SIEF2021 Conference: Panel & Workshop about Affective Materiality and Atmospheres of Home and Belonging

One of the key concepts of SENSOMEMO research project is atmosphere, which we explore especially from the viewpoint of material objects. Since the beginning of our project, we have wanted to analyze what kinds of impacts objects and items can have on people as well as how and what kinds of objects are used to create a broad scope of feelings and atmospheres. Of course, the objects are connected with a much wider issue of materiality, which connect, for example, with sensory experiences, places, spaces and landscapes.

In June, we have an opportunity to discuss the topic with other researchers who are interested in similar questions. The 15th Congress of SIEF (International Society for Ethnology and Folklore) will be held this Midsummer week, and we will participate in the congress with our panel and workshop ‘MAT04: Exploring Affective Materiality and Atmosphere of Belonging’.

Our panel will take place on Monday, 21st June. The papers accepted in the panel deal with materiality and atmospheres from diverse perspective.  The papers discuss, among others, embodied experiences of mindfulness courses and at a reception center for asylum seekers, kinky homes as well as sensory landscapes in the neighborhoods of Berlin and of Dubai’s shopping malls.

The panel will be followed by a discussion workshop follows on Tuesday, 22 June. The workshop will focus on homes and their cozy atmospheres. We attempt to discuss “important” objects of home. What kinds of feelings, memories and atmospheres are connected with the objects, which make us feel at home?

Our original idea was to ask the participants to take an object or a photograph of the object with them to the workshop, so that we could discuss them and then create a pop-up exhibition at the congress. However, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced the conference organizers to modify the conference from a face-to-face meeting in Helsinki to an online conference, we had to change our plan. The exhibition had to be cancelled, and instead we will discuss the favorite objects and spots at home and reflect over cozy atmospheres and feeling of home. We look forward to hearing and seeing concrete examples of cozy items and atmospheres and discussing these in smaller groups. The topics of our panel and workshop have attracted a great interest among the SIEF participants. Unfortunately, we had to limit the number of presenters and workshop participants. This is a pity – we would have loved to exchange views and discuss with all of those who contacted us. If you are interested in collaborating with us on this topic, simply contact us. And stay tuned: The next blog post will engage with our SIEF panel and workshop discussions and introduce you to some of the objects that were introduced to us by the participants.

Text by Viktorija L.A. Čeginskas, Anna Kajander, Eerika Koskinen-Koivisto, Kristiina Korjonen-Kuusipuro