Conference: Making a Home: Interdisciplinary Studies of the Domestic Interior

6-8 May 2015

University of Sussex, Brighton, England

This three-day interdisciplinary conference will feature academic papers that explore the question of what makes a home and how homes make us. Papers will consider homes both past and present and from a variety of perspectives such as material culture studies, art history, gender studies, anthropology, postcolonial studies, critical race studies, and geography. Attendees can register via Eventbrite (

Conference Programme:
6 May: Spotlight: Sussex Research on the Domestic Interior

1:00 Registration

1:15 Welcome speech
Dr. Meaghan Clarke, Senior Lecturer in Art History and Director of Doctoral Studies, University of Sussex

1:30-3:00 Making and Un-Making Home (Chair: Cathrin Yarnell, Sussex)
– Chelsea Olsen, Department of English, “Homemaking as Art-Making: The Creative Repurposing of Domesticity in Carrie Stettheimer’s Dollhouse and Salon”
– Jessica Hammett, Department of History, “Turning the Post into a Home in Civil Defence during the Second World War”
– Alexa Neale, Department of History, “Un-Making a Home: Domestic Murder in Postwar London”

3:00-3:30 Coffee and Tea Break

3:30-5:30 Home and Identity (2-Part Panel with a short break) (Chair: Alexa Neale, Sussex)
– Dr. Katie Walsh, Department of Geography, “Domestic Practices of British Migrant Returnees in Later Life”
– Emily Priscott, Department of History, “How can you call this a home?: Social and Cultural Constructions of Single Living, 1960-1990”
– Anne Stutchbury, Department of Art History, “ ‘At Home’ with the Beales’ of Standen: An Examination of Treasured Possessions and Family Identity”
– Paula Riddy, Department of Art History, “Hope and Glory: Representations of Thomas Hope’s Country Seat, the Deepdene”

7 May 2015: National and International Perspectives on the Domestic Interior Part I
10:00 Registration

10:15 Welcome Speech
Dr. Maurice Howard, Professor of History of Art, University of Sussex

10:30 – 12:00 Defining Home: Interventions in Architecture and Design (Chair: Paula Riddy, Sussex)
– Professor Thomas Barrie, North Carolina State University, “Homelessness, Homecoming and the Task of Architecture”
– Dr. Olivier Vallerand, Université Laval, “What Makes a Home? Elmgreen & Dragset’s Imaginary Domesticities”
– Colin Fanning, Philadelphia Museum of Art, “Furnishing Fun: LEGO and the Domestic Interior”

12:00-1:00 Lunch (Provided)

1:00 – 2:30 The Home as Contact Zone (Chair: Elizabeth Heath, Sussex)
– Dr. Emma Martin, National Museums Liverpool, “The Hybrid Home: Displaying transculturality in the domestic spaces of Calcutta, Gangtok and Lhasa”
– Andrea Muendelein, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, “The Metropolitan Hotel as a Space of Encounter”
– Dr. Alice Planel, Kingston University, “On the Threshold: Domestic Spaces in the work of Samta Benyahia and Zineb Sedira”

2:30-3:00 Coffee and Tea Break

3:00 – 4:30 Gender Articulations (Chair: Hannah Jordan, Sussex)
– Whitney Stewart, Rice University, “Activist Domesticity: The New Negro Woman and the Liberating Power of Home”
– Dr. Karen Lipsedge, Kingston University, “‘Domestic Man’: Men, Domestic Space and the Eighteenth-Century Novel”
– Dr. Patricia McCarthy, Independent scholar, “A Room of Their Own: Private Space for Women in 18th-Century Houses”

8 May 2015: National and International Perspectives on the Domestic Interior Part II

09:30-10:30 Keynote lecture
Dr. Flora Dennis, Senior Lecturer in Art History, University of Sussex

10:30-11:00 Coffee and Tea Break

11:00-12:30 Narratives of Home (Chair: Chelsea Olsen, University of Sussex)
– Patrick Preston, University of East Anglia, “Coming Out of the Concrete: Queer Domesticity in Jonathan Harvey’s Beautiful Thing”
– Elin Jones, Queen Mary University of London, “Lower Deck Domesticity on board a Naval Warship, 1756-1815”
– Kuang Vivian Sheng, University of York, “Yin Xiuzhen’s Portable Cities – The Fabrication of ‘Home’ in the World”

12:30-1:00 Lunch (Provided)

1:00-2:30 Childhood and Family (Chair: Anne Stutchbury, University of Sussex)
– Dr. Anja Ebert, Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nuremberg, “Depictions of The Family Saying Grace: Images of Ideal Family Life?”
– Alastair McClure, University of Cambridge, “Constructing a Home through Violence: Patriarchal deals in Colonial India 1856-1910”
– Briley Rasmussen, University of Leicester, “Your Living Room Is A Battleground: MoMA, Good Design and the Construct of Creative Vitality in Children”

2:30 Closing Remarks

Please register via Eventbrite ( or contact Michele Robinson & Emma Doubt ( with any queries.