Owen, Jennifer

Owen, Jennifer
Start date:
October 2014
Research Topic:
Out of sight, out of mind - The hidden life of belongings in self-storage: Identity, immobility and life-course
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Prof Jon Anderson
Supervising school:
School of Planning and Geography,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

This research examines what the growth of the self-storage industry in the UK can tell us about our modern material lives. By examining the changing landscape of storage an understanding has been gained of how the needs of individuals and families have changed over the last half-century. Interviews using object-elicitation were undertaken with self-storage users to learn about their motivations to rent self-storage, material and spatial practices, as well as the stories behind the (often) dormant objects. Developing new lines of enquiry that consider the role of domestic materiality beyond the home, my research builds on scholarship that works to re-materialise social and cultural geography and make the mundane spectacular. As indicated by the publication list, self-storage is a useful lens to think through several themes: (i) grief, death and memory; (ii) identity and gender; (iii) home-making in times of austerity; (iv) mobility, home and belonging; and (v) materiality and the life-course.