This is a blog about emotions, objects, and storytelling; in other words things that give shape to both our collective and individual cultures.
This blog follows the journey of an MA research project that explores the affective connections people form with objects and how these can inspire self-reflective storytelling. I am focusing particularly on the moments and relationships people associate with things they wear. Clothing is an ideal repository for emotion and memories because it is so strongly linked to the body and has an intimate relationship to the Self.
I am interested in how the raw material of affective narratives can be used for transformation and emotional empowerment. How can the emotional connections people have in their wardrobes be used as a source to start an internal dialogue? How can we access our narrative identities through ‘affective archaeology’? What is a self-portrait, how do they manifest themselves in our wardrobes? And lastly, how can these ideas be used as building blocks for a transformative storytelling method and what could such a method look like; what is the process of ‘affective archaeology’?
Based on primary and secondary research and personal artistic experiments, I argue that the affective connections we form between inanimate objects, people, and moments hold creative as well as therapeutic possibilities that are underutilised and could be explored further. Personal stories act as a framework for creating meaning, communicating with others, and connecting with our own experiences (Ellis and Bochner, 1992; Skultan, 1998; Walter, 1999; Simmons, 2013), all of which have been shown to affect our mental well-being (NHS, 2018). Objects can act as points of entry when reflecting on one’s own narrative identity and offers the potential to open up new layers of internal dialogue.
NHS (2016) Five steps to mental wellbeing. Available at: http://mergefestival.co.uk/merge-events-2018/2018/6/8/requiem-for-crossbones-emily-peasgood (Accessed: 8 June 2018)
Simmons, M (2013) ‘A creative photographic approach: interpretation and healing through creative practice’, in Loewenthal, D. (ed.) Phototherapy and therapeutic photography in a digital age. East Sussex: Routledge