Decorating Public and Private Spaces: Identity and Pride in a Refugee Camp

Nabil, Sara, Talhouk, Reem, Trueman, Julie, Kirk, David, Bowen, Simon and Wright, Peter (2018) Decorating Public and Private Spaces: Identity and Pride in a Refugee Camp. In: CHI EA '18: Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: April 21–26, 2018, Montreal, QC, Canada. ACM, New York, LBW552. ISBN 9781450356206, 9781450356213

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Zaatari, the world's largest Syrian refugee camp, currently hosts around 80,000 Syrian refugees. Located in the desert, the camp has become the fifth biggest city in Jordan. Previous examinations of crisis-housing in refugee camps have assessed re-appropriation of shelters in order to improve functionality. In this paper, we show how interior adornment serves a purpose in refugee lives that goes beyond that of functionality. Our analysis of fieldwork conducted in Zaatari camp show how decorating provides an escape from the camp and compensates for loss of identity, home and leisure. Within contexts of austerity, decorating spaces is a valuable and vital aspect of living, coping and supporting people's sense of identity and pride. Through painting and decorating both public and private 'spaces', refugees transform them into 'places', creating a sense of home. We highlight how the capability of decorating, crafting and making is an enactment of freedom within contexts of political restrictions and resource limitations.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Syrian Refugees; Decorative artefacts; Place-making; Well-being; Human-Building Interaction
Subjects: W200 Design studies
W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Design
Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Computer and Information Sciences
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2018 13:57
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 17:48

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