Dr Helen Holmes

Hallsworth Research Fellow

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Research interests

  • Material culture
  • Theories of practice
  • Temporality
  • Everyday consumption
  • Waste and disposal
  • Innovative qualitative methods

Other research

Current research projects

My research centres upon the juncture of materiality, temporality and practice to explore the everyday.  Uniting these three conceptual approaches offers an alternative lens with which to explore the mundane and 'blindingly obvious'. Methodologically, I am interested in qualitative methods, particularly ethnographic approaches and innovative methods which focus on the lives of objects and the 'stuff' of the everyday.

My current research project for The Hallsworth Fellowship: ‘Makers, make do and mend: a newly thrifty consumer?’ aims to develop an enduring, critical understanding of contemporary thrift through a sustained focus on lived everyday experience, temporality, materiality and practice.  In particular, this research will focus upon how thrifty consumption practices are temporally and materially stabilised.  This involves exploring the rhythms, frequencies and tempos of thrift practices and how these are entwined with the lives of objects, their uses and durability.  

A mixed methods approach is being applied, including: a time use survey; ethnographic approaches in the form of participant observation with a number of voluntary organisations; and also household interviews and visual techniques to explore thrift practices and associated objects.  In Summer 2016 I will also be working with Mass Observation to issue a directive on contemporary thrift.  This study will enhance and develop conceptualisations of consumption, particularly within wider political and cultural debates on austerity, overconsumption, sustainability and waste.    www.makersmakedoandmend.org

Projects

Research and projects

No current projects are available for public display