Science/Art project: Primitive Streak

April 1997- present

This exhibition, created jointly by Kate Storey and her sister, Fashion Designer Helen Storey, evokes and illustrates key events in human embryonic development, from fertilisation to the appearance of recognisable human form. It consists of series of designs in textiles and dresses supported by explanations of the scientific observations that inspired each piece. The creation of Primitive Streak was funded by the Wellcome Trust Sci-Art initiative and by the Royal Society COPUS fund.

An educational tool

Primitive Streak is used extensively by science and art teachers to develop projects which explore ways of presenting scientific information and ideas. In collaboration with Creative Partnerships (an initiative of the Arts Council England) it has been used as the blueprint for a "Creative Lab", a concept replicated across the UK.

Since its opening in 1997 it has toured 7 countries and has been seen by over 3 million people. Primitive Streak has received wide press coverage (newspaper, Radio and Television) including major features in The Sunday Times, Daily Mail/YOU magazine, Radio 4 programmes: Woman's Hour, Science Now, and Forbidden Planet, which have provided a platform for explaining our embryonic origins.


Press coverage and a ministerial visit for Primitive Streak

Primitive Streak was relauched in February 2011 supported by re-newed Wellcome Trust funding - this includes new designs and development of a Primitive Streak website. This marries up each design with the science behind each key embryonic event, provides new images and chronicles the development of the project.

Recent and on-going projects:

  • “Primitive Streak” re-launch tour and website development, Sheffield, Newcastle, London, Gothenburg, Sweden, Manchester, 2011             
  • “Digital Primitive Streak” A hands-on workshop for teenagers interested in using Art to convey science through digital media – Dundee, 2013
  • Installation of the red neurulation dress for the new Wellcome Trust library, which will be opened to public in 2014.

A new commission working with Helen Storey to design a new work for the Wellcome Trust public library space.