2012: Stefan Schutt

Online history project: Sign of the times

Dr Stefan Schutt's fellowship project was conceived after he discovered abandoned documents at a building demolition site in Footscray. Intrigued by the find, he went on to save more of the papers, deemed rubbish, which tell the story of signwriting firm Lewis & Skinner, which operated for 60 years in Footscray. 

His fellowship allowed him to carry out research on the company archives and to create a website and a blog, as well as an exhibition, all of which tell the history of the company along with the social history of the communities in which the signs were used.

The website, the Lewis & Skinner archive, provides an online repository of images, places and people in Melbourne's west since the 1940s. Stefan also runs a blog, Finding the radio book, which tells the stories associated with the archive. In early 2014 he held an exhibition on the project in Footscray.