Objects of Desire
14 October 2016
Dr Rachel Hurdley joined BBC Radio 4 presenter, Matthew Sweet as he explored the objects that we accumulate in our homes, how we arrange them, and what they might say about us in the 'Objects of Desire' series.
Sweet also spoke to those who shun domestic paraphernalia for a more minimalist existence, and the way in which ‘unlovely’ things still find a place in people’s homes.
The series considered how work by cultural theorists Pierre Bourdieu and Mary Douglas, and philosopher Gaston Bachelard, help us understand the curious mixture of display, memory, emotion and chance that informs our choices of things and how we put them in order.
Series Producer Laura Thomas, asked Rachel to be a consultant because of her research focus on identity, home, things and the everyday.
During the recording period for the series, Rachel spent a day with Laura and Matthew as they interviewed participants she had recruited in South Wales, taking photographs for the website and having car conversations in between each house. She was also interviewed about sociological understandings of culture, taste and identity for several of the episodes.
Rachel plans to build on her research about everyday materiality through analysis of the recordings in people’s homes. Dr Hurdley said of her involvement in the programme: “It was interesting to be involved with it throughout the process, to learn about how much work goes into a short series.”
Rachel’s recent Leverhulme-funded ethnography examined organisational cultures, in particular, domesticity and belonging. Rachel is now working with National Museums Wales and dementia support groups on a project to redesign a museum building as a dementia-friendly space.
'Objects of Desire' aired on BBC Radio 4 between 10 – 14 October. All episodes are currently available on BBC iPlayer.