CFP: Temporary and Mobile Domesticities, 1600 to the present

Call for papers: Temporary and Mobile Domesticities, 1600 to the present

 10th of October 2017, The Geffrye Museum, London

Traditionally, home is imagined as a specific place, a site of stability, continuity, safety, and familiarity. Yet, homelife is also characterised by mobility and temporariness. Medieval households were constantly on the move. Sailors, soldiers, merchants, peddlars and travelling artisans have long traversed land and sea, and servants, apprentices, and lodgers typically inhabited the houses of others – at least for a significant part of the life cycle. More recently, the chaos and disruptions of war and natural disaster have uprooted millions of people from their homes (and homelands) and forced them to spend indeterminate periods of time in temporary conditions. How does the time-limited nature of these residences affect home-making practices, and what can it tell us about the function and meaning of home and domesticity?

This one-day workshop explores the manner in which mobility and temporariness impact upon ideas and practices of home and domesticity. Central questions include: What kinds of domestic practices, material cultures, homemaking strategies and feelings about home are related to mobile or temporary circumstances? What theoretical and methodological challenges can we face when dealing with mobility or temporariness and how could these difficulties be overcome? How can people in temporary or mobile circumstances negotiate control over their own space and everyday life? When is mobility something to aspire to?

The aim is to bring together researchers working in different disciplines to explore similarities and differences between time periods, geographical locations and circumstances.  Furthermore, the objective is to discuss how we might relate temporary and mobile domesticities to larger questions about actor agency and shifts in economic, social, and political structures.

 Submissions can take the form of 1520 minute papers, but we also welcome submissions of less traditional formats – proposals for film, performances, and artworks would be particularly enthusiastically received. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

– Momentary homemaking

– The material culture of portability     

– The sense of home/belonging or homelessness/alienation in relation to mobility

– Mobile and transportable housing and housing design

– Institutional and charitable responses to mobility

– How do social identities and stages in the life cycle affect ideas about temporary living?

– The extent and scale of mobile and temporary homes from the local to the global

– Remembering and reproducing home and homeland from a distance

– Escaping home through mobility


We encourage submissions both from academics as well as non-academics working with related themes.

Send 200-250 word abstracts (preferably as .docx) to by 6th of August 2017.

Workshop location: The Geffrye Museum of Home, 136 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8EA

For more info click here

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Event: Decoding the domestic interior in British portraits

Decoding the domestic interior in British portraits, seminar, 28 June 2017

There are still places available for the Decoding the domestic interior in British portraits, seminar. This seminar for scholars and museum professionals seeks to explore some key themes around the nature of domestic interiors as found in British portraits from the early modern period to the present day. How can we start to interpret the pictorial world in which portrait sitters are placed? Are such spaces representations of contemporary interiors, or are they fictional spheres which – like pose, costume, and props – serve to convey coded messages about the sitters? By exploring portraits in various media throughout this period, speakers will consider these questions, helping interiors and portrait researchers to understand these mediated artistic constructs and interpret the contemporary symbolism within.


This event is a collaboration between the Histories of Home and the Understanding British Portraits Subject Specialist Networks. It is aimed at researchers, academics, and museum professionals engaged with portraiture, or historical and modern interiors. Papers will include scholarly case studies as well as contributions from museum professionals using portraits as a research tool, and engaging audiences in design history through the use of historic portraits.

Further details, programme, and booking form available at:

Venue: Geffrye Museum, London

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Artifacts and Allegiances: How Museums Put the Nation and the World on Display 

Professor Peggy Levitt

The Geffrye Museum, Lecture Room 

Thursday 9th March 2017, 3-4pm


According to the World Bank, one out of every seven people in the world today is an international or internal migrant who moves by choice or by force.  Our cities are increasingly diverse—people from over 184 countries call London home. So how do we learn to get along? Museums have always played a leading role in creating nations and national citizens. In today’s global world, do they also create global citizens too?  This talk looks at how museums around the world are making sense of immigration and globalization. Based on first-hand conversations with museum directors, curators, and policymakers; their descriptions of current and future exhibitions; and the inside stories about the famous paintings and iconic objects that define their collections, I provide a close-up view of how different kinds of institutions balance nationalism and cosmopolitanism and what it is about particular cities and nations that explains the outcome. 

This talk is free to attend; no booking is required. Directions to the museum can be found here

Posted in domestic imaginaries symposium



One day workshop:  Thursday 4th May 2017

The Geffrye Museum, 136 Kingsland Rd, London E2 8EA

In recent years there has been a proliferation of publications – across a range of disciplines – which have the working-class home at their centre. These works have questioned our approach to the working-class home through both a re-reading of traditional sources and a utilisation of previously overlooked archival evidence that grant unprecedented access to these homes. New interpretations have begun to overturn our previous understandings of the working-class home and its inhabitants. Moreover, those exploring the working-class home are now moving beyond the experiences of city slum dwellings to examine a much broader geographical, socio-economic, and ethnically diverse working class and the wider range of dwellings they inhabited. 

