8: 2, 227–242.

Hoyle, V., Fife, K., Smyth, H., Ishmael, H., 2019. Building a community of critical practice through reflective reading. ALISS Quarterly 14:3. 

Fife, K., Henthorn, H., 2019. Decentring qualification: A radical examination of archival employment possibilities in Radical collections: Re-examining the roots of collections, practices, information. Eds. Landes, J., Espley, R.. University of London, London. 

Fife, K., 2018. "Any more picketing and I leave: Reflections on researching women's political histories in the Daily Herald Archive. Social History in Museums, 42.  

Fife, K., 2017. The cost(s) of being an archivist in The Museum Blog Book. Museums Etc, Edinburgh and Boston. 

Contact Information

Email: k.fife@mmu.ac.uk

Twitter: @diyarchivist


Andrew Flinn and Julianne Nyhan