Queen Mary University of London: New podcast offers an insight into real life experiences at home during lockdown

The podcast is the first in a series of eight exploring how the pandemic has changed our relationship to home and is a key output from the Stay Home Stories research project.

The project, ‘Stay Home’: Rethinking the Domestic during the Covid-19 Pandemic, aims to investigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on life at home. Based in London and Liverpool, the project combines a nationwide and city-scale approach in several interconnected strands.

Key areas of work include the analysis of material in the ‘Stay home’ collection at the Museum of the Home, as well as an examination of the practices and meanings of home for migrants, diaspora communities and people of faith in London and Liverpool, both previous ‘hotspots’ of Covid-19.

Compelling voices
The podcast series offers a chance to hear real life experiences of the pandemic, drawn from audio recordings submitted by the public as well as interviews with museum staff. In the first episode, Dr Eithne Nightingale, a researcher at Queen Mary University of London, talks to Danielle Patten and Véronique Belinga from the Museum of the Home.

In addition to the now-familiar topics which include exercising and working from home, the podcast also gives a voice to people’s lived experiences. Respondents discuss the struggle of not being able to see or hug loved ones as well as more personal subjects such as not being able to date. From disputes with neighbours over children’s use of Tik Tok, to supporting local people through the pandemic, the series is a chance for listeners to reflect on the diversity of experiences people shared one year on from the first Covid-19 lockdown.

Professor Alison Blunt, Professor of Geography at Queen Mary and Principal Investigator on the project said: “This first podcast from ‘Stay Home Stories’ brings together different voices and experiences about what home means, and how it has changed, on the anniversary of the first lockdown last March. Drawing on original material from the Stay Home collection at the Museum of the Home, the podcast provides a vivid window into people’s varied homes over the past year.”

About Stay Home Stories
The research is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and is part of the UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to Covid-19. The need to document and reflect on these stories is timely and pressing, not only to understand how people have experienced home in profoundly different and unequal ways, but also to think about how home might change – for better or worse – in the future.

Based at the Centre for Studies of Home, the project partners are the Museum of the Home, National Museums Liverpool and the Royal Geographical Society with Institute of British Geographers (IBG).

The four postdoctoral researchers on the project all completed PhDs funded by AHRC, including three at Queen Mary on Collaborative Doctoral Awards (Miri Lawrence and Annabelle Wilkins with the Museum of the Home and Eithne Nightingale with the V&A Museum of Childhood).

Producer Jonty Lovell composed the soundtrack, Blip, for the podcast. Described as a recurring sound, it was created to reflect the monotony of lockdown life, but also to instil a sense of optimism that things will get better.

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