Keeping shop, shaping place: The vernacular curation of London’s ad hoc consumption spaces

  • Hunt, Mia (CoI)

Project: Research

Project Details


My developing project explores the vernacular curation of ad hoc consumption spaces in London. These spaces may include corner shops, newsstands and kiosks, pound shops, souvenir shops, and places where multiple businesses share space to sell goods and services. Because these everyday commercial spaces do not employ top-down design strategies, daily practice is evident in the organisation of things.

This work has three main foci. (I) It explores the relationship between the objects and the complex materiality of these spaces. In particular, I focus on the relationship between the organisation of objects and their associated brands, including the London brand and other corporate identities. (II) It considers the relationship between the curators of these spaces and the objects. This includes an exploration of the materialities, agency, and flows of objects and shop keepers and the underlying codes and forces organising or disorganising objects in an assemblage. (III) It investigates how the curation of these ad hoc spaces moves within larger geographical imaginaries of neighbourhood and nation. Overall, my research asks: What forces and matters shapes the vernacular curatorial process in ad hoc consumption spaces and how does this process, in turn, shape relationships between objects, bodies, and imaginations?

This project draws together my backgrounds in fine and applied art, town planning, and social science and employs mixed methods, including: ethnographic analysis, semi-structured interviews, material and biographical analyses of objects, an analysis of place-shaping policies, photographic documentation and alteration, cataloguing, mapping, and a visually-oriented field blog.
Effective start/end date20/09/1019/09/14