When: 10th February 2017, 1pm – 2pm
Where: Geffrye Museum, 136 Kingsland Road, London E2 8EA
What is it?
Curator Carey Newson will be discussing her research into teenage bedrooms, reflecting on change across a generation, sibling tensions in shared spaces, and family negotiations around mess, décor and teenage gatherings.
The talk is based on the Geffrye Museum’s current display on Teenage Bedrooms. This small display steps into the homes of 26 London teenagers, to explore the meaning and significance of contemporary teenage bedrooms. A combination of photographs, interviews, objects, and an installation representing a teenager’s bedroom, shows how identity, memory and friendship are expressed within these private spaces.
Most of the teenagers interviewed see their rooms as a close reflection of their own individuality, changing as they change. Within the family home the teenage bedroom appears an intimate canvas and a space apart, described by one participant as ‘like a house inside of a house’.
While the bedrooms are very different, there are also common themes. Teenagers find many ways to bring the outside world into these spaces and their walls evidence their cultural and emotional lives beyond the home. But the rooms are also a rich personal archive that commemorates childhood and family history, providing continuity with the past.
Teenagers’ parents were also interviewed and reflect on differences between their own remembered teenage bedrooms and those of their children, able to retreat to their rooms to talk to friends on social media, rather than brave the phone in the hall. In present-day rooms, the mobile by the pillow or the laptop on the duvet is a recurrent sight, and the bed, often a double, is an island of comfort from which to connect and communicate. At the same time, some teenagers find special appeal in the tangibility of earlier, non-digital forms of communication, such as letters and vinyl records.
Teenage bedrooms is guest curated by Carey Newson, an ESRC-funded doctoral researcher from the Centre for Studies of Home; a partnership between the Geffrye and Queen Mary, University of London. The photography is by visual anthropologist Kyna Gourley. The project is supported by the Centre for Public Engagement, Queen Mary, University of London.
More info: www.geffrye-museum.org.uk