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The project explores how young people with difficult migration-backgrounds define home, and how dwelling space and objects are used and re-defined. It helps these young people to find their point of reference in the world and open up new ways of thinking towards what home can be and what the consequences of our thinking are.

According to the OECD report on migration, the total number of in- and outflow of foreign population in Britain has risen from 370, 000 in 1999 to 700, 000 in 2008. In a globalized world with increased mobility opportunities, people of all classes are forced to or choose to lead a nomadic lifestyle. Their destination might be determined by job or educational opportunities, the wish to gain further knowledge of languages, their partner or the hope for a better political or economic situation. In the future, environmental refugees will increasingly feature in this picture.

To a certain extent this means a return to a time when the term home was defined by being part of the world and not by possessions. Human “settlement marked a fundamental shift from our being world dwellers, who owned nothing and everything, to our becoming dwellers in a place to which the claim of belonging was made. In a real sense, belonging made the accumulation of belongings possible” (Tony Fry, Homelessness: A Philosophical Architecture, design philosophy papers  03 / 2005). The concept of home has thus become a driver for a constantly growing volume of unsustainable consumption, regarding the world as a “standing reserve”. This could indicate a paradigm shift. Home, and therefore also homelessness, should be re-defined and subsequently our (political) understanding of patriotism or nationalism.

People who have become global nomads in this sense – willingly or unwillingly, re-define their notion of home and have found new methods (processes, narratives, small objects, smell etc.) to find their understanding of being at home in the world. They try to retain a crucial point of reference from which one’s self and the world can be comprehended.

Contact us at:
info[at]whatishome.net