Since starting back at university I have been neglecting some research I had started to carry out for a personal project. At least I thought I had been ignoring it but recently I have been putting my assignment together and have only just realised just how much this previous research has informed my practice. In this research I wanted to explore people and how they personalised their environments. More specifically I wanted to know what I could learn about a person from looking at how they chose to personalise their surroundings and what relationship they have with them. My interest in this subject has stemmed from a previous project I have done, in which I explored my own surrounding and questioned myself on why I felt a personal attachment to certain environments. Having the desire to want to further this project I was interested in trying to understand the psychology of it.
To give an example of what I found whilst looking through the ‘Journal of Environmental Psychology’ I discovered how people would personalise places in similar ways. In work spaces woman appeared to surround themselves with objects that would express their identity e.g photos of their family, pets and friends, whereas men would usually surround themselves with symbols of achievement. The writer of this particular article suggested that men personalised their work space in this way so they could express their status in the company. To sum up what else I discovered by looking through the this journal is that people invest a great deal of meaning into their surroundings. They do this in order to communicate who they are as well as forming attachments to places, such as their home in order to feel a sense of belonging.
I have also recently been reading ‘The Comfort of Things’ by Daniel Miller. The book gives an insight of people living along a single street, with each chapter giving a detailed account of a different person. Daniel Miller carried out the research himself, along with an assistant, but rather than getting to know each of the people by solely interviewing them he also explored their environments and read into their personal belongings, as he felt this was more of an honest way of getting to understand that person.
My current project is exploring how people seem to try and apply a meaning to their surroundings. I believe this is an idea that has stemmed from this research, which was not all carried out necessarily for this assignment, but my personal interest for the subject seems to have unconsciously fed into the projects development.