Open Call: Visualising the Home

Sunday, May 21, 2017 - 00:00

Visualising The Home

Carlisle Photo is proud to announce our collaboration with Visualising Conferences is back.

Visualising… are a series of biennial academic conferences bringing together theorists and practitioners to debate socially and culturally relevant themes as visualised through the medium of photography. They tap into a broad sheaf of debates with the clear focus on photographic representations of a given theme.

This year we will be producing an exhibition to coincide with the theme ‘Visualising the Home’ to be shown at The Vallum Gallery. We invite you to submit your photographic series via our website.

Open Call:

Visualising the Home

Carlisle Photo is hosting an exhibition in collaboration with Visualising the Home Conference; questioning the meaning of the home within contemporary society as seen through photography.

What does home mean to us today?

How can we depict the intimacy of homes as personal and private spaces as well as expressing the public and political dimensions of home? How does photography shape our visual understanding of our home?

We all know our homes; yet, home is one of the most elusive of concepts. There are many people who have no homes and it can certainly be considered a privilege (and conversely a burden) to be a homeowner. Houses that are dwellings are more than mere bricks and mortar. Home as a sense of belonging is familiar to everyone, yet so difficult to describe. Images of houses and domestic spaces often serve as symbols, but rarely convey the intimate and individual sensibility of home. How then are we to visualise and convey the aesthetics of home?

More than the personal sensibility of home as private and domestic space, home can also be seen on a larger, public scale. Here, home gains a political dimension. National, ethnic and cultural senses of belonging and ownership relate to land, government and language. What does homeland mean? Does it belong to us to be shaped by us or do we belong to it to be shaped by it. The current refugee crisis brings to our consciousness the fundamental questions of home, politically and individually. More so, maybe, the Brexit referendum shows the passions of belonging and ownership and how governance is grounded in a sensibility of home.

Home is an emotive concept; there are myriad dimensions to reflect on. Below are several conceptualisations (which are by no means a conclusive) to consider.

  • Where is home? Space, place, houses?
  • What is home? Language, people, space?
  • When is home? Memory, childhood, formative years or building a future?
  • What does home look like? Visibility, demonstrability, aesthetics?

Domestic space

  • Retreat, safe space
  • Personal space, privacy & intimacy
  • Female realm, homemaking
  • Habits and habitats
  • Familiar, ordinary and mundane

Ownership of home

  • Belonging – place, class, culture etc.
  • Family history, heritage
  • Domestic pride
  • Defence of home

Imagination of home

  • Sentimentality and idealisation of home as a purely positive place
  • Nostalgia, yearning for a time that never was
  • Memory and memento of home

Absence, loss and denial of home

  • Refugees, exile
  • Invasion of home
  • Political oppression
  • Homelessness and poverty
  • Homesickness – Heimweh

Negative home

  • Trapped in the home (domestic limitations and pressures or denied emigration)
  • Imposed home (imprisonment, house arrest)
  • Domestic violence
  • Wanderlust – Fernweh

Aesthetics of home

  • Pictures of homeliness, cosiness and longing
  • Discrepancies of comfort and/or belonging
  • Photographs within the home
  • Pressures of aesthetics and consumerism of home as opposed to the individual personal space

Structural/essential aspects of home

  • Only apparent when absent (invisible when one has never left home)
  • Fractured reality of home: comforts of home as well as boredom/conflict etc. of home
  • Home as origin
  • Story of home (becoming and ceasing to be)
  • Home as a space to just be (not for others, not performing – or performing to the idea of home)


  • Husserl on Lebenswelt – home world, alien world, lifeworld (Held)
  • Heidegger on dwelling, pathmaking etc.
  • Arendt on human activity in view of the distinction between the private and public realm
  • Freud on heimlich (homely) & unheimlich (uncanny)
  • Foucault on spaces and power
  • Bachelard on the lived experience of space


You can submit your project/s via our website from 29th April 2017 – closing date is midnight 21st May 2017.

Successful applicants selected work will be included in an exhibition, shown at The Vallum Gallery, Brampton Road, Carlisle.

To apply please click here

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