Home-Makers (REF 2021 Practice Research Submission)

Parry-Davies, Ella (2020) Home-Makers (REF 2021 Practice Research Submission). The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London. ISBN 978-1-8383968-4-8


This multi-component output consists of documentation and materials related to Home-Makers, an online collection of audio works produced in collaboration with (majority Filipina) migrant domestic and care workers in the UK and Lebanon.

Employed (and frequently living) in the homes of others, migrant domestic and care workers often live with precarious residential status and inadequate domestic space of their own. Yet they must become experts at feeling “at home” in unfamiliar cities. This project develops a distinctive collaborative practice research method to prioritise migrant women’s self-representation in the production of new insights into home-making in the context of transnational labour migration. It challenges the social science norms of observation, interview and transcription through making co-edited “soundwalks” recorded in places chosen by participants, which are designed to be downloaded by general publics and listened to on location. The research focusses on two destination countries with similar, controversial “tied visa” systems that shape migrants’ home-making practices.

The research initiates dialogues between performance praxis and studies of migrant domestic work, applying a performance method to research on migration. This methodological innovation affords collaborative, creative scope with the potential to influence work at the intersection of these fields. While social science research on migration and mobility has struggled to capture migrants’ subjective lived experience, the co-created soundwalks “show” rather than “tell” the ways in which they perform intimate home-making in their everyday lives.

This transnational project contributes to migrant women’s self-representation in the face of acute exploitation and invisibility. In doing so, it reveals the expertise of “home-makers” whose experiences are prismatic of globalised labour markets.


Published Version - PDF (REF 2021 Practice Research Submission)

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