Door Locks, Wall Stickers, Fireplaces: Assemblage Theory and Home (Un)Making in Lewisham’s Temporary Accommodation

Elena Harris, Katherine Brickell, Melanie Nowicki

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This paper explores resident experiences of life in PLACE/Ladywell, a “pop‐up” social housing scheme in London providing temporary accommodation for homeless families. Specifically, we consider barriers to, and assertions of, homemaking in this temporary setting through fixtures and fittings—a door lock, wall stickers, and a fireplace. The paper utilises assemblage thinking to understand homemaking within these time‐limited and constrained circumstances. Despite their seeming banality, fixtures and fittings offer a material, politicised, and lively means of studying the attempted and thwarted production of home by residents living in PLACE/Ladywell. The absence of door locks reduces parents’ ability to maintain privacy and intimate relations; restrictions on hanging pictures and other decorative measures are circumvented by the use of wall stickers; and a defiant decorative fireplace establishes a sense of home in a temporary setting. Together, these objects constitute vital elements in negotiations between fixity and impermanence in temporary accommodation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1286-1309
Number of pages24
Issue number5
Early online date20 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020

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