Accepted Paper:

Home away from home: Kurdish refugee women's home-making in North London  
Didem Kilickiran (Faculty of Fine Arts, Kadir Has University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper focuses on the home-making practices of Kurdish refugee women from Turkey living in council housing dwellings in North London in order to discuss the meanings of home and home-making in the context of migration.

Paper long abstract:

This paper focuses on the experiences of Kurdish refugee women from Turkey living in council housing dwellings in North London. Drawing on in-depth, semi-structured interviews and participant observations in their homes, the paper discusses home-making practices performed by these women in their attempts to re-create a home-place away from their familiar milieus in Turkey, and tries to uncover what 'home' and 'home-making' mean to them. While the focus is on present dwellings, the idea of home as historically constituted and renegotiated across a variety of spaces and social relationships is a guiding theme. Therefore home-making is investigated as an evolving process beginning from women's childhood homes in Turkey and continuing with their transition into their new dwellings in London.

The practices of home-making the paper dwells on range from everyday practices of domestic labour to the display of objects representing cultural identities and national belongings, the use of diasporic forms of mediation, and to practices of decoration and transformation of domestic spaces as indicators of Kurdish women's ongoing efforts to deal with the disparity between their own conceptions of a 'proper home' and the housing spaces available to them. With reference to these practices, the paper discusses the multiple meanings and values Kurdish women attach to their dwellings, and argues that the private sphere of domesticity, as a place where they can reconstruct links with their personal and collective histories and the home-places they left behind, plays a central role in their struggles to recreate a sense of stability and familiarity in London.

Panel P324
Home: landscape, imagination and practices of everyday life