Our fourth assignment asked us to interact with ordinary people in the form of interviews. We were to choose a topic from about a dozen differing topics then conduct a survey. Jonathan Baldwin (our lecturer) gave us a lot of little rules that we had to obey to so we had to take that into consideration when we were conducting our surveys. Then discuss our findings in a group to see what we had concluded. So the question I chose to investigate into was ‘How do people accumulate “stuff”?’
Obviously when I was conducting these surveys I couldn’t just ask the question straight, I had to work around the question as people wouldn’t be able to give a very constructive answer. I came up with 6 different questions that I thought worked around the topic well. They were:
(1) How would you describe your living space?
(2) What sort of objects do you keep out in your room?
(3) Have you inherited anything?
(4) What objects do you have that hold fond memories?
(5) Do you hold on to these objects purely for the memories?
(6) Have you ever/do you collect items?
I found when I was conducting these questionnaires I was using these questions semi-structurally and then working around and adding to them.
The first interviewee was a female medicine student, 23 who lived with her parents. I gathered that she was quite a sentimental person as she kept pretty much everything and said she found it hard to through away things. Her home has cabinets in the living room that were purely for display and not functional use. A shelf in the kitchen had a small collection of china animals that had been collected by her mother. But she was unsure where and when they had been collected from. . Displayed in her bedroom are collaborations of photos given to her a birthday present by her closest friend. She kept a memory box underneath her bed, which contained letters/valentines cards/birthday cards. The objects from her room that she shared information with me about had memories and stories attached on to them. A model car that was given to her by her boyfriend as she had wanted a beetle but couldn’t drive yet, a leprechaun from a trip to Ireland that had been placed in the car to look as though it was driving, ornaments from when she was younger reminding her of her childhood, stuffed toys that she had obtained from growing up. She didn’t seem to place importance in money status objects but in the thought of them instead. She tended to collect memories in objects and not making memories for them
The second interviewee was an art student living in a student flat, 19. She didn’t seem as sentimental as my first subject. Her bedroom walls had a large collection of posters taken from magazines that reflected upon her personality, ones that her other art student friends had made her and ones she had purchased. A large amount of make up/perfume and lotions were placed on her dressing table that had either been bought for her by her mother and friends or she had bought herself Flowers that had been given to her by her boyfriend. She inherited a box full of jewellery from her grandfather but had said she would “never wear any of it but doesn’t want to through it away or sell it as it was her grandfathers”. She had a large collection of TY Beanie Babies that had mostly been given to her as birthday presents/Christmas presents when she was younger. Her room seemed to be quite minimalistic and just have the basics, which was interesting.
And thirdly I interviewed a female primary education student living in a student flat, 20. Her room is clutter free, everything was in neat piles or hidden in drawers. A set of three cats sits on her window ledge that was a present from her mother. A huge display of photos of friends and family are tacked up on her wall, which had obviously been collected over the years. She had a small collection of models that she explained had taken from home for comfort reasons. Used to collect key rings when she was younger that she had in a box at home from when she was on holiday at 13.
I found that after conducting this interview with these three females living in different housing arrangements and then discussing my findings with a group from the same course as me that people are more likely to keep objects that either have sentimental value to them or remind them of home if they are living away from home at a younger age. . There is a noticeable difference in a student living at home compared to a student in rented accommodation as at home there is memories from there whole lives but I found that when a student moves into a flat of there own they tend to just bring memories from the past 2-4 years with them. They don’t tend to keep things if it brings back bad memories, obviously, but like to surround themselves with mainly funny memories to them. The larger majority of objects in bedrooms have been bought for them, decorations; very little the subjects had actually bought for themselves. Photographs were in all rooms in differing quantities reflecting on the personality