This interdisciplinary one day workshop will bring together academics (postgraduates, early career researchers, and established scholars) from across numerous disciplines – History, English Literature, Art History, Archaeology, Geography, and other disciplines – as well as archive and museum professionals to discuss approaches to exploring the working-class home. We welcome papers discussing the working-class home both in Britain and beyond, spanning the long 19th and 20th centuries. 

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Re-reading the slum interior
  • Unveiling the working-class home 
  • Material culture and the working-class home
  • Finding a home 
  • The rural ‘working-class’ home
  • ‘Homeless’ homes
  • Mobility and working-class domestic life
  • Teaching the working-class home
  • Presenting the working-class home to the public
  • Visual representations of working-class homes
  • Alternative homes

Confirmed keynote speaker: Dr Nicola Wilson, University of Reading, author of Home in British Working-Class Fiction (Ashgate, 2015).

Please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words, along with a speaker bibliography of up to 125 words to by the 31st March 2017. Poster submissions are also welcome from postgraduates wishing to attend.  Papers will be of 15–20 mins in length, dependent on the number of submissions.

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Event: ‘Studies of Home’ seminar

The next seminar in the Institute of Historical Research seminar series ‘Studies of Home’ convened by the Centre for Studies of Home will be held on Wednesday 1st March at 5.30pm in the North American History Room on the 2nd floor, IHR, North block, Senate House, London.

It will be given by Kathy Burrell (University of Liverpool) with the title ‘The View from the Window: Relational Home-Making in an Inner City Neighbourhood’.

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CFP: Mobilizing Home(s): New Approaches to the Study of Home in Contemporary Literature and Culture

Symposium: Mobilizing Home(s): New Approaches to the Study of Home in Contemporary Literature and Culture

deadline for submissions:
January 15, 2017
full name / name of organization:
Aarhus University; University of Koblenz-Landau
contact email:

Home is a key arena where changes in contemporary societies become a lived experience for the individual. Forms of homemaking can be regarded as a way of dealing with social transformations, whether by positing home as a safe space immune to change, or by adapting it to the requirements of modernization and globalization. The issue of (voluntary or forced) mobility looms large in debates on home, as, for instance, the current migration crisis or the demand for maximum flexibility and mobility of employees in the neoliberal economy shows.

The title of this 2-day-symposium, ‘mobilizing home(s)’, pertains to both the dimension of physical mobility and to the ideological work ‘home’ performs when it is mobilized in specific discourses (e.g. nationalism). We will ask what contributions the study of the arts can make to theorize the complexity of home as a concept and to critically investigate its ideological force. The aim is to enrich existing theories and concepts of home. The complexity of ‘home’ stems from its different dimensions (e.g. spatial, material, social and affective), scales and its positioning at the intersection of different social fields, such as economics, law (home as property), and politics (home and citizenship). Accordingly, new approaches to home may be informed by a wide array of perspectives, ranging from new economic criticism and biopolitics to disability studies, gender studies, critical race theory, or ecocriticism as well as narrative theory and new formalism. We are particularly interested in what the arts bring to the table: how may aesthetic artefacts dealing with home inspire the development of theory? While the dominant focus is on literary and cultural studies, we also welcome contributions from other disciplines that open up a dialogue on theorizations of home.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Forms and strategies of representing home in the arts: Work on current developments in artistic form and/or ways of theorizing different representational strategies (e.g. new approaches to thinking about home as allegory, metonymy and metaphor)
  • Ideologies on the move: work on changing and clashing ideologies of home
  • Moving boundaries: work that reconceptualizes the division between private and public spaces
  • Homelessness as a social problem and challenge: work on representations and theories of homelessness as an extreme state of im/mobility
  • Im/Mobile Bodies and Im/Mobile Homes: work on connections between home making (practices) and embodiment
  • Citizenship and home: Work on the nexus between home as property and notions of citizenship

Visit the symposium website at:

Please send your abstract (ca. 250 words) and a short bio blurb to and by January 15th, 2017.

Posted in cfp

Event: Centre for Studies of Home: Postgraduate Study Day 2016

Tuesday 8th November 2016

The Geffrye Museum, Kingsland Road, London E2 8EA

The Centre for Studies of Home’s annual postgraduate study day aims to bring together postgraduates providing them with an opportunity to share current research ideas through a series of short papers. The study day is open to all postgraduates working on home and domesticity in both historical and contemporary contexts. Please view the programme hereThe study day is convened by the Centre for Studies of Home, a partnership between the Geffrye Museum and Queen Mary, University of London ( Please book your place via Eventbrite here. The event is free, but places are limited so please book early to secure your place.

If you have any questions please contact Danielle Patten at

Posted in Events